Garden of Wisdom Mandelic Acid Serum

Garden of Wisdom Mandelic Acid Serum


51 reviews

82% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.6

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 3.6

Price: $$$


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Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Tan, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I started out with the 5% no alcohol/seaweed and after 2 months stepped up to the 10%. What I love about GOW is the ingredients - clean, simple and above all effective! No fancy packaging or story required, these are products for those who are serious about their skincare.

I used this on a night time only, twice per week using my fingertips. The texture is like a toner and very watery so I had to be careful not to let any drip onto my clothing as it would change the color (something I was aghast to discover happened to a brand new dress). I found it did tingle although I wouldn't say it was uncomfortable in any way. Quite possibly due to the addition of Hyaluronic acid and Panthenol, I didn't need to wait the 20 minutes as I didn't feel it necessary to follow with a moisturizer. Obviously for drier skin types that require hydration afterwards, the 20 minute wait will be inevitable. For me 2-3 minutes drying time in front of a desk fan and I was good to go.

Results: This helped reduce the appearance of prominent pores on my nose and the area immediately adjacent to my nose, either side. Also by the time I was on the 10% I noticed my skin tone looked brighter and a touch smoother too. I would repurchase this.

Selena x

~ My HG list ~

(I've sampled many 100s of skin, hair and m/u products over the last decade and a half, as I love constantly trying out new stuff - usually sample sizes via e-bay, also plenty courtesy of a friend who works at Sephora. Thought it might be useful to share my top 10 must-have products, subject to change if and when I come across something more effective)

1. Hair Loss Treatment: ‘Divine Herbal’ - Hair Oil
2. Lip Balm: Jack Black - Intense Therapy
3. Pigmentation + Anti-Ageing Treatment: ‘Divine Herbal’ - Facial Treatment Serum
4. Cleanser: 'Paula's Choice' - Skin Balancing Cleanser
5. Concealer: ‘Mac’ - Studio Finish Concealer
6. Lash Growth Serum: ‘Divine Herbal’ - Divinelash
7. Foundation/SPF: ‘Juice Beauty’ - Stem Cellular Repair (warm glow)
8. Face Scrub: ‘Sisley' - Botanical Gentle Buffing Cream
9. Moisturizer: ‘Antipodes' - Rejoice Light Day Cream
10. Hand Cream: 'Origins' - Make A Difference Rejuvenating Hand Treatment

3 of 4 people found this helpful.

Age: 30-35

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

I've been using the 10% mandelic acid, no alcohol/no seaweed and it's made such an improvement on my skin! I used it 5 nights a week for about a month, then I got a sunburn (I didn't wear sunscreen at a park) and backed off of the acid for a week, or so and noticed my skin breaking out again. I started back up and I'm back to keeping my breakouts under control!

Nighttime routine: wipe makeup off with rosewater and glycerine (heritage brand) on a cotton round, wash face with either dove sensitive skin soap, or rhassoul clay in the shower, then after I put cream under my eyes, I do a thin layer of the mandelic serum 6 nights a week (my face is very used to acids and acne treatments). Usually, after about 20 minutes, I spray my face with rosewater and glycerin (instead of rubbing moisturizer on my acne prone skin), or don't spray my face at all, depending on how humid it is here. I also use it to spot treat and it works extremely well for keeping cystic acne at bay.
Morning routine: rinse face with water and wipe and/or pat dry with a clean towel.

Weekly routine: at home "dermaplane" my face, aka shave the flaky skin off with an eyebrow razor, then wipe with rosewater and glycerin on a cotton pad. I skip the acid after this.

I just made my 2nd purchase because I can't live without this stuff!

A 20+ year female acne sufferer, with super oily skin and large pores, who refuses accutane

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

on 1/25/2017 11:23:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Warm

Hair: Brown, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

This product isn't a miracle worker, but it's done a noticeably good job of improving my skin texture while not being harsh on my sensitive skin. I've always had minor breakouts on my cheeks, but constantly ran into issues with anti-acne products in that area since my cheeks are prone to irritation. This mandelic acid is super gentle -- I use the 10% 4-5 times a week with no problem.

Although this serum did help even out my skin tone and get rid of smaller bumps and pimples, it doesn't really help with cystic acne for me, which is what I struggle with more

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

on 1/24/2017 8:08:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Medium, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

I purchased this product (mandelic acid serum 15% no alcohol/no seaweed) during my second pregnancy because I heard it was pregnancy 'safe' and could treat the mild acne I experienced. I used it maybe once a week or when I felt the need to. Just using it once a week made a marked improvement in my skin's texture and overall appearance. If I had a little breakout, I'd apply this at night and in the morning the breakout was gone and my skin was smooth. So smooth! I purchased the .25 bottle and it has lasted me almost 9 months. I'm just now going back to replenish my supply. I love that all of the ingredients are spelled out for you and there's almost nothing that is unrecognizable or hard to pronounce. I apply this by spritzing about 4-5 pumps into the palm of my hand, then patting it all over my face until it's dry. I don't wait the recommended 20 minutes before following up with the rest of my skincare.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

on 12/29/2015 12:10:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Very Oily, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Green

This "serum" is more of a toner to me. It has the consistency of water and doesn't really add any moisture to the skin. If I use it as a toner however, the price becomes ridiculous as I go through the small bottles quite quickly. So I apply it like a serum and don't wipe it with a cotton pad.

What I really like about this product is I know where the ingredients are coming from. Garden of Wisdom is a small company. If you have any issues or questions, you can call up the owner.

Chemical exfoliation has done amazing things for my skin. It gives my crater face that plastic look, where all my pores look smaller. It won't permanently tighten them. However it does clean them out and that is what minimizes their appearance. Mandelic acid (or alpha hydroxy acids in general) have lessened my acne. In addition to all that, my face doesn't have a single freckle. All of my sun damage is GONE and my acne scars are fading.

Do I attribute all of this to Garden of Wisdom Mandelic Acid serum? Hell no! I am not new to using chemical exfoliators as I already disclosed. However this IS a good formulation and deserves credit. I've had a lot of problems with companies putting rubbing alcohol, witch hazel, oils, extracts, vitamin e, ect into the ingredient lists for alpha hydroxy acid products. Garden of Wisdom keeps it simple though. None of the ingredients in this product are acne triggers for me.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.

Age: 25-29

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Blue

I have oily, sensitive skin that is also prone to dehydration and mild rosacea flares, but oddly acids are one of the few things I've never had issues with (except peels...that was a bad idea). I've had issues with closed comedones (and picking at them) since I hit puberty. More recently I've also been dealing with some very painful, relentless adult acne. I've never really had to deal with inflammatory acne before and the amount of scarring on my face now has really been affecting me emotionally. Since spring (when they breakouts began) I've tried just about everything from retinoids to finacea to name it. Every single thing I tried either did nothing or made it worse. Finally I decided to completely strip my routine back to what it was when my skin was clear -- cleanser, BHA (not sure if I'll be adding this back yet), AHA, and gel moisturizer (sunscreen in the AM).

I've used mandelic acid in the past with very "meh" results due to the fact that it was in the form of a MUAC peel which my skin just can't tolerate (all that alcohol = OUCH), but I felt that it was worth trying in another product since it seems to work better than glycolic on acne. I started out with the 5% no/no serum, but didn't see much improvement likely because I had previously been using 8% glycolic semi-regularly. On my most recent order I decided to step up to the 10% no/no version and THANK GOODNESS. After one use all of my active spots are much less inflamed and well on their way out. My skin also looks calmer and more even-toned not to mention that it feels smooth for the first time in about 6 months. Because it does appear to be so effective for me I'll likely only be using it every other or every 2 nights to prevent overexfoliation.

The next step is to see if this will keep new spots from coming and get rid of the slew of scarring and closed comedones on my cheeks and jawline. So far I'm feeling extremely optimistic and only wish that I had decided to try AHA again sooner. Only con I can see with this product is perhaps the texture which is basically like water. I just put however many drops I need in my palm and then use both hands to smooth it all over my skin. I also find this to be a good thing in my case because it leaves no residue whatsoever...that's what always annoyed me big time with Paula's Choice acids. 5 stars for now, but I will be sure to update later on.

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

on 10/11/2014 6:40:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Green

UPDATE: Purchased full size. My skin is looking better with continued use. Up to 5 overall rating.

I have the 5% no alcohol and no seaweed version. I purchased a small sample size that is .25 oz for $6.25.

My skin is oily but often looks as if it has a layer of dry skin. I cannot use a lot of exfoliaters as my skin is sensitive, but this I can use.

List of ingredients (GOW site)

List of Ingredients

Distilled Water
- hydrant
- solvent
Rooibos (red) Extract
- excellent anti-oxidant
Mandelic Acid
- improves skin texture
- refines pore size
- lightens hyper pigmentation
- improves skin tone
- excellent surface exfoliant
Lactic Acid
- gentle AHA exfoliant
- water binding
- moisturizing
- emollient
Sodium PCA
- natural moisturizer
- water binding to the skin
Panthenol B-5
- penetrating moisturizer
Sodium Lactate:
- pH adjuster
- moisturizer
Hyaluronic Acid
- hydrates skin
- can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water

Description frow GOW site:

Mandelic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that helps clear away dead skin cells that have built up on the skin's surface, and because of its smaller molecule size it can also work within the pore as well. Unlike glycolic acid, it cannot penetrate the skin's layers to enable deeper exfoliation, but it can help to refine pores. Mandelic acid has antibacterial properties.


Reasonable cost at $18.90 per one ounce
Sample size available
Does not irritate my sensitive skin, but gently exfoliates
Formula does not have a lot of fillers or items I do not want ie: perfume, silicone
I spread a few drops over skin. Moisturizer over it if required. Suggest wait time is 20 minutes.
PH 2.4


Only available from Garden of Wisdom online
Runny, thin formula. I need to be careful when applying.

I do plan on purchasing the full size with my next GOW order.

12 of 13 people found this helpful.

on 5/25/2014 4:13:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I love Garden of Wisdom products and really wanted to like this mandelic acid, especially because it's the purest formulation out there that I could find. But this mandelic acid serum was just too watery for me. It was difficult to apply. The container was good for dispensing the product, but it was so watery it would just drip between my fingers before I could apply it to my face. It also didn't seem to work as well as other mandelic acid products I've used.

on 11/29/2013 5:29:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Warm

Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Green

It does a good job with unclogging pores and keeping them clear. I've been using 5% at first and then moved on to 10%. I recommend this to everyone I met :)

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I've been fighting blackheads & clogged pores since i was 10 and never really had a chance to say that any product worked for me. Blore pore strip has always been my weekly chore but it never really solved my problem. I am now started with 5% w/o alcohol / seaweed and I'm already seeing my blackheads disappearing and becoming smaller by the day. On alternate days I also apply GoW's AHA/BHA 4% Synergistic Exfo Tonic Gel. About just half a week of using, while I was washing my face, I noticed a whitish plug coming off from the corner of my nose. This particular clogged pore have been the hugest one I know and it never end, like a clogged bottomless pit. But this time the whole plug came loosen and I didn't even squeezed it. Now the empty pore is slowly closing up and I'm such a happy girl who has finally found her right product after godzillion products and years. On a side note, because of this product, I've to make sure that i always apply sunscreen b4 i step out of the house and I don't really like the heavy feeling. Nonetheless, my excitement has turned grateful~ thanks Gow!

7 of 7 people found this helpful.

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