pixi glow tonic vs the ordinary glycolic acid

Exfoliating toners work to slough off dead skin cells and help brighten your complexion, so they make a great addition to your skincare routine if you want a more radiant complexion. But since there are so many options to choose from, which should you use?

Two options are best-selling glycolic acid toners: Pixi Glow Tonic and The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toner. In this post, I’ll compare Pixi Glow Tonic vs The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toner to help you determine which one is the best choice for your skin type and skin concerns.

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Pixi Glow Tonic is a facial toner designed to remove excess oil and impurities from the skin with its award-winning formula that contains 5% glycolic acid, aloe vera, and red ginseng.

This glycolic toner improves cell renewal to brighten dull complexions. It’s formulated for all skin types and can be used in your morning or evening skincare routine for a refreshed, brighter complexion. You can use it on your face, neck, and decolletage. Please note there is added fragrance in this glycolic acid toner.

Pixi Glow Tonic Key Ingredients

Glycolic Acid: Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that works as a chemical exfoliant to remove dead skin cells. It can help brighten the complexion and improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation.

Glycolic acid has the smallest molecule size of all AHA’s, so it can easily penetrate the skin. This allows it to exfoliate more deeply than other AHAs but, at the same time, can also be more irritating.

Glycerin: Glycerin is an effective humectant that helps the skin retain moisture.

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice: Aloe vera is a very soothing ingredient that can help to calm skin and reduce inflammation.

Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water: Witch hazel is an astringent that can help to reduce the look of pores, soothe the skin and even offer antibacterial benefits.

Niacinamide: Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that can help to brighten the skin, improve uneven skin tone and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Niacinamide also helps balance sebum production and can be ideal for those with acne-prone or oily skin types.

Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract: Horse chestnut extract is an anti-inflammatory ingredient that can help to calm the skin.

Fructose, Glucose, and Sucrose: These sugars work as humectants to bind water to the skin and help the skin retain moisture.

Urea: A natural moisturizing factor that can help the skin to attract and retain water.

Alanine: A hydrating amino acid that is a building block of proteins like collagen.

Aspartic Acid: An amino acid that improves skin hydration.

Panax Ginseng Root Extract: A plant extract known for its skin-protective antioxidant properties that also improves circulation.

Panthenol: Panthenol is a moisturizing form of vitamin B5 that acts as a humectant, binding water to the skin.

It also contains a Tasmanian Pepperberry derivative that provides soothing benefits and can help offset the irritation that comes along with acid use.

The glycolic acid toner contains a 7% concentration of glycolic acid, which is 2% more than Pixi Glow Tonic.

Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that works as a chemical exfoliant to slough away dead skin cells and reveal brighter, smoother skin.

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution Key Ingredients

Glycolic Acid: Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that exfoliates the skin to improve clarity, skin texture, and radiance.

It improves cell turnover for a smoother complexion and can also boost collagen production, improve discoloration, including hyperpigmentation and dark spots, and even help treat acne.

Rosa Damascena Flower Water: Rose flower water has antimicrobial and antioxidant benefits for the skin.

Centaurea Cyanus Flower (Cornflower) Water: Cornflower water is soothing, calming, and anti-inflammatory.

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water: Aloe vera is a well-known skin soother that can also help moisturize the skin.

Glycerin: Glycerin is an ingredient that works to provide moisture and hydration to your skin.

Panax Ginseng Root Extract: Ginseng extract is rich in ginsenosides, which are compounds that have antioxidant benefits for the skin. Antioxidants protect the skin from free radical damage from environmental stressors like UV rays and pollution.

Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/​Leaf Extract: This ingredient is derived from a native Australian pepperberry. It contains antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Aspartic Acid: A amino acid that hydrates the skin.

Related Post: The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution Review

Pixi Glow Tonic vs The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toner: Similarities and Differences

Key Ingredients

The most noticeable difference between the two toners is that Pixi contains 5% glycolic acid, and The Ordinary contains 7% glycolic acid.

The Pixi toner is gentler on the skin (my somewhat sensitive skin faired better with the lower concentration). Depending on your skin tolerance, you may want a more potent acid toner, so the 7% could be the better option for some.

In addition to glycolic acid, the toners contain many of the same/similar ingredients like glycerin, fructose, glucose, sucrose, Aloe barbadensis leaf juice/water, urea, alanine, aspartic acid, and Panax ginseng root extract.

The products have the same thin texture, but Pixi contains added fragrance and colorants that make the toner an orange shade.


Pixi Glow Tonic has a screw lid and a dropper cap which controls how much product you dispense as it is poured. The Ordinary has a cylindrical screw top that controls how much product is dispensed and provides a very targeted application of the product onto a cotton pad.

Product Experience

You will most likely notice a difference between the two toners if your skin is on the more sensitive side, as The Ordinary contains 2% more glycolic acid, which could cause more of a tingling sensation.


Pixi Glow Tonic comes in two sizes: 3.38 oz (100 ml) for $15 and 8.45 oz (250 ml) for $29. The Ordinary glycolic acid toner only comes in one size: 8.11 oz (240 ml) for $13. The Ordinary is more affordable ounce for ounce.


Both glycolic acid toners provide a chemical exfoliation to help with dullness, congestion, and uneven skin texture. You may see results quicker with the 7% concentration from The Ordinary.

If you prefer a more natural product, your best bet would be The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toning Solution since it is free of added fragrance and dyes. Both brands are cruelty-free.

THE BOTTOM LINE: While The Ordinary contains a higher concentration of glycolic acid and is more affordable, Pixi Glow Tonic is more gentle on the skin and comes in multiple sizes, which is better suited for travel. Choose the best glycolic toner for your skin type, tolerance, and budget, as both are cruelty-free and effective exfoliating toners.

Alternatives to Pixi Glow Tonic vs The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toner

If neither of these toners works for your skin, consider these other affordable options at different concentrations:

Low Concentration Glycolic Acid Toner Alternative

If your skin cannot tolerate The Ordinary or Pixi, consider Good Molecules Glycolic Exfoliating Toner, which contains 3.5% glycolic acid, salicylic acid, niacinamide, galactomyces ferment, and hyaluronic acid to resurface the skin and improve skin tone.

Related Post: Good Molecules Skincare Review

High Concentration Glycolic Acid Toner Alternative

For a stronger exfoliation, consider The Inkey List Glycolic Acid Toner, which contains 10% glycolic acid to reduce the look of pores, blackheads, and fine lines.

Related Post: The Inkey List Skincare Review

Is The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution A Pixi Glow Tonic Dupe?

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution is not quite a dupe for Pixi Glow Tonic, as it has a stronger concentration of glycolic acid by 2%. It is much more affordable, though, and available at drugstore prices.

How To Use An Exfoliating Toner

When using an exfoliating toner, it’s important to start slowly and increase the frequency of use as your skin becomes more tolerant. It’s best to start by using your exfoliating acid toner once or twice a week and then gradually increase the frequency as needed.

Start by cleansing your face thoroughly with a gentle cleanser. Then, pour a small amount of the toner onto a cotton pad and gently swipe it over your face, neck, and decolletage in upward motions. Be sure to avoid the delicate eye area.

If you have specific skin concerns that you want to address, follow with a targeted serum or treatment. Finish with a moisturizer to nourish and protect your skin and lock in hydration.

Alpha hydroxy acids like the glycolic acid found in both toners can make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s UV rays, so be sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher the day when using AHAs and for a week after.

Also, be sure to patch test before using these products for the first time to rule out any skin sensitivity or allergies.

Final Thoughts on Pixi Glow Tonic vs The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toner

It’s important to note that over-exfoliating can lead to skin irritation and other potential side effects, so follow the recommended usage instructions on each product and listen to your skin’s cues.

With the right exfoliating acid toner and a consistent skincare routine, you can help reveal smoother, brighter, and more radiant skin that looks and feels healthier.

Thanks for reading!

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