Solution Exfoliating Skin Perfector

4.40 fl. oz. for $ 24.00
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Brand Overview

Glossier made some improvements to their original Solution Exfoliating Skin Perfector formula, but it still misses the mark due to the inclusion of potential irritants. What a shame considering that with just a couple more tweaks it would have a lot to offer skin!

Solution Exfoliating Skin Perfector comes in an opaque plastic bottle with a built-in, push-down dispenser that works cohesively with a cotton pad. The water-light liquid smooths easily across the face, drying down to a non-sticky finish. Products applied afterward should layer without a hitch, no matter your skin type.

The formula contains a 10% blend of chemical exfoliants: AHAs (lactic and glycolic), BHA (salicylic), and PHA (gluconolactone). These acids serve to help shed dead skin, resulting in a smoother, brighter, more even-toned appearance and Glossier did a good job of formulating this at 3.5 pH for each to work their magic.

In terms of Glossier’s claim that daily use helps improve the appearance of blemishes and enlarged pores, there’s some merit to that. Salicylic acid in particular is a superstar in helping fight acne and clearing out congested pores, although here it's only used in a 0.5% concentration here. For acne, 1% to 2% salicylic acid is more effective.

The good news? Recent research shows glycolic acid can help break down the membranes of acne-causing bacteria, keeping it from proliferating, so between that and the pinch of salicylic acid, there’s potential to see a reduction in breakouts.

In addition to the exfoliating acids, a handful of other good ingredients are in the mix including aloe, niacinamide, and glycerin. Solution Exfoliating Skin Perfector was previously formulated with an unusually high amount of the pH adjuster sodium hydroxide that posed a risk of causing a sensitized reaction. That ingredient is now in a lower (non-problematic) concentration.

But alas, we arrive at the issues, starting with the fragrance. While the herbal scent itself is polarizing, the true concern is that its volatile components can cause irritation (see More Info). Adding to that, the formula also contains a small amount of acetic acid (the acidic component of vinegar), which can also be sensitizing. In the end, these issues hold us back from recommending Solution Exfoliating Skin Perfector as strongly as the top-rated exfoliants.

  • Beneficial mix of exfoliating acids (BHA, PHA, and AHAs) for smoother, glowier skin.
  • Has potential to help with breakouts as well.
  • Contains aloe, niacinamide, and glycerin to further improve a healthier appearance.
  • Water-light texture is compatible with all skin types.
  • Formulated within the proper pH range to effectively exfoliate.
  • Skin-sensitizing fragrance and acetic acid pose an irritation risk.

More Info:

Why Fragrance Is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.  

This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skins barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skins surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types. 

A surprising fact: Even though you cant always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if its not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you dont need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.  

References for this information:
Toxicology In Vitro, February 2018, pages 237-245
Toxicological Sciences, January 2018, pages 139-148
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 14101419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 7780 
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821832
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191202
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement, pages 143
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789798 

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

Unlike physical scrubs, Solution uses a 10% blend of skincare acids to “unglue” dead skin and sweep it away, so your complexion appears smoother, softer, and glowier. Includes three acid groups: Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA), and Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA). Daily use helps improve the appearance of blemishes, visible redness, and enlarged pores.

Active: Salicylic Acid 0.5%. Other: Water, 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, Fragrance, PEG-8, Acetic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide.

Glossier At-A-Glance


Glossier is the brainchild of Emily Weiss, whose successful beauty blog IntoTheGloss.com inspired the spinoff skin care/makeup line launched in 2014. Weiss describes the concept behind Glossier as a lifestyle beauty brand with a highly edited selection of streamlined skin care and makeup products.

We consider Glossier's makeup the strong suit of the brand. Their tagline of uncomplicated makeup staples that live with you, not on you, rings true with their simple yet impressive lineup of color products. Each is intentionally designed as a low maintenance option to enhance your appearance but not overpower it, allowing your natural beauty to shine through. By and large, the makeup products perform well, and while the shade options aren't vast, we're impressed by the flattering, attractive colors they've curated.

Glossier's skin care fares a little lower on the rating scale. While the majority of formulas are decent, they tend to be lackluster in terms of a well-researched cocktail of beneficial ingredients. Not bad, but not great either. Aesthetically-speaking, the skincare products stick to their reoccurring promise of dewy, glowy looking skin.

We're happy to report the majority of Glossier's skin care and makeup products are fragrance free, which is a rarity in the cosmetics industry and better overall for the health of your skin.

To sum it up: Skin care-wise there's room for improvement, but if you like the minimalist approach and cool girl vibe, Glossier makeup delivers. We're intrigued to see what they come up with next!

For more information on Glossier, visit glossier.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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