In the many late-night hours I’ve spent
watching kitten videos reading about skin care on my phone, a topic that has repeatedly come up over and over again is glycolic acid.
Actually, acids in general. In the skin care world, they’re a big deal, especially when it comes to anti-aging products.
There’s a ton of info available about them online, but this is basically what I’ve gathered: skin goes through a cycle of shedding and renewal, where it sheds old cells and generates new ones, and, as we get older, the cycle slows down. But glycolics kick the cycle into higher gear again, which improves skin tone and mellows out pigmentation, among other things.
In a nutshell, glycolics are today’s anti-aging all-stars, and if I’ve learned anything from skin care goddess Caroline Hirons (a.k.a. my BFF in my mind), it’s that you gotta get an acid up in the mix if you want to get “serious” about anti-aging.
A couple of the skin care peeps I follow, Caroline and Stephanie Nicole, recommend a potent glycolic acid toner called Biologique Recherche P50 1970 Toner, which I want to try eventually, but it’s supposed to be super strong, so I started with a few over-the-counter products first from Pixi.
You know Pixi. They’re a cruelty-free, paraben-free line available at Target, and all of their stuff comes in the cutest green bottles. I love how it all matches. 🙂
Anywho, they have a bunch of glycolic acid products and good-looking ingredient lists. The glycolic acids are usually listed up near the top along with the percentage included, which isn’t something that all brands do (and that’s frustrating!). Pixi also often adds soothing aloe vera (also up near the top of the ingredient list) to help offset the exfoliating power of glycolic acid.
Pixi Glow Tonic To-Go Exfoliating Toner Pads with 5% Glycolic ($18 for 60 pads)
Pixi soaked these travel-friendly pads with their famous Glow Toner, which I’ve used before and like. I think it makes a big difference in the texture and evenness of my skin. It makes it smoother.
I have these slightly darker spots, which I like to call my “freckles,” but let’s get real here. They’re more likely sun spots from sun damage. I also have larger patches on my cheeks that are slightly darker than my normal skin tone, but not as dark as those freckles (also likely from sun damage). Glow Tonic ever-so-slightly evens out the tone of those larger areas of uneven pigmentation.
Does it completely even out my skin? Nah, but I’m still going to keep using it, because quite a few people, including Caroline Hirons, recommend using different products with different amounts of glycolic acid in them — a strong one, a moderately strong one, and a gentle one.
Caroline equates the three levels to weightlifting, whereas some days you lift heavy, other days you lift light, etc.
This toner will probably be my gentle one, I think, but if you’re a teen or in your 20s, you could probably use it as your strong one.
Glow Mud Cleanser with 5% Glycolic Acid & Aloe Vera ($18 for a 4.57-oz. tube)
I usually opt for gentle, creamy cleansers and thought this would be too harsh for my combo skin, but I really like it and plan to keep it in stock.
It’s a non-foaming, purifying cleanser that starts as a non-gritty paste but turns milky as you massage it in. I feel a slightly tingling sensation when I work it in, too, which is weirdly satisfying (don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt).
Thing is, my skin feels REALLY clean after I use this, like it’s kicking all of those naughty dead skin cells to the curb. I think of this as a gentler (and much more affordable) version of Kate Somerville’s famous $85 ExfoliKate.
Overnight Glow Serum with 10% Glycolic Acid & Aloe Vera ($24 for a 1.01-oz. bottle with a dropper)
Most peeps seem to love this, but I’m not too crazy about it, mostly because of the texture, which feels thick and kind of sticky… I can’t get over it.
It doesn’t absorb well, either, or layer as well as some of the other face serums I’ve tried. So this one gets a pass from me.
How about you? Do you use any glycolics or other acids in your skin care routine? What have you tried?
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,
P.S. TGIF!!!! 🙂