3 affordable glycolic skincare favourites

When I put my 2017 survey out (more on that soon!), something that was an outstanding response was a need to bring back my beauty posts.

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My blog actually started as a beauty blog, and that’s where my drive to train as a make up artist came from. I still adore beauty, but over the last couple of years, where money has been tighter, I’ve had less to spend on it and have been using products I already have, rather than splurging on new ones. This has worked great for me with make up, as I’m slowly whittling down what it is I’m actually going to use, and eventually using most things up – but skincare, I’ll admit, needed readdressing. Although I have always been aware of what cleanser I’m using, I dropped my toners, my serums, alot of my masks, and started using a budget moisturiser. Sometimes, this works a treat and I stumble across some real gems, but as someone with dehydrated yet oily skin, I really do need to take care of my skin. So what was the first thing I reintroduced to my skincare routine? Glycolic acid!

When I say this to non-beauty junkies, it’s met with a bit of a shock. An acid? Sure, it sounds scary, but it’s not a dead-body-in-the-bath-tub type acid. Glycolic acid is a chemical exfoliant. It’s found in toners, masks and more and more in cleansers. It’s a member of the AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) family and is naturally derived from cane sugar (so it’s often called a fruit acid). The easiest way to describe what glycolic acid does is that it effectively removes dead skin cells that sit on the surface of the skin. I was finding my skin was rough and dry feeling, although producing excess oil, and certain areas like my nose and chin just felt congested, despite not being spotty. Glycolic acid removes all this, and lets the radiant, new skin shine through.

Saying that, you do have to be aware when using glycolic acids and introduce it slowly into your routine (check the percentages in the ingredients – around 8% is a good starter). Also be aware of going into the sun after using one, and make sure you have a good SPF – although I always think it’s best to use at night anyway. And remember it’s normal to tingle, but not burn when using a glycolic acid.


Recently, I’ve had three new glycolic products on rotation that I wanted to share today. The first is the B. Revealed Glycolic Cleanser, which you can pick up in Superdrug. It’s £7.99 for 125ml and is often on BOGOF (I love their melting cleanser too). This product can be used in two ways – quickly, as a normal cleanser (it’s a white, creamy liquid), or how I find myself using it – by leaving it on the skin for a few extra minutes to work it’s magic, like a mini mask. I do this maybe once or twice a week, as I use other acid products in between. It always leaves my skin feeling super soft, as all glycolic products will and I think it’s such a bargain. B. Revealed do some great lower budget products that mirror higher end ones and is a brand I regularly return too.

Next is a product I picked up in the USA but that is sold over here – it’s the Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Cleanser. £8 for 150ml (you can get it in Superdrug, on their own site or on ASOS), it’s another good price. I’d say this one is my favourite – it’s a thin, watered down gel like consistency which I mix with a dab of water and massage all over my face. It’s advertised as foaming but I’ve not found it to foam at all, so don’t let that put you off! This one I don’t leave on like the other one, as it’s a runnier liquid and I belive a higher % of acid. I do however use is most nights, and use a non-acidic cleanser in the mornings. Nip+Fab actually do a huge range of glycolic products which you can see here – the pads look amazing!

And my final one is one I believe you can only get in the USA but I wanted to include it because I love a foreign shopping recommendation when I’m travelling. It’s the Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner. This I found on the shelves in CVS, whilst studying the back of any unusual product I could get my hands on – it isn’t advertised as a glycolic product like the others so I had to do some searching! $7.99 for 250ml, it’s good for price. As a toner, I’ve been using it most days before bed. I’ll admit, it’s got a real alcoholic scent to it and you don’t need much. I’ve not noticed it’s particuarly ‘pore refining’ but there’s something about a toner that makes me feel like I’ve done the job right. It definitely helps with my oil production and leaves me skin feeling mega refreshed. If you can get your hands on this, give it a try! A good alternative to the more expensive Pixi Glow Tonic.


The combination of all three of these products along with my usual skincare has made a huge difference to my skin. My sister commented after just one use of the Nip+Fab cleanser that my skin looked instantly better – more even and radiant. I found them a god send on holiday, when I was sweating that bit more and perhaps not dedicating as much time to cleansing as I would at home! It’s hard to explain the benefits of using a glycolic acid to someone who hasn’t used one before, so I would definitely recommended trying one of these cheaper products out to see for yourself.

Do you have any other chemical exfoliant favourites I should try?


Shop some glycolic acid faves below!


Tell me more about Katherine-Louise

If you’ve landed here, you’re probably looking to find out more about Katherine-Louise. Run by me, Kat - put simply I'm a 30 year old who is decidedly normal. My blog is a destination for women just like me - the same interests and aspirations, working our way through the same twists and turns of life. Katherine-Louise is designed to inspire and inform; to give you a break from the norm as well identify with the beauty of routine. A fifteen minute recoup, or an hours vacation, it’s the go-to for Everyday-Joe’s, just like me, who want a few minutes off the radar.