Cult favorites that are worth the splurge – Pixi’s Glow Tonic

So many beauty bloggers and skincare experts have raved about the Pixi Glow Tonic (and I believe it all started with Caroline Hirons pushing this product as an affordable dupe for the legendary P50 liquid exfoliant). Of course I had to give it a try as well. Since I wasn’t able to find it at my local Target (that usually carries their whole makeup range), I had to order it online from their website. The bottle contains 250 ml/8.5 fl.oz and retails for $29/£16.00.

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What it is – toner, liquid exfoliant, astringent

It’s an acid toner or liquid exfoliant, meant to exfoliate (=getting rid of debris, i.e. dead skin cells, oil, dirt) skin gently after cleansing (not to be mistaken for a hydrating toner or mist). You apply it up to two times daily after cleansing before you apply your serum and/or moisturizer. It is alcohol free but does contain fragrant oils which can be a problem for sensitive skin types due to irritation. Also using it a.m. and p.m. might be too drying for some. I generally use it only in the evening because, as an aesthetician, I exfoliate more often and also am I able to get my hands on more “potent” exfoliants. By the way: That typical “glow” on an aesthetician’s face most often results from overexfoliating the skin, which I am trying to avoid. I like a healthy glow and smooth skin, but you can certainly overdo it.

Speaking of glow: The product’s active ingredient is 5% glycolic acid. It also contains aloe vera to soothe, sugars (which are a good indicator for the “glow” effect a product might provide, ginseng (lots of phytonutrients so anti-aging, also brightening) and witch hazel – it is an astringent after all. Astringents typically cause constriction of body tissues – so in this case that’s what causes the pores to “close” or rather, to be constricted and to appear smaller, making the texture of your skin appear a lot smoother.

Pores and pore size: Keep in mind – this constricting effect is only temporary. There is nothing in the world that can make your pores disappear or shrink their size in the long term. You can only try to keep your skin clean and exfoliated and use a Beta Hydroxy Acid like salicylic acid to help exfoliate them inside to keep sebum production at bay. The more they fill up with oil (and pores will definitely always fill up with oil every day), the bigger or stretched they appear. If you try to control this process as much as possible, your pores will at least look the best they possibly can.

Rating and Recommendation: A

Because it does what the name implies, but be cautious if you suffer from sensitive skin!


  • Does give you the “glow”.
  • 5% glycolic acid exfoliates (due to small molecule size it is truly an active ingredient).
  • Makes pores appear smaller due to astringent effect (but that can also lead to irritation and is also just temporary).


  • Not really for sensitive skin (in my opinion too harsh).
  • Also some of the ingredients can cause irritations.
  • Pricepoint a bit high (glycolic acid is really a rather cheap ingredient).

Do let me know how Pixi’s Glow Tonic worked for you or if you experienced any irritation. I’d love to hear from you!





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