Review: Geek & Gorgeous – Cheer Up Exfoliating Liquid (5% Mandelic Acid + 1% BHA)

Where to purchase: Available on the Geek & Gorgeous Website: LINK

Price: £24

Volume: 100ml (There is also a 30ml Version to sample)

Made in: Hungary

What is it?: A Medium-Strong Exfoliating Liquid aimed at Combination Skins. Contains 6% Mandelic Acid (an AHA) + 1% BHA to decongest the skin and improve the skin’s texture.

Brand Description: A lightweight, fast-absorbing + non-drying exfoliating liquid. This is meant to target Combination skins both gently yet effectively. Mandelic Acid + Salicylic Acid works inside the pores and the surface of the skin while being anti-inflammatory + antibacterial.

Supposedly Good for: Combination + Problem-prone Skins. This is also meant to be gentle enough to be used on redness-prone and sensitive skins (I would agree as I have both!).

What I think: I would agree. My skin is Combo and I think this is suitable. I am also prone to blackheads + congestion and this has been a great supplement to a routine. I will say however, I’m not quite sure about acneic skin and skins with open sores (i.e. with active acne) – I’m not sure if this would sting.

What does it do: (With continuous use) – this product works to reduce extra sebum product, reduce blackheads, help with pimples and PIH.

My Thoughts: Don’t expect this product to work overnight or to product really incredible results in no time. It is gentle and has low % of acids, so therefore it takes time to see results and requires more uses a week i.e. every other day or every day instead of 1-2 times a week. However I prefer gentle exfoliation over strong hits of acids a week.

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pH: 3.2-3.6

Vegan?: Yes

Cruelty Free?: Yes

Packaging: Plastic bottle with an easy-dispense lid which comes with a flip-top as well as a screw-top cap. So this is secure for travel.

Shelf-life (How long this lasts): If unopened, this lasts 2 years from the date it was made. If opened, this lasts 8 months after opening.

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Directions: Ideally meant to be used as a toner straight after cleansing either with a cotton pad or tapping in with the fingers (avoid round the eyes) – (From the G&G Website). Please Check the Website HERE for warnings. Depending on the skin’s tolerance levels, this can be used every other day to twice a day (I would only use this once a day personally, and G&G state that once a day use is ideal). Wait until the product is fully absorbed before moving on. A serum and/or moisturiser can be used afterwards.

How I use it: I initially used this once every 2 days and have now been able to use this every day. If I’m using a retinoid or another type of exfoliating product, I will alternate with this. Out of all the times I’ve used this product, it hasn’t stung or burned my skin as I really try to limit my exfoliation to what my skin can tolerate. I use this as a toner, so I either swipe with a cotton pad or I apply with my fingers. I do sometimes use my Cosrx CICA pads first as that can remove excess dirt and debris before using this product (so I can apply onto clean skin).

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Key Ingredients: 5% Mandelic Acid (comes from almonds. It’s gentle and antibacterial. Exfoliates the surface of the skin + can help fight pimples + reduce PIH) + 1 % Salicylic Acid (helps blackheads + enlarged pores to remove dead skin cells in the pores). This also contains Sarcosine (amino acid derivative) that supposedly helps with enlarged pores and balance the skin’s sebum production (without drying out the skin).

This also contains Xylitylglucoside + Anhydroxylitol + Xylitol which are sugar humectants, to improve the skin’s barrier and increase the hydration of the skin.

Full Ingredients: Water, Propanediol, Mandelic Acid, Salicylic Acid,  Xylitylglucoside, Anhydroxylitol, Xylitol, Sarcosine,  Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Glucose,  Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol

NOTE: The Incidecoder have a full ingredient breakdown HERE

Overall: I like the simplicity of the formula and I like that Sarcosine was added to basically help the acids in terms of balance the skin’s sebum production and help with pores. The addition of the sugars is a nice touch to try and ensure that the skin doesn’t get dry/dries out like another toner HERE.

Texture:

  • As you can see, this has a typical watery texture. It’s not sticky, tacky, oily or greasy and doesn’t leave my skin looking shiny. I am even able to use this down the neck (and my neck doesn’t get itchy).
  • It doesn’t take long for this to absorb either, and it’s easy to spread this along the skin. The same texture as water.
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See how it just runs down the hand?

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So as you can see, this at first provides that watery shine to the skin, but it doesn’t take long for this to start absorbing into the skin. As G&G have directed, I like to brush my teeth while I wait for this product to sink in and fully dry down, then I can move on with the rest of my routine. It’s not oily, sticky or difficult to layer as it’s just water.

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Fragrance?: No added fragrance / Essential Oils – Just has a regular chemical scent! I like exfoliating acids in particular not having added fragrance etc, as that can increase irritation when the skin is already being slightly irritated by acids.

Good Under Makeup?: Yes this is just like watery so it’s absolutely fine under makeup. But I wouldn’t use exfoliating acids before makeup anyway.

How long have I been using this?: I will be using until completion. It’s taken me 2-3 months to get 3/4 down the bottle and I’ve been using this every other PM.

The Effect?: Definitely improved the look of my blackheads (with continued use as I didn’t start to see a difference until a month into using) and overall helped the texture of my skin. I will continue to use this for my sensitive skin.

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£2.00

What I like:

  • Lightweight, Watery Texture
  • Didn’t irritate my skin
  • Fast-absorbing
  • I like that it went for a more gentle AHA (more tolerable)
  • I like the addition of BHA so this both helps to de-congest pores and improve the texture of the skin
  • I like the addition of sugar-humectants to reduce the chances of this drying out the skin as well as sarcosine to help improve the look of blackheads and balance the skin’s oil production.
  • I like the sturdy packaging and the applicator
  • Unscented / unfragranced

What I don’t like:

  • Takes longer to see results because of the more gentle AHA and because of both the 1% BHA (usually products are 2% BHA) and the 6% Mandelic (Usually it’s 10%)
  • Because it’s gentle, this does need to be used quite frequently to both get results and to keep the results (i.e. can’t be like a peel where it’s used once or twice a week), I have to use this either every night or every other night.
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Overall Rating and Conclusion: 4/5 – I really like this product. I feel like it was made for me as I have problem-prone, red (on the cheeks) skin and am reactive to acids. I’m so shocked that it hasn’t stung or irritated the skin, as other products containing Mandelic acid have (HERE). I like how easy this is to use i.e. no layering issues, it’s not oily or greasy and has helped with congestion. But I will say that I have had to continuously use this as this is so gentle that I can’t get away with using this once a week and expecting results. I have had to work up my tolerance so now I can use it every night, and maintain the results. I think this is a great exfoliating toner for those who are sensitive to acids but need to improve the look of their blackheads/pores (and are willing to use this continuously and wait at least a month to start to see results).

Would I repurchase?: Yes I would! In fact I have another in the cupboard for once I’ve completed this. I think this is a great skin maintainer and is gentle enough for reactive skins.

Dupe?: I haven’t tried or seen a product that is both liquid, contains Mandelic acid and BHA together while containing them at gentler % so as not to aggravate the skin. I’ve reviewed the The Wishtrend 10% Mandelic Acid Prep Water (contains Mandelic Acid at 10% so it stings a lot more, and doesn’t contain BHA) HERE.

My Skin Type: I am acne prone and have slightly dehydrated combo skin. My skin is usually tight where the cheeks and eye area is and the outer parts of my face. My T zone is oily. My skin isn’t a fan of thick/heavy formulas so I opt for lightweight formulas to prevent it from clogging up. My skin doesn’t like essential oils either and I try to avoid fragrance when I can.

Disclaimer: I am a skincare enthusiast and not a skin expert. I am not qualified to give out dermatological advice. This type of advice should only be given by a medical practitioner. Upon trying / using any of the reviewed products on the blog, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings and please seek medical advice if needed.

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One thought on “Review: Geek & Gorgeous – Cheer Up Exfoliating Liquid (5% Mandelic Acid + 1% BHA)

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