Best Exfoliating Products – The Nip + Fab Exfoliate Glycolic Fix Day and Night Pads In-Depth Review and Ingredient Analyses – Do you really need both?

Removing the skin’s dead cells, aka exfoliating, has become a stable part of our skincare routine. Almost everyone understands and accepts the benefits of it, which include more even, softer and better looking skin, as well as better penetration and generally more effective usage of skincare products.

However, to this day, the most common method of exfoliating is with the usage of scrubs. Scrubs provide physical exfoliation by using the friction between beads and the skin’s dead cell’s to remove them. The process is highly effective but it can be considered harsh for the skin. Additionally, scrubs are loosing popularity also on the basis of environmental concerns, as most of them contain beads of plastic origin which do not dissolve or disintegrate in water. Although there have been some products now that use sugar or compounds that are coarse enough to cause exfoliation, but at the same time also dissolve in water, the method of action, physical exfoliation, is still considered harsh for the skin, with some even explaining that such procedures can potentially cause micro-tears to the skin’s structure.

As a result, the recommended way to exfoliate skin is by the use of AHA and/or BHA, also known as Alpha Hydroxy Acid and Beta Hydroxy Acid. Compounds that fall under these two categories (AHA = glycolic acid and lactic acids and BHA = salicylic acid) chemically exfoliate the skin by “dissolving the glue” that holds the dead skin cells on the skin. In this way, only the dead skin cells are affected and there is no other, physical or otherwise, damage to the healthy skin. Our skin does this procedure naturally anyways, they just help speed it up.

Do not be alarmed by the “acid” part in their name, this denotes the type of compound they are and they are not harmful to the skin (fun fact: aspirin is actually acetylsalicylic acid). However, what is really important to take from the acid part is the fact that these compounds are best used, or most efficient and active, at a certain pH (3-4) where they can retain their acidic activity. This is why even though some products might contain AHA or BHA, they might still not be very effective or work at all, if the pH of the product is outside the “working range” of these compounds.

However, AHA and BHA do not just offer a more gentle exfoliation. There has been a lot of research around them even showing that they both have anti-ageing effects, diminishing the look of lines and wrinkles, they can hydrate and even make the skin look firmer, more even, less dull and more smooth.

Lastly, if you are wondering which one to use, AHA or BHA, the answer is both, but you can get away with just using one. AHAs are best known for being water soluble and for their moisturising abilities meaning that they are generally recommended mostly (but not just) for normal to dry skin. However, other types of skin can also benefit from their properties as well as the fact that they can reduce the signs of sun damage (but still always use SPF!). BHAs on the other hand, can work on the surface of the skin but are also said to go inside pores, as they are oil soluble, meaning that they are mostly (but not just) recommended for normal to oily skin, especially for skin that is prone to clogs, blemishes and enlarged pores. However, BHAs can also calm the skin so sensitive skin sufferers can also use it. In general, they are both beneficial and they offer slightly different actions, so if you can it is best to include both but as I mentioned above, one of them alone will still offer you a great advantage. All this and more detailed information and scientific evidence will come in another post.

Nowadays, there’s an emerging amount of products that contain these compounds and over the coming few months I will be writing about a few, in order to bring you different skincare and price options. However, for the very first post I decided to write about an easy and relatively cheap product to get you started. The Nip + Fab Exfoliate Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads.

Nip and Fab Glycolic Fix Pads 17_20180903101859469

These come in a few versions, the day and night pads (also pads for teens and pads for sensitive skin) which are also appropriately colour coded. In this post I am comparing the two and investigating which one is more worth your cash, if there is truly a need for day and night pads and even if they are at a working pH.

Let’s find out!

 

Packaging:

Both products are from the same brand and have the same packaging, so this comparison is not really useful here.

What is interesting though is that these products are pads, as opposed to many other AHA and BHA products that are either creams or liquids. This means that these are easy to use immediately and you don’t need water to rinse them off or a pad to apply them on. All you need to do is pickup one pad and rub it all over a clean face and neck. They are so quick and easy to use, you can do this even at the laziest of nights!

Nip and Fab Glycolic Fix Pads 19_20180903101014903

Additionally, because they are pads, they come in a plastic tub of very high quality that is very durable. They stay moist for months on end (I’ve tested this) and so the packaging is definitely effective.

It’s definitely not the most practical though to travel with, as it will take a certain amount of space even if you only have 1 pad inside!

Winner: Equal. Both products come in the same packaging.

 

Price:

You might think that since both products are from the same brand and do a similar thing, then they must be the same price and you’d be slightly wrong!

The Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads (the day ones) retail for £12.95 for 60 pads (£0.22 per pad) whereas the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Extreme Night Pads (the night ones) retail for £14.95 for 60 pads (£0.25 per pad).

The difference between the two products is acceptable, as it is not huge and they of course contain different ingredients. Either way they are fairly cheap and they will last you for a while.*

*1 month if you use one pad every day but it is a little bit of an overkill to use one every day. Although, even if you use them every other day you might need to use more than one pad at a time. Generally speaking, they will roughly last you somewhere between 1-3 months depending on usage.

You can also buy the night ones as a 100 pack option for £20 called: Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme XXL. This brings the price down to £0.20 per pad and therefore actually makes them cheaper than the day ones!

TIP: Look Fantastic (lookfantastic.com) has the 60 pad products on offer quite often, so keep an eye open! I am not sponsored by Look Fantastic, this is just a helpful tip from personal experience.

Winner: Equal. The Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads (the day ones) are slightly cheaper but the bigger Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme XXL is better value for money.

 

SPF:

These products do not offer SPF protection and it is recommended that you always use SPF protection after using these, as your skin will be more vulnerable (at the very least your skin just lost a “protective layer” of dead cells). However, this is not a disadvantage in any way as you should be wearing a minimum of SPF 15 every day anyways!

For a good SPF options check out:

Paula’s Choice Resist Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 50 – In Depth Review and Ingredient Analysis

A nourishing, mattifying day cream with SPF – Paula’s Choice RESIST Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defence Broad Spectrum SPF30 – In-Depth Review and Ingredient Analysis

Winner: Equal.

 

Nip and Fab Glycolic Fix Pads 22_20180903101236538

 

Texture and Colour:

Since the product is absorbed on pads, it’s more fitting to talk about the pad’s texture and colour.

The pads have two sides, a flat one and one with raised bumps to help exfoliate a little further. They don’t feel soft as dry cotton, as they are wet, but they neither feel harsh. You are meant to use the bumpy side on your face, although if you don’t like it you can use them the other way round. In general they look and feel like any other white, wet pads.

Nip and Fab Glycolic Fix Pads 20_20180903101104178

They are very well soaked so that they feel thoroughly wet and full of product, and do not dry out halfway while cleaning your face, but at the same time they are not so wet that the product is dripping off. They are spot on!

Winner: Equal.

 

Smell:

The Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads (the day ones) have a subtle but refreshing type of scent which is a little bit lemon-like.

The Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Extreme Night Pads (the night ones) have a more neutral refreshing scent that is not lemon-like in any way.

Winner: Equal. Both products smell nice and not very strongly and a preference of one over the other would only be based on personal taste.

 

Skin compatibility:

As mentioned in the introduction of this post, AHAs are mostly recommended for normal to dry skin whereas BHAs for normal to oily skin, especially for skin that is prone to clogs, blemishes and enlarged pores.

By this standard it means that the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads (the day ones) would be recommended mostly for normal to dry skin whereas the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Extreme Night Pads (the night ones) for normal to oily skin.

However, the brand doesn’t recommend them as such which is good, as there isn’t really a reason why you can’t use both and gain the benefits from both. Additionally, the night ones contain AHA as well, so in a way one could argue that using those alone gives you the best of both worlds and they might be all you need. If only it was that easy to choose though, as the day ones contain other interesting ingredients as well such as blue daisy which can sooth and calm the skin.

For more information check out the ingredients section of this post.

Winner: Equal.

 

The pH test:

As mentioned in the introduction, for these compounds to be fully effective and active, the product has to be at a pH between 3-4. This sounds like a no brainer but you would be surprised at how many products out there are formulated at the wrong pH or change pH over time. This is probably one of the reasons why a product doesn’t work at all or works a bit first and then doesn’t. Ever had this problem?

I’ve tested these pads after 3 months of opening, to give them a “bad case” scenario, and the pH for both was 4 which is within the working range.

Winner: It’s a pass for both!

 

Nip and Fab Glycolic Fix Pads 15_20180903101730814

 

Other:

Both these products last for 6M.

Here’s what the brand says about these products:

For the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads (the day ones):

“”I love Nip+Fab Glycolic Pads” – Kylie Jenner

“Loving these glycolic pads! They exfoliate the skin to create the perfect base for makeup” – Mario Dedivanovic

Unveil younger-looking skin with our innovative Glycolic Fix. 60 radiance-boosting pads, soaked in exfoliating glycolic acid (2.8%) retexture + resurface skin whilst witch hazel helps to tone. This moisturising formula with hyaluronic acid + soothing blue daisy helps to reveal brighter + smoother looking skin.

The pads are soaked in:
glycolic acid: retextures + resurfaces
hyaluronic acid: moisturises + refreshes
blue daisy: soothes + calms”

 

For the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Extreme Night Pads (the night ones):

“Super-strength acid exfoliating facial pads to target oily + congested skin.
A more potent version of our bestselling glycolic fix pads, these extreme night pads contain our highest level of glycolic acid at 5% and have been further enhanced with the addition of salicylic acid, making these your ultimate night treatment to refine pores, brighten the complexion and de-congest the skin through the improvement of the skin’s natural exfoliation process.  Easily incorporated into a weekly routine, use one pad at night 2-3 times a week. For more sensitive skin types we advise usage once a week.

The pads are soaked in:
5% glycolic acid: gently exfoliates the skin + helps fade discolouration on the face e.g. acne scarring, pigmentation
salicylic acid: penetrates into + unclogs pores helping to combat black heads + reduce blemishes
lactic acid: removes dead cells + toxins from the skin for a smoother + more even toned surface
hyaluronic acid: improves skin hydration + keeps skin feeling soft + plump”

 

 

Practicality of use – user experience:

I love these pads because they are so easy to use. You don’t need to have pads to soak the product on, spill the product around or even worry of using too much. They are ready to use and very effective. They are perfectly soaked and wet enough to last for the entire face (and sometimes even the neck).

The only drawback is the size of the pads which was quite annoying to me. They are smaller than some dry pads and thinner which doesn’t make the product less effective, but it makes the pads more annoying to move around the face as they fold and wrinkle more easily. You almost need to hold them flat with 3-4 fingers at the back. If you hold them at the back with 1-2 fingers they will fold as you wipe your face and believe me, it gets annoying.

The best thing though is that you do not need to rinse off these products. In fact AHAs and BHAs are a lot more effective if you leave them on, which makes this type of product superior to AHA/BHA washes and scrubs.

This is truly a make-life-and-skincare-easier type of product and there is no excuse for you anymore to not use AHA/BHAs!

Winner: Both pads make your skin feel cleansed, soft and smooth.

 

Nip and Fab Glycolic Fix Pads 16_20180903101823766

 

Ingredients:

This is my favourite category for me as a chemist and often the sole deciding factor if a product is worth my cash and time. However, it is even more interesting in this case because I was not convinced when I bought them that you need both. Do you really need a different one at day and night and does one have better ingredients than the other?

The day pads have 11 ingredient positives meaning that 11 out of the contained 22 ingredients will give you some kind of skincare benefit (some more than others), 3 negatives and 10 potential irritants.

The night pads on the other hand have 10 ingredient positives out of the 23 contained ingredients, 4 negatives and 13 potential irritants.

However, if we cancel out the common ingredient positives between the two, the remaining 4 positives for the day ones vs 3 positives for the night ones are not equal. The niacinamide, mandelic acid and salicylic acid found in the night pads will likely give you a higher skincare benefit than the PEG-12 dimethicone, witch hazel water, blue daisy extract and ethylhexylglycerin found in the day pads.

Additionally, despite of what type of skin you have, you can get benefits from using both AHA and BHA, a combination that only the night pads contain (the day ones are just AHA). As a result, the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Extreme Night Pads (the night ones) are a better product if you can only afford one and actually the only one you really need. You definitely don’t need to be exfoliating twice a day and perhaps not even every day, so the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads (the day ones) are not really necessary.

Do not be alarmed by the high number of potential irritants found in both products, they are mainly coming from the fragrance ingredients contained. As I mentioned many times now, fragrance does not add any skincare benefit, in fact not only does it increase the chances of irritation but there are also suggestions that it could harm the skin. This is the main and biggest disadvantage of both these product pads, but worry not as I will be analysing some fragrance free (but less easy to use and more expensive) AHA and BHA options in another post.

 

Do you really need to use them as specified, in the day and night ?

It really doesn’t matter when you use either of them, as long as you protect your skin with SPF during the day. There are no “better in the day or night” ingredients in these products and there is no reason why you should use them as such.

 

To keep this article short, I am only listing the skin nourishing or skin positive/negative ingredients and ignoring the ones that only play formulation purposes. For the full list of these products ingredients scroll down to the “full list of ingredients” section.

 

Ingredient positives for the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads (the day ones):

  1. Aqua (Water) – Water based formulation.
  2. Glycerin – Found naturally in the skin so can be seen as a skin replenishing ingredient. A skin conditioner that helps improve and smooth the appearance of skin. A good moisturiser that is almost always present in moisturising products.
  3. Glycolic Acid – One of the most researched and effective forms of AHA. An exfoliator that can bind water. Due to its exfoliation properties, it can help the skin appear smoother, visibly reducing the signs of ageing and sun damage.
  4. Polysorbate 20 – Can lubricate and sooth the skin.
  5. PEG-12 Dimethicone – A skin conditioner that can enhance the product’s spreadability.
  6. Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water – An astringent (=causes contraction of skin cells and other body tissues – in cosmetics astringents are most famous for reducing redness and the appearance of veins) making this compound effective for local application on bruises, sore muscles, varicose veins and inflammation. Some research suggests that it has anti-oxidant and anti-flammatory effects and that it is even an effective in reducing eczema.
  7. Globularia Alypum (Blue Daisy) Extract – Sooths and calms the skin.
  8. Panthenol– Form of vitamin B5. A moisturiser and potential acne treatment.
  9. Lactic acid – An AHA that is naturally produced in the process of bacterial fermentation. Has hydrating properties and can help brighten and even out skin tone.
  10. Ethylhexylglycerin – A weak preservative and skin conditioner that is often used in ointments for eczema.
  11. Sodium Hyaluronate – A hero compound, known as the “fountain of youth” molecule. Plays a major role in anti-ageing processes and is found in embryos in high concentrations. Can hold onto water 1000 times of its weight meaning that it is an amazing moisturiser by locking moisture in. Helps wounds and burns heal and it’s linked to increased collagen generation Also used as a temporary cosmetic filler. Check out: Hyaluronic acid – the fountain of youth?

 

Ingredient positives for the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Extreme Night Pads (the night ones):

  1. Aqua (Water) – Water based formulation.
  2. Glycolic Acid – One of the most researched and effective forms of AHA. An exfoliator that can bind water. Due to its exfoliation properties, it can help the skin appear smoother, visibly reducing the signs of ageing and sun damage.
  3. Glycerin – Found naturally in the skin so can be seen as a skin replenishing ingredient. A skin conditioner that helps improve and smooth the appearance of skin. A good moisturiser that is almost always present in moisturising products.
  4. Polysorbate 20 – Can lubricate and sooth the skin.
  5. Niacinamide – A form of vitamin B3 and a skin conditioner. A skin restoring ingredient that can improve the appearance of pores and fine lines, even out skin tone and reduce dullness.
  6. Mandelic Acid – An AHA exfoliant tolerable even for sensitive skin. Some studies suggest this works well in evening out skin tone when in combination with salicylic acid, which this product contains.
  7. Panthenol– Form of vitamin B5. A moisturiser and potential acne treatment.
  8. Salicylic Acid – A BHA, aspirin like compound with anti-flammatory effects which is popular in acne treatments. An effective exfoliator that can penetrate and clean pores. Has anti-microbial properties and can improve skin thickness, barrier functions and collagen production.
  9. Lactic acid – An AHA that is naturally produced in the process of bacterial fermentation. Has hydrating properties and can help brighten and even out skin tone.
  10. Sodium Hyaluronate – A hero compound, known as the “fountain of youth” molecule. Plays a major role in anti-ageing processes and is found in embryos in high concentrations. Can hold onto water 1000 times of its weight meaning that it is an amazing moisturiser by locking moisture in. Helps wounds and burns heal and it’s linked to increased collagen generation Also used as a temporary cosmetic filler. Check out: Hyaluronic acid – the fountain of youth?

 

 

Ingredient negatives for the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads (the day ones):

  1. Alcohol Denat. (SD Alcohol 40-B) – There is evidence suggesting that low molecular alcohols (denat. or not) damage and dry the skin. This can in turn enhance the penetration of other compounds into the skin, although sometimes this might not be a negative.
  2. Parfum – This ingredient represents an undisclosed mixture of compounds that give the product scent. There’re more than 3000 molecules that fall under this category and I personally do not like that there are some ingredients that are undisclosed and hidden under this general name. Fragrance also does not offer any skin care benefit, in fact there is some evidence that it can damage the skin.
  3. Dehydroacetic Acid – A fungicide and bactericide killing off and preventing the growth of microorganisms. Controversial reports, some classify this as toxic and others as safe.

 

 

Ingredient negatives for the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Extreme Night Pads (the night ones):

  1. Niacinamide – Usually not an irritant but since it is found in a product with acidic pH, it can potentially hydrolyse and form nicotinic acid which in turn can cause irritation.
  2. Parfum (Fragrance) – This ingredient represents an undisclosed mixture of compounds that give the product scent. There’re more than 3000 molecules that fall under this category and I personally do not like that there are some ingredients that are undisclosed and hidden under this general name. Fragrance also does not offer any skin care benefit, in fact there is some evidence that it can damage the skin.
  3. Benzyl Benzoate– Not for children and toxic to cats.
  4. Dehydroacetic Acid– A fungicide and bactericide killing off and preventing the growth of microorganisms. Controversial reports, some classify this as toxic and others as safe.

 

Ingredients that can cause irritation to some:

This is actually really case specific, as different people have different sensitivities and allergies. Just because a compound has been reported by some to cause sensitivity, it doesn’t mean you will have an issue. “Sensitizer” compounds being present is not a negative in my opinion, as this is the case with pretty much everything out there and funnily enough I’ve seen products that are targeted specifically for sensitive skin, containing some compounds that have been reported by some, or are known to be, sensitizers.

If you have sensitive skin or you are prone to skin sensitisation and unwanted reactions, try a little bit of this at the back of your hand first and consult a medical doctor if you are concerned.

The following compounds present in the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads (the day ones) have been either proven or claimed by some to be sensitizers, irritants, allergens etc: Glycolic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool, Geraniol, Citral.

The following compounds present in the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Extreme Night Pads (the night ones) have been either proven or claimed by some to be sensitizers, irritants, allergens etc: Glycolic Acid, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Hydroxide, Benzyl Alcohol, Niacinamide (because of pH), Limonene, Parfum (Fragrance), Benzyl Benzoate, Geraniol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citral, Linalool.

 

 

Full list of ingredients for the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads (the day ones):

Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Glycolic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Hydroxide, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Alcohol Denat. (SD Alcohol 40-B), Disodium EDTA, Globularia Alypum (Blue Daisy) Extract, Panthenol, Lactic Acid, Parfum, Limonene, Ethylhexylglycerin, Dehydroacetic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Linalool, Geraniol, Citral.

 

Full list of ingredients for the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Extreme Night Pads (the night ones):

Aqua (Water/Eau), Glycolic Acid, Triethanolamine, Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Niacinamide, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Hydroxide, Benzyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Mandelic Acid, Panthenol, Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid, Limonene, Parfum (Fragrance), Benzyl Benzoate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Geraniol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citral, Linalool.

 

Nip and Fab Glycolic Fix Pads 21_20180903101155887

 

Verdict:

AHA and BHA are an absolute must have in your skincare routine. The Nip + Fab glycolic pads are an easy, cheap and lazy proof way of incorporating them in, while also containing some other beneficial ingredients.

I love how quick and easy it is to use these pads but I would have preferred them without fragrance. There is no need of purchasing both day and night pads and no need to use them specifically during the day or night.

Out of the two options the night ones are slightly superior, mainly due to the fact that they offer both AHA and BHA and so I recommend the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Extreme Night Pads (the night ones) only unless you want to experiment with both and see how your skin reacts first, especially if you have sensitive skin. Although, if you truly have sensitive skin I would recommend you go for fragrance free options.

 

Nip and Fab Glycolic Fix Pads 12_20180903102505225

I am not affiliated with any company or brand. These are my views and experiences.

Beauty is a very personal thing, we all have different skin, requirements and biological build which can influence things. What worked for me might not work for you and vice versa. Have you ever tried these products? Did they work for you? Let me know your experiences below!

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2 responses to Best Exfoliating Products – The Nip + Fab Exfoliate Glycolic Fix Day and Night Pads In-Depth Review and Ingredient Analyses – Do you really need both?

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  1. […] This cream is meant to regulate oily sebum but also exfoliate thanks to the 1% AHA it contains. This is slightly strange as BHAs (this product contains only 0.1%) are actually better than AHAs for oily skin, especially due to the fact that they are oil soluble and can therefore go into pores, where’s AHAs are more water soluble. For more details check out: Best Exfoliating Products – The Nip + Fab Exfoliate Glycolic Fix Day and Night Pads In-Depth Revie… […]

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