Free shipping on all domestic orders over $39

Mad Hippie Exfoliating Serum Review

is a Solution for:
Acne, Age Spots, Combination Skin, Dull Skin, Fine Lines, Hyperpigmentation, Large Pores, Oily Skin, Uneven Skin
Mad Hippie Exfoliating Serum
September 12, 2012 Reviewed by Marta 4 Comments
TRU Rating
Effective but may aggravate sensitive skin


Eases roughness and smoothness with botanicals


AHAs may be too potent for daily use

If you are looking for a relatively gentle glycolic exfoliator that is reinforced by repairing actives and won’t break the bank, then Mad Hippie Exfoliating Serum ($35) is well worth checking out. I have been testing it for about four weeks or so and found that, while not transformative, it helpfully manages reddish, roughish skin and does so without causing any flare-ups or irritation.

I started out using this Exfoliating Serum every other day and then in the third week of testing cut back to two to three times a week and always at night. This is because Mad Hippie’s serum exfoliates using glycolic acid and lactic acid, both AHAs. While I appreciate that they can improve the texture of the skin, I have become more cautious about using them since I came across recent research that gave me a better understanding of how they work. It seems that they create acidic conditions within the skin cell, ultimately resulting in its death and skin exfoliation (read more on how AHAs work).

On the brightening/lightening front, Mad Hippie has also included Gigawhite, which is a complex of six botanicals that are supposed to help fade age spots. There is no independent research on Gigawhite and I didn’t try this serum on age spots, but on skin that is a bit red and crepey from sun damage. There is also no independent research on Matrixyl 3000, although plenty of anecdotal evidence (as well my experience) suggests that this peptide complex helps promote collagen.

Exfoliating Serum also has apple stem cells, vitamin C, white tea, ceramide-3 and melatonin. All of these (and more) ensure that the good far outweighs the bad. However, there are a few things that I’d prefer Mad Hippie to seek out some alternatives for. Potassium hydroxide is an irritant that I am often allergic to even in rinse-off products. I had no bad reactions to this serum, but potassium hydroxide has been shown in animal studies to irritate at low levels. It is typically used as a pH adjuster (necessary for AHAs to work effectively). About half way down the ingredients list there is the possible neurotoxin, phenoxyethanol, and behentrimonium chloride, which is more usually seen in shampoos and can be irritating to the skin. 

  • June 3, 2016

    by aliki simha

    relatively mild for my skin irritation at all

  • July 3, 2013

    by Marta

    Hi Susan, I don't know what the percentage of glycolic is. But as noted in my review, I did not find it irritating and I have sensitive skin. Our other reviewer, Becky, also said that it was relatively gentle:

    Note that both of us started by using it every few days and built up to daily use once tolerance was established.

  • July 3, 2013

    by Susan

    Hi there......What is the percentage of glycolic acid in this product and isn't it quite harsh with lactic acid and vitamin C high on the list??


  • September 12, 2012

    by Jennifer Bradley

    How does this compare to La Vie Celeste's glycolic acid mask and Lather's glycolic acid mask?

Have You Tried Mad Hippie Exfoliating Serum?

Write your own review today
Perfect Great Good Didn't Like Hated It Rate Me
TIP: Roll over me

Join the discussion! Leave a comment Mad Hippie Exfoliating Serum below.

My Comment

Add a comment... Mad Hippie Exfoliating Serum

-or- Cancel Comment
* Required Fields
truth in aging's five best

Truth In Aging's Five Best

The very best to choose from for your skin concerns.

Read More

truth in aging videos

Truth In Aging Videos

Helpful how-tos and reviews from Marta and friends.

Watch Now

meet our contributors

Meet Our Contributors

The TIA community consists of our trusted reviewers.

Meet Them

be inspired

Be Inspired

Inspiring thoughts and women who are aging gracefully.

Read More