The lesser known, but still brilliant chemical exfoliant: mandelic acid

Author: Jenny Wu
Jenny Wu


Thursday 6th of July 2017

Do you wear the mandelic acid before or after toner?


Sunday 9th of July 2017

All actives, like mandelic acid, should go before toner. The only exception is if your toner contains actives itself (e.g. glycolic acid in the Pixi Glow Tonic), then the mandelic acid would go after.


Tuesday 8th of November 2016

Hi Jenny, I'm really glad I've got to know your blog since I had no knowledge of what mandelic acid was before, and I'm always happy to learn more! Is there any info about the ph level of the Dr. Wu's and of Dr. Hsieh's products you've mentioned? Also, have you tried Naruko's already? I saw it was in Fiddy's (fifty shades of snail) beauty stash....


Tuesday 8th of November 2016

Hi Zoe, thank you so much for your comment! So glad you found this post helpful!

I just did a ph test on my Dr.Wu 18% mandelic acid and it's about 2.5. The Dr.Hsieh mandelic acids are at 3.8 according to their blog post.

Unfortunately I've yet to try Naruko's mandelic acid because I prefer something stronger. However, I may try it in the future after I finish my current Dr. Wu bottle :)

Alice B

Sunday 10th of July 2016

first off, have i mentioned how much your blog helps in educating readers about skincare? i find myself constantly waiting for new posts on your blog since i'm starting to be a skincare junkie right now :P i always learn new stuff here! before this, i wouldn't know what's mandelic acid! i couldn't even differentiate physical and chemical exfoliator before x__x

hm, the only AHA BHA product i used is Asian (yayhadalabopfft) so i didn't know that western ones tend to be sticky? new information there. i can't wait to see what you hauled from japan tbh! xD


Monday 18th of July 2016

Seriously, THANK YOU for your comment, you have no idea how much it cheered me up when I read it! And I'm so excited that I'm converting people to becoming skincare junkies, haha! It's a learning process for all of us and the more that join the journey, the better :D

Does hada labo have AHA/BHA products? I think one of their cleanser mentions AHA/BHA, but I don't think the pH level is low enough for the acids to work correctly. But yes, from my experience, Asian exfoliants tend to feel much better on the skin, probably because they need to account for the humid climate in Asia. I shall try to post my Japan haul soon - I'm still trying to organize all my stuff, I think I bought too much? Haha

Angela at BeautyandtheCat

Sunday 26th of June 2016

AHA moment!!! ::slaps knees:: Mandelic acid is definitely one of those things that I've been meaning to seriously try because I see it in so many Taiwanese products (and in MUAC peels!). Sounds almost too good to be true, but all those doctors (Wu, Hsieh, etc.) can't be wrong, right? :*D Have a great time in Asia!


Monday 18th of July 2016

LOL, I'm glad someone appreciates the pun! XD Honestly after trying random AHAs, BHAs, and even Curology, I think I still love my Dr. Wu mandelic acid the best. I bought a 50ml bottle in Taiwan and am looking forward to using that once I'm done with my current Curology prescription!


Saturday 25th of June 2016

Really great overview of mandelic acid! I feel like it's one of those totally underrated ingredients. That My Scheming mask is one of my favorites—it absolutely works, and even helped to clear a breakout, sort of. :)


Monday 25th of July 2016

Thank you Lily! I agree, I wonder why it's not used more widely. I tried to find that My Scheming mask during my trip back to Taiwan, but I couldn't :( At least I got a large bottle of the Dr. Wu 18%!