Pixi Retinol Tonic in-depth Review

Pixi Retinol Tonic

The Pixi Glow tonic has been a cult favourite for a while now. But did you know that Pixi also sells different powerhouse tonics? Where their Glow Tonic is focussed on brightening, toning and conditioning of your skin, the Pixi Retinol Tonic focusses on anti-ageing by boosting collagen and promoting skin renewal. (ps: They also sell the variation Rose, vitamin C and Milky now!).

And ladies and gentleman, skin renewal will help with brightening your skin tone and reducing your acne. I am a big fan of the Pixi Retinol Tonic and I will tell you why!

The claims

I bought my Pixi Retinol tonic at Cultbeauty.com. And on the Cultbeauty website it states:

Do you suffer from acne, dull and uneven skin, pigmentation or just want to defy ageing? A derivative of vitamin A, retinol promotes skin renewal, brightens skin tone, reduces acne and boosts collagen production – making Pixi’s Retinol Tonic the perfect powerhouse treatment. Staring jasmine flower (to help soothe, repair and protect) and peptides (to help boost collagen production) this zero-to-low irritation tonic will soften fine lines and revitalise skin without any of the irritation commonly caused by retinol use.

Sounds good right? And just some extra info, they’ve used so-called time-released retinol. Which basically means that the retinol is in some sort of microscopic encapsulation which will “burst” open during the day. Don’t worry, you don’t see/feel/hear or notice anything of this. But instead of releasing all of the retinol at once, which might be too much to absorb for your skin it releases the goodies over a prolonged time. Which makes it more effective.
I haven’t found much evidence that this is truly much better when it comes to retinol, but it is still a cool formula, right?


A toner is used after cleansing your face and before you start moisturizing or treatments. What I found with this Pixi Retinol Tonic is that I did not have the need to quickly moisturize because my skin would otherwise be too dry or too naked almost. But believe me when I say that many times I forgot to moisturize with this toner! It just leaves my skin nice and plump and soft! Exactly how you would want it to be.


So the main attraction of the Pixi Retinol Tonic is, of course, the Retinol. Which I’ll elaborate a bit more on. I will be posting a Youtube video on Retinol in skincare as well pretty soon! So I will link it when it’s up.

What is Retinol?

So to make it clear, there are four main Vitamin A derivatives, retinol is one of them. All the derivatives have to be converted by the skin into Retinoic Acid, the most potent form of Vitamin A that is recognised and utilised by the cells. The general rule regarding Vitamin A derivatives is; the longer or slower the conversion process is, the less potent and therefore less irritating the ingredient is for the skin.

The most well-known Vitamin A derivative, Retinol is relatively pure and is added to serums or creams in varying concentrations to offer options for different tolerances. The lower the concentration, the less irritating it is for the skin. The conversion process into Retinoic Acid isn’t too slow so it gets to work quickly, plus it’s safe to use long term making it a great option for problematic skins. BUT remember to always, ALWAYS wear a sunscreen during the day.

All the other ingredients are elaborated below, if you are not interested, scroll on down and see my final opinion!

The fancy-sounding stuff:
♦ Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower/Leaf Extract = skin conditioning and/or for fragrance
♦ Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract = skin conditioning and/or for fragrance
 Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Extract = in higher doses this can irritate the skin
♦ Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract = grapeseed oil, which is a strong antioxidant and emollient
 Rosemarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Water = used as an antimicrobial agent, antioxidant and as a skin conditioning ingredient. This also has a scent to it.
♦ Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis Flower Extract = skin conditioning
♦ Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Flower Extract = soothes skin and helps absorb ingredients into the skin.

The very good guys
♦ Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate = a form vitamin C, an antioxidant that is effective for calming skin
♦ Sodium Hyaluronate = the salt form of hyaluronic acid which is believed to be even more potent! Restores the suppleness of the skin.
♦ Palmitoyl Tripeptide-27 = a peptide that has some similar properties as retinol.
♦ Panthenol = humectant (reduces the loss of moisture)
 Glycerin = Humectant.

The Emollients:
♦ Lecithin = emollient that can restore your skin.
♦ PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil = emollient
♦ Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride = Emollient and thickener, often made from coconut or palm kernel oils
♦ PEG-8 = a gentle emollient (PEG stands for Polyethylene Glycol) 

The Binders/Stabilizers:
♦ Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin = stabilizer
♦ Sodium Acrylates Copolymer = binder

Preservatives/PH adjusters
♦ Ethylhexylglycerin = mostly used as a preservative
♦ Sodium Citrate = PH controller with some antioxidant and preservative properties.
♦ Phenoxyethanol = Preservative
♦ Citric Acid = used as a PH adjuster

And things I could not really categorize:
 Propanediol = helps with the absorption of ingredients.
♦ Disodium EDTA = improves the efficiency of preservatives and antioxidants.
♦ Methyl Gluceth-20 = softens skin
 Aqua = Water
♦ Polysorbate 20 = cleansing agent

Yay or Nay?

I have used the Pixi Retinol Tonic for almost 4 months now, and that’s about as long as that little bottle will take you, but I already have the full size in my collection. I actually think that my skin has benefitted from using this toner because before I used this I would often get dry lines in my forehead. Like as if it wrinkled, but it is mostly due to the fact that my skin is just dried out or something. And now nothing like that anymore!
Also, my foundation would sometimes be weird and caky between my brows because somehow I have dry skin there. And in the last few months that has not happened once!
And I’m blaming it on this Pixi Retinol Tonic… Oh, and the price is also very doable, as it will last you for a while! Big YAY for me.


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