Solution Exfoliating Skin Perfector
For those in the know, the most effective way to exfoliate skin is with a leave-on, acid-spiked exfoliant that goes beyond just surface smoothing. Glossier now offers this with their Solution Exfoliating Skin Perfector, a product that gets some aspects right, but also makes significant missteps.
Packaged in a bottle featuring Glossier's signature soft pink color, the bottle's top has a built-in, push-down dispenser that's easy to use. The water-light liquid smooths easily across the face, drying down to a non-sticky finish. Products applied afterward should layer without a hitch.
Aesthetics aside, the ingredients are what matter most here. This contains AHA exfoliants, along with salicylic acid (BHA), and gluconolactone (a polyhydroxy acid, or PHA). When the pH range is right, as it is here, these acids serve to help skin shed dead, dulling cells, resulting in a brighter, more even-toned appearance plus fewer clogged pores.
In addition to the acids, a couple of skin-replenishing ingredients are also in the mix. So why doesn't this rate higher?
First, Glossier claims this product can help clear acne. While salicylic acid is a superstar in helping fight acne, it's only in a 0.5% concentration here, meaning it's unlikely to have a significant impact. For acne, 1% to 2% salicylic acid is preferred, with AHAs being an option but not considered as effective for breakouts as BHA.
Also of concern: This contains an unusually high amount of sodium hydroxide, an ingredient used in products like this to establish and hold a tight pH range. We're concerned that using sodium hydroxide in a concentration this high—it's second only to water—means this exfoliant poses a greater risk of causing a sensitized reaction.
It doesn't get much better: Glossier also included fragrance, and fragrance isn't skincare. The smell is slightly herbal and not unpleasant, but it has no benefit for skin whatsoever, and can cause irritation.
Solution also contains a small amount of acetic acid (the acidic component of vinegar), which is also sensitizing and unnecessary to the performance of the more helpful AHAs and BHA this formula contains. In the end, this exfoliant's mix of benefits and concerns keeps us on the fence about recommending it as strongly as we have other products from Glossier.
- Contains a good mix of exfoliating ingredients.
- Lightweight texture is easy to dispense and apply.
- Formulated at a pH to effectively exfoliate skin.
- Contains some skin-replenishing ingredients.
- Salicylic acid would be more effective against acne at a higher concentration.
- Contains a higher-than-usual amount of sensitizing sodium hydroxide.
- Fragrance and acetic acid can irritate skin.
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.