So I Tried Go-To's New Glow Exfoliator For Four Weeks, And I Have Feelings

So I Tried Go-To's New Glow Exfoliator For Four Weeks, And I Have Feelings

A few things you should know about me before we begin:

1: I am not a 17-step skincare gal. I’m barely a 3-step. 

2: I am time-poor and lazy with my routine. A stunning combination.

3: I’m a beauty editor, and have been for, ahem, decades. Which may seem at odds with the first two points, but I just have stupidly high standards for the products I like and expect a lot of them. 

So when Go-To slid three new toners into my world I was dubious. Sceptical even. Sure, everything they produce turns to gold, but I wasn’t sure they could win me over by making me do something MORE in my routine. Alas, because I am a diligent beauty editor I gave it a whirl. 

My first error was assuming that these were like other toners — I should have known Go-To would not do something as lame as that. These are exfoliating toners. So where other step twos are just there to help other products do their job better and absorb into the skin, these actually work harder and do some of the work: namely exfoliation by way of chemical exfoliation. So they weren’t adding unnecessary steps, they were combining the actions of two products. Genius.

A quick recap on chemical exfoliation: while physical exfoliants manually scrub off the dead skill cells, chemical exfoliants use acids to dissolve the bonds that hold the dead skin cells together, so they can break free from your face and make way for the freshie’s.  

Anyway, back to the toners. So now my interest was piqued because I LOVE exfoliation, some (“my skin barrier”) would say a little too much sometimes. Of the three options (Glow, Clarifying and Gentle) I chose Glow, because that is forever my order, unless fried potatoes are on the menu, naturally. Also, because it also made the big claim to help with tone, texture and brightness. Immediately yes. Though as a side note I will say it’s pretty brilliant to release three exfoliants that cater to different skin needs because exfoliation is not one-size-fits all, and something that works for me (on the drier, more mature end) will not work for my Gen Z sis.

The ingredients in the Glow exfoliator excited me too. Glycolic acid is a beauty industry legend for its exfoliating skills, and Mandelic acid is a gentler acid with a higher molecular weight that’s great for more mature skin because it helps accelerate skin renewal, and can also help with pigmentation. These two heavy hitters are buffered by some soothing pals too in aloe, propanediol and Tasmanian Pepper Leaf extract to make sure everyone just remains chill and hydrated.

Anyway, despite knowing these ingredients and knowing that ridiculously high levels of acid does not mean it works better, my first thought when I swiped it on was “this isn’t working”, because I felt no tingles. I even checked the bottle to make sure I hadn’t used the gentle variant. The other thing I noticed is that I didn’t feel tight and dry and it didn’t give me wind-tunnel-face like other liquid exfoliants. This was a big win. And lastly, they actually did act like a toner too, because everything else I put on my face after just felt better, and seemed to work-and-penetrate better too. A very big win. 

But what to do about the lack of tingles? Well, naturally I soldiered on like a good beauty editor, first using nightly, and then quickly building up to AM and PM use (straight after cleansing, before serums). And, it was at the end of  week two that it happened: the compliments started. First it was my partner “what are you doing differently with your face?” (you need to read between the lines with him), but then it was my friends, and it peaked at an event just a few days ago when someone clutched my arms and told me urgently and earnestly that my skin was glowing and incredible. A stranger complimented me on my skin! That never happens. And this was the product I could put it down to, because it was the only glow-giving product I’d added to my routine.

When I got home, with a significantly larger ego than when I left, I inspected my skin and it was, indeed, glowing. For me the biggest difference was textural — my skin cells are getting lazy in their mid-age, but there were none of the usual dry and dull patches. It looked smooth, and, dare I say —  radiant?

So the lesson here is obviously Zöe Foster Blake is right: no one does like a fart. But, also that everyone should love an exfoliating toner, because although misunderstood they’re actually harder working than so many of your other products. And the really big lesson is just because it doesn’t tingle does not mean it’s not working. It’s working hard to exfoliate your skin, hydrate it and soothe it so it doesn’t freak out, and working double time to give you that random-compliment-from-a-stranger-glow.

Glow Exfoliator Face Go-To Skincare
150ML / 5.07 FL OZ

Glow Exfoliator

Glycolic and Mandelic Acid

An exfoliating toner to thoroughly improve skin texture and get you that glow. A potent yet nourishing combination of beauty-industry super star, glycolic acid, plus mandelic acid, this exfoliating toner effectively penetrates the skin to support with the removal of dead skin cells and regenerate your skin barrier to reveal a brighter and more youthful complexion Despite serious acids at work, this formula is still gentle enough for everyday use. This is Big Glow Energy, in a bottle.