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Toners. They’re having a bit of a moment and it’s no surprise – using one in your regime can work wonders for your skin.
For those not in the know, toners are commonly in liquid form (or on a pre-soaked pad) that you sweep onto your skin after cleansing, but before serums and moisturisers. Anyone can benefit from using a toner – they’re brilliant multi-taskers that address several concerns in one hit. They’re also brilliant at combatting acne, sun damage, acne scarring, dryness, fine lines and improving the overall texture of your skin, regardless of your skin type.
This week, I’m on the hunt for the best AHA toners, specifically a glycolic acid based one. The reigning Queen is, of course, Pixi’s Glow Tonic. It has a frenzied following, but at £18 a pop, I wondered if there was something cheaper that could work just as well, or maybe even better. I was told to approach The Ordinary, a brand that produces non-fussy products that actually work, often at prices cheaper than a Pret lunch. But can it knock Pixi off the throne? Let’s find out…
The best glycolic toner
The formula: The 5% dosage of glycolic acid means it’s gentle enough to use daily. Plus it’s got aloe vera in it, making it extra calming. I didn’t experience any stinging and was pleasantly surprised to find that my skin felt hydrated in the morning.
The packaging: The orange and green bottle is iconic. You can get this in a glass bottle with a screw top lid that’s easy peasy to squirt onto a cotton pad.
The effects: I used this in the evenings and blimey O’Riley, did I wake up with glowy skin. After a couple of uses, I could see that it had faded some lingering acne scarring and dry patches. On my actual spots, however, it didn’t make an awful lot of difference (I still have the dreaded bumps along my cheeks) but the rest of my skin felt smoother and plumper.
The formula: At 7% glycolic acid, this toner packs a little more punch. Other than that, the ingredients list is almost identical to Pixi’s. It didn’t sting, nor did it irritate. It felt comfortable on my face in the morning and I didn’t experience any tightness.
The packaging: I had heard that the screw top lid was really hard to get off – and those weren’t lies. I even passed it around the team, to see if any of them could remove it. Once you finally get into it, you can swap it for the secured nozzle provided to squeeze onto a cotton pad. Handy if, like me, you’re prone to knocking things over, as it’s less likely to spill.
The effects: I woke up with a bit of déjà vu – had I used the Pixi glow tonic last night?! I had a peek into the mirror and skin looked very glowy. While my stubborn spots remained, it did reduce the redness and my scarring was blurred. My skin was left plump and soft as a baby’s butt.
The differences between these two are so minor. I reckon you could fool any Pixi Glow Tonic fanatic with The Ordinary’s Toning Solution – even the colour of the liquid is similar. Yes, you have to make like Popeye to lid off, but for the cheaper price and exactly the same results as the Pixi Glow Tonic, it’s a real winner. Bend a knee for the new glycolic toner Queen.
On a budget with your skincare routine? Find a serum that won’t pull on your purse strings with our personalised quiz…