Splurge Vs. Save: Glycolic Acid Toners

Before I start to talk about anything, I’m going to talk about why Glycolic acid is a thing. Glycolic acid is an exfoliator, which removes the top layer of dead cells. In turn, this means your skin will look fresher and brighter. It’s also said to treat scars, discoloration and even signs of aging.

I’d seen so many people rave about Pixi Glow Tonic (£18, Boots) back in May 2018, I took the plunge. I say it in that way as £18 for a bottle of toner is a hell of a lot of money, but the reviews had made me want it. I found the bottle lasted me around two months and I was fast to repurchase before I got to the end.

Since I started using the Glow Tonic, I noticed my skin looked fresher each day. My red blemishes had seemed to have calmed down and I overall felt a lot happier with the way my skin looked without makeup. Which is always a bonus.

The way I apply mine is by completing my full makeup removal routine in the evening, taking a cotton pad and gently circling the product around the face. Make sure that whatever you do, you don’t take the product too close to the eyes. Trust me, it’ll sting like a bitch. I’ll then add my moisturiser and I’m ready to go to sleep.

When it got towards Christmas of last year and I was scrimping as much as I could, I mean presents don’t buy themselves do they! I noticed that The Ordinary had released their own glycolic acid and it was over half the price (£6.75, Beauty Bay)! I immediately bought it, thinking that if I wasn’t a fan, at least I’ve tried it.

Honestly, I didn’t notice any difference between using the Pixi Glow Tonic and The Ordinary. There was no sudden changes in my skin, the blemishes stayed away and my skin still looked fresh when I woke up in the mornings.

I looked into the ingredients for both products and found that they were extremely similar. The Ordinary actually contains 7% glycolic acid, whereas Pixi only contains 5%. Depending on the sensitivity of your skin, personally I feel you’re going to see more benefits from the one which contains more of the magic product.

Another amazing thing about both of these products is that they’re cruelty-free and vegan – you know how much I love that on my blog!

So would I recommend either or the other? Honestly, I didn’t notice a massive difference when going from the splurge item to the save one. My skin hasn’t craved the slight difference in ingredients and it still looks great. Another thing worth mentioning is that I ran out of The Ordinary one about two weeks ago and decided to not use glycolic acid for a little bit. Even after doing this, there’s been no changes to my skin – which makes me wonder whether any of it was worth the money at all?

I’d love to know your opinions on glycolic acid and if there’s any major splurge and saves that you’d like to tell me about. Much like my wear test, this is another series in the making and I’m looking forward to trying out a few different high-end and high-street products. If there’s any particular type of product you’d like to see, please be sure to let me know in the comments.

Love, always.



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Disclosure: Some of the links within this post are affiliated. This means that at no cost to you, I will receive a small commision if you click through and make a purchase. Please note, this money then goes towards new products for the blog. It’s all about the circle of a beauty bloggers life.

12 thoughts on “Splurge Vs. Save: Glycolic Acid Toners

  1. I’ve been debating getting the Glow Tonic from Pixi lately as I’ve heard so much good things. But it’s quite pricey for how long it would last me. I hadn’t even thought about The Ordinary one but I’m so glad you spoke about it here! I think I might give that a go x


  2. I will have to check the ordinary one. The big benefit to me of the pixi product is that it also has aloe. This soothes the face nicely for me. I am currently using a Mario Badescu glycolic acid toner and it is absolutely bothering my skin more than the pixi glow tonic.


    1. That’s a shame to hear. I always use an aloe Vera gel as my moisturiser after the acid – so maybe it’s worth getting one of them? They’re really cheap too 😊 x


  3. Great post!
    I’m sure the toners had an effect. Speaking from experience, I always notice the difference between skin care with and without glycolic acid, AHA, BHA and the likes when I’m without those little helpers for a few months. At some point I always notice that the brown and yellow patches come back. Then I go back to products with glycolic acid (and preferably AHA and BHA as well), and my skin tone gets more even and the patches eventually go away.
    I think you should try Superdrug’s Naturally Radiant glycolic toner. It’s £5.99 but there’s almost always a half price or buy one get one free offer. xoxo


    1. Thanks so much for the recommendation! I do have some red blotchiness sometimes and if I notice it comes back, I’ll definitely try the glycolic toner from Superdrug x


  4. Such a great post! I have the Pixi Glow Tonic and I love it, but it is quite pricey to repurchase, I will have to try the Ordinary one and see how it compares. I might end up making the change if it has the same effect and results you experienced. Xx


    1. Thanks for the lovely comment. I honestly think you’ll see the same effects and if not, at least you’ve only spent £7 trying 😊 please let me know how you get on x


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