Last week I shared my thoughts on most of the Glossier range, but I wanted to separate my review of their newest launch, Solution, into its own post. This is mostly because there’s a lot of buzz about the product going around online right now (and not just the good kind). I would go so far as to say that it’s the most divisive product Glossier has ever released, which I’ll talk more about later.
What is it?
First, I want to get to my experience with the product. Solution is meant to be Glossier’s first foray into “clinical” skincare and has been advertised as nothing short of a miracle worker for the skin. It essentially takes place of the toner step in your skincare routine, even though Glossier doesn’t consider it an toner, instead they call it a “face exfoliator and skin perfector”.
What’s in it?
Solution contains a 10% blend of Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA), and Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) to exfoliate the skin through chemical exfoliation. The AHAs are made up of lactic acid and glycolic acid, the BHA is salicylic acid, and the PHA is gluconolactone. If you’re a savvy skincare shopper you’ve probably heard of AHAs and BHAs, but PHAs were completely new to me. In a nutshell, PHAs are just another acid that generally causes less irritation due to the slightly larger molecular structure. If you want to get the full scoop on PHAs I found this article on The Klog really helpful. In addition to the acids, there’s also a mix of aloe, glycerin, and niacinamide to calm and hydrate the skin.
How do you use it?
Glossier recommends that you use Solution once a day either in the morning or at night. For the sake of testing Glossier’s claim that it “transforms skin in four weeks”, I’ve been using it every night for the past four weeks (which is a lot more exfoliation that I would normally do). I was a little wary of trying this because last time I got a facial the esthetician told me my skin was dehydrated and that I should only exfoliate once a week. I use it right after cleansing and before I apply any serums or oils. I like to take a minute to let it soak into the skin before carrying on with the rest of my routine.
Do I like it?
In short, yes. I’ve actually been happy with the results I’ve seen so far. I felt the immediate benefit the morning after applying it. Here’s what I wrote in my notes:
“Skin is looking immediately brighter and feels smooth. I think it's fading my acne scars (at least when I wake up in the morning they look good), but hoping for more progress on that in the coming weeks. Not clearing active breakouts as quickly as I thought, but overall super excited about the product.”
Considering I didn’t have an immediate reaction, I carried on. I made another note between weeks two and three that said:
“Skin is starting to look noticeably different. Pores around the nose and cheeks are visibly reduced. Breakouts that started when I began using Solution are gone and the marks are fading.”
This gave me hope that maybe Solution would be the answer to healing my acne scarring. Now that I’m a full four weeks in I can share the results of my experiment.
From left to right: My skin before using Solution, 1 week into using Solution every day, & 4 weeks after using Solution every day.
It's not super evident in the photos, but I really do feel like my skin looks more radiant. I don’t think it faded my acne scars too much though, but I think they look marginally better. What impressed me the most is that my skin never felt dried out from the product. Normally any acne-targeted product dries out my skin to the point that it feels tight and flaky, but somehow Solution never did that so it gets a thumbs up from me. Plus, I know it’s not all about the packaging, but not only is it a pretty sparkly pink bottle, the pump is perfect. It’s hygienic and easy to use. I’m probably going to cut back my usage to once or twice a week just because I don’t think my skin really needs that much exfoliation.
So why do people hate it?
The initial rave reviews from die-hard fans of the brand and Glossier themselves have died out only to be replaced by skepticism. This scathing review from beloved blogger and skincare expert, Caroline Hirons, seemingly has a lot of bloggers scared to try Solution and honestly I would be too if I hadn’t already tried it for a few weeks before reading her review. The main critique Caroline makes is about the unusually high amount of sodium hydroxide, which creates an exothermic reaction on the skin as well as a drying effect. Her other main criticism is the use of fragrance (a known skin irritant) to disguise the scent of the acids when so many consumers are looking for fragrance-free products now. I’ve also seen countless people claim that Solution has caused them to breakout even more than usual and that their skin has been extremely irritated by the product. Unfortunately, it sounds like trying Solution is somewhat of a gamble.
I personally haven’t had anything negative to report about Solution, but it’s always a good idea to do your research. Of course, skincare is such a personal thing that what works for one person may not work for another. If you've tried Solution let me know! I'm curious to see how it works for other people.