The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toner

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution Review

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Solution is my first product from the brand. It also marks my entry into the world of chemical exfoliation which is a less harsh method of exfoliating the skin and gives you the healthiest glow. Before this, I used scrubs that would give me acne in turn and didn’t work on clearing my skin from within. So if you’re looking for a solution to de-congest your pores, reduce the appearance of blemishes and get an even skin tone, read the post to find your answer.

What is Glycolic Acid? It is the smallest AHA (Alpha Hydroxyl Acid) which penetrates the skin most deeply. It basically breaks the dead skin cells on the skin’s surface (exfoliates) to boost radiance and restores skin’s clarity.

the ordinary glycolic acid review
Glycolic Acid Toner

Price: £6.80 or $8.70 for 240 ml.

I ordered this from Cult Beauty and it cost me around ₹540. They had free shipping and discount for the first-timers. I don’t think there’s any acid toner or even toner available in India, even half as effective as this one, at this price.

Directions: Use in PM, only once a day. Wash your face with a cleanser, pour the toner on a cotton ball and sweep across face and neck. Do NOT rinse off.

Glycolic Acid increases skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so don’t forget SPF!

Ingredients: Glycolic Acid (exfoliates), Ginseng and Aloe Vera (soothes skin) and Tasmanian Pepper berry (reduces skin irritation).

*Fragrance-free, Paraben free, Cruelty-free, Mineral oil-free, Sulphates free.

Claims to target:

  • Textural Irregularities
  • Lacklustre Tone


It comes in a huge transparent plastic bottle with the screw cap which is to be replaced by a dropper-cap that you have to swivel up to let the product come out. The bottle is quite sturdy. I love the minimalist packaging of all The Ordinary products.

Packaging of the ordinary glycolic acid toning solution

My Thoughts on The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Solution

I have used this for almost a month and a half and noticed some really positive changes in my skin. It never looked or felt as smooth as it does now. I have visibly clearer and even skintone and the texture on my nose and forehead has also reduced.

Initial Experience

When I applied it for the first time, my skin felt really hot and it stung. This sensation was more on the area around my mouth and it persisted every time I applied it for the next 4-5 days. My skin did calm down after 10 minutes of application but it left a sticky film.

After a few days, that stinging lowered to quite an extent and it didn’t feel as sticky as I did before. But it still does increase the moisture level of the skin. Now that I’ve gotten used to it, I do not experience any irritation.

My skin is really sensitive hence the duration and intensity of stinging might differ for everyone, but it will still be there. Glycolic Acids are known to cause irritation initially and then your skin becomes tolerant gradually.

If you’re on the lookout for something milder then Pixi Glow Tonic might help, I have done a detailed comparison between the Pixi Glow Tonic & The Ordinary Glycolic Acid to help you decide better.

Effects It Had On My Skin

  • It felt softer and clearer from the very first use. I have had serious troubles with blackheads and whiteheads, and regular use of Glycolic Acid Toner has reduced them.
  • There’s hardly any rough texture.
  • Not only has this made my skin smoother, but it has also made it glowy.
  • I have also noticed an even skin tone. Also, reduction in the slight pigmentation I had around the outer corner of lips and usual blemishes.
  • It has shrunk my pores. My pores were a result of dirt and oil and I had them on my nose and the area around it.

I experienced great results with pores and glowy skin that shines without a highlighter with consistent use of the glycolic acid and The Ordinary Niacinamide + Zinc solution.

Most of my skin problems were due to skin congestion and that’s what it targeted, thereby, giving clear and radiant skin.

How to use glycolic acid toner
How to Use The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toner

How to use?

When you’re just starting out, use the glycolic acid toner twice a week after cleansing your face at night. I tend to take some product directly in my palm and pat into the skin. But you can use a cotton pad too. Once your skin has gotten used to it, increase to thrice a week and that should be enough. Don’t use it frequently otherwise you risk damaging your skin barrier by over-exfoliating.

The glycolic acid toner wouldn’t work on removing acne but it can help in preventing them by keeping your skin clean. However, if you are constantly struggling with acne & have oily skin, The Ordinary 2% Salicylic Acid Solution might become your new best friend.

Coming to a very common question I encountered,

Will my skin go back to what it was once I stop using the glycolic acid toner? YES OR NO. 

NO, if you switch to potent acids from other brands then no your skin would still be its amazing self. But if you stop using a chemical exfoliator, you will start seeing those skin irregularities coming back. That’s because,

  1. The pollution and dirt around you aren’t going to decrease which are the main causes of skin troubles.
  2. Your skin needs to be exfoliated regularly to shed the dead skin cells that can clog your pores and result in comedones and acne. And the ordinary glycolic acid toner just provides that in a gentler way. Think of this as a must-have product in your skincare routine, just like cleansing is.
Review of the ordinary glycolic acid toner
Review of The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toner


You need to be patient to see the results without forgetting SPF, but I assure that you will definitely notice some changes from the very first use. It’s an amazing and affordable product if you want to start with chemical exfoliation.

Why You Should Buy The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution?

  • Works on texture irregularities
  • Gives smoother skin
  • Reduces blemishes
  • Gives even-toned skin
  • Affordable
  • Cruelty-free
  • Takes care of blackheads & whiteheads
  • Helps with better penetration of skincare products

Why You Should Buy The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution?

  • Might be too potent for very sensitive skin or people who have eczema or rosacea. In such case, you can start with a very mild acid-based face wash like the Wishtrend Acid-Duo cleanser that cleans your skin and also exfoliates it without causing any irritation.

Are acids part of your beauty routine? Which is your favourite? Let me know in the comments below 🙂



  1. Arianna says:

    Hi there!
    I’ve been doing alot of research on The Ordinary producst for anti aging purposes. I’m 28 years old but would like to include retinol and vitamin c as part of your face routine. Here is the list of AM and PM that I have put together. Could you please tell me if these go well together or if you’d recommend other products from this brand that you’d replace with the ones I have listed. Thank you so much in advance!!!

    Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
    Buffet or Buffet with Copper peptide?
    Hyaluronic acid 2% +B5
    Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG
    Ethylated Ascorbic Acid 15% Solution
    Resveratrol 2% + Ferulic Acid 3%
    Squalane Oil
    Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

    Buffet or Buffet with Copter Peptide?
    Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
    Retinol 0.2% -1% in Squalane
    Rose Hip Seed Oil
    Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

    1. Hey, I’d use retinol on 3x a week at night and alternate it with glycolic acid (at night). Buffet has hyaluronic acid in it so using additional HA serum in the same routine as that isn’t needed really and the brand recommends not to use buffet or buffet with copper peptides in the same routine so shifting that to mornings. This is what it’d look like:

      Buffet with Copper peptide
      Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG
      Ethylated Ascorbic Acid 15% Solution or Resveratrol 2% + Ferulic Acid 3% (choose one, simplify)
      Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA
      Squalane Oil

      Double cleanse
      Retinol 0.2% -1% in Squalane (M/W/F) on dry skin
      Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA
      Squalane oil

      Double cleanse
      glycolic acid (Sun/Tues/Thurs)
      Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA
      Squalane oil

      Let me know if you have more questions. xx

      1. Oops, you said rosehip oil in PM and I wrote squalane…got confused. Yes rosehip sounds great but use it at the end in place of where I’ve written squalane. Oils go at last to seal everything in.

  2. Marlene says:

    hi! hope you’re doing well! i have oily skin, and am building my night skin care routine, i really want to use this producto but idk witch products i could use with this acid. should i just use my double cleanse method and glycolic acid and thats all?

    1. I’d add a moisturiser after glycolic acid, anything that doesn’t already have glycolic acid or salicylic acid. And use glycolic acid on alternate nights. I hope that helps xx You can connect with me on my Instagram if you need more help! I’m at @thebeautywonk

  3. Dee says:

    Hi, can I use this product for butt acne?
    Also could you please recommend something that fades the acne scars

    1. Yes you can! This should work for acne scars too, try their alpha arbutin too… should help with scarring.

  4. Flavia says:

    Hi Rifat! Thank you for your post it cleared quite a few things up. I ‘m currently waiting for my 3rd Ordinary package to be delivered, I love it. I’ve been using the Pixi toner for a couple of weeks now, but will be switching to this one. I just wanted to run my routine by you if that’s okay? Please let me know if any the combos should not go together! It’s been working for me so far as I don’t have very sensitive skin.
    In the morning I cleanse with Clinique no 3 clarifying toner, pixi glycolic acid, Lactic acid 10% + Azaelic acid, Clinique corrector+optimizer and sunscreen. In the PM i use the clinique toner, vitamin C + hyaluronic acid, retinol+L’occitane immortelle reset, kiehls ultra gel.

    1. Use either lactic acid or Pixi, not both and try to use them at night but not daily try alternate nights. Also, don’t use retinol with them, one night retinol, one night either of the two Pixi or lactic. Vitamin C shift to the morning for better free radical damage protection. At night do you double cleanse? If not, please include that.
      Since you said you’re switching to the ordinary’s glycolic acid, again don’t use it with lactic acid…choose either of the two since they both do the same job. Hope this wasn’t too confusing!

  5. Blair says:

    Hi, can I use glycolic acid toning solution with The Ordinary Buffet serum? If not, which serum do you recommend? Thanks.

    1. Try to use them and see if you face any irritation, don’t use together in case of irritation else continue. The brand says not to combine peptides and direct acids but I’ve used peptide products from different brands with glycolic acid and they worked fine. Other brands don’t ask you to not combine either, example drunk elephant, so see what works for you!

  6. Hi,
    Can I use this product and then follow up with Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Transformation Gel? I am new to including acids in my routine and not sure if its too much to use AHA in both toner and serum? Thanks for your reply in advance!

    1. It’s a potent AHA serum so I wouldn’t recommend using it with the ordinary glycolic acid. Just one at a time 🙂

  7. Maira Zara says:

    Hello. I use the Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution every night followed by Granactive Retinoid* 2% for my skin. In the mornings I apply the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. Is it a fair routine or should I change anything here? I have acne-prone skin with spots on my cheeks and pigmentation around the lip area.
    Also, which sunscreen would you recommend that I use with the Ordinary’s products – I have oily t-zones

    1. Hey, generally glycolic acid in the same routine as retinol can cause redness/ irritation but if your skin can tolerate it or has built resistance then there’s nothing wrong with your routine. I’d still ask you to do glycolic acid 3x a week at night instead of daily as you might risk over-exfoliating your skin and damaging the acid mantle. You can try the Purito Unscented Centella SPF 50, that works great! I’ve finished a tube. It’s also reviewed on my blog, here’s the link:

  8. shagufta says:

    Hi Can I use niacinamide 10% +Zinc 1% and alpha arbutin 2% +HA together after glycolic peel or toner ?Also Can I use Vitamin C in the morning after applying either glycolic peel /toner in the night ?

    1. Hey! Vitamin C in the morning followed by sunscreen. Niacinamide and arbutin can be used in same routine but they essentially do the same thing – brighten skin – so it’s an extra step, just use one at a time. Glycolic acid 3x a week at night only and yes Glycolic acid + niacinamide or Glycolic + arbutin in one routine isn’t a problem. Hope this helps! xoxo

  9. Hi, can I use The Ordinary’s Alpha Arbutin + HA after using the The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toning Solution 7%?

    1. Yes absolutely!

  10. I got the the ordinary glycolic acid 7%and the ordinary ascorbic acid 8% + Arbutin 2% and I used them together. I had a very strong burning that did not subside until hours later even after using a moisturizer with SPF. How do you suggest I used these products in my daily routine

    1. Hey, so sorry for what you faced. It’s not the best idea to use two acids in the same routine as it may cause irritation and burning. For 2-3 weeks, I’d suggest you stay away from all actives and use a gentle cleanser and moisturiser alongwith sunscreen so your skin’s barrier is restored. Then start with glycolic acid toner twice a week at night followed by a moisturiser and rest of the nights use the ascorbic acid+arbutin serum. Hope this helps! In case you have more doubts and want to have a conversation, feel free to drop me a DM on Instagram, my handle is @thebeautywonk.🧡🧡

      1. hey. i got the ordinary glycolic acid, the salicylic acid, peeling solution and the ascorbic acid+ alpha arbutin. can i use all of them in a rotuine? if not how do you suggest i use them.

        1. Hey! That’s a lot of actives to use at once. Keep the peeling solution aside. 2x a week glycolic acid at night, 1x a week salicylic acid (space them out) and you can do ascorbic acid+ alpha arbutin daily in the morning followed by sunscreen. Introduce one product at a time in your routine so if you’re allergic to something it’d be easier to find the culprit. After 1 month, you can do peeling solution every 10 days at night, don’t use glycolic or salicylic acid on that night. If you’re active on Instagram, my handle is @thebeautywonk feel free to drop in a DM if you get doubts during the routine or a comment here is also okay, would be happy to help 🙂

          1. dara says:

            Thank you. so the nights i’m not using the glycolic toner can i use an hydrating toner or i don’t use a toner at all?

            1. If you wish to use a hydrating toner you can, it’s not a necessity but won’t cause any harm 🙂

  11. Onyeka says:

    Hey. Thanks for sharing! Can I use this before I apply my pick vitamin c serum ? Also can this be used alongside the ordinary niacinamide + Zinc ?

    1. Hey! Yes you can use this alongside Niacinamide + Zinc but I’d suggest you to not use the glycolic acid with Vitamin C as it might cause skin irritation and redness.

  12. Hi there! I’ve been using this product for around 2 weeks now nightly (since I haven’t had any irritation or reaction from the acid). Do you feel like it’s just as effective applied directly to the skin rubbed in with your fingers rather than using a cotton pad? I wanted to try it that way to avoid wasting product.

    1. No there’s no difference between applying with cotton pad or fingers when it comes to a product’s efficacy. And if it didn’t irritate then it means your skin isn’t sensitive and can take it, again doesn’t mean it’s no effective. At least use it for 2 months, alternate nights with sunscreen in the morning for proper results.

  13. Marzia says:

    I have this product, Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA, and Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%. I have lots of acne marks on my face, and I have been using these products for a few days. I was wondering how long do I have to put these products on and what is the correct order?

    1. Hey, first use glycolic acid (alternate nights only), alpha arbutin and then azelaic acid. If your skin faces irritation then use either of two – glycolic acid & azelaic acid. At least it’ll take 6 weeks to show significant results.

  14. after using this toner u use niac + zinc and then? what creams do u recomend? can I use ta cream with aha and bha? thanks

    1. Any moisturiser than doesn’t have any active ingredients like aha, bha because you’ve already included an AHA by using the toner. I’d suggest you look for ingredients like centella or snail mucin or propolis or hyaluronic acid. Brands like Purito, Cosrx have amazing options please check them out. They’ll soothe, brighten and hydrate your skin. Yes you can use niacinamide after the toner but make sure you don’t use this toner more than 3 times a week to avoid overexfoliation.

  15. Can I use this toner with kiehls serum of dark spots clearance ?

    1. Hey, which kiehls serum to be precise? Kiehls has a lot of serums so it depends on which one you’re talking about. Please let me know so I can help you further. 🙂

      1. Its dark spot and discoloration serum of kiehls.

        can i use Ordinary toner and then apply kiehls serum on a daily basis ?

        Thanks for coming back and waiting to hear from you.

        1. Hey, since the key ingredient in this serum is Vitamin C, it’s not the best idea to use them together in the same routine. Both glycolic acid and vitamin c are quite potent and it can result in skin irritation. Instead, use glycolic acid on alternate nights and the Kiehl’s serum in your morning routine followed by sunscreen (helps fight free radicals better hence less sun damage) On nights you don’t use glycolic acid you can use the serum. Hope this helped, let me know if you have more questions 🙂

          1. Thanks 🙂

      2. Kiehl’s
        Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution, 30ml

        1. You can’t use Framboos and TO glycolic acid together, they’re basically the same thing. Framboos is more potent than TO. Marula oil will be your last step of skincare routine and u can use it daily with the rest of the products.

  16. Jahnavi says:

    Can I use Glycolic Acid Toning solution after using the Ordinary AHA + BHA Peeling Solution? If yes, how many times a week can I do this?

    1. Hey! No, you can absolutely not use glycolic acid and aha+bha peeling solution in one routine. Peeling solution try using once every 7 days or 10 days and glycolic acid toner you can use on alternate nights avoiding the nights you use the peeling solution. Hope this helps! xx

  17. Hi sis, I have scars on my face and since they a bit deep the shadow gives overall darker skin impression. Can you recommend any product to fade them off? And also for dark circles, tried so many products but nothing worked.

    1. Hello! You can surely start with The Ordinary Glycolic Acid and use it no more than 3-4 times a week at night. It will help in fading the spots. And make sure you wear sunscreen whenever you go out, even on cloudy days because sun rays are the major cause of dark spots and dull skin. For dark circles, sleeping in time & eating healthy food works along with a good eye serum like The Ordinary caffeine solution (it’s reviewed on my blog) but sometimes the dark circles are genetic so you can’t do much & should visit a dermatologist 🙂

  18. Sandra Anna Joy says:

    I have never used any kind of acid on my skin. Do u think this is a gud option to begin with or will 7% glycolic acid be a bit too much for my skin.

    1. Hey! Then the best way would be to start with Pixi Glow Tonic, it’s very gentle and has 5% glycolic acid. Start with using 3-4 times a week and apply sunscreen. I have also done a detailed comparison between pixi glow tonic and the ordinary glycolic acid you can refer to that.

  19. MONICA says:

    hola!, funcionará bien en una piel seca?

    1. hey love! I just translated your comment (I don’t know the language) and yes it’s amazing for dry skin too, in fact, it’s better. “sí”

  20. Iqra faraz says:

    Is it safe to be used in pregnancy?

    1. Hey! Yes, AHA at a concentration lower than 10% is safe during pregnancy. Since this has 7% you can try it out 🙂

  21. Tammy says:

    Can i use niacinamite after using glycolic acid toning solution????

    1. Yes of course! And you should, the combination of both works really great. But if you’re just starting out with both the products, introduce each product in your routine in a gap of 2 weeks at least.

  22. So glad to hear you’re liking this product!
    I think the ordinary has some of the most amazing products at such a good price point.


    1. Rifat Yaseen says:

      I am obsessed with The Ordinary. The price tag is amazing for such effective products!

      Thanks for dropping by Ankita 🙂

  23. I want to add some glicolic acid toners in my routine after the summer, I might look into this one, it sounds amazing and the price is incredible! I love the mask they have (the red one that looks like blood) so I might pick this up next ?

    1. Rifat Yaseen says:

      You should definitely give this a try!! Are you talking about the AHA+BHA peeling solution? I use it and it gives me such vampire vibes, LOL!
      Love the pricing of The Ordinary products.

  24. It sounds like this is a pretty nice product! I’ll definitely have to look into this ? Thanks for sharing!

    1. Rifat Yaseen says:

      Yeah give it a try and let me know when you do. It’s pretty amazing! ?

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