Pixi Glow Tonic vs. The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

Pixi Glow Tonic vs. The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning SolutionGlycolic acid is one of those skincare ‘wonder’ ingredients that you may have seen a lot about recently. It seems to be included in so many products, but a lot of people don’t actually know what it does. So I put to the test to the Pixi Glow Tonic and The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution to see how they compare, and if The Ordinary’s version is a dupe for Pixi’s at only a fraction of the price.

What is glycolic acid and how does it benefit my skin?

Essentially glycolic acid is used to exfoliate the top layer of skin by speeding up cell turnover. As a result of this, it is known for evening out skin tone and reduce wrinkles. You can see why so many people use it to help with problem skin! So it need not be seen as a scary skincare ingredient, being an acid and all, as actually, it can be of huge benefit to your daily skincare routine.

One thing to be aware of is that it makes your skin sensitive to the sun. So when you are using products containing glycolic acid, it is recommended that you take extra precautions when in the sun.

How does the Pixi Glow Tonic compare to The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution?

The Pixi Glow Tonic has been a long-term favourite of mine for a while. I wrote a review on it a while back when I was nearing the end of my first bottle. Fast forward a couple of years and I am now at the end of what I think is my fourth bottle. So rest assured it is a good product! But after hearing rumours of The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution being a dupe, I knew I had to give it a go.

Pixi Glow Tonic

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution being a dupe for it but at less than half the price, I knew I had to try it out. I first mentioned it in my first impressions post all about my very small The Ordinary skincare collection. Unfortunately, at the time I had been trying desperately hard to get hold of the toning solution but it was sold out everywhere… So I signed up for the email notification to get when it came back in stock. Eventually, it did so I quickly made myself an order.

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

So after finishing my last bottle of Pixi Glow Tonic, I started using The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution, and have been using it for well over four weeks now. So I thought I would do a little comparison on how the two compare and if The Ordinary’s version is, in fact, a dupe of the Pixi Glow Tonic…


The Pixi Glow Tonic is £18 for 250ml. This makes it to be £7.20 per 100ml, but 100ml bottles retail for £10. Whereas The Ordinary Toning solution is £6.80, so £2.83 per 100ml. You can see why I was so happy when I heard this was a dupe! The only downside is that when I purchased this, the only place it was in stock on was the actual The Ordinary website, where delivery was £5! Plus it took ageeees for my parcel to be delivered. You would think if you were paying that much for delivery it would only take a couple of days to be delivered, but in actual fact it took over a week!

Percentage of Glycolic Acid

So the Pixi Glow Tonic contains 5% glycolic acid and The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution has, yup you guessed it, 7%. So it doesn’t sound like a huge difference being only 2%, but I feel like that 2%  made The Ordinary so much stronger in terms of the concentration and the effect it had on my skin.

Pixi Glow Tonic Close Up

Full list of ingredients

Pixi Glow Tonic: 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, Glycolic Acid, Rosa damascena flower water, Centaurea cyanus flower water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Propanediol, Glycerin, Triethanolamine, Aminomethyl Propanol, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Tasmannia 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.

You can see that from the list of ingredients, both products are actually very similar (matching ingredients are in pink), as The Ordinary toner contains nearly all of the ingredients of the Pixi Glow Tonic.

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

The All-Important Results…

I’m no skincare expert but Pixi Glow Tonic contains Witch Hazel, whereas The Ordinary doesn’t, so I’m wondering how much of a difference that makes in terms of the results of the product. I’m commenting on this because I sadly don’t agree that The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution is a dupe of the Pixi Glow Tonic. It just did not compare in my opinion.

I found that The Ordinary toning solution was way too strong for my skin, and I don’t even have sensitive skin! It dried up my skin under my eyes so badly that it was flaking away (ewwy) and it made the corners of my lips crack and become sore (even more ewwy). I tried diluting it on a cotton pad with a little water, but even then it didn’t make a difference. And when it comes down to it, it made no difference to my skin in terms of my problem areas. I have bad spots around my jawline and mild spots on my forehead. I also have a number of spot scars around my chin, but this product did nothing to clear any of that up.

Everyone raves about how much Pixi Glow Tonic helps to clear up your skin, and I am up there raving with them – it works wonders! After just a couple of nights applications, my skin looks brighter and well on its way to clearing up and spot scarring becoming less obvious. But unfortunately, I just didn’t get the same results from The Ordinary toning solution.

Obviously, I should say I was using these at separate times so my skin could have been going through a rough stage but I’m still not convinced. The Ordinary Toning Solution really messed up my skin and I just didn’t get any beneficial results from it. So all in all, if you want a good glycolic acid toner, stick with the Pixi Glow Tonic and you will not be disappointed. The price might be significantly higher, but it is well worth the extra cost.

What is your favourite glycolic acid product?


The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
Pixi Glow Tonic

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