Proactiv and Proactiv+

Re-Texturizing Toner

6.00 fl. oz. for $ 45.00
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Expert Reviews

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Brand Overview

Re-Texturizing Toner from ProActiv+ is a generously-sized, fragrance-free liquid exfoliant that contains the AHA ingredient glycolic acid and the BHA ingredient salicylic acid, both in amounts we suspect are great enough for exfoliation to occur (ProActiv+ would not confirm percentages of either ingredient).

A combination of AHA and BHA is intriguing, though not necessary, as most people with breakout-prone skin and large pores will benefit from BHA alone, and it can also do the smoothing and firming AHAs do (AHAs are generally not as effective at reducing breakouts and clogged pores, but can be great for sun damage).

Is Re-Texturizing Toner a good option for those wanting AHA and BHA in one product? Sadly, it isn’t and that’s due to the pH being well outside the range AHAs and BHA need to function as exfoliants. You’re left with a so-so toner that contains witch hazel water, which is a potential skin irritant, though definitely less of an issue than the more concentrated witch hazel distillate. There’s not much else here to get excited about, which is truly disappointing given this product’s price. It makes the larger size less compelling too; who wants more of something so ordinary and, when it comes to exfoliation, ineffective?


  • Can hydrate skin and doesn’t contain irritating alcohol.
  • Fragrance-free.


  • The pH of 5 means the AHA and BHA ingredients cannot exfoliate skin.
  • The witch hazel water poses a slight risk of irritation.
  • Without the exfoliating ingredients offering that benefit, this becomes a no-frills, expensive toner.

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

Re-Texturizing Toner is formulated with glycolic acid and is designed to help smooth skin texture, resurface the skin, and help promote healthy cell turnover. Use twice daily for smaller-looking pores, a smoother skin tone and a brighter, more beautiful complexion.

Water, Butylene Glycol, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Polysorbate 20, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol.

Proactiv Solution At-A-Glance

Strengths: Effective, elegant-textured AHA, BHA, and skin-brightening options; all sunscreens provide sufficient UVA protection; good options for controlling excess oil breakthrough, including a colorless pressed powder.

Weaknesses: Several products contain irritating ingredients that do not help acne-prone skin; some gimmicky products that no dermatologist-created line should be selling (they should know better); mostly substandard to poor makeup options, including a sulfur-based concealer.

Created by dermatologists Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields, Proactiv launched in 1995 as a three-step system sold via infomercial. With the doctors' endorsements and winning personalities along with a heap of testimonials from people who use the routine (including a rotating list of celebrities, which always garners attention), Proactiv remains a very successful brand that is still going strong. The effusiveness, medical background, accurate information about how acne forms, and sincerity of its creators definitely makes for compelling television (we admit to catching the infomercial on more than one sleepless night), but what about the products themselves? Are they the answer the ads promise?

The core system consists of a cleanser with benzoyl peroxide and scrub particles, a toner with glycolic acid, and a lotion that contains a low (but still effective) amount of benzoyl peroxide. No questions here, this is a straightforward routine and hardly unique to Proactiv! Some percentage of people will benefit from daily use of this system (it contains the basics that are necessary for over-the-counter treatment of acne), but it's definitely not for everyone, and every dermatologist knows that (just check out the American Academy of Dermatology Web site at www.aad.org, for example, on their recommendations for battling blemishes).

It also goes without saying that other lines offer many less expensive versions of all the Proactiv products. However, for those who choose this system, the key is compliance, at least as long as you're seeing good results. Anyone battling acne needs to know that, barring a successful experience with the prescription drug Accutane, it cannot be cured, only controlled. We don't doubt that many people have seen their acne respond positively to a daily routine of the core Proactiv products, and for some it has been a life-changing experience, but it's not the answer for acne for everyone.

Although they still appear in ads and literature for the brand, Drs. Rodan and Fields have branched out to create their own namesake line, reviewed elsewhere on this site.While the Rodan + Fields line is not acne-centric like Proactiv, they did include products for blemishes, a few of which are similar to but more expensive than their Proactiv counterparts. And of course, this dual branding begs the question: if Rodan and Fields believe that Proactiv is the best option for those struggling with acne, why did they create alternative products in their namesake line? Why not just mention to Rodan + Fields customers dealing with acne that the Proactiv line has exactly what they need?

Along with Proactiv and the namesame Rodan and Fields line, these dermatologists also created Proactiv+, which is supposed to be smarter and faster than original Proactiv. For the most part, these products are quite similar, they just have a stronger emphasis on anti-aging issues such as uneven skin tone and enlarged pores from sun damage. We wish these products were more compelling, but many of them are truly problematic and not something two reputable dermatologists should feel comfortable putting their names on.

For more information about Proactiv, call (800) 876-9717 or visit www.proactiv.com. For more information about Proactiv+, visit www.proactivplus.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

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