Alpha-H Liquid Gold Exfoliating Treatment with 5% Glycolic Acid Review
After trying it for 10 weeks, I can vouch that the skin purge is brutal but the long-term results are worth the wait.
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The long-term results make the painful skin purge worth it.
What we liked
- Increases brightness and hydration
- Reduces signs of ageing and sun damage
- Unique and powerful formula
What we didn't like
- Painful skin purge
- Results aren't immediate
As a scroll through the beauty corners on Instagram and TikTok will tell you, Alpha-H is a much-loved skincare brand. There are many products to choose from but the Liquid Gold is arguably the cult fave. This product promises to fast-track the skin's renewal process to improve brightness and tone, reduce fine lines and wrinkles and minimise signs of sun damage. From sensitive to normal, Liquid Gold is suitable for all skin types and is especially kind to mature skin (aka 25+).
I was challenged to trial Liquid Gold 3 times a week for 3 consecutive weeks. But after reading that it can take 1 or 2 months for glycolic acid to really get into action, I decided to extend the test period and try it for 10 weeks instead.
What does it do?
Before we get into the review, here's the lowdown on how this "miracle product" works. Liquid Gold combines the power of 5% glycolic acid with a low 2.8-3.0 pH delivery system. This temporarily compromises the skin barrier to allow active ingredients to reach a deeper layer of skin. It gently exfoliates to remove dead skin and clogged pores, which evens tone and will help your skin shine bright like a diamond. It also stimulates collagen production, hydration and moisture retention to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. If you have blemishes, freckles or other signs of sun damage, you'll be glad to hear that the Liquid Gold also reduces signs of pigmentation too.
So how do you use it? After cleansing, apply 5 drops of the toner to a cotton pad and apply to your face, neck and décolletage. It's normal to feel a tingling sensation when you use glycolic acid, so don't stress if your skin starts feeling like it's slightly on fire. It's best to use Liquid Gold in the evenings and follow up with SPF in the morning.
When your skin is touch-dry, you can follow up with a serum or moisturiser. If you want an intensive treatment, it's best to not apply any extra skincare and let the Liquid Gold work its magic solo. You can technically use Liquid Gold every day if you want, but it's recommended to ease in by using it 3 times a week. I actually pulled it back to 2 times a week, which I'll explain in the next part.
Does it work?
As a bit of context, I have relatively dry and semi-sensitive skin. I've also never used glycolic acid before. I started using Liquid Gold 3 times a week. Usually I would follow it up with the Alpha-H Liquid Gold Firming Eye Cream. I was also regularly cleansing with the Alpha-H Balancing Cleanser and moisturising with the Liquid Gold 24 Hour Moisture Repair Cream. Plus, I was using the Liquid Gold Ultimate Perfecting Mask once a week.
It takes 1 or 2 months to see visible signs of glycolic acid doing its thang, but lemme tell you that the purge arrived much sooner. As the pH temporarily breaks down the skin barrier to help the ingredients work deeper and glycolic acid is an intense active ingredient, it's normal for your skin to have a little freak out. My skin clearly wasn't used to this chemical combo and by week 2 I was experiencing the worst inflammation and most painful pimples I've ever had. This happened consistently for around 6 weeks, which is why I decided to extend my test period to give Liquid Gold the chance to prove itself beyond the first 3 weeks.
Around 6 weeks in, the purge wasn't slowing down so I decided to pull back and use Liquid Gold twice a week. I also avoided applying it to really sensitive areas (especially around the corner of my nose and above my upper lip), as these areas were most prone to painful inflammation and pimples. Although the purge was brutal, it was worth the wait. By week 7, the breakouts cooled their jets and my skin slowly started recovering. The first thing I noticed was that my previously dull skin is looking much brighter and more even. My skin is sprinkled with freckles and signs of sun damage, which I also noticed had faded in appearance within 2 months of using Liquid Gold. While they haven't disappeared, my pesky frown lines and forehead wrinkles also appear less severe.
The Liquid Gold toner delivered on its promises, but it's a good reminder that patience is a virtue. You'd be hard pressed to find a product that ticks the same boxes as Liquid Gold. You may experience some purging at first, but I recommend waiting it out and tailoring the Liquid Gold experience to suit you before throwing in the towel. The end results are absolutely worth it.
Should you buy it?
- Buy it if: You're 25+ and looking for long-term benefits.
- Don't buy it if: You're expecting a quick fix.
Pricing and availability
Where to buy
Why you can trust us
Our editorial team reviews hundreds of beauty products, and each reviewer reflects on their own personal experiences when trying out a product. Sally McMullen used Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid consistently for 10 weeks.
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