Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner Review

Mario Badescu says "refresh, exfoliate, and help soften the look of fine lines and wrinkles with our alcohol-free Gylcolic Acid Toner. Glycolic Acid and Grapefruit Extract work together to help dull, tired skin look fresh and rejuvenated. Formulated with Aloe Vera to help soothe the skin." The Glycolic Acid Toner comes in two sizes - 8 oz ($18), and 16 oz ($32). Mario Badescu products can be bought at Ulta and Nordstrom, and ordered via the brand's website. Mario Badescu is cruelty free. This acid toner was made in the USA.

I like the look of Mario Badescu's packaging, the brand has such a minimal, clean, unisex aesthetic - it never looks out of place. Packaging for Mario Badescu's Glycolic Acid Toner is basic and functional. This toner comes in a clear plastic bottle, topped with a white cap with a pop out pour spout. A white label wraps around the bottle - the Mario Badescu logo and product name are printed on the front; ingredients and directions are listed on the back. Packaging is recyclable.

Mario Badescu's Gylcolic Acid Toner is a lovely, light blue, watery liquid that's meant to be poured onto a cotton pad and swept over the face and neck twice a day. I've been using this toner for months, and I've used up about three quarters of the bottle and I am NOT impressed whatsoever! Now, I love a good glycolic toner, be it Pixi's Glow Tonic or Nip+Fab Glycolic Pads, and I'm very familiar with the kind of results they can yield, so I was very confused when I wasn't seeing similar results from Mario Badescu's option. I did a bit of research and I found out that this toner is, on a chemical level, entirely ineffective. I'll touch more on why when I break down the ingredients in the next paragraph more, but needless to say I was outraged - ask Dean or my mum, they've both heard the angry rants! I'll try to contain myself, at least for now. After multiple months of use, I've found Mario Badescu's Glycolic Acid Toner to be reasonably good at wiping away oil and residue without being drying, but that's just about all it does. My skin is in a worse place than it was when I started using this 'acid' toner - the product isn't impacting my skin in a negative way or causing a reaction, it just isn't helping to combat my acne or the residual scaring. Speaking of acne, there will be a mild sting if you sweep the Glycolic Acid Toner over any fresh pimples, but otherwise there isn't any sort of tingle or sting that's commonly associated with acid toners.

Mario Badescu's Glycolic Acid Toner's ingredient list is infuriating and honestly the brand should be ashamed for putting an entirely ineffective product on the market. This water and propylene glycol based toner contains between 2-3% glycolic acid (it varies by source). That little bit of glycolic acid wouldn't be enough to effectively exfoliate, even if this toner had an AHA friendly pH level, but it doesn't - the pH level is incorrect, rendering the acid entirely ineffective. The next ingredient, grapefruit extract, is also problematic because it can cause photosensitivity and irritate the skin. Aloe is included, likely to counter act the potentially irritating effects of the gylcolic acid and grapefruit. The remainder of this toner is mostly filler and coloring agents - but its important to note the inclusion of fragrance. This toner has a very strong, hard to place scent - like grapefruit, but also somehow powdery. I find it pretty unpleasant. 

I am immensely disappointed by Mario Badescu's Glycolic Acid Toner. With just 2-3% inactive glycolic acid, this product is essentially expensive blue water and propylene glycol. This is the second disappointing toner I've tried from Mario Badescu - I sampled the Special Cucumber Lotion a few years ago and hated it, and its safe to say I won't be using anymore. Honestly, I doubt I'll buy from the brand again after this, there seems to be a pattern of poorly formulated and ineffective products. I think I'll be sticking with Glow Tonic, and I recommend you do the same, it may be more expensive, but it's better formulated and is actually capable of exfoliation. 

Aqua (Water,Eau),Propylene Glycol, Glycolic Acid,Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract,Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice,Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane,Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate,PPG-26-Buteth-26,Ethylhexyl Salicylate,PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil,Parfum (Fragrance),Sodium Chloride,Methylparaben,Propylparaben,Diazolidinyl Urea,CI 42090 (Blue 1),CI 45410 (Red 28),CI 19140 (Yellow 5)


  1. Wow, this is such a shame! Mario Badescu products are usually pretty good! I had thought about trying this toner, but after your review, not anymore

    1. Actually after some research, it seems like a lot of Mario Badescu products are poorly formulated :(

    2. Seriously?! That's a shame :( I have an eye cream of theirs that I like, and the prices of their products aren't terrible either.