I was so excited when I found a dupe for Pixi Glow. Bravura Revitalising Ginseng Toner with 5% Glycolic Acid was pretty much the same thing, only cheaper. Then, they ruined it: the price went up, the size went down… In the end, Pixi Glow turned out how to be the cheaper option!
Then, The Ordinary came along. Their Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution looks like the perfect candidate to knock Pixi Glow off its throne and gain the crown for best exfoliating toner out there.
Let the battle begin… and the best toner win:
What Ingredients Do These Exfoliating Toners Have In Common?
GLYCOLIC ACID TO EXFOLIATE SKIN
Glycolic acid is the most famous member of the Alpha Hydroxy Acid family, a group of exfoliants derived from fruits and sugar cane (GA is derived from sugar cane).
Glycolic acid is my fave AHA, too, because it’s a multitasker:
- It exfoliates skin: It dissolves the glue that holds skin cells together so they can slough off.
- It boosts collagen: It firms skin and helps treats sun damage (but only in high concentrations).
- It hydrates skin: It draws water into it from the environment.
Awesome, right? There are two catches:
- Irritation: Everything that removes dead skin cells can irritate skin. The lower the dose of GA, the lower the chance of irritation (and its effectiveness).
- PH: A high ph neutralises GA, making it useless.
Pixi Glow has 5% glycolic acid at a ph of 4.1. This is fairly high. Roughly 1.8% of glycolic acid survives to exfoliates your skin.
The Ordinary has a 7% glycolic acid at a ph of 3.5-3.7. This is much more friendly to GA. Roughly 4.4% survives unscathed.
The bottom line? The Ordinary is more effective but also more irritating.
P.S. At this dose, we’re talking irritating for sensitive skin. Most people will be able to use these toners without problems.
Related: The Complete Guide To Glycolic Acid: What It Is, What It Does, And How To Use It
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ALOE VERA TO SOOTHE SKIN
Did you know that aloe is 99.5% made of water? The goodies that make it so soothing and moisturizing are in the remaining 0.5%!
Some of these goodies are called polysaccharides and they’re more abundant in aloe vera juice than aloe vera water. Why this matters?
Because Pixi is using a dollop of the juice and The Ordinary a few drops of the water. That makes the Pixi toner a little bit more hydrating.
Related: Can Aloe Vera Treat Sunburns And Stretch Marks?
Hexyl Nicotinate is a vasodilator that “causes the blood vessels near to the surface of the skin to increase in diameter and to increase their blood flow.”
It doesn’t really do much for the skin but I had to mention it because it can be irritating if you have super sensitive skin.
If you’re feeling completely intimidated and overwhelmed by The Ordinary skincare I recommend taking Extraordinary Skin With The Ordinary. A The Ordinary speed training created by my scientist friend Cheryl Woodman. Cheryl’s helped hundreds of ladies see real-life results, first hand. Click here to find out more about the course and see their reviews. (affiliate link)
What Else Is In These Exfoliating Toners?
They both are rich in humectants that hydrate skin with a sprinkle of antioxidants thrown in for good measure.
The Ordinary formula is slightly different because it features several types of water and plenty of amino acids (Pixi has amino acids, too – just not as many). Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, including collagen and elastin. They also hydrate skin and help it heal faster.
Long story short: you need amino acids in your skincare routine.
Related: Why You Should Add Amino Acids To Your Skincare Routine
What’s The Texture Like?
They both have light, watery textures.
What’s The Packaging Like?
The both come in see-through bottles that don’t protect glycolic acid from the light that may spoil them. Store them somewhere dark. Pixi has green accents while The Ordinary is white.
How To Use Them
Two or three nights a week, after cleansing. Don’t use on the same night as retinoids or other harsh actives.
Which One Of The Two Should You Go For?
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution. It’s hands down the most effective of the two.
But if your skin is seriously dry and needs something gentler and more hydrating, Pixi Glow is the way to go.
Pixi Glow (£18.00): Available at Asos and Cult Beauty
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution (£7.00): Available at Asos, Beauty Bay and Cult Beauty
Is The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution A Dupe For Pixi Glow?
Yes, yes, yes! The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution is a dupe for Pixi Glow. A more effective one, too!
Pixi Glow Ingredients
Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Extract, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, Glycolic Acid (5%), Ammonium Glycolate, Glycerin, Glucose, Fructose, Sucrose, Urea, Dextrin, Alanine, Glutamic Acid, Hexyl Nicotinate, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Biotin, Polysorbate 20, Fragrance.
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
Aqua (Water), Glycolic Acid, Rosa damascena flower water, Centaurea cyanus flower water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Propanediol, Glycerin, Triethanolamine, Aminomethyl Propanol, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Tasmania Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Aspartic Acid, Alanine, Glycine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Glutamic Acid, Arginine, PCA, Sodium PCA, Sodium Lactate, Fructose, Glucose, Sucrose, Urea, Hexyl Nicotinate, Dextrin, Citric Acid, Polysorbate 20, Gellan Gum, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Sodium Chloride, Hexylene Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.
I have an allergy to fragrance (Pixi) and sensitive skin, especially to botanical extracts such as the horse chestnut (Pixi) and the rosewater (The Ordinary). So neither one is an option. I can use Alpha Skincare or Paula’s Choice, as both are fragrance free.
Sherryg, what a shame! It would be so much better if all skincare were fragrance-free.
I’m so glad you posted this – I am nearing the end of my bottle of Pixi and found The Ordinary one whilst looking for a cheaper alternative. You’ve confirmed that I should buy it!
Porcelina, I’m sure you’ll love it just as much, if not more!
Can oily or combo skin types still use glycolic acid treatment, maybe just once a week? The collagen-boosting benefit sounds too good to ignore, or do salicylic acid also do this?
Kaido, no salicylic acid doesn’t boost collagen. You can use both but in moderation. Drunk Elephant Glycolic Night Serum has both, I believe. 🙂
Great review! I have dry, sensitive skin. Can I use the Ordinary one over a base of aloe vera? Or spray some aloe vera or soothing mist right after the toner? Will this reduce help with possible irritation? Thank you!
Editrix, yes, the aloe vera should help. 🙂
Can I use the Ordinary Toner before their 10% Lactic Acid in the PM?
Michelle, glycolic acid and lactic acid are both exfoliants. It’s best to use only one or you may strip away too many layers of skin.
Can you use the Ordinary Toner with Sunday Riley Good Genes? Thanks!
Crissy, if your skin can tolerate a double dose of exfoliation, yes. But I personally wouldn’t use them together.
Sorry, no. I have used both of them and they certainly are not dupes. Both have very different ingredient lists. GT gave me amazing results whilst Ordinary’s toner did absolutely nothing which is a shame cos I really wanted to like it. YMMV with the results you’ll get from both but to call it a dupe is misleading info.
Sarah, yes they have different ingredients but the actives are the same and that’s what determines the performance of a product. I’m sorry you didn’t like The Ordinary. I’m using it right now and it’s working well for me.
Can i use The Ordinary Glycolic Acid at the same skincare time with Niacinamide ?
Munirah, yes you can.
Hi! I’ve read a reviews saying that I should separate the Glycolic and the Niacinamide because the glycolic has a Low pH while the Niacinamide has a Higher pH.. you can check this link why http://www.honestyforyourskin.co.uk/the-ordinary-skincare/
So I’m and lil confuse here what to do.. which is safer? Please let me know
Marelyn, there’s a small possibility that using glycolic acid and niacinamide together may make both less effective but it’s unlikely to be a significant difference. In any case, if you’re worried, use niacinamide in the morning and glycolic acid at night.
I used the Ordinary glycolic toner once and my skin prickled and stung. Is this due to an allergy or sensitivity like the first commenter or because it is so strong? My skin can tolerate daily use of the Mario Badescu glycolic cleanser.
E.S. Glycolic acid is very diluted in a cleanser. The Ordinary toner is more powerful so it may indeed prickle because your skin isn’t used to it. A mild tingling is perfectly normal but if it stung really badly than it’s an allergy. In the first case, I’d suggest you start using it only a couple of times a week to get your skin used to it. Did you have any other symptoms apart from the sting? If there was redness or swelling it’s more likely to be an allergy so avoid.
when fading of hyperpigmentation and blemishes which wins? Pixi Glow or The Ordinary?
Kyla, I’d say The Ordinary because it has a slightly higher dose of glycolic acid.
I currently use the regimen that you recommend for acne/aging skin. Where would I use glycolic acid in that regimen?
Cami, if you have acne, salicylic acid is a much better option for you. If you really want to use glycolic too, get an exfoliant like Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, which has both.
I was close to getting obagi hydroquinone until i happened upon this wonderful website..
I m a Black woman looking to even out my skin tone, will this Ordinary w/glycolic acid do that for me? What reginen would be good to even my skin tone and look fresh, I have dull skin and i use skinceuticals ce ferulic and a ceravue moisturizer. I’ve used hydroquinone before 4% Obagi for about 4 years and finally my dermatologist asked me to stop using it and my skin hasn’t been as bright since. sad
Karen, follow this routine for brighter skin: https://www.beautifulwithbrains.com/regimen-remove-sun-spots/
But switch hydroquinone for the ordinary azelaic acid. Hope it helps!
Hi there! Is there a different toner that you recommend we should use on the days we don’t use the exfoliating one? I was under the impression that u should always tone after you cleanse… Thanks!
Elizabeth, no, you don’t need a toner: https://www.beautifulwithbrains.com/is-toner-really-necessary/