I’ve been using Glossier’s Solution chemical exfoliator for 4 weeks now, and I wanted to come back and let you know how I’m getting on with it, on my combination and usually fairly clear skin.
Firstly I’ll explain the different between a chemical and a physical exfoliant. You’ll no doubt be familiar with physical exfoliants – usually cream based and with bit of grit in them designed to slough away the dead skin cells on your face, leaving a clean and clear soft layer of skin behind. I used to use the St Ives Apricot Scrub a few times a week and it gave good results. But then I switched to the Pixi Glow Tonic, which is a chemical exfoliant. Chemical exfoliants use a mixture of different acids, in different strengths, to take away dead skin cells but also manage and maintain the levels of sebum your skin produces (which makes you oily), reduce and manage breakouts, minimise acne scarring and redness and leaves your skin feeling soft and glowy. Or at least that’s what they claim to do.
When Glossier announced their Solution to all of these problems, I took notice. I think everyone took notice. If there’s one thing that Glossier have got right over the last year it’s causing a stir with their marketing and word of mouth hype.
I had some store credit, so thought I’d splurge and give it a try.
Let’s start with describing my skin – I have generally clear skin. I have redness, and I get hormonal breakouts, usually only on my chin. I have an oily t-zone so find benefit to using masks to clear this out. When I get breakouts, my skin will scar for a long time before the marks fade. My pores are fairly large and I have quite sensitive skin. I’m nearing 35 years young now, so I have fine lines, and my skin isn’t as glowy as it once was.
I had seen this formula was meant to clear breakouts and prevent new ones, even the skin tone, reduce acne scarring, exfoliate (of course) and leave a balanced and healthy skin tone ongoing. There have been a lot of articles about the content of chemicals in this product and I won’t pretend to understand any of these. If you’re interested, a simple search will tell you all you need to know.
For this review, I’m going to tell you my experience with this product, as well as including weekly pictures of my skin.
Let’s start with that packaging:
Solution arrives in a space-age foil wrapped package that you have to rip open at the top to get to the product inside. All the ingredients and such are printed on the front, in a very ‘prescription’ type way.
The bottle itself costs £19 (when it’s in stock) and contains 130ml (4.4 fl oz) of product. The shiny pink packaging is pleasing to the eye, and I was very excited to try the pump under the cap, as I hadn’t used one of these before.
Simply push down the disc at the top and product will dispense onto your cotton pad for ease application. In theory. In reality the pump is a little too urgent, and no matter how delicately you pump it, product spurts out and all over the near-by area. (That’s what she said) Not a great start for such an expensive product.
You’re supposed to use this just once a day, due to the chemicals in the product and also use sunscreen if you’re going into the sun after using this. I live in Britain and it’s winter so I’m okay – but my foundation has spf in it anyhow.
I tried this product out, alongside my normal skin routine and didn’t introduce any new products for the duration of this 4 week trial.
Let’s see how my skin looked at the start, before I started using the product:
You can see I have redness on my chin, cheeks, forehead and all around my nose. Naturally this is where I get oily and as such I have breakouts and blocked pores.
The process of using the product is as follows:
- Saturate cotton pad (once daily)
- Apply to cleansed face
- Leave for a minute or so to settle into skin (you’ll feel it start to tingle a little)
- Follow with your moisturiser
After the first week I made notes of my thoughts and this is what I wrote:
- Stings a little
- Leaves skin sticky
- Smell – can’t put my finger on it. Maybe Angel Delight, or a My Little Pony I had when I was little?
- After first 2 days, possible glow?
- Later in week – skin feels ‘resurfaced’ possibly?
- No change in red or dark patches yet
- Break outs in weird places but skin is dealing with it fine
Let’s address a few of these. Yes, the product did sting occasionally in odd places, but the Pixi Glow Tonic does this too. I did notice it left my skin feeling sticky, which was a little alarming. Because of this I decided to only use this at night, ahead of using my night cream, so that in the morning I was able to wash it all off. The smell (which a lot of people can’t work out, and don’t understand why it was added) is unusual. It’s chemical, and sweet, but not off-putting to me. I did notice a smoothness on my forehead, and possible glow after a few days. I was breaking out in strange places, but put this down to starting a new skin product which is normal for me.
There’s no obvious difference between the start pictures and those of 1 week in. Let’s be real, I didn’t expect there to be!
Week 2, still no difference. I actually noticed more breakouts in strange places and my red areas looked a little more angry on occasion.
The Solution had enticed a spot out, which had previously gone away, but here it is again. Enjoy the picture of my hairy chin too – I hadn’t got around to doing anything about it at the point of taking this picture.
Week 3, STILL no difference, other than my red areas were looking redder than ever. Still getting spots in weird places on my cheeks, under my eyes. I noticed other people reporting the same – like, literally spots in the same odd places….
Unfortunately, the sun decided to shine on the day I took these progress photos, and I didn’t realise the marked affect it had on the look of my skin until I came to edit them. The sunshine has given my skin a lovely glow. I promise this wasn’t the case. You can see the scarring from the spot on my chin hasn’t gone down yet. It won’t for a while, but I’d hoped the Solution might speed up this process. It didn’t.
Week 4: I’ll admit – this was a 5 day week for me and the Solution. I gave in at day 5 and decided enough was enough. I used my favourite face mask, which immediately made my skin look less red and cleaner. It felt better and softer, and just nice again.
So these were taken a few days after this mask and after I’d stopped using Solution. You can see my skin’s basically the same as when I started – the main difference I’ve seen is that I actually have MORE scarring from blemishes than when I started. Scarring on my chin, around my mouth, along my top lip (where I found my skin felt stingy and sensitivity when I used Solution too close) My pores felt oily, and looked pronounced. My t-zone became oily again within 2 weeks of using this product. I now have a lovely spot on my cheek which won’t go away.
Before I started the process on the left, week 4 on the right.
I’d say, at £19 this is a pretty expensive product so see NO positive difference. I used this as instructed and there were more cons to it than pros.
Over the 4 weeks I used this amount of product (I’d say 1/5) – so that’s using around 2 to 3 pumps once daily. I felt this wasn’t enough to saturate the cotton pad, but I have sensitive skin and this amount of product definitely covered my whole face.
I’m actually pleased with myself that I didn’t waste my own money on this product. Some people have said they’ve seen marked results with it, but they usually tend to have very problematic skin already, and I can only assume this will do so much before plateauing and the user requiring to move onto something else.
I’ve moved back onto my Pixi Glow Tonic. I used it last night, and it felt wonderful.
Solution is currently sold out, but I’d say don’t bother. It’s not worth the hype, or the heartbreak. Go get yourself Glow Tonic from Pixi and thank me later.