Glow Recipe’s New Watermelon Toner Helped Clear My Skin After One Week

Call it the P50 effect, for the potent chemical exfoliant from Biologique Recherche that arguably started the trend (if not invented the category): Over the past couple of years, liquid exfoliating potions have exploded in popularity, with what feels like every skin-care brand launching its own version of the stuff.
Unfortunately, so many of the buzzy formulas left my oily, acne-prone skin irritated and dry — until I tried Glow Recipe's latest launch, the Watermelon Glow PHA +BHA Pore-Tight Toner. The exfoliating toner joins the lineup of watermelon skin care from the K-beauty brand, including the Sleeping Mask, Pink Juice moisturizer, and face mist, and is infused with beta-hydroxy, polyhydroxy, and hyaluronic acids to brighten, soften, and smooth skin.
Not too long ago, I found my skin broken out like I hadn't seen in years, with inflamed cystic acne that I can only attribute to rising stress levels over the past couple weeks. Given the fact that I haven't had the greatest experience with liquid exfoliants in the past, I decided to start slow and incorporate the toner to my nighttime routine a couple times a week. The first thing I noticed was the scent, which reminded me of a watermelon Jolly Rancher, but... better? The second was the unique viscous texture: a sort of juicy, watery-gel consistency that my skin readily drank up.
Photo: Courtesy of Karina Hoshikawa
Here I am, acne scars and all, on my way to clearer skin.
You could apply the toner with a cotton round or pat it on with your hands — I chose the latter. Unlike other AHA or BHA products I've tried, I didn't notice any stinging or tinging feeling upon application. PHAs, after all, are known to be gentler than other acids, and also have humectant properties. After layering on the rest of my routine, my skin felt bouncy and happy — and within a week of using it every other night, I already noticed fewer breakouts, and more hydrated, calmer skin.
At $45 for a 150 ml bottle, the stuff isn't cheap, but I know that one bottle will last me a while since you only need a couple drops at a time — especially if you're using clean hands to pat and press it directly onto your skin. Right now, it's available on Glow Recipe's website, in addition to Sephora.
A gentler way to treat breakouts that also happens to smell like a delicious summer treat? Now that's the kind of beauty mood-booster we could all use right now.
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