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Hero Cosmetics Lightning Wand Dark Spot Brightening Serum Versus The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

Serum
Toner
American Brand United States
Canadian Brand Canada

Updated on June 28, 2024

Overview

What they are

These products are both cruelty-free and reef safe . They have a total of 5 ingredients in common

Cool Features

They both contain AHA

Suited For

They're both likely to be good for anti aging, dry skin, brightening skin, oily skin, reducing pores, scar healing, dark spots and better texture

Free From

They both do not contain any common allergens, oils, parabens, silicones or sulfates

We independently verify ingredients, and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Spot a product that needs an update? Let us know.

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and see relevant ingredients
ph level
3.6

At a glance

Click on any of the items below to learn more

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Ingredients Side-by-side

found in both products
Lightning Wand Dark Spot Brightening Serum
Water Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

Propanediol Solvent

Propanediol helps absorb ingredients into your skin, boosting their benefits. It can act as an emollient, making your skin softer. Propanediol can help products last longer by boosting the properties of preservatives within the formulation.

Tromethamine Buffering, Masking

Tromethamine is an aliphatic compound. An aliphatic compound is an organic compound with open-chained carbon atoms. It is synthetically created. Tromethamine is used to balance pH and improve texture.

Glycolic Acid Buffering
AHA IconGood for Oily Skin IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 7 Benefits 2 Concerns

Glycolic Acid is arguably the most famous AHA with a ton of research to back up its benefits.

3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid Skin Conditioning
Vitamin C IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Skin Texture IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing Icon
Vitamin CVitamin C Icon 5 Benefits

You might know this ingredient as Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, a more stable version of ascorbic acid.

1,2-Hexanediol Skin Conditioning, Solvent

1,2-Hexanediol is a multi-tasker ingredient. It acts as a preservative to increase shelf-life and can aid other preservatives in preventing microbe growth. 1,2-Hexanediol also helps the skin retain moisture as a humectant.

Tranexamic Acid Astringent, Skin Conditioning
Good for Dark Spots Icon
Good for Dark SpotsGood for Dark Spots Icon

Tranexamic Acid is best used for treating hyperpigmentation, discoloration, and melasma. It can also help build a stronger skin barrier.

Niacinamide Smoothing
Niacinamide IconGood for Oily Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Dark Spots IconHelps fight Acne IconHelps brighten skin Icon
NiacinamideNiacinamide Icon 6 Benefits

Niacinamide has emerged as an all-star ingredient due to its many benefits.

Sodium Citrate Buffering, Masking

Sodium Citrate is the sodium salts of citric acid. In skincare, it is used to alter pH levels and acts as a preservative.

Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract Bleaching, Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Good for Dark Spots Icon
Good for Dark SpotsGood for Dark Spots Icon

Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract is an extract of the roots of Licorice. It has been found to have several benefits such as skin hydrating, conditioning, and soothing.

Acetyl Glucosamine Skin Conditioning
Vitamin C Icon
Vitamin CVitamin C Icon

Acetyl Glucosamine is an antioxidant and humectant. It is a form of Vitamin C.

Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Helps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconGood for Dark Spots Icon
3 Benefits

Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate comes from licorice root.

Salix Alba Bark Extract Astringent, Skin Conditioning, Soothing
Good for Oily Skin Icon
Good for Oily SkinGood for Oily Skin Icon

Salix Alba Bark Extract comes from the white willow tree, which is native to Europe and Central Asia.

Curcuma Longa Root Extract Masking, Perfuming
Fragrance Icon
FragranceFragrance Icon

Curcuma Longa Root Extract is from the spice, turmeric. Besides being a healthy and delicious spice, turmeric also has plenty of skincare benefits. It has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-microbial properties.

Beta-Glucan Skin Conditioning
Helps reduce Skin Redness Icon
Helps reduce Skin RednessHelps reduce Skin Redness Icon

Beta-Glucan is a polysaccharide. It can be derived from the cell walls of seaweed, oats, yeast, and fungi.

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract is an extract of the leaves of the aloe, Aloe barbadensis, Liliaceae.

Corallina Officinalis Extract Skin Conditioning

Corallina Officinalis Extract is from the red seaweed, Corallina Officinalis. This seaweed is found all over the world but is most common in the rocky shores of Great Britain and Ireland.

Gardenia Jasminoides Fruit Extract Cosmetic Colorant

We don't have a description for Gardenia Jasminoides Fruit Extract.

Unknown Full details ->
Melia Azadirachta Flower Extract Skin Conditioning

Melia Azadirachta Flower Extract is from the Neem tree. Neem trees originate from India.

Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract Skin Conditioning

Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract is extract from the neem plant.

Ocimum Sanctum Leaf Extract Skin Conditioning

Ocimum Sanctum Leaf Extract comes from the Holy Basil plant. Holy Basil is native to India.

Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Hyaluronic Acid Icon
Hyaluronic AcidHyaluronic Acid Icon

Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid is a form of hyaluronic acid. It is created by the hydrolysis of hyaluronic acid with a high molecular weight. Once created, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid has a low molecular weight.

Glycerin Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
0 / 0 Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
2 Benefits

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Allantoin Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Soothing
0 / 0 Helps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconGood for Scar Healing Icon
3 Benefits

Allantoin plays a role in soothing and moisturizing the skin. Because of this, it is often added to products with strong active ingredients.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Pentylene Glycol Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Pentylene glycol is typically used within a product to thicken it. It also adds a smooth, soft, and moisturizing feel to the product. It is naturally found in plants such as sugar beets.

Hydroxyethylcellulose Emulsion Stabilising, Stabilising

Hydroxyethylcellulose is used to improve the texture of products. It is created from a chemical reaction involving ethylene oxide and alkali-cellulose. Cellulose is a sugar found in plant cell walls and help give plants structure.

Cellulose Gum Emulsion Stabilising, Masking
0 / 0

Cellulose Gum is a water-soluble polymer that comes from cellulose. It is used to change the texture of a product and to help stabilize emulsions.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Butylene Glycol Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
1 / 0

Butylene Glycol (or BG) is used within cosmetic products for a few different reasons:

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Lactobacillus Ferment Skin Conditioning

Lactobacillus Ferment is created by fermenting the Lactobacillus bacteria. It helps keep our skin's natural barrier and microbiome healthy.

Sodium Benzotriazolyl Butylphenol Sulfonate UV Absorber

We don't have a description for Sodium Benzotriazolyl Butylphenol Sulfonate.

Unknown Full details ->
Buteth-3 Solvent

We don't have a description for Buteth-3.

Unknown Full details ->
Tributyl Citrate Solvent

We don't have a description for Tributyl Citrate.

Unknown Full details ->
Tristearyl Citrate Emollient, Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Tristearyl Citrate.

Unknown Full details ->
Alcohol Antimicrobial, Astringent, Masking
Alcohol IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconMay worsen Oily Skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AlcoholAlcohol Icon 5 Concerns

Alcohol comes in many different forms. Different types of alcohol will have different effects on skin. This ingredient is usually an astringent alcohol.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Tetrasodium Iminodisuccinate

We don't have a description for Tetrasodium Iminodisuccinate.

Unknown Full details ->
Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
Water Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

Glycolic Acid Buffering
AHA IconGood for Oily Skin IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 7 Benefits 2 Concerns

Glycolic Acid is arguably the most famous AHA with a ton of research to back up its benefits.

Rosa Damascena Flower Water Masking, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting

Rosa Damascena Flower Water comes from the Damask rose. It is a dilluted version of the Rose Essential oil.

Centaurea Cyanus Flower Water Skin Conditioning

Centaurea Cyanus Flower Water is created using the cornflower, Centaurea cyanus. The cornflower is a blue flowering plant native to Europe.

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water Masking

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water is an aqueous solution of the steam distillate obtained from the leaves of the aloe, Aloe barbadensis, Liliaceae.

Propanediol Solvent

Propanediol helps absorb ingredients into your skin, boosting their benefits. It can act as an emollient, making your skin softer. Propanediol can help products last longer by boosting the properties of preservatives within the formulation.

Glycerin Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
0 / 0 Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
2 Benefits

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Triethanolamine Buffering, Emulsifying, Masking
2 / 0

Triethanolamine is an emulsifier and pH adjuster. It is created using ethylene oxide and ammonia. This gives Triethanolamine a nitrogen core and a similar scent to ammonia.

2 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Aminomethyl Propanol Buffering

Aminomethyl Propanol is used to adjust the pH of products. It is also used as a base to create other organic compounds. Having a balanced pH is important for protecting your skin.

Panax Ginseng Root Extract Emollient, Skin Protecting, Tonic
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness Icon
2 Benefits

Panax Ginseng Root is a popular herb from Asia. This root contains antioxidants, favonoids, and vitamins B12 and D.

Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
Antioxidant Icon
AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon

Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract is an antioxidant.

Aspartic Acid Masking, Skin Conditioning

Aspartic Acid is an amino acid that our bodies produce naturally. It is an antioxidant.

Alanine Masking, Skin Conditioning

Alanine is an amino acid and is already found in the human body.

Glycine Buffering, Skin Conditioning

Glycine is an amino acid that helps build proteins. It is already present in our skin as our bodies produce them naturally.

Serine Masking, Skin Conditioning

Serine is an amino acid naturally found in our body. Our bodies use amino acids to create protein.

Valine Masking, Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Valine.

Isoleucine Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Isoleucine.

Proline Skin Conditioning

Proline is an amino-acid. It helps moisturize the skin and plays an important role in creating proteins.

Threonine

Threonine is an amino-acid. It helps hydrate the skin and has antioxidant benefits.

Histidine Humectant, Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Histidine.

Phenylalanine Masking, Skin Conditioning

Phenylalanine is an amino acid. It is a skin soothing and hydrating ingredient. Amino acids play a crucial role in wound healing and skin hydration.

Glutamic Acid Humectant

Glutamic Acid is an amino acid that is found in all living organisms. Our bodies use this to help nerve cells in the brain communicate with other cells.

Arginine Masking, Skin Conditioning
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Arginine is an amino acid that is important for human development. Your body uses is it to produce hair keratin and skin collagen.

PCA Humectant, Moisturising

PCA is derived from amino acids and is naturally found in our skin's barrier.

Sodium PCA Humectant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0

Sodium PCA is the sodium salt of pyroglutamic acid and is naturally occurring on human skin.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Sodium Lactate Buffering, Humectant

Sodium Lactate is the sodium salt of lactic acid, an AHA. It is a humectant and used to adjust the pH of a product.

Fructose Humectant

Fructose is fruit/plant sugar. It can be found in apples, figs, and honey.

Glucose Humectant

Glucose is a simple sugar and is the most important source of energy in all organisms.

Sucrose Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Soothing

Sucrose is a natural sugar found in fruits, vegetables, and nuts. It is the main constituent of white sugar.

Urea Buffering, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconGood for Skin Texture IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
2 Benefits 2 Concerns

Urea is also called carbamide and is the diamide of carbonic acid. In cosmetics, urea is used to hydrate the skin. It also provides exfoliation in higher concentrations.

Hexyl Nicotinate Emollient

We don't have a description for Hexyl Nicotinate.

Unknown Full details ->
Dextrin Absorbent

Dextrin is used to thicken a product and helps bind ingredients together. It is created from starch and glycogen.

Citric Acid Buffering, Masking
AHA IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 4 Benefits 2 Concerns

Citric Acid is an AHA derived from citrus fruits (think oranges, lemons, and limes!).

Disliked Full details ->
Polysorbate 20 Emulsifying
0 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Polysorbate 20 is made by combining ethoxylation of sorbitan, ethylene oxide, and lauric acid. It is a mild cleansing agent, surfactant, and emulsifier.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Gellan Gum

Gellan Gum is a high-molecular weight heteropolysaccharide gum. It is created by the process of pure-culture fermentation with the bacterium Pseudomonas elodea.

Disliked Full details ->
Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate

Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate is used to help stabilize a product.

Sodium Chloride Masking
Can worsen Dry Skin IconBad for Acne Prone Skin IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
3 Concerns

Chances are, you eat sodium chloride every day. Sodium Chloride is also known as table salt.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Hexylene Glycol Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
0-2 / 0-1

Hexylene Glycol is a surfactant. Glycols are a class of alcohols. Hexylene Glycol is a surfactant and emulsifier.

0-2 Com. / 0-1 Irr.
Disliked Full details ->
Potassium Sorbate Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Potassium Sorbate is a preservative used to prevent yeast and mold in products. It is commonly found in both cosmetic and food products.

Disliked Full details ->
Sodium Benzoate Masking, Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Sodium Benzoate is a preservative. It's used in both cosmetic and food products to inhibit the growth of mold and bacteria. It is typically produced synthetically.

Disliked Full details ->
1,2-Hexanediol Skin Conditioning, Solvent

1,2-Hexanediol is a multi-tasker ingredient. It acts as a preservative to increase shelf-life and can aid other preservatives in preventing microbe growth. 1,2-Hexanediol also helps the skin retain moisture as a humectant.

Caprylyl Glycol Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning

Caprylyl Glycol is a humectant and emollient, meaning it attracts and preserves moisture.

Ingredients Explained

These ingredients are found in both products.

Ingredients higher up in an ingredient list are typically present in a larger amount.

Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Loved

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

So why is it so popular? Water most often acts as a solvent - this means that it helps dissolve other ingredients into the formulation.

You'll also recognize water as that liquid we all need to stay alive. If you see this, drink a glass of water. Stay hydrated!

Learn more about Water
Solvent
Liked

Propanediol helps absorb ingredients into your skin, boosting their benefits. It can act as an emollient, making your skin softer. Propanediol can help products last longer by boosting the properties of preservatives within the formulation.

Propanediol is not likely to cause sensitivity and considered safe to use.

It is derived from corn or petroleum with a clear color and no scent.

Learn more about Propanediol
Buffering
Loved

Glycolic Acid is arguably the most famous AHA with a ton of research to back up its benefits.

Its main role is to remove the top layer of dead skin cells, allowing newer skin cells to emerge.

Specifically, AHAs work by breaking down the structural "glue" holding the old skin cells in place. Getting rid of the old skin cells allows skin to regenerate newer skin cells in its place. A build up of dead skin cells can lead to tired and dull looking skin.

Due to this, glycolic acid helps with:

Fun fact: Glycolic acid increases skin hydration by playing a role in creating molecules that create hyaluronic acid naturally.

When starting glycolic Acid, it is normal to feel slight stinging.

The pH value and concentration of glycolic acid play a role in the effectiveness of the product. Concentrations between 5-20% glycolic acid have been shown to be effective in clinical studies.

Recent studies have shown Glycolic Acid may protect the skin against UV damage. However, you should always wear SPF, especially when using exfoliants.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Glycolic Acid
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Mixed

1,2-Hexanediol is a multi-tasker ingredient. It acts as a preservative to increase shelf-life and can aid other preservatives in preventing microbe growth. 1,2-Hexanediol also helps the skin retain moisture as a humectant.

In products that are water-based, this ingredient can help stabilize perfumes and fragrances. It can also help make the texture of products softer and more smooth.

Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
Loved

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

A study from 2016 found glycerin to be more effective as a humectant than AHAs and hyaluronic acid.

As a humectant, it helps the skin stay hydrated by pulling moisture to your skin. The low molecular weight of glycerin allows it to pull moisture into the deeper layers of your skin.

Hydrated skin improves your skin barrier; Your skin barrier helps protect against irritants and bacteria.

Glycerin has also been found to have antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Due to these properties, glycerin is often used in wound and burn treatments.

In cosmetics, glycerin is usually derived from plants such as soybean or palm. However, it can also be sourced from animals, such as tallow or animal fat.

This ingredient is organic, colorless, odorless, and non-toxic.

Glycerin is the name for this ingredient in American English. British English uses Glycerol/Glycerine.

Learn more about Glycerin

Ingredient Ratings

Here's what our community thinks of the ingredients in these products.

Lightning Wand Dark Spot Brightening Serum
21
7
1
6
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated
Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
30
3
8
1
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated

When to use

115 Routines
47% use in am
53% use in pm
83% use every day
When to use See routines that use it ->
2,427 Routines
22% use in am
78% use in pm
73% use every day
When to use See routines that use it ->

Reviews

Here's what our community thinks

Hero Cosmetics Lightning Wand Dark Spot Brightening Serum 35 ingredients

2.8 /5
from 5 ratings
Irritating (2) Drying (1) Great Value (1)
Azibeth's avatar

Azibeth

6 months ago Β· Combination Skin
Review

Does what it’s supposed to do. It will fade your marks, especially when you’re consistent with it. Leaves tiny whiteheads though, probably the...

Does what it’s supposed to do. It will fade your marks, especially when you’re consistent with it. Leaves tiny whiteheads though, probably the glycolic acid. But it has most of the lightening agents in it, except for kogic acid. Wait till your face is 100% dry to use it. And the roller ball is a little useless, I just use my finger.

KaitlinH's avatar

KaitlinH

2 months ago Β· Combination Skin
Review

Doesn't fit well into routines-- I feel like you have to apply it to clean skin, but that means letting your face dry as you apply it to different...

Doesn't fit well into routines-- I feel like you have to apply it to clean skin, but that means letting your face dry as you apply it to different spots and then let it dry. Maybe its not bad if you don't have dry skin or just a few places where you're applying it.

Also, I didn't realize it had alcohol in it-- it lead to some bad irritation around my nose.

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution 42 ingredients

3.6 /5
from 25 ratings
Works Well (7) Great Value (7) Irritating (4)
CustardBunny's avatar

CustardBunny

4 months ago Β· Sensitive Skin
Review

Ive used this for a whileee now.
First on my face, way too harsh so i did body only. I got lots of acne and heard nothing but "an all cure for...

Ive used this for a whileee now.
First on my face, way too harsh so i did body only. I got lots of acne and heard nothing but "an all cure for everything skinwise" lol.
Well it HURTS like a bitch. God it stings.
Absolutely no difference, if anything worse skin issues. Around the buttocks area.

Best thing that couldve happened to me? African Black Soap.

tiffchikin's avatar

tiffchikin

8 months ago Β· Combination Skin
Review

Didn't do anything for me
I wanted to like this product so much but after finishing one and a half bottle I still didn't see a difference on my...

Didn't do anything for me
I wanted to like this product so much but after finishing one and a half bottle I still didn't see a difference on my face. Stings a little bit so I only used it 2-3 times a week.