A behind the scenes look at the work that goes into our product selection process
Here at Renude, we take skincare seriously. We only work with products with proven active ingredients that achieve results, and prefer those that are developed or tested alongside dermatologists. Each product we recommend is heavily vetted before it achieves our seal of approval.
I spent the first part of my career in a lab coat, formulating skincare products for best-selling brands, and the last five years with my head in research papers reviewing clinical data to decide which active ingredients were really going to deliver results, and therefore make the cut for the award-winning products I was developing. So trust me when I say - skincare is my thing.
We’ve been asked a lot about how we review products for Renude, so I wanted to share a brief overview of our product vetting process, and the questions we ask for every new product we are considering.
Active ingredients are the ingredients in a product which will work on the skin to give the desired effect. We need to make sure all our products pass the following tests:
The product must have the appropriate active ingredient in the formula at an active level to achieve the intended result. We look into what active ingredients are included and what the research is behind them. If available, we take the concentration of this active ingredient into consideration as well to review its theoretical effectiveness.
If using a derivative of an active (e.g. retinyl palmitate instead of retinol), there must be enough in the formula to still achieve the intended effect once processed by the body. Derivatives, whilst less effective, can sometimes provide a better solution for more sensitive skin, so this is also taken into consideration to ensure we have products suitable for everyone.
The base formula must have an appropriate delivery system for the active and its function. For example, if something needs to reach the dermis before it can get to work (e.g. anything linked to collagen production/pigmentation), then it needs to be in a carrier that can penetrate that far into the skin whilst remaining active.
Any actives in a cleanser (other than acids) are a total waste - please don’t pay a premium to rinse your face with peptides.
If it’s an unstable active in its pure form, how is it protected so it can ensure effectiveness? For example, is it encapsulated in a carrier for slow release? Or it is housed in an airless pack to avoid oxidation before use?
Once we are happy the active ingredients have a good chance of working as intended, we vet the formula to make sure there is nothing in there that we wouldn’t expect. This is really looking at any misfit ingredients. For example, a product designed for sensitive skin that then has irritating ingredients in the formula, or a product for breakout-prone skin which has known comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients (it happens!)
We work specifically with cosmeceutical brands that contain high levels of active ingredients, and typically there is clinical research behind their claims. So we take a look at this, reviewing the size and profile of the panel and analysing what the average results were, to make sure that in this unique formulation, the actives are able to achieve the desired result. We like to consider user feedback (90% said skin looked younger), and statistical results (wrinkles reduced by 20%) measured by specialist equipment such as a VISIA machine.
If there hasn’t been a clinical trial on the final formulation, we look at the active ingredient data, reviewing the literature from the ingredient manufacturer to ensure there is evidence to show this ingredient having a visible effect on the skin. This needs scrutinising more thoroughly as this is not independent data, but it’s useful nonetheless.
A product can pass as many tests as you like, but if people don’t love it - it’s out. The final stage of our vetting process is looking at how these products have been received on the market, and removing anything that doesn’t have really positive user feedback.
Whilst this is less technical, it’s a very important piece of data and something that can’t always be predicted. If something doesn’t have a smooth application or sit well under make-up, the reviews will tell us these things and allow us to weed out anything that isn’t up to standard.
We also look at awards - has this product been given the highest accolade by experts in the industry? This is not essential (after all, products must be submitted for awards and that’s not always free so we don’t know the full picture here), but it helps give extra credentials to those that have, so is another factor we like to include in the review process.
Our team has a combined 60 years of experience working with skincare on a daily basis. Working in product development means trying multiple new formulas every single week in the search for something worthy of launching, and I’ve been doing this for 10 years (and have tried a lot of products!). So, we’ve become pretty good at this: how quickly does it absorb? Is it tacky on the application? How does it layer? How does it sit under make-up? Not necessarily factors contributing to the effectiveness of a product, but at the end of the day - if it’s not a joy to use, it’s going to sit on the shelf and there'll be no chance of getting results.
Each product we have on our system has been vetted based on the above, but when we get to the end of the process we don’t want to have 10 moisturisers from different brands which are all perfect for the same skin profile and budget, so we need to make a decision. We compare products against each other, taking forward only those that we can truly say are the best suited for an individual use case.
So after months and months of research, we’ve created this highly curated edit of the best-of-the-best products the industry has to offer, with options to suit every skin need and budget (which we’re pretty proud of). We don’t include any complete brands in our system but have cherry-picked the very best performing products from the very best brands, making it super simple for you to access your next holy grail routine. Your expert is there to navigate this list on your behalf and select the perfect combination of these hero products based on your unique needs and budget.
Even with all this work, we recognise things change, new products launch and unique users come through the system with new requirements, so we are in constant communication with our expert team who give feedback and recommendations on products. We also continually learn about our community by reviewing individual product feedback left by Renude members on their personal recommendations. This helps us to learn in more detail and improve the accuracy of our recommendations.
Our experts are here to help you build a personalised routine for your unique needs and budget, and continue to support you on your skin journey by answering any questions along the way.
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