GLAMGLOW SUPERTONER
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GLAMGLOW

SUPERTONER Exfoliating Acid Solution

6.70 fl. oz. for $ 42.00
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Brand Overview

GLAMGLOW’s SUPERTONER Exfoliating Acid Solution joins the expanding group of liquid leave-on exfoliants with a multi-acid blend that feels light and refreshing. Unfortunately, that feeling is deceiving: All skin types using this are setting themselves up for trouble thanks to its numerous irritants.

Housed in a clear bottle that showcases this exfoliant’s shimmering gray color (the shimmer is for visual interest only, it doesn’t impact performance) comes from the bamboo-derived charcoal powder it contains. The charcoal helps absorb oil and keeps this toner-like liquid from feeling tacky once it dries. Although it looks almost “dirty” in the bottle, the gray color doesn’t transfer to skin.

What does transfer to skin is the high amount of drying denatured alcohol this contains. See More Info to learn why that’s such a problem for skin.

The alcohol is followed by other irritants, including peppermint oil, two forms of eucalyptus, witch hazel, and some fragrance ingredients that are known sensitizers (limonene and linalool). Having penetration-enhancing propanediol as the third ingredient makes it highly likely all of the problematic ingredient will go deeper in skin, causing even greater problems, especially if you have oily, acne-prone skin (see More Info for details on how such ingredients worsen oily skin and the other problems irritating ingredients present).

With all this bad news, what about the exfoliating acids this contains? GLAMGLOW’s “Super Six Acid Blend” includes AHAs glycolic, mandelic, tartaric, and lactic acids, BHA (salicylic acid), and pyruvic acid, which occurs naturally in coffee and sugar cane and is chemically classified as an alpha-keto acid.

At the right pH, pyruvic acid will exfoliate, and this product’s pH of 4.1 allows that to occur; however, AHAs and BHA work best as exfoliants when formulated between pH 3 and 4, so GLAMGLOW’s option falls slightly outside the ideal range.

The brand doesn’t reveal the total percentage of acids in this exfoliant, which is odd because research has clearly shown how much of these ingredients is needed for the results this exfoliant promises. This omission is another strike putting SUPERTONER at a disadvantage compared to other leave-on exfoliants that are forthcoming about this important detail. Summing up, this isn’t an exfoliant we recommend.

Pros:
  • Contains an interesting mix of exfoliating acids at a functional pH.
Cons:
  • High amount of alcohol and mint oil is doubly irritating.
  • Contains two forms of sensitizing eucalyptus.
  • Witch hazel extract is an additional source of irritation.
  • Contains fragrance ingredients proven to sensitize skin.
  • Likely to make acne-prone, oily skin worse.
  • Clear packaging exposes the soothing willow bark to light.

More Info:

Alcohol-Based Skincare Products: Research makes it clear that alcohol, as a main ingredient in any skincare product, especially one you use frequently and repeatedly, is a problem.

When we express concern about the presence of alcohol in skincare or makeup products, we’re referring to denatured ethanol, which most often is listed as SD alcohol, alcohol denat., denatured alcohol, or (less often) isopropyl alcohol.

When you see these types of alcohol listed among the first six ingredients on an ingredient label, without question the product will irritate and cause other problems for skin. There’s no way around it—these volatile alcohols are simply bad for all skin types.

The reason they’re included in products is because they provide a quick-drying finish, immediately degrease skin, and feel weightless, so it’s easy to see their appeal, especially for those with oily skin. If only those short-term benefits didn’t lead to negative long-term outcomes!

Using products that contain these alcohols will cause dryness, erosion of skin’s protective barrier, and a strain on how skin replenishes, renews, and rejuvenates itself. Alcohol just weakens everything about skin.

The irony of using alcohol-based products to control oily skin is that the damage from the alcohol can actually lead to an increase in breakouts and enlarged pores. As we said, the alcohol does have an immediate de-greasing effect on skin, but it causes irritation, which eventually will counteract the de-greasing effect and make your oily skin look even more shiny.

There are people who challenge us on the information we’ve presented about alcohol’s effects. They often base their argument on a study in the British Journal of Dermatology (July 2007, pages 74–81) that concluded “alcohol-based hand rubs cause less irritation than hand washing….” But, the only thing this study showed was that alcohol was not as irritating as an even more irritating hand wash, which contained sodium lauryl sulfate. So, the study is actually just telling you that one irritant, sodium lauryl sulfate, is worse than another irritant, alcohol.

Not all alcohols are bad. For example, there are fatty alcohols, which are absolutely non-irritating and can be beneficial for skin. Examples that you’ll see on ingredient labels include cetyl alcoholstearyl alcohol, and cetearyl alcohol, all of which are good ingredients for skin. It’s important to differentiate between these skin-friendly alcohols and the problematic alcohols.

References for this information:
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, November 2008, pages 1–16
Dermato-Endocrinology, January 2011, pages 41–49
Experimental Dermatology, June 2008, pages 542–551
Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2004, pages 360–366
Alcohol Journal, April 2002, pages 179–190 

Not being gentle to skin can increase oily skin & breakouts: Using harsh, irritating ingredients is a serious problem for all skin types, especially for those with oily, combination, and acne-prone skin.

Research has clearly established that when skin is irritated, the oil gland at the base of each pore is stimulated to make more oil, creating a perfect environment for breakouts, white bumps, and clogged pores to get worse.

Using a product that is gentle and completely non-irritating is without question the only approach to taking the best care of your skin; doing otherwise hurts your skin—this is true even if you cannot see or feel the damage taking place.

It is also vitally important to use products that research has shown are beneficial for oily skin, clogged pores, and breakouts. The gold standard over-the-counter ingredients for these concerns are salicylic acid (BHA) and benzoyl peroxide.

References for this information:
Journal of Clinical Aesthetic Dermatology, January 2016, pages 25–30
Journal of European Dermatology and Venerology, May 2014, pages 527–532
Journal of Dermatology, May 2012, pages 433–438
Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, April 2011, pages 41–53
Dermato-Endocrinology, January-March 2011, pages 41–49
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832
Journal of the American Medical Association, August 2004, page 764
Dermatology, January 2003, pages 17–23
European Journal of Dermatology, September-October 2002, pages 422–427

Irritating Ingredients: We cannot stress this enough: Sensitizing, harsh, abrasive, and/or fragrant ingredients are bad for all skin types. Daily application of skincare products that contain these irritating ingredients is a major way we unwittingly do our skin a disservice!

Irritating ingredients are a problem because they can lead to visible problems, such as redness, rough skin, dull skin, dryness, increased oil production, and clogged pores, and they contribute to making signs of aging worse.

Switching to non-irritating, gentle skincare products can make all the difference in the world. Non-irritating products are those packed with beneficial ingredients that also replenish and soothe skin, without any volatile ingredients, such as those present in fragrance ingredients, whether natural or synthetic.

A surprising fact: Research has demonstrated that you do not need to see or feel the effects of irritants on your skin for your skin to be suffering, and visible damage may not become apparent for a long time. Don’t get lulled into thinking that if you don’t see or feel signs of irritation, everything is OK.

Generally, it’s best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to ingredients that are known to irritate skin. There are many completely non-irritating products that contain effective ingredients, so there’s no reason to put your skin at risk with products that include ingredients research has shown can be a problem.

References for this information:
Journal of Dermatological Sciences, January 2015, pages 28–36
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, August 2014, pages 379–385
Clinical Dermatology, May-June 2012, pages 257–262
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: Yes

SUPERTONER is a pore-clarifying exfoliating acid toner designed to unclog pores and remove dead surface cells in one sweep. Powered by the Super Six Acid Blend, a highly potent blend of skin-exfoliating AHAs, BHA and PHA and activated charcoal, the shake-to-activate formula applies clear as it gets to work refining the look of pores for a clarified complexion. Best for oily and combination skin types; suitable for acne-prone skin.

Water, Alcohol Denat., Propanediol, Mandelic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Pyruvic Acid, Charcoal Powder, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Powder, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Algae Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Nylon-12, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Fragrance, Limonene, Linalool, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Mica, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Iron Oxides (Ci 77499).

Created by the husband-and-wife team of Glenn and Shannon Dellimore, the Hollywood, California-based GLAMGLOW line consists of several masks and cleansers. Their marketing claims may have you thinking these masks are revolutionary skin-care treatments but they are notnot even slightly. GLAMGLOW also claims their masks are sought out by actors and celebrities for their ability to "tighten skin and shrink pores". The celebrity allure is a good one, as most of us want to know what the stars use to get or stay gorgeous, but celebrity cache alone isn't a great reason to try any product. A lot of celebrities do things that aren't good for them, like smoke, tan, or drink too much, and they make skin care and cosmetic surgery mistakes too.

But back to the masks. The GLAMGLOW masks contain fragrant essential oils, irritating plant extracts and ordinary clays (despite being named "French clay", in the world of skin-care formulation, clay is just clay and being from France is as special as a French fry is to a potato).

The reality behind the ingredients used in the GLAMGLOW line is much less interesting than the story would lead you to believe. Aside from the mix of clay and fragrance, their "hero ingredient" is the trade-named ingredient called "Teoxi", which is just green-tea extract. While green-tea extract is an excellent antioxidant, isnt capable of the the skin perfecting, Benjamin Button-age-reversing results promised. As the body's largest organ, your skin is far too complex to have its anti-aging needs met by one antioxidant, however good it may be. But even if green-tea extract were as amazing as GLAMGLOW asserts, it wont remain stable in the jar packaging the company chose for their masks.

Aside from "Teoxi", GLAMGLOW uses trade names instead of using the actual ingredient name in their marketing claims, on both the box and their website. You may think "Teoxi" sounds impressive, but you're only getting standard ingredientstheir use of trade names simply makes the formula seem more intriguing than it really is. For example, their "Bio-Life-Cell-Science" technology claims to be an "Advanced Scientific Skincare" blend, but in reality it's just a mix of eucalyptus, peppermint, comfrey, ivy, marigold and other standard plant extracts. It would take some advanced scientific Photoshopping to get anti-wrinkle/anti-blemish results from this cast of ordinary problematic ingredients!

If you're interested in a clay mask for absorbing excess oil or helping clogged pores, there are many alternatives which easily beat GLAMGLOW for a fraction of the cost. There is nothing unique about the masks this line sells.

GLAMGLOW also makes exfoliating claims, but these don't live up to their promise for reasons discussed in each mask's reviews. You are better off using a soft washcloth with your cleanser for physical exfoliationyou will get virtually identical results and save your skin the irritation (plus spare your bank account the wasted money). If brighter, more even-toned skin is your goal, consider any of the well-formulated AHA/BHA exfoliants recommended in the Best Products section.

In the end, despite lots of hype, GLAMGLOW is a disappointment that isn't worth the expense and puts your skin at risk of irritation. If only a fraction of the marketing efforts behind the brand were put into formulating their products, they might have ended up with products truly deserving of celebrity accolades!

For more information about GLAMGLOW, email at info@glamglowmud.com or visit www.glamglowmud.com (there is no available phone number).

Note: As of January 2015, GLAMGLOW has been acquired by Estee Lauder.

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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