March 10, 2011

Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner Review

Got flakes?

You need Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner!

My skin is dry so I get flaky areas between my brows and patchy areas on my skin. Exfoliating helps but sometimes it makes things even worst if I’m not careful (that’s why I love ExfoliKATE as it doesn’t make flaky areas worst, it simply eliminates them).

Too much exfoliating to remove these dead, flaky skin cells creates havoc that’s why I depend on Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner as it helps eliminate those flaky areas of skin in between a good scrub.

Check it!

A toner formulated with 2% Glycolic Acid and Grapefruit Extract which work together to exfoliate, refresh and stimulate dry and congested skin.

Glycolic acid works as a great exfoliating treatment due to its high acidity. As I mentioned above I try to avoid over-scrubbing my face as this just leads to tighter, drier skin thus I depend on Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner in between exfoliating to keep my skin smoother and softer.

Does it work?

Yes, somewhat.

The toner makes an ideal prep for moisturizer as it’s hydrating enough to create a smoother, softer surface so my moisturizer will absorb easier. If my moisturizer absorbs easier that means my foundation goes on smoother and more flawless. Drier, flakier areas are noticeably smoother when I used the toner prior to my moisturizer.

I simply dampen a larger facial cotton with the toner and swipe in a downward motion. It leaves my skin feeling refresher and hydrated. I can follow up with my other skincare after. I use it in the AM and in the PM and experience no tightness (some toners make my skin tight) and no sticky, tacky film after use. It simply offers a refreshing, hydrating finish on my skin.

It does not completely remove flakes although it does minimize the problem very well. If I have smaller, drier areas it can eliminate them easily however if I’m having an alligator kinda skin day because I was out in the cold or the heat in my house has dried my skin out, I do not see results as greatly.

Nothing bad here. The toner does what it promises.

  • Those with drier skin in need of a prepping toner that hydrates.
  • Anyone with flaky areas who needs a toner to ease these areas prior to foundation.
  • Anyone who needs a treatment toner in between exfoliating their face.
  • Anyone with dull skin issues.

  • Not much to not like here!

Overall, Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner is a nice addition to my skincare regime. I’ve been using it a few months now and I’m on my second bottle which I recently purchased at Ulta. It’s an excellent way to prep my skin and keep my dry skin from misbehaving.

Anyone try it?

Love it?

Do share!

Available at

Disclaimer: My original bottle of this toner was provided by PR but the bottle you see pictured here was recently purchased at Ulta.

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Jessica Allison

    I love this toner- and on the whole, I really don’t feel toners are necessary. I like this because it’s got a relatively low level of Glycolic Acid- some products have 10%, which is way too much for my dry, sensitive skin.

    I was shocked recently when I read a review of this by “the cosmetic cop” Paula Begoun. According to Paula, the glycolic acid in this can’t actually function as an exfoliator because of the pH of the product. I generally trust Paula’s reviews, because she’s got a lot of scientific backing, but I definitely feel I get exfoliation from this- as a matter of fact, if I use it too often, I’ll get irritation around my nose much like I do with my retinol.

    I’m a 15 year vet of the beauty industry, and don’t get taken in easily by false marketing or placebo effects- I have to agree with you, despite Paula’s science- this stuff works!

    • the Muse

      Jessica same here! I thought the 2% was a little too little tbh but I knew that more would irritate me. I’m not sensitive but I am dry and too much would have prob been overkill for my skin. Although it’s not miraculous by any means I still feel my skin looks better after use and I notice flaky bits are easily eliminated with a quick swipe. I’m not def not a chemist or a beauty expert ;-D but from my experience with the product, I felt it really worked too.

      Thanks for your input jessica ;D!

    • the Muse

      btw jessica I read your ode to clarisonic ;-D I felt the same way (see my original review) and proceeded to recently try it again this year and I ended up loving it and can’t living without it. It really seems to do something for my dull skin ;D

    • Kelsey

      Maybe Paula is right, and you are experiencing exfoliation simply from the act of swiping the cotton on your skin (in other words, by manual exfoliation as opposed to chemical). Just my guess. 🙂

  • Tracy

    I’ve been thinking of trying this – I use the glycolic foaming facial cleanser and some other MB products which I really love. Sounds like a good addition to my skincare regiment on the days that I skip my Kate Exfolikate, too (yep, I’m addicted to it too lol!). I had hesitated trying this product for the reason that you stated – some toners just tend to be too drying, especially when you have combo skin. Thanks for the review!

    • the Muse

      completely addicted tracy! LOL ;-D how often do you use? I use once to twice a week but tempted to just go to town for a 7 day a week use lol! but that would be overkill! ;-D My pleasure! If you have dullness it really helps with that too!

      • Tracy

        I’ve been using the Kate at least every other morning for the past two weeks. I put it on when I get in the shower in the morning, and just leave it on while I shower/shampoo, then rinse off. I’ve used the Kate Micro Glycolic Polisher at night 3-4 times during this two week period. Seeing some definite improvement in my skin, with no irritation so far – but, I’ve had moderate acne for many years, and used many “acidic” products, so I have a little tolerance to these types of products. And I use the Nutra Luxe facial brush (very similar to Clairsonic) at night with the Mario Badescu cleanser. If nothing else….my face is clean! 😉

      • Tracy

        I’ve been using the Exfolikate every other morning for about two weeks. I put it on when I get in the shower, and rinse it off after I shower/shampoo. I’ve also used her Micro Glycolic Polisher about 3-4 times at night during this period. I’ve definitely seen an improvement in my skin without overdrying or irritation. But, I’ve had moderate acne for years and my skin has built up a tolerance to acid exfoliants that might irritate others. As you said, its easy to say “miracle product” and go overboard, lol. But, its always best to slowly build your tolerance to these types of products for the best results! I’m almost out of my tea tree toner from the Body Shop, so I think I’ll replace it with the MB & see what happens!

        • the Muse

          tracy I’m not sensitive but I def stick to twice a week as I’m worried my skin will become too used to it and it’ll stop working ya know?! ;D! lmk how it works out for you hun!

  • Heather H.

    I recently bought the Glycolic face wash by Badescu. I’m dealing with this awful stress related acne breakout. Never had anything this bad before. It totally does the trick for drying out the acne and my skin is clearer but it gives me MORE flakes than before. I have combo skin but nothing too dry. But I’d rather have some flakes I can deal with rather than large gross acne that I can’t hide. I’ll look into a heavier night cream to help that.

    • the Muse

      aw sorry heather 🙁 I actually felt it dealt well with flakes! but my skin is drier, no spots. any chance of a splurge on the acne version of ExfoliKATE I hear raves about it!

  • Linda

    I’ve a very sensitive area that’s constantly “playing up” around the side of my nose and near my lower lips on both sides.

    It’s prone to flakiness,and I find I have good days, and others where, same products, weather, conditions, I have a stinging tzone & flaky spots.

    I’ve been looking at M.B. as a good skincare range, would you know how likely it is that if I’ve a very sensitive area that needs a toner like this, would it be likely to aggravate? I’m almost 2 scared to try any new products, it’s so easily irritated.

    thanks for your advice.

    • the Muse

      Linda I really can’t advise as my skin is dry which makes it bulletproof I’m far from having sensitivities of any kind but you can call MB or email them, they have an excellent team that can help you select just the right products for you skin and will also provide very generous samples 🙂

      • Linda

        Thanks for the advice, I’ll either do that, or will see if our local retailer can give me a couple of samples to try.

        What other products in their range would you recommend, have you heard of products that are really good for a senstive complexion? Or other brands / products you find are recommended by your readers or yourself?


        • the Muse

          hi linda my pleasure! I’m not really sure as I’m not sensitive in the least so I really do not have recs for such an area :-/ I’m sorry! I have alot of skincare reviews up but most are for dry skin…hopefully someone else can step up and give some recs 🙂

    • sammie

      hey linda, i feel like the MB line sounds pretty strong — i might not try it if you have sensitive skin….i would try a gentle toner with no alcohol before bed and then add a good moisturizer with glycerine in those areas, or moisturesurge gel by clinique has been working wonders for my flaky, sensitive skin. good luck!

  • Cintia

    Hi! I love love love your blog!! I want to buy this toner but isn’t glycolic acid supposed to be followed by a sunscreen? I think that if not it blemishes your skin! Do you know something about this? I wouldn’t use it if there was any posibility that this could happen!
    Thanks a lot!!!!

  • Jeronica

    I recently purchased the Glycolic acid toner. My toner is nearly clear, well it has a slightly lavendar tint. While reading reviews, it appears it should be blue in color. The formula I have is for dry/sensitive skin…any thoughts???

  • Laura

    Hi, I stumbled upon your blog and loving it 😍. I recently bought this along with other Mario Badescu products and have only been using it in the last two weeks. Mine is clear instead of blue though. I’m dying to see my dull and dry skin to glow but not too sure about the tingling, no more like burn sensation that makes me wonder if I should try milder toner instead (MD’s seaweed perhaps?) But this one says for dry and sensitive skin and I am just torn between the reviews.

    • the Muse

      aw thanks laura so glad you enjoy Musings 🙂 hmm if it tingles when you apply I’d stop using it hun could be a reaction and not a good idea to endanger your skin!