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Do you know the difference between a toner and a tonic? I don´t, or at least I didn´t until I started writing my pixi Vitamin C Tonic Review.
To be fair, I still think they are different names for the same thing, as it often happens in skin care, but that might just be cynic me. I´ll let you decide for yourself while I share my findings with you.
According my non-scientific and not peer-reviewed findings a toner is designed to restore skin pH and/ or remove leftover traces of cleanser and makeup, while a tonic serves a purpose like hydration, exfoliation or delivering of antioxidants.
Another explanation I found is that tonics are the lighter versions of toners, but it gets a little complicated if you then throw essences in the mix (any K-Beauty experts that can help me out here?), but bottom line is that both are liquid formulas that need to be applied after cleansing and before your serum.
And I mean „need to be applied“ in a very loose sense, because the question whether or not we do really NEED a toner/tonic is one that you have to answer for yourself too.
But circling back to the pixi Vitamin C Tonic that I want to review now: It certainly has antioxidants to deliver. What else? Let´s see.
What the pixi Vitamin C Tonic claims:
Vitamin C has potent antioxidant power, promotes healthy collagen production and is known to boost skin luminosity. Probiotics help fortify skin’s barrier while willow bark & fruit extracts gently exfoliate. Alcohol free and great for all skin types.
Some facts about the pixi Vitamin C Tonic
Price and Size:
There are two different versions available, a small size with 100 ml (15 $ on the website here) and a bigger size with 250 ml ( 29 $ on the website here). The bottle is yellow, the liquid is clear and the packaging is easy to use.
Texture and scent:
The liquid behaves like water and has the signature sweet citrus scent of the pixi Vitamin C line. It did not sting my skin, but I would not advise using it near your eyes.
It has a pH of 5 (I don’t usually pH test my skincare products, but many of you wanted to know), so it should be able to rebalance your skins pH after cleansing.
How to use the pixi Vitamin C Tonic:
You apply it after cleansing, morning and/ or night. Following up with what I wrote in the introduction, there are two different ways to apply it. Should you want it to get rid of residue dirt and makeup, I´d recommend using it on a cotton pad. Should you want to rebalance and hydrate your skin and deliver active ingredients, I´d pour it into my hands and pat it on my skin.
I prefer it poured into my palms and patted in in the mornings, as I find it to be refreshing and want the antioxidant effect of the Vitamin C throughout the day.
It does not leave a film or sticky residue, absorbs quickly and plays well with anything I put on top.
Ingredients of the pixi Vitamin C Tonic:
- Propanediol: Humectant, penetration enhancer
- Glycerin: Humectant
- Aloe Barbadensis Juice: Antiinflammatory, soothing
- Ascorbic Acid: Vitamin C, reduces hyperpigmentation, important for collagen production, antioxidant
- Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract: Green tea extract, antioxidant, antiinflammatory
- Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract: Source of beta carotene and Vitamin A
- Beta Carotene: Antioxidant, precursor of Vitamin A
- Ferulic Acid: antioxidant, known for stabilizing other antioxidants like Vitamin C, thus enhancing their efficacy
- Vitamin E (Tocopherol): Antioxidant, reduces hyperpigmentation and improves skins elasticity
- Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil: antioxidant, plant extract
- Microcitrus Australis Fruit Extract: natural source of Vitamin C
- Microcitrus Australasica Fruit Extract: natural source of Vitamin C
- Citrus Glauca (Desert Lime) Fruit Extract: rich in antioxidants
- Caffeine: Antioxidant, reduces puffiness due to diuretic effect, tightening
- Sodium Hyaluronate: Hydrating, smaller form of hyaluronic acid with deeper penetration
- Leucostonoc (Radish Root) ferment filtrate: Adstringent, preservative
- Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride: Occlusive
- Soybean (Glycine Soja) Oil: Rich in Vitamin E, B complex and linoleic acid
- Phospholipids: Part of cellular membrane, repairs skins barrier
- Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Water: mainly used for fragrance purposes
- Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Extract: usually used as fragrance, potentially irritant
- Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract: usually used as fragrance, potentially irritant
- Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Fruit Extract: usually used as fragrance, potentially irritant
- Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract: usually used as fragrance, potentially irritant
- Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Extract: Cooling
- Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Extract: plant extract, migh be antiseptic
- Citrus Junos Peel Extract: usually used as fragrance, potentially irritant
- PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil: Emulsifying
- Sodium Benzoate: Preservative
- Potassium Sorbate: Preservative
- Citric Acid: AHA/pH adjuster
- Disodium EDTA: Binding Agent
- Phenoxyethanol: Preservative
- Ethylhexylglycerin: Preservative
- Sodium Citrate: pH adjuster
- Sodium Hydroxide: pH adjuster
As the name would suggest, Vitamin C as in Ascorbic Acid is in the upper third of the ingredient list (the serum probably has a higher concentration though) and similar to the other products from that line it contains Ferulic Acid and Vitamin E for additional antioxidant effects and Vitamin C stabilization.
Fermented ingredients, beta-carotene which is an antioxidant as well, humectants and then, another thing that makes me reach for it in my morning routine: Caffeine. Caffeine has the ability to depuff your skin, works as antioxidant and can reduce redness through vasoconstriction, which means that it reduces the diameter of enlarged blood vessels. How strong that effect is if you suffer from severe redness I cannot tell, but I feels as if it makes my skin appear more even.
Again, this formula contains a lot of citrus and other plant extracts that are the reason for the delicious scent and might offer some skin care benefits, but might also be irritating to sensitive skins, so make sure to patch test first.
How does the pixi Vitamin C Tonic compare to
pixi Glow Tonic
This famous pixi Tonic has a similar goal, bright and even skin, but goes a different route: It is a (very gentle) chemical exfoliant.
You could totally use both, although I wouldn’t recommend doing it simultaneously. The Vitamin C Tonic is better for the mornings, the Glow Tonic for your evening routine. If you had to pick just one, I´d probably go for the Glow Tonic if you have no other chemical exfoliant in your routine.
pixi Vitamin C Serum
From the same line and with similar ingredients (but lacking the Caffeine), the serum is probably the more potent one in terms of Vitamin C delivery. Serums are designed to do the heavy lifting in your skin care routine, so if you only have the budget for one, pick the serum.
If you can get both, use both, they work hand in hand for fresh, protected and bright skin.
Does the pixi Vitamin C Tonic live up to ist claims?
It does contain Vitamin C, which does indeed help with the things claimed. It is alcohol free, but I would not recommend it for all skin types (Want to know which skin type you are? Click here) Sensitive skin should stay clear.
Would I repurchase the pixi Vitamin C Tonic?
While the skincare community is still debating the necessity of a toner in general, I do enjoy the extra refreshing step in my routine, and this one is a great option.
Especially if you suffer from sun damage and uneven skin tone, the pixi Vitamin C Tonic will help make your skin appear brighter and more even as well as support collagen production.
Which skin type do I recommend the pixi Vitamin C Tonic to?
All skin types with the exception of sensitive skin that might react to the plant extracts, but especially oily skin, mature skin or sun damaged skin.