I could not be a bigger advocate for acid exfoliation (we'll get into the wonders they do for your skin in the main part of the post!) and I've been in a long-term relationship with my Pixi Glow Tonic toner (which I'll also be comparing this to) for many years. Am I being Adam from Love Island with my skincare? Well, my head has been turned and this month I'm recommending checking out the REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic*...
We're going to start with a little intro to AHAs - so if you're already a devotee, you can skip this paragraph, but if you'd like to know more about how they work or you've never really understood what these types of products do for the skin, hopefully this demystifies things! There are two types of acid exfoliants - AHAs and BHAs - and of the AHAs the two most common you'll probably come across in your skincare are Glycolic Acid (which comes from fruits) and Lactic Acid (which comes from milk). The majority of my skincare products for acid exfoliation are either just Glycolic Acid or are a blend of the two, so it's interesting to me that this contains Lactic Acid as its primary active (along with some gentler brightening ingredients like Willow Bark Extract and Azelaic Acid Precursors). They work in a similar way - AHAs chemically exfoliate the skin (they can also be found in wash-off masks, cleansers and even moisturisers) and I personally find these sorts of toners more suitable for regular use than a traditional scrub (something like this could be used every day). The idea is that you get an instant boost of radiance to the skin and it removes dead skin cells to smooth the surface. At the same time, with regular use over several months (or even weeks), AHAs can even the tone of the skin and help fade any blemish scars.
This product comes in really handy packaging - I always appreciate how practical REN is as a brand! You simply flip the cap and there's a reverse pump so you can just press your cotton wool pad onto it and you'll never end up wasting product by dispensing too much.
My skin is very much used to acids, so if you're new to them you may notice some initial irritation. I can only speak about my personal experience; which is that I find this incredibly gentle. If I use a really intense AHA toner or a mask, I do sometimes feel a mild sensation but I don't at all with this. I couldn't find the exact percentage of Lactic Acid in this, which makes it a little hard when it comes to comparisons, however I've been using this for about two months now and can confirm it really does work. My skin instantly looks fresher and you get that instant satisfaction of seeing the dead skin cells on the cotton wool pad afterwards! (Or is it just me who kind of loves that...?)
My skin tone is looking even and I've had a couple of hormonal breakouts during the time I've been using this and can confirm it's done an amazing job of stopping the scarring in its tracks. There was a particularly huge one that I caught on my fingernail and it ended up bleeding - I was absolutely certain it was going to cause me issues with scarring, as I do get hyper-pigmentation, however I've been using this more or less every day and it's almost totally cleared that up.
Finally, I couldn't do this post without comparing it to my Pixi Glow Tonic* | £18 (for the standard size - the one pictured is the salon edition). I think they perform a similar job, however they are fundamentally different in that the REN is Lactic and the Pixi is Glycolic. However it's great to have another option out there from a great skincare brand - not everyone's skin agrees with Glycolic or Lactic, so if you don't like one then you can try the other. The REN costs £25 for 250ml and the Pixi is £18 for the same amount, so there's a bit of a price difference here. The Pixi also contains soothing aloe and witch hazel, which makes it almost calming on the skin. For me: if you're a beginner then I recommend the Pixi due to those extra ingredients and the price being on the right side of £20, however if you want to try something new that (in my opinion) gives more dramatic results in a shorter period of time, then check out the REN - it definitely has my seal of approval!
Have you tried this AHA Tonic? Are you a fan of acid exfoliation?