Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner – Acid Toning Week Part 2

If you read Acid Toning Week Part 1 (if you haven’t, click here), you already know, my first acid toner was Alpha H Liquid Gold.
I saw results within two weeks, and I had tasted blood.

The queen of skincare, Caroline Hirons, recommends acid toning twice daily (of course depending on your skin type and concerns), and as much as I wanted to, I quickly figured out that using Alpha H twice daily would not only leave me broke, but would cause my skin to peel in a very unpleasant way.


Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner
Clarins Gentle Exfoliant


So on the hunt I went for a more gentle version. And I found the aptly named “Clarins Doux Exfoliant”, or “Gentle Exfoliant Brightening Toner” for those unfamiliar with french.


What Clarins claims

Clarins’ gentle exfoliating toner brightens, smoothes, and balances skin—for a radiant complexion. Tamarind extract rids skin of dry, flaky surface cells. White Nettle extract refines enlarged pores. Helps prevent the build-up of pore-clogging debris—encouraging cellular renewal and soft, healthy-looking skin.


Facts first

Clarins Gentle Exfoliator comes in a sleek bottle containing 125 ml. (For reference, I use it once daily and it lasts me about six months.)
It retails for 31,50 € at and is widely available.

When I started using it, I was quite frankly said, convinced it had been a big waste of money.
No stinging, no tight skin, I had the feeling it just couldn’t work, being as gentle as it is.
A look at the ingredient list eased my mind.



The “Doux Exfoliant” contains Glycolic Acid (number six on the ingredient list) and Salicylic Acid (number 13 on the ingredient list) as well as Tamarind Extract and White Nettle.

Tamarind is also known as “Indian date” and seems to be full of beneficial skincare ingredients, for example amino acids and Vitamin C and E. It is used for moisturizing, brightening and regenerating the skin.
White Nettle, containing high levels of phenol, which works as antioxidant, is known for her astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. You wouldn’t have guessed the anti-inflammatory if you ever happened to touch nettles, but they were used (externally) to counteract the inflammation caused by Gout or Rheumatoid Arthritis in the days before NSAIDs became common.

Just like in Alpha H, alcohol is number two on the ingredient list, so keep that in mind if you try to avoid it.


Does it live up to it´s claims?


It claims to be gentle, and it truly is. They advise you to use it twice a week, but I have been using it daily and noticed no adverse effects, no tightness, no redness whatsoever.
And even though it is this gentle, my hyper pigmentation fades quicker as opposed to just using the Alpha H in the evening.
Salicylic Acid is great for skin prone to breakouts, so having the two acids combined is really convenient.


Will I repurchase?


I am on my third bottle, and even though I prefer the Alpha H (you can feel it working), it has become a staple in my morning skincare routine.


Who would I recommend it to?


If you want to get into Acid Toning, this is the product to start with.
Up until now I have recommended it to my mother and my little sister for an acid toning trial.
My mothers skin is mature and a little on the drier side, but she didn’t experience any adverse effect and has been liking it so far.
My sisters skin on the other hand is juvenile, without acne or breakouts (oh, how I envied her during my mid-teens), but with hyper pigmentation, as she is an avid sun lover but not so keen on the sunscreen. I noticed improvement in her skin when she started using it, and a quick WhatsApp-Investigation while writing this post prompted an “Yes, it´s brilliant”.

If you are interested, but both products are too expensive for your taste, don’t worry, I have got you covered. A more budget friendly acid toner can be found here or here.

Have you tried acid toning yet?


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