Glow, Rose or Retinol? Which Pixi Tonic Is Best For You? + Giveaway

Glow, Rose or Retinol? Which Pixi Tonic Is Best For You? + Giveaway

If you are seeing this post on your feed again… sorry, some idiot (I call her Rachael) managed to switch off comments on her blog for 48 hours (explains the quietness!) and it meant no one could enter this giveaway. So here it is, again!

Pixi’s Glow Tonic has dominated the world of Glycolic acids for many years and has become a proper cult product to thousands. Over the past year Pixi have expanded on their range to include two new tonics – Rose and Retinol (they’ve also just launched a Vitamin C one, which I’m yet to get my hands on!). They’re three very different toners for the skin, so today I thought we’d take a delve into these.

About twelve weeks ago I was kindly sent the mini travel versions of these three from Pixi – funnily the week before I had gone out and purchased the large sizes of them all and had already cracked them open and had been using them, and I was kindly also sent a huge personalised bottle of Glow Tonic, so I’m stocked up for the foreseeable! So at the end I’ve decided as a January treat to you all do a giveaway with the travel sized bottles, don’t skip to the end though – you’ll need to read first!

So, what is a Skin Tonic?

A Tonic in other words is a toner, I tend to use toners just before bed as part of my evening skincare routine as my first step before I layer any moisturisers and serums on top of my skin. There are tonics which can be misted on but in the case of these Pixi Toners, they’re best applied with a cotton pad.

When I’m not so pushed for time in the morning (which is rarely at the moment), I don’t mind a gentle toner or tonic on my skin before makeup too. For the most part with these though I’ve used these on a cycle so I’ve been really to be able to tell which of these does what for me.

The packaging of these bottles are sleek, simple and fuss free – but very pretty, very Pixi to look at. I like that they’ve made the bottles of these tinted differently as it makes it easy to see if you have the full set which bottle is which to reach for, perfect for tired eyes in the morning or at night! The bottles are labelled in Pixi’s pretty pastel green with the contrasting copper writing, and capped off with the green caps too.

Unscrewing the lid reveals a simple capped spout which I much prefer to having a large open top, it makes it easy to not over do it by dispensing too much out. The plastic of these bottles are also pretty solid too – which again aids in “not accidentally squeezing it everywhere”. Once my skin is cleansed and dry, I pour out some toner onto the large oval cotton pad and swipe over my skin.

Pixi Glow Tonic

I couldn’t not begin with where it all began could I?

I’ve tried a fair few Glycolic Tonics over time and I’ve definitely got some I prefer more than others. Pixi I feel is a good introductory glycolic if you’ve never used one before. It’s glycolic content is quite mild at 5%, but not so much that you shouldn’t notice the benefits of what excellent work a Glycolic Acid can do for your skin.

Glycolic Acid is the lightest of the AHA family – it’s an exfoliating ingredient which encourages the skin to exfoliate naturally removing the top layer of the skin’s cells by breaking down the bonds which keep them together. It also targets and dries sebum (oil) so helps balance out oily skins too. With regular use it encourages smooth, soft, bright skin. It’s always recommended that SPFs are used in conjunctions with any acid based product as they can leave the skin more sensitive to sun damage.

I think many think of Glow Tonic as just a Glycolic Acid, but it’s other ingredients add further benefits to your skin. Ginseng improves circulation and promotes radiance, Witch Hazel is a great antibacterial ingredient which helps remove nasties from the skin, Aloe Vera soothes and hydrates,

To begin with a few years ago when I first tried this I kind of disliked Glow Tonic at all but I’ve built up tolerance over the years to something stronger than this so the effects I personally notice from this aren’t as quick and I need to use it more frequently – when I used this solidly every night for a month my skin was noticeably different, and I saw instant softness on every use.

I don’t recommend jumping straight in with something stronger, and this is a great option to start with and many are more than happy with this as their Glycolic of choice and don’t need anything stronger. Now however I have a deep fondness for this original bottle unlike others this is more than just a glycolic acid for me and other ingredients work wonders when you use it solidly.

Pixi Rose Tonic

Rose Tonic was released by Pixi in 2017 and this felt completely different to the Glycolic based toner of the past offering something new with this. I think the pink and green combo is so pretty first off, I love the really soft pink tone they added to this bottle.

Rose Tonic is great for people who just want a gentle, moisturising toner. This for me is the most refreshing of the three, it feels soothing on the skin and has been proven to work wonders on me if my skin has felt like it might be close to breaking out. I feel like my skin instantly feels better after this.

It’s main ingredients are of course Rose Water (Rose Hydrosol) which helps maintain a healthy skin pH balance and controls sebum production. Rose Water is also great for sensitive skins and is known for it’s anti-inflammatory qualities which aid in redness-reduction and calms breakouts. Rose Oil and Water are also known for being great on scaring (more on that in another post as I have a bunch of rose based products to try on my scars!).

Other ingredients include Aloe which is known for it’s soothing, repairing and moisturising qualities. Whilst Elderflower acts as an anti-inflammatory and an anti-oxidant which helps protect against sun damage.

Out of the three if I was to use one in the morning pre-makeup, this would be the one I opt for. I do think there are other options on the market which are maybe a little cheaper, but this product is about the experience for me, it’s soft rose scent, it’s gorgeous bottle make it’s ever-so-slightly-high price tag justifiable.

Pixi Retinol Tonic

The tonic which excites me the most is this one, and the newest from the bunch – the Retinol Tonic. If like me you’re a total newb to Retinol and have no idea where you’re starting, what the different percentages mean and are scared of hitting them too hard, this is like the beginners guide to retinol.

This describes itself as a Advanced Youth Preserving Toner, most of you I’m sure you’ll know has powerful anti-aging properties which can quite often be marketed as rolling back the clock on wrinkles. I’m a year from hitting 30 (despite the fact I’ll often claim I’m 5 years younger) and I’ve started making more conscious decisions about the ingredients in my skincare, but retinol, whilst I’ve tried the odd product, has completely scared me off.

Retinol works by boosting collagen production, meaning that plumpness is bought back into the skin and helps smooth out fine lies. Peptides within this help firm the skin too giving a more lifted appearance. In addition to these it contains Jasmine Flower (which adds a very light scent to the product, but don’t fear if you don’t like the scent of Jasmine), which helps heal the skin and balance the complexion.

This formula is made with encapsulated retinol (as opposed to regular retinol), which means that it delivers it’s secret powers to the skin differently and more effectively – from what I’ve read and understood it’s like a slow-release fertiliser, meaning when applied overnight it releases and works whilst you’re sleeping.

Retinol is a long term gain and you don’t see effects immediately – but after a month of using this solidly I can happily say that this does seem to have made slight differences to my skin. I don’t have loads of wrinkles, but I do feel like my skin feels plumper and slightly tighter. I’d love to see how it performed on a slightly older skin, I might even get my Mum a bottle as an experiment.

This is only recommended for use once a day and it’s far better used at night in my opinion, or applied on a day when you’re at home, makeup free. Quite often Retinol’s are more aggressive than this and this is suited for those who want to do something daily either on it’s own, or between other “heavy dose” applications. Just like Glycolic too it’s advised to make sure you are using extra levels of SPF to protect against damage.


I want to give everyone who has supported my blog and socials last year a chance to enter, so no matter where you follow me – you’ve got a chance to enter. There will be one winner randomly selected from all the entries, however you can up your chances by entering across the board! Giveaway runs until 23rd February (ending 11.59pm) and winner will be chosen at Random from all the entries and contacted via the winning platform entered from.


To enter via my blog you must be following me via WordPress, email or Bloglovin’.
Make sure it’s clear I know how to contact you if you win (e.g Bloglovin’ – make sure you leave a method of contacting you)
Leave me a comment tonic you’d like to try most at the bottom of this post.


Follow me on Twitter and RT this tweet.


Like my Facebook Page.
Like this post & leave a comment letting me know which item you’d like to try most


Follow me on Instagram.
Like this instagram post & leave a short comment letting me know which tonic you’d like to try most
Bonus entry for sharing on your stories and tagging my account @helplesswhilstdrying in it too

There’s not one of these that I don’t like and all work well for my skin. The two that provide the most noticeable differences in terms of effects are Retinol and Glow, but I do have a soft spot for Rose as I find it the most soothing and great for mornings. I find that they all go very far too, all three of these I’ve used for about a month each and I’d say that they’re roughly still 3/4 – 1/3 full. I also reviewed the Vitamin C one more recently which can be found here.

Have you tried any of these before? 

Pixi is widely available from the following places and are all at a standard price of £18 for 250ml and £10 for 100ml:
Marks and Spencer (currently have an offer on for a Free Rose mist when you buy 2 x Pixi Products, I love that mist!)
Boots here
ASOS here (they have a great deal on 3 travel size bottles for £20)
Cult Beauty Here
Pixi directly Here (this is a referral link which will give you £5 off your first purchase)

Post contains affiliate and referral links. Giveaway provided with products sent to me in PR, but purchased all of the full sizes with my own money previous to that arrival.


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Helpless Whilst Drying




  1. January 23, 2019 / 9:48 pm

    This is SUCH a useful post Rach, I had no ides what the difference was between all the different tonics! You are a skincare guru. Fab giveaway too, you’re so generous! These are some gorgeous photos as well xxxx

  2. January 23, 2019 / 11:53 pm

    Exciting giveaway! I love Pixi products. Glow is fab but i would really like to try Retinol! I was eyeing the Vitamin C in store today. I’ll save it for another day tho. Fingers crossed! xo

    • January 24, 2019 / 11:36 am

      It doesn’t seem to be out here anywhere yet other than Pixi from what I’ve seen – at least no where has it online yet! I’m definitely going to grab a bottle at some point, I’ve got to get closer to finishing these first though!

      • January 24, 2019 / 1:30 pm

        I saw it on the shelves in Shoppers Drug Mart (Canada)! Hopefully it’s out everywhere soon. That’s the problem though, too many other things to finish up first!

  3. January 24, 2019 / 1:56 am

    I don’t have a facebook 😔Can I still enter your giveaway?

  4. January 24, 2019 / 5:15 am

    I’ve been wanting to try Glow Tonic for awhile, after having finally warmed up to using toners and serums (took me forever to find ones that didn’t break me out). Now I am also interested in trying Rose Tonic, sounds like it would be lovely in the morning. Does it have a really strong rose scent? For whatever reason, I love the smell of roses in the garden, but cannot stand it when products are scented with it! I’m also excited to see that they’re doing a vitamin C tonic, I have found a vitamin C serum that I like but want to try some others in the future :]

    • January 24, 2019 / 11:35 am

      I am very fussy about rose scents, my parents own a garden rose company so if something’s not right – my nose knows! Most rose scents are overpowering, but this one is nice and gentle, not a whack in the face with a faux bouquet!
      I’m definitely going to try the Vitamin C range – I’ve heard that the tonic is really refreshing on the skin too!

      • January 24, 2019 / 4:12 pm

        Excellent, always hate it when a bad scent puts you off an otherwise good product! :]

  5. January 24, 2019 / 1:46 pm

    I’m obsessed with Pixi skincare but have only tried the original glow tonic so far! Great informative post x Sign me up for the giveaway babe <£

  6. January 24, 2019 / 3:24 pm

    I love that you explain each of the tonics. I think I would be most interested in trying the Retinol one.

  7. January 24, 2019 / 3:51 pm

    I would love to try the Glow Tonic! I’ve heard great things.

  8. January 25, 2019 / 1:08 am

    The Retinol Tonic sounds interesting! I’ve seen retinol creams and serums, but not toners!

  9. Emma
    January 25, 2019 / 6:58 pm

    Would love to try Retinol or Rose as already use and love Glow. Xx

  10. beautywithmei
    January 25, 2019 / 6:38 pm

    I’d love to try the rose tonic.. I’ve tried the glow tonic but I’m not sure it did much to me. Now I’m on p50 I think it would be too gentle but the rose one seems like it would be a gentle refreshing one for the morning!

  11. Colleen Boudreau (Collifornia)
    January 26, 2019 / 11:59 pm

    Follow on Bloglovin’: collifornia
    I’d like to try the Retinol Tonic!
    holliister at gmail dot com

  12. bilqees bano
    January 27, 2019 / 8:02 am

    I want to try The Glow Tonic .

  13. January 31, 2019 / 9:21 pm

    Rach I absolutely love these photos! The colours just really pop.
    I’ve got a bottle of glow tonic next on my to try list, but now I’m really desperate to try the retinol!

  14. Nikolina84
    February 4, 2019 / 9:50 am

    Following on bloglovin as Nikolina Vukelic and can be contacted by mail nikolina1812 @ 🙂
    I adore Pixi and have been using the Glow tonic for a while, but would love try their Retinol tonic now!

  15. February 13, 2019 / 8:52 pm

    Wow thanks for this generous giveaway ❤ So excited about the Retinol Tonic! 🙂
    Bloglovin: Coline T. / Facebook: Touil Ladja Coline / Instagram: coline_touil / Twitter: @colinetouil

  16. Chrystal
    April 9, 2021 / 7:09 pm

    I love the retinol tonic from Pixi! I have a sensitive skin and this product really works for me.

    • rachael
      April 9, 2021 / 9:20 pm

      That’s good to know!

  17. Grace
    April 16, 2021 / 2:37 pm

    Incorporating the Pixi Rose tonic into my skincare routine has been doing wonders for my skin.

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