Putting acid on your face might sound terrifying on paper… but it’s actually one of the best things you can do for your skin.
Well, so long as you stick with tried-and-tested products, of course.
Because forget the days of abrasive (not to mention ecologically damaging) microbeads, which can actually cause tiny tears in your skin – pH-appropriate acid toners are truly the way to properly exfoliate your complexion.
Acidic formulas can slough away dead skin and promote cell growth, while also brightening and tightening your visage in a way that your average rosewater toner just can’t. (In fact, we’ve found the pore-refining and resurfacing effects of an acid toner just as good as any pricey anti-ageing serum).
There are plenty of options on the market, with customers able to choose from many different ingredients. Got blemishes? Plump for salicylic acid. A bit dry and dehydrated? Try lactic.
But to help you narrow things down, here are five we’ve always got in rotation in our beauty cabinets…
1. Pixi Glow Tonic
It’s one on the cheaper end of the acid toner spectrum – but that doesn’t mean it won’t pack a mighty punch. Loaded with glycolic acid, aloe and ginseng, the formula is powerful enough to really make your skin radiate, but also gentle enough to use every day. We’ve been hooked for a few months, and have certainly noticed a difference in the clarity and brightness of our complexion.
£18 (Dhs84), Pixi Beauty, cultbeauty.co.uk (ships to the UAE).
2. Alpha H Liquid Gold
This is another little beauty generous with the glycolic acid, although this is designed as an overnight treatment to be used a couple of times a week. So if you tend to be forgetful at applying something every day, this could be one for you. This Australian-designed product left our skin soft and flake-free, while also giving off a warming tingle when we used it (which always makes us feel like something is really working). It also helped marks from blemishes fade faster too.
Dhs222, Alpha H, Harvey Nichols Dubai or lookfantastic.com (ships to the UAE).
3. First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads
These will always be our first choice for on the road. Just swipe one of these solution-soaked circles over your face for clearer, illuminated skin. They’re gentle enough for daily use (there’s no alcohol, parabens or harsh chemicals), but they definitely make a difference with their blend of lactic and glycolic acids.
£22 (Dhs103) for 60, First Aid Beauty, feelunique.com (ships to the UAE).
4. Biologique Recherche Lotion P50
It’s the priciest toner in our arsenal… but it’s the one most beloved by A-listers, celebrity facialists and the like. It’s also rather hard to get your hands on outside of Paris, so we’re very lucky to have a spa in Dubai that stocks the range. You’ll be hard pressed to find a beauty guru who doesn’t rave about this cult balancing exfoliator, and there are different versions for different skin types. At Embassy Beauty, you have to have a (free) consultation in-store to work out what option is best for your skin before you can buy.
From Dhs116 for 50ml to Dhs500 for 250ml, Biologique Recherche, Embassy Beauty Dubai.
5. Clarins Gentle Exfoliating Brightening Toner
This option has one major USP versus other acid toners: it smells quite nice (and, like a few of the above, it doesn’t sting). Clarins recommend you use it only once or twice a week due to the fact it blends a mixture of glycolic, salicylic and tartaric acids, but the good news is that those with parched skin report that it doesn’t dry out their face too much. It’s basically a great prep for a serum that won’t mess with sensitive skin too much.
Dhs167, Clarins, beauty counters around the UAE.