Returning from my absence, I want to talk about the Superdrug Naturally Radiant Glycolic Toner, which, as the name suggests, is a Superdrug exclusive brand and product. You can find this is on Superdrug’s website, and retails at full price for £2.95, which is extremely affordable in my opinion. It sits in my daytime routine at the moment as cleansing and toning step, and as I’ve been using it for a couple of months, I want to review it in some detail.
So I want to begin by talking about the Superdrug’s Naturally Radiant line, as it’s one I’ve used a few skincare products from in the past. The skincare line doesn’t have a dedicated page talking about it, as far as I can tell, but the consistent claim across the line is that the products “awakens skin’s natural glow”. A claim like this one is usually directed at tackling dull, tired skin tones, be that from dehydration, congestion, etc. In my case, I have my oily and sensitive skin, where some of my oiliness comes from dehydration, while also tackling excess oil and build up. So while I don’t consider my skin tone ‘dull’ most of the time (except when anemia sinks in, but that’s a separate issue) it does struggle with the symptoms that many people with dull skin have.
What made the Naturally Radiant Glycolic Toner stand out in particular to me, was the similarities it has with the COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner, which I’ve reviewed and expressed a lot of love for in the past. As a Korean brand, COSRX isn’t particularly accessible, and import costs can make finding affordable and reliable sources difficult to find, so while I love buying and supporting Korean brands, I also want affordable and great alternatives that don’t cost more than I can budget, or just easier to get hold of. If you’ve ever been caught out waiting on packages to arrive, you’ll understand what I mean. The similarities that I picked up on were the claims and aims to “smooth[es], tones and brightens skin” with the use of glycolic acid as AHA, which the COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner also does. Seeing such a cheap alternative that I can pick up in-store that does similar things, I wanted to give this product a chance.
I tried to photograph the back of the bottle to show you the claims, instructions, etc, but the bottle is too slender to show all of the print, so let me work through it with you.
“Naturally Radiant Glycolic Toner is formulated with a unique energising complex and infused with Kiwi Fruit and Mulberry extracts to help revive skin’s radiance and even out skin tone. Highly concentrated in Glycolic Acid, a powerful Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), the refreshing tonic also refines pores, retextures the skin’s surface and smoothes fine lines, providing a brighter, healthier and more youthful complexion.”
So this really sets out the claims better than I did earlier. It’s because of the proactive aims, retexturing skin, refining pores, as two major examples, that I use this as a cleansing and toning step, as the first step in my morning routine. I do this so that my skin is both cleansed and toned ready for my serum and emulsion that follow. I’ve been using this quite with dedication as my only toner in my day time routine, but I intend to use this only on days that I haven’t showered – , as my shower routine is when I use a mask, gel cleanser and scrub, and found that using this toner directly after all these steps was too much for my skin. My typical routine is that I shower every other day, so my adjusted routine would be that I use this toner every other day. I think this will make a positive difference for my skin, and I’ll discuss my reasoning for this decision in more detail later.
The back of the bottle also highlights in more detail some key ingredients in this product which include:
“Glycolic Acid is an effective Alpha Hydroxy Acid which retextures the skin’s surface, helping to fade pigment irregularities and smooth fine lines and wrinkles for a brighter, more youthful complexion.
Kiwi Fruit extract is a rich source of Vitamin C, which is renowned for its remarkable ability to help brighten and even out skin tone, while also providing antioxidant protection against free radicals.
Mulberry Fruit extract has naturally strong brightening properties, which can help to reduce discolouration and even out skin tone.”
While these three ingredients definitely deserve to stand out, I think it’s also worth noting that lotus and lemon extracts are also low on the ingredient list but worth paying attention to.
Application of the product is relatively straightforward: pour onto a cotton pad and wipe gently over the skin. The packaging has a twist cap, which has a satisfying give when twisting open and closed, as well as proving quite sturdy from the numerous times I’ve knocked the bottle off my desk or my stand. The hole that dispenses the product is large enough to dispense large amounts of the toner, but not so much so that it’s difficult to control how much.
As for the formula itself, I find it’s definitely on the stronger side as far as AHAs go, from my experience. It’s because of the strength of the toner that I have adjusted my day time skincare routine to only use it on days that I haven’t done previous cleansing or mask steps. I described this in detail earlier, but to summarise, this will be days that I don’t shower. When I use this product following my shower routine – so the use of masks, cleanser and facial scrub, I find that this toner steps over the line to be slightly irritating for my skin. However, on other days where it’s the first step in my routine, this works really well in my skincare routine, and helps prepare my skin for my other skincare products.
Compared to the COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner, that I referred to earlier, I find this to feel stronger on the skin, which is why it sits in my day time routine. I don’t consider this to be a better or worse factor when comparing the two products, however it does influence where each product sits in my skincare routine. Because it’s a stronger formulation, I prefer to use this as part of my day time routine to help refine my skin and clean away excess oil after sleeping. Whereas the COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner is more subtle and fits better with my night time routine where I use skincare products tailored for nourishing and treating the skin, as opposed to preparing my skin for my day-to-day routine. It works better because it cleanses my skin but is much less intense, and that’s what my skin needs for my night time routine.
I think this is worth discussing because I find it important to consider similar skincare products not as direct rivals to each other, but how they fit your individual skincare needs. The duality of “this product is better than this product” doesn’t really fit with my mindset when I approach skincare products so I don’t want to make a comment deciding which one is better than the other. I like both a lot, but for different reasons and for different circumstances.
Overall, I am pretty happy with this product. Aside from irritation post-shower routine, this product works nicely with my skin and the irritation is something I can work around. I suggest this if you don’t have hyper-sensitive skin. My skin is mildly sensitive but didn’t find this to be too much except where I’ve described already.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post, it really means a lot to me. I hope you are having a wonderful day, and until I speak with you again, take care, and I hope you are happy and healthy.