Improves skin texture
Boosts radiance and glow
Reduces appearance of blemishes
Gentle formula is suitable for all skin types
Increases sun sensitivity
We put Glossier's Solution to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.
When it comes to my complexion, skincare acids have been total game-changers. I used to be afraid of them, and TBH, I’m not really sure why. I think I always assumed they would be way too harsh or irritating for me, but after trying an AHA cream for the first time a few months ago, I’ll never look back.
Since witnessing the glow-inducing, texture-improving magic of acids, I’ve gone on to add a few liquid formulas into the mix, including BHAs and PHAs. That said, I was super excited to give Glossier’s Solution—the brand’s first-ever exfoliator that uses a special blend of AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs—a go. This multi-benefit formula promises to transform your skin in just four weeks by sweeping away dead skin cells, improving tone and texture, unclogging pores, and reducing the appearance of blemishes.
Would this Byrdie favorite become my new holy grail of skincare? Read on to find out.
Best for: All skin types
Uses: Exfoliates skin, unclogs pores, and improves the appearance of blemishes, redness, and enlarged pores
Potential Allergens: Fragrance
Active Ingredients: Salicylic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, gluconolactone, Anti-Stress Complex
Byrdie Clean?: No, contains PEGs
About the brand: Known for its skincare-first approach to beauty, Glossier has become a cult favorite amongst the Gen Z and millennial set. The brand offers skincare, body care, no-makeup-makeup, and fragrance aimed to embrace and accentuate your natural glow.
About My Skin: Acids helped me get my glow back
My skin is pretty normal, but dullness and texture have always been issues for me. As I mentioned above, ever since I introduced acids into my routine, my skin has never looked better. I rely on these chemical exfoliators to de-gunk my pores of blackheads, smooth out my skin’s texture and tone, and keep my glow going strong.
I typically use an exfoliant about five nights a week, swapping between Summer Fridays' Soft Reset AHA Exfoliating Solution and Peter Thomas Roth's PRO Strength 10% PHA Exfoliating Clarifying Liquid. I apply them cleansing and before my evening moisturizer or oil. Since Glossier's Solution is meant to be quite gentle, I applied with a soaked cotton pad (about two to three pumps) every day over the course of four weeks instead.
Ingredients: Three acid groups chemically exfoliate the skin
Glossier's Solution is a chemical exfoliant, using a 10% blend of acids to clear, smooth, and illuminate the skin. Its listed active ingredient is a 0.5% concentration of salicylic acid, a BHA that reduces the appearance of blemishes and unclogs the pores, but it also contains two AHAs—glycolic acid to brighten and improve skin tone and texture and lactic acid to reduce the appearance of dark spots—as well as gluconolactone, a PHA that exfoliates while also moisturizing and conditioning the skin.
The Solution also contains the brand’s Anti-Stress Complex, made up of soothing aloe, hydrating glycerin, and calming niacinamide, which works to counteract any irritation and redness caused by using skincare acids.
This product is not technically considered clean by Byrdie’s standards because it includes PEG compounds. However, according to Byrdie's Clean Beauty Pledge, if potential contaminants formed during PEG production have been stripped, the product still would be considered clean. In an email to Byrdie, a Glossier representative did not confirm whether or not contaminants had been stripped in each included PEG compound, so we can consider this one a maybe. However, it's worth noting that it's also cruelty-free, vegan, dermatologist-tested, and suitable for all skin types.
The Science: Most clinical trial users found it effective
A third-party lab conducted a clinical trial with 60 participants between the ages of 14 and 40 over the course of four weeks. Three out of four daily users had clearer, softer skin after the first 24 hours and a clearer, brighter complexion with improvements in clogged pores, redness, blackheads, and pore size by the end of the trial. Seven out of 10 claimed their skin had been transformed by the end of the four weeks. You can read the full clinical trial on the product landing page.
The Feel + Scent: Lightweight and refreshing
Glossier's Solution is a liquid exfoliator with a thin, watery texture that’s meant to be applied with a cotton pad or something similar. Similar to a toner, it’s virtually weightless and absorbs almost instantly into the skin without much of a residue left behind—just a slight “grip” when it dries down fully. It also contains added fragrance, which gives the formula a clean, fresh scent that’s subtle, not overpowering.
Drying + Irritation: None whatsoever
Acids can sometimes be drying, but Glossier's Solution is formulated with a combination of acids that are typically fine for drier types. It’s also formulated with aloe and glycerin, both of which prevent the skin from drying out. Even though I was wary of the added fragrance, I didn’t experience any irritation whatsoever while testing this product.
However, it's important to note that the Solution may increase your sun sensitivity because it contains AHAs, so be sure to wear sunscreen and limit sun exposure while using it and for a full week afterward. Also, avoid using it with other acids in high concentrations, retinoids, and other topical acne medications—especially if your skin is particularly sensitive—as it can cause irritation and dryness.
The Results: Bye, bye, dullness
The gentle formula instantly cooled and refreshed my skin as I swept it across my face, and any wetness absorbed quickly. It did leave behind a slightly sticky residue as it dried down, but once it fully absorbed, my skin was left feeling super smooth and soft. I instantly looked refreshed and radiant and my skin felt clean without feeling stripped. By the next morning, my skin still felt fresh and soft.
I was expecting Glossier's Solution to tingle or sting the first time I used it, but it was actually pretty soothing. (It does contain aloe, after all!)
Spots that felt rough or bumpy were smoother, and the blackheads around my nose started to disappear. By the end of the four weeks, my complexion was a lot less dull and looked overall much healthier and radiant.
The Value: Totally worth it
Glossier’s products are known to be priced affordably, and at $24 for 4.4 fluid ounces, the Solution is, in my opinion, a steal. You only need two or three pumps to saturate a cotton pad and cover your entire face and neck, so one bottle will last you quite some time—even if you’re using every single day.
Similar Products: You’ve got options
Peter Thomas Roth PRO Strength 10% PHA Exfoliating Clarifying Liquid: Similar to the Solution, this liquid exfoliator from Peter Thomas Roth contains a combination of acids, including 10% gluconolactone (PHA), 5% glycolic acid (AHA), and 0.5% salicylic acid (BHA) for advanced exfoliation, pore unclogging, and acne-preventative benefits as well as improved radiance, texture, and evenness. This one is a bit stronger than the Solution, making it less ideal for sensitive skin, but it really works if your skin can handle it. Keep in mind that this one comes with a heftier price tag for not much more product, ringing in at $58 for 5 fluid ounces.
Summer Fridays Soft Reset AHA Exfoliating Solution: I am in love with this product. Strictly AHA-based, this liquid exfoliator features a potent combo of 16% lactic acid and glycolic acid as well as niacinamide. It’ll completely transform your skin’s texture and tone while reducing the appearance of pores, fine lines, and discoloration. Again, this one is stronger than Solution, so those with sensitive skin types should be cautious. It’s also much pricier, ringing in at $54 for 3.4 fluid ounces.
Overall, I think Glossier’s Solution is a pretty solid chemical exfoliator, especially if you have sensitive skin or are new to using skincare acids in your routine. I found it to be gentle and soothing and even though the results weren’t super dramatic, my skin is definitely softer, smoother, and much more radiant just four weeks later. And for the price? You really can’t go wrong!
- Product Name Solution
- Product Brand Glossier
- UPC 812459023444
- Price $24
- Weight 4.4 oz.
- Product Dimensions 1.75 x 1.75 x 5 in.
- Ingredients Salicylic Acid 0.5%, Aqua/Water/Eau, Lactic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Gluconolactone, Propanediol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Ethoxydiglycol, Magnesium Chloride, Sodium Hydroxide, Glycereth-7 Trimethyl Ether, Niacinamide, Betaine, Inositol, Citric Acid, Glycerin, Phytic Acid, Pentylene Glycol, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Parfum/Fragrance, PEG-8, Acetic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide