Review: The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

I have had The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toner 7% in my skin care rotation for some time now and it’s time for a review.

My skin type

Oily, major hyperpigmentation from acne on my cheeks and chin.

What it’s supposed to do

Glycolic Acid is an exfoliant. It’s supposed to improve the texture of the skin. I have some tiny pitted scars from picking at acne on my right cheek as well as acne scarring.


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, 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.

How I use it

I apply this toner on my trouble areas, which is my cheeks and chin. I saturate a cotton pad and press it into my skin.

How long I used it

I have been using this toner pretty consistently since April 1st. I have taken short breaks from it when I feel like I have had enough acids.

What I like about it

I like that it comes in a huge bottle which gives a sufficient amount of time to spot changes in the skin. I also appreciate the concentration of glycolic acid in here (7%). I am considering mixing it with my Bravura 10% Lactic Acid (which has coinciding ingredients) or even my Blithe Splash mask in its diluted form.

I suppose it’s also worth mentioning that the pH is ~3.6%, if that is important to you.

What could be better

I have not noticed a noticable change in texture of my skin, using this on its own.

It wasn’t until I overexfoliated – well, let’s be clear – I burned myself with a combination of this toner, the brand’s alpha lipoic acid, and Arcona’s Tabula Rasa, did I notice a change in the hyperpigmentation on my right cheek. After it peeled and went through its phases, I noticed a great reduction in acne scarring in that area. I feel like exfoliation should automatically mean it’s going to lighten your scars in the process of skin cell turnover but since the product does not make this claim, I can’t hold it against it. But it is noted!

It’s kind of striking that I have noticed that The Ordinary’s products in concert with other products used simultaneously seem to “work” better for me than the brand’s products on their own. The Glycolic Acid Toner works better for me when I use it with lactic acid, and that’s just in the appearance and texture of my skin at that particular point in time.

I want to be clear here: this product, used on its own on my skin, is not a sufficient enough chemical exfoliator that I noticed a change in the texture of my skin. I do however notice slight improvements when used with other chemical exfoliants, such as lactic acid. Definitely YMMV on this one.


Joy Factor

On a scale of 1-10, this toner is a 6. I like using it because I like the idea of glycolic acid, but I’m just not convinced it does anything on its own to my stubborn skin. I am going to mix it with one of my lactic acids and report back.

Update: I mixed it with one of my lactic acids and it’s the BEST thing I did for my skin all year! Read about it here.

Where to indulge

The Ordinary


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1 Comment

  1. bernayod
    August 1, 2019 / 2:03 am

    This review has greatly helped me!
    Thank you!

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