Glycolic acid is the most popular AHA. Possessing both exfoliating antioxidant abilities, glycolic acid is great at improving skin texture and skin tone, and boosting radiance.
Of all AHAs, glycolic acid is also the most effective for acne-prone skin. It helps to unclog pores, regulate oil, reduce scarring, and fade post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Glycolic acid is often used in vegan skincare as it’s entirely vegan and derived from sugarcane. Without further ado, here is the best vegan glycolic acid skincare for 2023.
Best Vegan AHA Skincare
Best Vegan Lactic Acid Skincare
PS all products below are vegan and cruelty-free, meaning they are free of animal-derived ingredients and have not been tested on animals. 💚
Best Vegan Glycolic Acid Skincare
Here are the best vegan glycolic acid skincare products for 2023. Shop vegan glycolic acid exfoliants, serums, toners, cleansers, and more. These vegan skincare products will help improve and renew your skin.
- Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum
- Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant
- The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Exfoliating Toning Solution
- Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum
This vegan glycolic acid serum is pricy but effective. You can use it bi-nightly and only a small amount is needed. We recommend this to all skin types, especially if you want to reduce wrinkles. This vegan serum is also great for smoothening textured skin.
- What we like: makes the skin glow, smoothens texture
- What we don’t like: it’s expensive
- What reviews say: reduces fine lines and wrinkles, softens the skin, leaves a healthy look
Key ingredients: glycolic, tartaric, lactic, citric acids, salicylic acid, raspberry extract | Main benefits: soothing, smoothening, exfoliating | Features: vegan, silicone-free, essential oil-free, artificial fragrance-free, made in the USA
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant
The 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant is perfect for getting rid of dead skin cells and making the skin glow. This vegan glycolic acid exfoliator helps to hydrate dry skin while also clarifying oily skin and acne-prone skin. It’s an effective yet skin-friendly vegan exfoliator.
- What we like: a little goes a long way, reduces redness
- What we don’t like: sticky texture
- What reviews say: reduces acne, makes the skin glow
Key ingredients: glycolic acid 8%, chamomile, green tea, hyaluronic acid | Main benefits: exfoliating, brightening, smoothening | Features: vegan, mineral oil-free, gluten-free, recyclable packaging, artificial fragrance-free, made in the USA
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Exfoliating Toning Solution
This vegan glycolic acid toner is affordable and suitable for all skin types. Tasmanian Pepperberry is great for soothing the skin and reducing dark circles. This vegan toner can be also used before makeup in the morning and also at nighttime.
- What we like: brightens up the overall complexion, calms irritated areas
- What we don’t like: takes time to see results
- What reviews say: can be used under makeup, clears up acne, great value for money
Key ingredients: glycolic acid 7%, Tasmanian Pepperberry derivative, ginseng root, aloe vera | Main benefits: exfoliating, soothing, smoothening | Features: vegan, alcohol-free, oil-free, silicone-free, nut-free, gluten-free, artificial fragrance-free, made in Canada
Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser
Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser is perfect for oily and acne-prone skin. This vegan glycolic acid cleanser reduces old acne scars, unclogs pores, and even rejuvenates aging skin. By using it consistently, this vegan cleanser leaves the skin overall much cleaner and softer.
- What we like: only a little amount of product is needed, great value for money
- What we don’t like: contains fragrance
- What reviews say: unclogs pores, reduces acne scars
Key ingredients: glycolic acid, sage extract, aloe vera | Main benefits: cleansing, brightening, rejuvenating | Features: vegan, gluten-free, recyclable packaging, made in the USA
Derma E Anti-Aging Regenerative Serum
Derma E has made a fantastic vegan glycolic acid serum with retinol. It exfoliates the skin gently and gives it a healthy glow while boosting collagen production and reducing fine lines and wrinkles. We also love the vegan glycolic acid cleanser from the same line.
- What we like: makes the skin brighter, moisturizes
- What we don’t like: takes time to absorb
- What reviews say: reduces fine lines and wrinkles, lightweight on the skin
Key ingredients: glycolic acid, retinol | Main benefits: nourishing, refreshing, smoothening | Features: vegan, artificial fragrance-free, mineral oil-free, artificial color-free, gluten-free, soy-free, recyclable packaging, dermatologist-recommend, made in the USA
Alpha-H Liquid Gold Midnight Reboot Serum
This vegan glycolic acid serum from Alpha-H helps to reduce fine lines and makes the skin softer. Containing 14% glycolic acid, it exfoliates the skin well and makes the overall complexion much brighter. This is a great serum to reduce multiple signs of aging.
- What we like: softens the skin, reduces fine lines
- What we don’t like: it’s expensive
- What reviews say: works great for all skin types, leaves a healthy glow
Key ingredients: glycolic acid 14%, Granactive retinoid 1%, palmitoyl tripeptide-5 | Main benefits: smoothening, brightening, plumping | Features: vegan, artificial fragrance-free, made in Australia
Shop on: Sephora, Cult Beauty UK
Bliss Renew & Smooth Night Serum
Bliss has made a wonderful vegan glycolic acid night serum. It’s fast absorbing and makes sure that the skin stays hydrated. Fruit acids and glycolic acid exfoliate the skin and also improve the skin’s ability to retain moisture. Skin feels much softer and smoother after use.
- What we like: hydrates the skin, fast absorbing
- What we don’t like: contains fragrance
- What reviews say: makes the overall complexion smoother, softens the skin
Key ingredients: glycolic acid, polyhydroxy acid, fruit acid complex, squalane | Main benefits: brightening, smoothening, moisturizing | Features: vegan, dermatologist-tested
Acure Resurfacing Overnight Glycolic Treatment
Acure Resurfacing Overnight Glycolic Treatment is a great vegan glycolic acid serum for plumping and gently exfoliating the skin overnight. This treatment is not harsh at all and even sensitive skin can use this. Since it is very hydrating, we do not recommend it for oily types.
- What we like: makes pores less visible, a little goes a long way
- What we don’t like: not for oily skin
- What reviews say: reduces blackheads, skin starts to look smoother
Key ingredients: glycolic acid, hemp seed oil, Aletris farinosa | Main benefits: exfoliating, hydrating | Features: vegan, mineral oil-free, artificial fragrance-free, made in the USA
Is Glycolic Acid Vegan?
Glycolic acid is vegan. Glycolic acid is a plant-based ingredient derived from sugarcane. Glycolic acid can also be made synthetically in the lab, in which case it is still vegan.
Even though glycolic acid itself is vegan, some skincare products like to combine glycolic acid with non-vegan ingredients such as honey or collagen.
To ensure you are buying a vegan glycolic acid skincare product, opt for 100% vegan brands or choose a product with a certified vegan label.
What To Look For In Vegan Glycolic Acid Skincare?
Since glycolic acid is an acid and can irritate some skin types, here are some rules to keep in mind when choosing vegan glycolic acid skincare.
- If you haven’t used glycolic acid before, start with low-concentration products such as 1-2%. Starting slowly helps to see how your skin reacts to this acid.
- For sensitive and acne-prone skin, we recommend vegan glycolic acid skincare that can be washed off, not left on. Sensitive skin should also not use glycolic acid every day.
- Glycolic acid pairs well with hyaluronic acid, glycerin, vitamin E and niacinamide. Choose vegan glycolic acid skincare that utilizes at least one of these hydrating ingredients.
- As glycolic acid makes the skin more sensitive to the sun, do not forget to use SPF. See our selection of the best vegan sunscreens here.
FAQ About Vegan Glycolic Acid Skincare
Glycolic acid in skincare is usually vegan.
The best vegan glycolic acid skincare product is the Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Night Serum.
You will find the best selection of vegan glycolic acid skincare online, especially on Amazon, Ulta, and Sephora.
Glycolic acid is a versatile exfoliating ingredient that suits most skin types. It fights congestion and renews the skin while preventing wrinkles and fine lines.
The best vegan glycolic acid skincare products in 2023 come from Drunk Elephant, Paula’s Choice, and Mario Badescu among other vegan and cruelty-free brands.
To bring you the best possible vegan glycolic acid skincare, we will continue to try out new products and add our top picks to this list.
See also: Best Vegan Exfoliators
Update on May 04 (2023): Fact checked and medically reviewed by MD Shimona Garg
Update on February 19 (2023): Added more references