Renew & Smooth Glycolic + Polyhydroxy Acid Serum
Bliss’ Renew & Smooth Glycolic + Polyhydroxy Acid Serum sounds like a powerhouse exfoliant, but some formulary missteps keep it from being one we can strongly recommend.
Housed in an opaque blue bottle with a pump dispenser, the texture has a lot to love: it’s lightweight, easily smooths on, and absorbs quickly, making it workable both over and under other skin care products.
This contains a good amount of glycolic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that’s considered a gold standard for exfoliation, capable of smoothing fine lines, diminishing uneven skin tone, and restoring skin’s natural glow. There’s also polyhydroxy acid (labeled in the ingredient list as gluconolactone), which provides additional exfoliation benefits.
In addition to these two exfoliants, this also includes antioxidants vitamin E, apple extract, and squalane (a good source of fatty acids). There’s even skin-soothing green tea, willow bark, and licorice extracts to round things out.
Were those the only things to consider, we’d happily give this a higher rating. However, there are a few issues that get in the way. First, the pH of this product, at 4.5, is slightly higher than the pH range of 3 to 4 considered optimal for the acids to exfoliate.
Second, Bliss included some citrus extracts that it says act as gentle acids to exfoliate skin – but those extracts cannot exfoliate skin in the same way than an AHA can, and they are not gentle because their fragrance components can cause skin irritation. Making matters worse is the inclusion of fragrance, which puts skin at additional risk of sensitization.
If Bliss had skipped these ingredients this would be an exfoliant worthy of consideration. As it stands you’re better off with one of the superior options on our list of best AHA exfoliants.
- Lightweight serum texture absorbs quickly.
- Glycolic and polyhydroxy acids provide exfoliation benefits.
- Includes antioxidant and skin soothing ingredients.
- Packaged to protect its light- and air-sensitive ingredients.
- pH is slightly above what is considered optimal for exfoliation to occur.
- Contains citrus extracts that put skin at risk for irritation.
- Includes fragrance, which puts skin at additional risk for irritation.
This effective yet gentle resurfacing night serum contains a unique six-acid blend of powerful glycolic acid plus gentler polyhydroxy and fruit acids to gradually dissolve dead skin cells for super smooth, refined skin overnight.
The story of Bliss starts in 1996, when personal trainer Marcia Kilgore opened a New York spa designed around no-fuss skin treatments and de-stressing regimens for busy lifestyles. Over time, clients asked for Bliss-branded skin care products, and so Bliss skin care was born.
Bliss enjoyed success for years, being sold in spas as well as online and at some brick-and-mortar retailers. Kilgore eventually sold Bliss, and after changing hands a couple more times, the brand began to lose some of its identity. Its most recent owners decided it was time for a back to our roots makeover, with lower prices across the board and a cleaner version of Bliss's iconic white with splashes of color packaging.
Bliss's biggest appeal is in providing people with a spa-like experience at home. The line features multiple masks, in addition to exfoliation treatments, moisturizers, and body care products for a variety of skin types and concerns. While there are some missteps in the line (including fragranced products and some instances of jar packaging), there are some gems to be found among Bliss's offerings you just have to know where to look.
For more information on Bliss, visit www.blissworld.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.