For all the testing I do, I realize I've never talked much about glycolic acid toners. Which is odd because I consider them an essential step at least 2-3 times a week to slough dead cells, reduce clogs, and enhance other skincare products if you want to keep your skin glowing and smooth and younger-looking.
For me, they are a superior replacement for physical scrubs and all those expensive sonic devices which tend to break my somewhat-dry, occasionally-sensitive skin out. And Pixi's cult-favorite Glow Tonic is what ushered me (and several family members including mom) into the world of glycolic acid toners last year.
If you've never used it before though, don't just splash a ton of cash and go ham on it because using it the wrong way can backfire. Which is why I thought Pixi's Glow Tonic was a god-send because with its ginseng and aloe extracts, it's gentle enough for beginners and those with slightly sensitive skins, but at 5% glycolic acid content, it's works.
Plus, it's very, very reasonably priced, and easily available from retailers like Sephora.sg, iHerb.com etc if you're in Singapore. I've repurchased this a couple of times already, and have a backup 250ml bottle plus the pre-soaked toning pads which are handy for traveling. But I've not yet spoken about it online, so I was NOT expecting a surprise gift from the Pixi team.
A jumbo bottle of Glow Tonic with a separate pump dispenser AND my name on it.
|My own jumbo bottle of Glow Tonic!|
Like any skincare junkie, I have to say I'm possibly more excited by the size of the bottle (it's not available in this format at Sephora or iHerb) than the fact that there's my name printed on it.
Because this is a staple in my arsenal for a myriad of reasons.
I spent years feeling most toners were redundant in skincare regimens, except possibly as gentle "softeners" that prep the skin to absorb other skincare. (Just like parched hardened ground doesn't absorb water as well as soft, moist, loose soil.) Acid toners can do this as well, more effectively than hydrating toners.
Acid toners also help to lower and preserve the natural acidity of skin. A lot of foaming cleansers (and even water) can raise the pH level of skin. This can exacerbate problems such as dryness, irritations and even bacterial infestation. Healthy skin is acidic. So if you can't bear to ditch that thick foamy wash, you might want to use an acid toner afterwards.
Many people have the misconception that acid toners and chemical exfoliants will dry out and thin the skin. Studies have shown that Glycolic acid in proper dosages actually thickens and strengthens skin over time, making it more smooth and resilient, making fine lines less visible.
Smoothing and evening:
The most visible and immediate effect of starting on a glycolic toner (observed by pretty much everyone I've recommended it to) is how smooth and "glowy" skin looks the next day. Skincare absorbs well and makeup sits better. With regular use it accelerates turnover, which helps reduce the appearance of hyper-pigmentation and dark marks.
Pixi Glow Tonic is available in a 15ml trial size (S$9), 100ml travel size ($28), and 250ml full size ($45).
TIPS FOR STARTING OUT
- Start with a trial or travel size.
- Give your skin time to adjust. Start using it 2-3 times a week with rest periods in between. Glow Tonic is designed for use daily but there's no harm starting slow and working your way up.
- Avoid excessive scrubbing or exfoliating of your face before using any acid toner. You don't want to over-sensitize your skin and then blame the product if you get a reaction.
- You may feel a slight tingle after smoothing it on with a cotton pad. This is the glycolic acid getting to work, and the sensation should go away in a few minutes.
- Give it a few minutes to work before applying the rest of your skincare.
- If you can't tolerate the sting, mist your face with a pH balanced toner or apply gentle cream/lotion on top afterwards to bring up the pH level. This should rarely be necessary with Glow Tonic though.
- Always wear sunscreen before going out in the day, but it's even more important if you're using acid toners.
- Also avoid applying this around the eye and lip area obviously.
Tip: As a weekly overnight treatment, I use just glycolic acid toner and skip all other skincare for the night. This maximizes its effect because applying other skincare on top dilutes it and raises its pH, "halting" its work. May feel strange if you like slathering face cream on like I do, but my skin always looks super smooth the next day. The rest of the week I use it like a toner and apply skincare afterwards.