The Ordinary Glycolic Acid vs. Pixi Glow Tonic
Glycolic acid is one of many new ingredients that have taken the skincare market by storm over the last few years. Hyaluronic acid, retinol, you name it – advancements in skincare and the availability of it are ever growing. Even as an avid consumer, sometimes I find it difficult to keep up!
Glycolic Acid is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), which are generally plant-derived exfoliants. Without getting too deep into it, AHAs are water-soluble exfoliants, which means they only work on the skin’s surface. This means they remove the dead skin cells on the surface allowing moisturising products to penetrate. BHAs, on the other hand (such as salicylic acid) are oil-soluble, which means they can further penetrate your pores. This is great for oily or acne-prone skin, but can be extremely drying.
If you don’t have problematic skin and just want a light chemical exfoliation, glycolic acid is definitely a winner. I wouldn’t go without it now – my skin feels dull and lacklustre after just a few days of not using a glycolic acid toner!
Below, I’ve reviewed and compared two of my favourites, and two of the most popular glycolic acid products on the market. The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid Solution and Pixi by Petra’s famous Pixi Glow Tonic.
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid
The Ordinary is a cruelty free* skincare company that has increased in popularity over the last few years. All of their products are vegetarian and they’re transparent about their ingredients, which makes it really easy to find exactly what you want. Many of their formulas are vegan, and they’re all labelled that way making shopping with them a dream.
Although some of their products are now sold in Boots in the UK, they are still predominantly an online brand.
*The Ordinary is owned by a parent company, Deciem, which is a cruelty free brand. However, Estee Lauder (an animal testing company) own a 28% stake in Deciem.
Pixi Glow Tonic
I had never even tried a Pixi product before their Glow Tonic became influencers’ new holy grail toner in 2018. The combination of a genuinely good product and great marketing basically shot Pixi to success in the UK, and now they’re my go-to for more than just this one product.
This toner is one of six different Pixi Tonics, each targeting a specific issue. The Glow Tonic is perfect if you’re simply looking to exfoliate and brighten your skin.
Comparison & Review
The biggest and most obvious difference between The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Solution and the Pixi Glow Tonic is the price. Full sized, The Ordinary version is 240ml and costs just £6.80. The Pixi Glow Tonic, however, costs almost three times as much at £18 for 250ml. I have to say, this was my main reason for purchasing The Ordinary’s product – I had tried the Pixi Glow Tonic, fallen in love with my new skin, and went on the hunt for something similar that wouldn’t break the bank.
When it came down to it, that’s not what I found. The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid Solution isn’t a bad product, and you can tell after you’ve used it that your skin has been well exfoliated. It even stings a little at first, as your skin gets used to it (probably in part because The Ordinary’s 7% solution is stronger than Pixi’s 5%). Waking up the next day, however, I just didn’t get the same fresh feeling that I did with Pixi Glow Tonic. There isn’t anything concrete I can say as to why – both products claim a series of other active ingredients to feed your skin, including amino acids, aloe vera and ginseng.
I would use The Ordinary’s solution again as part of a much lengthier skincare routine, but Pixi Glow Tonic really does feel like an all-rounder. It feels much more nourishing and less abrasive. When I’m travelling, my evening skincare routine is two-step. Pixi Glow Tonic, followed by a hyaluronic acid moisturiser (provided I’ve not been wearing makeup!).
The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid Solution comes in a wide-neck bottle with a screw-on cap, as well as a spout dispenser. I didn’t use the spout dispenser (I don’t feel like it lends particularly well to a toner), instead opting to tip it onto a cotton pad like you would nail polish remover. Pixi Glow Tonic comes with a small hole in the top, the kind you’d expect from a tonic water, and I feel like this lends to a little more waste (not what you want from an expensive product!). This also means The Ordinary’s bottle can more easily be reused after it’s empty, whereas this would be near impossible with Pixi’s bottle design.
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