The Glycolic Acid Toners Byrdie Editors Use Whenever They Need a Glow-Up
The day I learned about the versatile glory of glycolic acid toners was the day my skin went from "eh" to "damn, girl." Skin-health experts agree that out of all the hundreds of buzzy skincare ingredients on the market, glycolic acid can always be trusted to keep breakouts, wrinkles, dullness, and congested skin at bay. "Glycolic acid is a must," comments Renée Rouleau, celebrity aesthetician and Byrdie's go-to skincare guru. "It chemically nixes the cell buildup that leads to clogged pores and blemishes, and it's also an anti-ageing mainstay."
There are several ways to incorporate glycolic acid into your routine—skincare brands work the stuff into their cleaners, lotions, serums, and peels—but one of our favourite ways to exfoliate is with glycolic acid toners. It's simple: You wash your face at night with a gentle cleanser, apply one of these glycolic acid toners with a toning pad (Rouleau's are my favourite), then follow up with your favourite serum and moisturiser. Couldn't be simpler. Especially since we rounded up the five best glycolic acid toners on the market for every skin type. Read on to find the right one for you.
Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner ($26)
This tried-and-true glycolic acid toner is what Byrdie editors with combo and dry skin types reach for when all else fails. Its 2% glycolic acid concentration means it's gentle enough to use every day, even on sensitive skin, especially since the formula is packed with soothing aloe vera.
Pixi Glow Tonic ($48)
This cute and affordable skincare gem has been a Byrdie go-to for years, especially for those of us with temperamental skin. Just ask our assistant editor Erin, who says, "Although it does offer a power-packed dose of exfoliating glycolic acid, it's gently balanced with other glow-intensifying ingredients like aloe vera and ginseng to keep the skin calm and clear, never red and angry. Simply put, it can't be beat."
SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion Toner ($100)
SK-II is one of the Byrdie team's favourite high-end lines (and if you've ever given its famed sheet masks a try, you know why). The luxury Japanese brand pays top dollar to ensure its formulas are effective and proprietary, and this brightening toner is no exception. AHAs combine with "Pitera," an ingredient unique to SK-II that's rich in amino acids, vitamins, and organic acids to give the skin an extra dose of exfoliation. The product is also fragrance-, alcohol-, and animal cruelty–free.
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution ($15)
An AHA toner new to the market comes from too-cheap-to-be-true skincare brand The Ordinary. Similar in formula to the Pixi pick, this product has a mild 7% glycolic solution, plus ginseng and aloe vera for radiance and soothing properties. The product just hit Sephora shelves and already has 40K loves, which speaks for itself.
So… there you have it. Whether you're new to glycolic acid toners and interested in something gentle or are jonesing for a maximum-strength pore perfector, may this list of editors' picks be your guide.