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Post in Complexion Club

The ordinary toning solution

Hello! I’ve recently got this and I find it’s been making me break out. I wash my face everyday and then use this, typically I would put moisturizer on after but it’s too thick for the season right now. After using the ordinary my skin gets very oily... way more than normal.... is this just because I didn’t moisturize? I’ve been using the solution about two weeks now. Besides not moisturizing.... am I doing something wrong

Re: The ordinary toning solution

@afancy Here's the beautypedia review on The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Exfoliating Toning Solution 8 oz/ 240 mL you might want to check out.  It got 3/5 stars:



Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution is a toner-like liquid that contains the stated amount of the AHA glycolic acid formulated within the pH range for this ingredient to be effective. Given that fact and the low price, this AHA exfoliant for all skin types seems quite the beauty bargain—but there's a catch.

Although most products from The Ordinary are fragrance free, this AHA exfoliant contains a high amount of fragrant rosewater. This plant extract contains several beneficial components for skin, but it also contains fragrance ingredients known to irritate skin.

Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution also contains the ingredient hexyl nicotinate, which can trigger skin irritation and dilate blood vessels in skin.

That's disappointing, because this is otherwise a well-formulated AHA toner. It contains several amino acids, hydrating ingredients like glycerin, and skin-replenishing ingredients such as sodium PCA and soothing antioxidant-spiked plant extracts. Without the fragrance, this would be worth checking out; as is, we can't recommend it over the fragrance-free options on our list of Best AHA Exfoliants.


  • Contains a good amount of glycolic acid formulated within the correct pH range.
  • Fluid, hydrating formula is easy to use.
  • Contains plant-based soothing agents and skin-replenishing ingredients.
  • Inexpensive.
  • Contains a high amount of fragrant rosewater extract.
  • Hexyl nicotinate can be a skin irritant and dilate blood vessels in the skin.
  • Despite the fact The Ordinary doesn't recommend using AHA exfoliants, it sells several of them.


Re: The ordinary toning solution

@afancy  Since The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Exfoliating Toning Solution 8 oz/ 240 mL is a leave-on AHA product, you might be over-exfoliating your skin by using it everyday. Your skin's moisture barrier contains dead skin cells. Strip too many away too often and you'll wreck that moisture barrier, leaving your skin wide open to acne-causing bacteria. 


With a broken moisture barrier, your skin's unable to retain hydration. That The Ordinary toner contains good humectants that attract moisture to your skin, but without a barrier to seal in that hydration, it'll just evaporate and leave behind dryness. Skipping moisturizer doesn't help. Your skin's probably overproducing oil to compensate. If you apply a moisturizer to do the sealing-in work instead, your sebaceous glands will hopefully dial back their oil production. 

Re: The ordinary toning solution

@WinglessOne Great info!

Re: The ordinary toning solution

You probably should be using a moisturizer, @afancy but it also could be the toner itself. Are you prone to breakouts anyway? Glycolic acid can cause purging if you are. But it should clear up in a few weeks. That said, glycolic acid can also cause irritation if it's overused. Have you used chemical exfoliation in the past? If not, jumping in to this strength of acid every day may be too much for your skin. For most, it's recommended to start with twice a week and work up from there. 

RE: Re: The ordinary toning solution

I haven’t used a chemical peel in the past. I was previously using the body shop seaweed toner, but then I switched to this and yes I do use it every day. I never use to use toner at all, but someone told me it should be used after cleansing. So twice a week should be ok instead of every day?

Re: RE: Re: The ordinary toning solution

@afancy  As mentioned below, toner isn't absolutely necessary for everyone but it can be very beneficial depending on your skin's needs and what issues you are trying to target. There is also a wide variety of toner types, from exfoliating (like the glycolic), to pH adjusting, to clarifying, to hydrating. Finding the right one for you is just a matter of determining what you want from your skincare routine. 


For this one though, it sounds like you may have over-exfoliated a bit by using it daily right off the bat. Signs of this usually include small bumps, increased oiliness, a tight feeling, shininess. If that's the case, I would stop using it for a few weeks to give your skin a chance to recover. Just focus on hydration and moisturization. When you're ready, you can re-introduce it, twice a week and work up from there, depending on how your skin reacts. 

Re: RE: Re: The ordinary toning solution

@afancy You might not need a toner at all. 🙂 It's not a necessary skincare step. Think about what you expect to get from a toner—what do you want a toner to do for your skin? That'll help you decide if you even need one in the first place. 


Example: I have mostly-dry combo skin that's prone to inflammation. My skin needs all the hydration and soothing ingredients it can get. I also try to keep my face damp throughout my skincare routine, all the way to my moisturizer step. I use a cica toner (COSRX Centella Water Alcohol-Free Toner) as a hydrating mist throughout my routine, as needed. But right after washing my face, I often use e.l.f. Hydrating Water Essence for a good dose of niacinamide and several hydrating ingredients. I call it my toner step, but I think of it more as my post-wash hydration step. 

Re: The ordinary toning solution

Hi @afancy!


You should always use moisturizer after toner no matter what.  The order would be cleanser, toner, essence and serum (if you use them), moisturizer and sunscreen during the day.


If your current moisturizer is too thick, then you need to get one that is lighter.  I like Youth To The People Superfood Air-Whip Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid 2 oz/ 60 mL since it's light and the hyaluronic acid help hydrate skin.  This is important since oily skin is really dehydrated skin.


The toner might be drying out your skin, which in turn makes your skin product oils in order to hydrate itself.

Re: The ordinary toning solution

@RAWRitsRED Spot on sequencing of skin care regime. 

RE: Re: The ordinary toning solution

Thank you! I didn’t want to buy another moisturizer but it seems I have no choice haha second tatcha will be on the way 🙂

Re: RE: Re: The ordinary toning solution


Tatcha is a great choice!

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