Colbert MD Tone Control Facial Discs review

I’m on a roll.

I used to avoid exfoliating pads like the plague and now I can’t get enough of them.

The Neostrata pads started it. I love that those aren’t pre-soaked so I know I’ll be able to finish them before they dry up.

But, they’re not travel-friendly. And, as you’re reading this, I’m eating goulash in Budapest, Hungary. I needed an exfoliant I could bring with me on the plane and the Neostrata pads didn’t cut. My Paula’s Choice 5% AHA Treatment didn’t either. Yes, I could decant it into a small bottle but that’s too much hassle (yep, lazy as charged).

Enter Colbert MD Tone Control Facial Discs. The box contains 20 soaked discs, each of which is neatly packaged in its own little sachet. Usually, I’d think this is a waste of packaging but it does make life oh-so-much-easier when I’m travelling.

But, they don’t come cheap. A box will set you back $80.00. Yep, dermatologists’ skincare lines aren’t cheap. But, are these pads worth it? Let’s take a closer look at them:

What’s In Colbert MD Tone Control Facial Discs?


This is the delivery system that makes sure all the goodies in the pads get deep into your skin. If you think its name is hard to remember, wait till you hear what it’s made of:

  • PEG-12 Glyceryl Dimyristate
  • Water
  • Tremella Fuciformis Sporocarp Extract
  • Betaine
  • Glycerin

If you’ve been reading this blog for a little while, you’ve probably noticed a lot of that stuff is very hydrating. That’s another thing this complex does.

It also pumps up the moisture in your skin. Apparently, it does this 400x better than sodium hyaluronate, which can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water. Can you imagine how much more hydrating this is?

All this hydration makes skin softer and smoother, which in turn makes fine lines and wrinkles look smaller. Of course, these effects are just temporary. Those wrinkles LOOK smaller, but they’re still there.

BUT, and this is an important but, I’ve learned all this stuff on the manufacturer website. I couldn’t find any independent studies confirming any of these things yet.

Related: If Your Skin Is Perfectly Hydrated, Do You Still Need To Worry About Anti-Aging?

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It’s a nickname for PEG-23 Glyceryl Distearate. They say that it shuts down the inflammatory pathway that leads to redness and irritation.

Irritation doesn’t just make your skin red and swollen. It causes wrinkles, too. By stopping inflammation in its tracks, you can soothe irritations and age more slowly.

The problem? Yep, I’ve got all this from the manufacturer website, too. Not saying it doesn’t work. I just feel better when I can find an independent study or two confirming what they say, you know.


This is an antioxidant often used in brightening products to fade dark spots.

I’ve found a study that says it works. Kind of. Let me explain. Scientists asked 20 women to use a cream with phenylethyl resorcinol and 3 other brightening ingredients for 3 months.

The results were good. Most of those women (53% to be exact) saw their dark spots fading away. Not completely, but enough to make a difference.

The catch? There are two:

  1. 20 people ain’t a lot for a study like this. Especially when a few of them saw no improvement at all.
  2. Phenylethyl resorcinol wasn’t the only skin-brightener in the cream. How do we know that’s what did the job?

If you have dark spots, you’ll have to try it for yourself and see if it works. *sighs*

Related: Battle Of The Skin-Lighteners: Which Is The Best Alternative To Hydroquinone?


Textured, feels a little abrasive on the skin.


Fresh and subtle.

How To Use It

In the evening, after cleansing.

Due to the abrasive nature of the pads, I don’t recommend you use them more than 2/3 times a week.

Performance & Personal Opinion

I love Colbert MD Tone Control Facial Discs for travelling. I can throw them in my suitcase and be ready to go.

And they do make my skin brighter and smoother. I seem to have fewer pimples, too, since I’ve started using them.

But, they’re not the gentlest on the skin. The pads don’t have a smooth surface. It feels grainy and a bit abrasive on my skin, so I guess that’s what does the real exfoliating job here.

And when skin is well-exfoliated, it looks smoother, brighter and more even toned. Not to say all its innovative ingredients don’t work but, well, there ain’t much proof they do, is there? Let’s say the rougher surface gives them a helping hand or two.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Unless you have sensitive skin. I’d stay away from these. But anyone else will see a small improvement.

But is that worth $80.00? I don’t think so. I will be buying these pads again BUT only for travelling. When it comes to on-the-go convenience, you can’t beat this.

The rest of the time, I’ll stick to glycolic acid. It’s cheaper and gentler on my skin.

By the way, Colbert MD says you can use these up to twice a day. I use them twice a week. With exfoliation, it’s best not to overdo it. Besides, at $80.00 a pop, you don’t want them to run out too soon!

Who Is This For?

Dry, sun-damaged skin in need of a travel-friendly exfoliator.

Who Is This NOT For?

Related: What Are The Best Salicylic Acid Exfoliants For Oily Skin?


A gradient, white to mint coloured box featuring 20 individually packaged exfoliating discs.

Does Colbert MD Tone Control Facial Discs Live Up To Its Claims?

Formulated to help even out skin tone for a brighter complexion.True.
SkinBright TDS®(Triad Delivery System®), a highly effective tyrosinase inhibitor, lightens dark spots and evens skin tone. It’s better at making your skin glow than fading away dark spots.

Price & Availability

$80.00 at Dermstore

Do You Need It?

If it’s a good option for travelling. But nope, you don’t need it.

Dupes & Alternatives


Water (Aqua), PEG-12 Glyceryl Dimyristate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, Glucosamine, PEG-23 Glyceryl Distearate, Phenylethyl Resorcinol, Glycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Glycereth-12, Glyceryl Cocoate, Fragrance, Sodium Benzoate, Betaine, D-Limone, Lipoic Acid, Linalool, Ubiquinone, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Genistein, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopherol, Potassium Sorbate, Tremella Fuciformis Sporocarp Extract