Skinstitut Glycolic Scrub 14% - review


I received this product as a GWP from Adore Beauty ages ago, and although I've had it for almost a year now, it's only been in the last three months that I've started using it more frequently.

I was looking forward to trying it because Skinstitut has some rave reviews online, and the brand's products aren't super expensive - particularly because they're often available on sale - so it's a brand I've wanted to explore for some time.

Indeed, since trying this scrub and enjoying it, I've since stacked up a number of other Skinstitut products to try: whenever there's been a good sale or GWP from Adore Beauty, I've snuck in a purchase or two - so you'll soon be hearing from me about a bundle of other things from the range. While it's hard for me to imagine that anyone could knock out Alpha-H from my top spot when it comes to affordable skincare that works, I'm always up for trying new things so we'll see!

Skinstitut claims/product details:
  • A deep and invigorating scrub, perfect for the face and body
  • Primary ingredients are glycolic acid, jojoba beads and tea tree oil
  • Glycolic acid provides effective chemical exfoliation, aided by physical, biodegradable jojoba beads
  • Tea tree oil has long been used for its anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, which assist in the treatment of acne and breakouts
  • Allows for controlled skin exfoliation for a smoother, brighter complexion
  • Repairs and strengthens impaired skin, and refreshes and rebalances problematic skin  
  • A non-dehydrating product, this scrub is great for acne-prone and congested skin
  • Free from microbeads
  • To use: after cleansing, squeeze a pea sized amount onto wet hands and apply to your face in a circular motion for 30 seconds; rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat dry
  • RRP $30.15 AUD for 200ml (see eg Adore Beauty)


This is a good scrub and I'm enjoying it, and it's one I recommend if you're after something that works, that isn't too abrasive, and that doesn't cost the earth.

It's a gel/cream in texture and it contains little scrubby matter that isn't too harsh on the skin but still offers a good polish without irritation. It does have a slight scent that reminds me a little of hairspray, but I don't think it's super offensive or unnatural so it doesn't bother me.

The first thing I noticed when I used this was that the grains somehow feel soft, as though there's some 'give' to them. Some exfoliants can feel too rough or scratchy when you massage them in, but this doesn't so that's something to keep in mind if you prefer a gentler scrub.

The second thing I noticed was that this polishes the skin so well that my face feels beautifully smooth and resurfaced after use - but not so much that I can't use it often on my dry, sensitive skin. It's a product that treads the right balance between being gentle but still effective, and in my experience, products like that aren't so easy to find.

Indeed, the first few times I used this, I couldn't believe that I hadn't found it before because I thought it was one of the best scrubs I'd tried in years, and while I still think it's very good, I don't find it quite as amazing these days - worth mentioning, because good products work but excellent ones stick around in your stash for years. This one's good, but I don't think it's a keeper for me because I do still prefer Alpha-H's Gentle Daily Exfoliant (reviewed here) and Kate Somerville's ExfoliKate (reviewed here).

On the claims: I do think this gives a good, invigorating scrub; I do think it's helped a little with the breakouts I've been getting post-partum (damn hormonal changes); and I do think it gives me a smoother, brighter complexion.

I also find that it's gentle enough for me to use every second day without 'upsetting' my skin, and if you have oily/congested skin, you may even be able to use it more often without issue.

So in sum, I think this is a great little scrub - particularly considering you can buy it for $30 and get a whopping 200ml of product - but it's probably not one I would buy, purely because I already have HG scrubs and this one doesn't wow me quite as much.

A great product.

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