Glycolic Showdown: How Does Pixi Glow Tonic Compare to My Beloved Nip + Fab Pads?

When this UK fan favorite made its way to the US, I wanted to see how it matched up to my long-time glycolic go-to.
Publish date:
May 26, 2016
exfoliation, glycolic acid, pixi, Nip+fab

I worship at the altar of skincare guru Caroline Hirons. Her website is a treasure trove of skincare knowledge, and it completely changed the way I treat my face — and my face has responded in kind.

Her advice has been so helpful with my skin that when she says a product is good, I trust that it probably is — like Pixi Beauty Glow Tonic. It's a cult favorite in the UK, I'm sure in no small part to the recommendation from Caroline Hirons. So when this fan favorite finally made its way to the US, I wanted to try it and see how it matched up to my long-time love affair with the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads.

So let's be real: these products are pretty ding dang dong similar. They have glycolic acid to exfoliate, witch hazel to tone, and some other bits and bobs to hydrate.Both do their exfoliating dance with four or five percent glycolic acid, so it's pretty much moot on that point.

So instead, let's talk about how they're different.

First off: the fragrance. Both include fragrance, which I know is a block for some people. I have very sensitive skin but usually I'm OK with fragrances so long as they aren't based in a few specific essential oils. The fragrance for all the Nip+Fab glycolic products, although pleasant, is noticeably very strong.

The scent of Pixi Glow Tonic, on the other hand, is lightly floral and almost a little soapy. I'm having a hard time pinning it down because it really is so subtle that my nose can't quite pick it apart.

The Nip+Fab pads come pre-soaked in a plastic jar with a screw top. This isn't the worst packaging for pre-soaked pads, but I've gone through probably five or six of them and they have varied greatly in how much product is still on the pad when I take it home. The jar I'm on right now is overly wet — like, it will drip when you pick one up, which is way too much on the product-to-pad ratio.

I actually prefer an ever-so-slightly dry pad to apply a glycolic toner/solution with. Like when I'm applying the Pixi Glow Tonic, I use a cotton round and just squirt a little on. It's not enough to soak it all the way through the whole round, so I'm not over-applying it to my face.

I have this thing, like, bred into me that I have to use up every last drop of a pre-soaked skincare pad. Because I paid for it, I need to use ALL of it. This can lead me to going over my face probably way too many times and over-exfoliating.

I'm lucky that I have at my disposal a boyfriend with a skin type that couldn't be more opposite to my own. He is constantly dry and dehydrated, where I'm oily and acne-prone. So to get a good test of the products, I used it myself and I had him try it out too.

He found that the Nip + Fab pads to be too wet — in his words, slimy — and basically wouldn't use it after that. The Pixi Glow Tonic didn't sting at all for him, and with my daily nagging for him to use it, I noticed that his skin is significantly more hydrated-looking and less dry altogether.

I've found that my skin hasn't budged on the oil-slick conditions, but other areas that I apply Glow Tonic on — down my neck and chest — are looking all glowy and fabulous. From switching over to Glow Tonic, the couple of oddball dryer areas I get feel much more normal.

For me, the winner here is the Pixi Glow Tonic. It makes a huge difference with my skin by letting me apply just enough product by rationing it out myself. The added benefits of the scent and how it works well on both oily and dry skin is just icing on the cake.

  • Have you tried the Pixi Glow Tonic and/or the Nip + Fab pads?
  • What is your favorite cult-following skincare product?