Save, Spend, Splurge | Exfoliating Serums Edition

Now I usually schedule one of these a month and those of you who are regular readers will know that November’s edition has already been published. However, I figured with it being Black Friday week and many beauty offers are already out there, now would be a good time to save on your spend and splurges as well. For the second edition of save, spend, splurge this month we’re looking at exfoliating serums.

The topic of exfoliators is very broad so today we’re focusing exclusively on serums. I’m not a fan of physical exfoliants but there will be a save, spend, splurge post dedicated to exfoliating toners in the future, if that’s more your thing.

Our contenders today are The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA, Ren Wake Wonderful Night-time Serum and Peter Thomas Roth 10% Glycolic Acid Hyrdating Gel.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% – £5.80

Ren Wake Wonderful Night-Time Facial – £32

Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10% Hydrating Gel – £46

Product Overview

These products are all different sizes, The Ordinary being the standard serum size of 30ml, Ren being 40ml and PTR being 57ml. with this in mind the cost per 100ml of each product is £80.70 for PTR, £80 for Ren and £19.50 for The Ordinary, meaning Ren is only really cheaper as an initial purchase cost. The Ordinary’s Lactic Acid is the only vegan offering today although both Ren and PTR claim to be cruelty free and against animal testing. The Ordinary and PTR are both made in the USA and Ren is made here in the UK.


The Ordinary and PTR both come in glass bottles, whereas the Ren product comes in a plastic tube. Both PTR and Ren have a pump, which will help to preserve the antioxidants in them. The Ordinary comes with a dropper.


In this aspect our cheapest and most expensive options are very similar; they both have a lightweight gel consistency, whereas the Ren product is more of a creamy texture. All three products absorb well and quickly, although the Ren option has a slightly more moisturising feel the following day.  Contrastingly, The Ordinary leaves a very matte almost drying feel to the skin.


Save spend splurge ingredients list

There are a lot of similarities and differences here between the different price points worth noting here:

· The Ordinary and PTR are both 10% exfoliant, Ren do not state the percentage of the active ingredient on the product label it is the third ingredient though so the percentage is likely to be fairly high.

· PTR is the only oil free option.

· The Ordinary is the only alcohol free option, although it is included in very small amounts in the other two products. I would never recommend a product with high alcohol content.

· Both The Ordinary and PTR have a form of hyaluronic acid in them, making them better options for dehydrated skins whereas the Ren product has a richer (shea butter and many oils)  formula making it better for dry skins. Although all products can be used by all skin types.

· The Ordinary and Ren use lactic acid, PTR uses glycolic.

· All three of these options have a large amount of acid in them so those of you with sensitive skins should proceed with caution and use test patches before full application.

· All three options are free of artificial fragrance although Ren does contain natural fragrance.



The whole idea behind starting this series was that it was a way to show different options at different price points, with all three being good products I would happily recommend. Today is the exception for me; if I’m totally honest I do not like the offering from The Ordinary. I had high hopes when I bought it, my skin usually responds very well to lactic acid but this makes my skin feel so dry it almost feels like I need to exfoliate again to remove the dry patches. But I don’t want to put you off as I think this is just my skin being fussy.

The whole point of the brand is that they provide high quality actives in very simple formulas; my skin isn’t a fan of the simple formula when it comes to potent ingredients. My skin prefers the PTR equivalent as it has calming ingredients like aloe vitamin E and antioxidants to make the formula more gentle, which my skin needs. If you don’t have particularly dry or sensitive skin The Ordinary one could be a great place to start.

As for the Ren option, I like that one as much as the PTR but for very different reasons. I did a full review of the PTR option and in that I explained why I didn’t think that this formula would be for everyone. If you have the kind of skin the PTR option wouldn’t be good for, the Ren option will probably work for you.

I like to use this as a quick fix product; if ever I have a bit of stubborn hormonal acne or my skin is more combination I think this product works really well at balancing. And due to the creamy texture it does feel nicer at this time of year as well. As this formula is richer you don’t always need a moisturiser with it either, meaning you could spend a little more on the serum and sacrifice the night cream if you are on a budget.


This is really difficult to choose. For me the Ren and PTR both have a special place in my collection and I use them very differently. The PTR has a more sophisticated formula than the other two and performs brilliantly (I did say it was a contender for the best exfoliator ever in a recent post) however it isn’t great for everyone. If you don’t have extremely sensitive skin and are used to using acids I think you’d like the PTR. If you’re new to using acids I’d recommend you start with the Ren product.


Do you use any of these? Let me know your favourites in the comments!





  1. Kayleigh Zara
    21st November 2017 / 7:05 pm

    In most cases I’d buy the ordinary simply because it was the cheapest and the others are quite expensive but they have some great qualities! Thanks for sharing x

    Kayleigh Zara

  2. 21st November 2017 / 7:07 pm

    I haven’t used any of these no but I have heard a lot of positive things about REN. Everyone seems to be loving it at the moment! xx corinne

  3. 21st November 2017 / 7:15 pm

    I’m so curious to try this brand some other time!! Enjoyed this post lovely, and products looks amazing xx

  4. 21st November 2017 / 7:21 pm

    Great post, love the concept of ‘save spend and splurge’! The PTR one sounds amazing, I’d buy it if I wasn’t a poor uni student haha xx

  5. 21st November 2017 / 7:29 pm

    Hi, I tend to stick to the same brand maybe I should try a sample or REN as I keep reading positive reviews about their products.

  6. bookinggoodread
    21st November 2017 / 7:33 pm

    Great idea for a series of posts, it gives your readers more options depending on their budget, well done

    • bookinggoodread
      21st November 2017 / 7:34 pm
  7. Lea
    21st November 2017 / 7:48 pm

    I love the Ordinary. They have some amazing products for a good price. I’m currently trying out my Pixi products. It’s always so exciting to see if they live up to what you read everywhere.
    Lea, xx

  8. 21st November 2017 / 8:50 pm

    oooh, I really wanted to try the Ordinary! Im currently working my way through my clinique skin care products, but id love to stock up on something different! xx

  9. 22nd November 2017 / 9:33 am

    I haven’t tried any of these but I definitely want to now!!

    Fab post doll!
    Love, Melissa x

  10. 22nd November 2017 / 9:33 am

    I haven’t tried any of these but I definitely want to now!!

    Fab post doll!

    Love, Melissa x

  11. 22nd November 2017 / 7:15 pm

    I haven’t used any of these but there is something about a gel like serum in a glass bottle that screams efficacy to me! Hopefully I’ll be able to give one of them a try, thanks for reviewing.

  12. 22nd November 2017 / 7:28 pm

    I’ve been hearing so many good things about the Ordinary at the moment, I might have to give them a try!

  13. 22nd November 2017 / 7:28 pm

    I’ve been hearing so many good things about the Ordinary at the moment, I might have to give them a try!

  14. 22nd November 2017 / 7:43 pm

    I learned something new today. I didn’t know that picking a product with a pump helps preserve the antioxidants.

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