Bad Habit’s New Acid Cleanser and Serum Cured My Fear of Glycolic Acid

Bad Habit

Ever since I was a teen, I’ve struggled with acne-prone skin. This coupled with coming off the contraceptive pill during the pandemic has had a serious effect on my skin, particularly in the last few months. The texture is bumpier and the breakouts more frequent. As a result, I’ve been wanting to experiment with different products that will improve my skin’s texture and keep blemishes at bay. Since my skin barrier is healthy, my next plan of action was to introduce a gentle chemical exfoliation.

Although I have breakouts, like a lot of people, my skin is also relatively sensitive so I tend to steer clear of stronger acids like glycolic acid, and instead opt for gentler acids, like mandelic or lactic acid. My chemical exfoliation journey led me to Bad Habit’s latest launch, the new AHA/BHA products, which contain a blend of powerful acids that, when combined, have the potential for impressive results at-home. The range consists of the Good As New AHA/BHA Creamy Cleanser and the Repair Mode AHA/BHA Active Night Serum, both of which aim to exfoliate dead skin cells whilst still calming skin, feeling hydrated and free from breakouts.

For those new to or a little unsure on acids in skin-care, AHA and BHAs are both hydroxy acids, known as alpha hydroxy acids (water-soluble exfoliation) and beta hydroxy acids (oil-soluble exfoliation). They work by dissolving dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, leading to a brighter complexion underneath, with the level of exfoliation depending on the type and strength of the acid in the product.

First up is the Good As New AHA/BHA Creamy Cleanser. Made up of a mixture of two AHAs (glycolic and lactic acid), the formula contains the one known BHA: salicylic acid, which is an ingredient I tend to gravitate towards as it’s typically used to treat blemish-prone skin. Alongside the AHAs and BHA, the formula includes the hydrating ingredient hyaluronic acid (which despite its name, doesn’t have any exfoliating acid properties) to help retain moisture. The formulation also contains lavender essential oil, which can help to calm the skin as you wind down for the evening.

Oftentimes, acids can create more powerful results when formulated into one product, but only if it’s done correctly. As a beginner, it’s a lot easier to let products do the mixing for you, instead of trying to work out how to layer them yourself. For that reason, the cleanser is a great product to start with if you’re new to acids.

On first application, I noticed that the lightweight formula had almost a gel-like consistency, something I’m immediately drawn to, because of how smoothly I can apply it to my spot-prone skin without feeling like it’s clogging my pores. Squeezing it out of the bottle, the cleanser had a light purple colour and a faint lavender fragrance, which I don’t usually look for in skin-care products for fear of irritation. That said, using this product a few times a week didn’t leave my skin feeling irritated or red, which was a pleasant surprise. Instead, my skin felt smooth, looked glowy, and even appeared hydrated.

The Repair Mode AHA/BHA Active Night Serum is equally as potent, developed with four exfoliating acids: glycolic acid, lactic acid, tartaric acid (an antioxidant that’s part of the AHA group), and malic acid – which is a slightly less strong but still effective AHA derived from apples. The formula also contains magnesium to help calm skin, and blue lotus – known for its glow-boosting properties. Again, it sounds like a pretty intense mix of acids, but they’ve all been carefully chosen to ensure that the ingredients work well to repair and not strip the skin.

The serum is applied via dropper, and at first glance I immediately noticed the vivid blue colour, which I can imagine TikTok going wild for. The formula is sticky at first, but it soaks into the skin quickly, and after a few minutes it’s barely noticeable. Post-application, the skin feels soft and smooth, and after using the product a few nights a week, I was again delighted that I had zero irritation.

Overall, both products are a welcome addition to my usual skincare routine – as long as I’m not using them every single night, which when it comes to acids is a good thing. Typically, I use the creamy cleanser when washing my face, after removing my makeup and SPF with a micellar water as a first cleanse. I’ve incorporated the night serum into my routine every other night to make sure I’m not overdoing it. I’d recommend the Bad Habit AHA/BHA duo for those with oily and acne-prone skin that are still a little sensitive. If you’re scared of glycolic acid but still want the benefits of chemical exfoliation, these might just be your new faves.

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