How Well Does Glycolic Acid Work In A Cleanser?

by Gio
Jan Marini Bioglycolic Face Cleanser review

What are you to do when your derm’s at odds with you?

Like, I don’t like wasting my money on exfoliating cleansers. Me loves some glycolic acid, but I want it to stay on my skin for hours. It works better that way.

My derm wasn’t having it. “Your cosmeceutical moisturizer with glycolic acid is drying out your skin too much, Gio,” she said. “It’s winter now. Your skin’s getting drier and you need a gentler form of glycolic acid. Here, try this cleanser.”

She handed me over a sample bottle of Jan Marini Bioglycolic Face Cleanser.

That convinced me. Cos no, I still don’t like to waste my money on exfoliating cleansers, but if I get one for free, I’m not going to turn it down.

So, how did it fare? And more importantly, was I right and the derm wrong?

What’s In Jan Marini Bioglycolic Face Cleanser?


Glycolic acid is the smallest member of the AHA family. That’s why it works so well. Its tiny size makes it so easy for it to penetrate the skin.

Once there, it does all sorts of wonderful things:

  • It exfoliates skin, making it smoother, brighter and more even-toned.
  • It reduces the appearance of wrinkles and dark spots.
  • It hydrates skin.

The problem? The longer you leave it on the skin, the better it does all these things. That’s why I don’t like it when they put it in a cleanser. That ends up down the drain within 30 seconds. Bye bye, glycolic acid.

I guess you could massage this on the skin for a couple of minutes, which would give you some of the benefits of GA. But, who has the patience to do that? Not me.

Related: The Complete Guide To Glycolic Acid In Skincare

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Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS) is a member of the surfactants family, a group of ingredients that allows water to mix with oils and dirt so they can be rinsed away.

ALS is very powerful. It can take off everything. Dirt. Impurities. Makeup (even the waterproof kind). You name it. But it’s also harsh and can irritate skin.

Thankfully, there’s not too much of it here. Just enough to do the job without irritating skin.




It’s fragrance-free.

How To Use It

It’s the first step of your skincare routine. Don’t use it more than 4 times a week. Over-exfoliation does more harm than good.

Performance & Personal Opinion

Jan Marini Bioglycolic Face Cleanser has a creamy consistency that spreads so easily on the skin. In the morning, it’s the first thing I use. I don’t even wet my face. I just apply it on dry skin.

In the evening, I use it after taking off my makeup. This stuff is NOT a makeup remover, so don’t try to use it that way. It won’t work. And, if it gets in your eyes, it’ll hurt like hell. You’ve been warned.

I try to be a good girl and massage it for at least a minute before rinsing it off with a wet washcloth.

So far, so good. I can’t say this is the best glycolic acid exfoliant I’ve ever tried, obvs. But it does a good job at cleansing my skin, leaving it softer and clean.

It’s not as bright and smooth as when I use a leave-in exfoliant with glycolic acid, so I’ll go back to that soon. Sorry, derm!

But this cleanser does give you a glimpse of what glycolic acid can do for you, so if you have dry and sensitive skin and looking for a very gentle form of GA to get you started, this’ll do the trick.

But I bet you’ll soon want to switch to something more powerful, too. GA is addicting like that.

Who Is This For?

Sensitive skin that can’t tolerate leave-on glycolic acid exfoliants.

Who Is This NOT For?

  • Oily/acne-prone/combination skin (get salicylic acid!)
  • Dry skin (get a leave-on glycolic acid exfoliant)

Related: The Best Salicylic Acid Exfoliants For Oily And Acne-Prone Skin


A white bottle. Simple and practical.

Does Jan Marini Bioglycolic Face Cleanser Live Up To Its Claims?

Bioglycolic Face Cleanser offers deep cleansing in a non-irritating cream base. True.
This glycolic face cleanser leaves the skin soft and hydrated and eliminates the need for a post-cleansing toner or astringent.True.

Price & Availability

$40.00/£38.00 at Dermstore and Feel Unique

Do You Need It?

If you’d like to use glycolic acid, but your skin is too sensitive for it, this is worth a try.

Dupes & Alternative


Water/Aqua/Eau, Glycolic Acid, Sorbitol, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Sodium Hydroxide, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Palmitic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol



Lurdes January 18, 2017 - 9:59 pm

As always, very good and well explained entry. I keep reading, but I don´t have the time to commentlately.

Gio,do you have IG where I can follow?

Gio January 19, 2017 - 11:43 am

Lurdes, so glad you enjoyed it. And no worries, I appreciate all your support. 🙂

Not yet. I’ve been toying with the idea of starting an IG account but with all the algorithm changes lately, I’m not sure how it’s still worth it if no one can see your photos?

Lurdes January 19, 2017 - 3:39 pm

By the way, I usually post over here with a nick…I am the Spanish doc, haha just in case you remember

I am not an expert, but I still find easy to see photos and I think is quite enjoyable. I would LOVE to see you on IG. There is a good skincare obsessers community.

Gio January 22, 2017 - 6:49 pm

Of course I do! 🙂

Thanks for your feedback. I will look into it. I’m not a social media person but I will check out the skincare community. That may tempt me to join. 🙂

Sascha January 19, 2017 - 12:04 am

I absolutely love this cleanser – it’s up there in my top three…possibly even taking the number one spot! I find it works really well with my retinol products and gets the balance just right. Hope all’s fab with you – see you soon xx

Gio January 19, 2017 - 11:50 am

Sascha, it’s a lovely cleanser, isn’t it? I prefer my GA to pack more of a punch but for sensitive skin, this works well.

I’m fine, thanks. Just been swamped with work lately. Hope all is well with you and Teddy too. See you soon!

Esmee January 19, 2017 - 12:18 pm

Dear Gio,

I am hoping you can help me because I am totally overwhelmed with all the skincare products! I just turned 26 years old and am already seeing some wrinkles around my eyes. Currently, I am only using “Olay Essentials Double Action Day Cream for Sensitive Skin”.

I have quite a dry skin and would like to use some products that will moisturize my skin but also help to prevent wrinkles (I know this is not really possible..). I have read quite some articles on your website, but there are so many creams, serums etc., that I do not know what I should focus on. Which products would you suggest for a skincare routine with not too many products (preferably using Olay products, since these are available in my country)?

Many thanks!

Gio January 27, 2017 - 10:06 pm

Esmee, are you using sunscreen? That’s the best way to prevent wrinkles. I would also exfoliate with glycolic acid once a week as that helps boost collagen production, which in turn helps prevent/treat wrinkles. Olay makes a good one. It’s called ProX Anti-Aging Nightly Purifying Micro-Peel. Finally, I’d use an antioxidant-rich serum. I recommend Paula’s Choice cos they use more antioxidants than other brands.

So, to recap, cleanser, glycolic acid exfoliant (once a week), antioxidant serum, moisturizer and sunscreen.

Esmee February 1, 2017 - 1:26 pm

Thank you so much for your response! That is indeed very helpful. I am now using a cleanser, sunscreen and a moisturizer. I will start looking at the exfoliant and antioxidant serum! 🙂

Gio February 2, 2017 - 3:38 pm

Esmee, my pleasure. Let me know if you need more help. 🙂

Comments are closed.