I Tried The Most Famous Toner In The World, And Here Are My Thoughts

When Pixi Glow Tonic was launched initially, it went out of stock every single day because people couldn’t get their hands off of the magic elixir. The hype around this toner is so big that it is the in fact, THE toner of exfoliating toners. While this toner has achieved a cult status, a glycolic acid toner is also notoriously difficult to incorporate in your skincare routine. If the pH doesn’t move incrementally in all the skincare steps of your routine, you could basically be neutralizing the effects of whatever you slap on your face and rendering them useless. So in this article we’re tackling everything about glycolic acid AND reviewing the Pixi Glow Tonic. Read on to find out how it fared.

What is Glycolic Acid?

Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid found in sugar crops like sugar canes. It is the most common type of AHA and is the most popular type to be included in skincare and professional peels in the world of skincare. Glycolic acid is the best for dull, dry, damaged and aging skin. It has smaller molecules than all the other AHAs, which helps it penetrate more deeply than other acids, thus giving the most noticeable effects. Most products which promise that “glow” come with glycolic acid.

How does it work?

Glycolic acid works by retexturising, and exfoliating the topmost layer of your skin. This exfoliation is non abrasive unlike the physical exfoliators that literally “sandpaper” the dead skin cells off of your face, and often unevenly. The result is a fresher layer of your skin that is uniform and more even.

Because glycolic acid dissolves the top most layer of your skin, it forces your body to generate more skin cells and therefore, triggers repair. This dissolution happens because it breaks down the glue holding all the old and dead skin cells together. This cycle repeats every time you use glycolic acid, hence someone who has broken, raw or sensitive skin might get a bit irritated with it. The idea is to generate as many newer skin cells on your face and initiate repair as fast as possible, but to also give your skin the time to heal and adequately repair itself.
It also literally changes the structure of the skin. Another reason glycolic acid is mentioned so frequently as an anti-aging product is because the desquamation caused by it instigates collagen production. This in turn makes your skin more hydrated and supple. It also thickens the epidermis and dermis layers of your skin which prevents any more lines from forming on your face – but nothing except fillers can supplement the evening out of your skin once you’ve had your wrinkle.
Glycolic acid will help someone with hyperpigmentation, sun damage, fine lines, acne scars as well.  

How can I include it in my skincare routine?

Parroting what I say every time – if you’re new to world of acids, the best way to go about it is to start mild. Limit your use for upto 2-3 times a week or as directed on the packaging of the product. If you’ve sensitive skin, try using it once a week and observe how it performs and delivers over prolonged periods of time. Dermatologist’s use anywhere from 40-70% glycolic acid peels in their office facials, but it is absolutely unadvised to do such peels at home without any supervision or knowledge. These peels are conducted by qualified professionals in a controlled environment, please refrain from buying any products that promise an “at home” peel experience as it can strip your skin, leave it raw and give you a chemical burn.

My experience with Pixi Glow Tonic

It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that after using it for around 6 weeks, I have a legitimate fear of running out of it. I cannot live without my trusted mint green and orange bottle of Glow Tonic. What puts it on such a high pedestal is its extremely soothing but effective formula – it contains 5% glycolic acid that is gentle as well as powerful enough for a daily exfoliation, aloe vera that soothes the skin, and ginseng that contains anti aging properties. The composition makes it a well-loved classic that people opt for time and again and it thus, gives it a very trusted position in their regimes.

When I ordered it, I was suffering from a horrible bout of small breakouts and bumps on my skin that I could not figure out for the life of me. I had recently visited Delhi and suffered abjectly at the hands of its polluted state – my skin was absolutely DESTROYED. My pores were bigger, my skin condition was extreme – either dry, stiff and flaky, or oily as a well buttered aloo ka paratha. My acne was bad, my skin was dull, I was terrified and irritated because I couldn’t put a finger to what I could do that could sort it.

And then I started using Glow Tonic (sorry if this sounds like an Asian Sky Shop Advert, and bravo to everyone who remembered this reference!), it took a week to arrest the pimples at its nascent stage. I used it twice a day initially, with lightweight moisturiser and a gel sunscreen, and at night with an aloe sleeping pack and a vitamin E serum. At around the 20th day mark, I started noticing the elusive “glow” that this toner was very aptly named after.

I found it gentle but as a side note, I must remind you that I’d already been using peeling masks and gels for around 2 years at this point. While I did notice a glow, using it twice a day did not strip my skin, but it did make it very, very sensitive to sun. I was breaking out in red splotches anytime I went into the sunlight. I therefore limited it and now use it once a day, and during the day time, I use a mild vitamin C serum for additional photo protection.
After my experience with Glow Tonic, I’ve recommended it to at least 5 people. And all of them have gotten back to me and told me about their satisfaction as well. However, as a general disclaimer, don’t jump onto the wagon just because something worked for someone else wonderfully. The reason why this article is laced with so much information is because I wanted to equip my readers into making educated decisions about what might suit them the best.
You can find Pixi Glow Tonic here, and here.  

2 thoughts

  1. Do you think AHA in a toner is better suited than in a serum? Reducing the number of steps in skincare is my top priority. Easy on the pocket, environment and skin. Maybe the serum can be packed with beneficial complementary ingredients along with the AHA


    1. Hi, I’m so sorry for the late reply. I think a toner is best for someone who is starting out. As I said, always build the acids incrementally. It will help your skin accept the acids better. Start with a smaller percentage/concentration (toners generally have a lower number than serums). Please let me know how I can help you!


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