Today, I’m reviewing the absolute powerhouse which is the Allies of Skin Mandelic Pigmentation Corrector Night Serum! It actually didn’t work out for me – read on to find out why!

If you want to refresh your mind on what mandelic acid is and does first, you can take a look at my last blog post ‘The Complete Guide To Mandelic Acid’.


BRAND: Allies of Skin

PRODUCT: Mandelic Pigmentation Corrector Night Serum

INGREDIENTS: See bottom of page.


  • Works to exfoliate, replenish moisture and nourish the skin
  • pH of 3.5 (sweet spot pH for acids to work on the skin!)
  • Contains 11% blend of Mandelic (8%), Lactic (2%) + Salicylic Acid (1%)
  • Packs in 1% Bakuchiol, 8 Brighteners, and 7 Antioxidants and Peptides
  • Contains 5% Niacinamide and hyaluronic acid
  • Essential-oil free
  • Vegan formulation

I’ve Got *Insert Skin Type Here* Skin, Can I use It?

Allies of Skin state that this serum is suitable for all skin types – especially premature ageing skin prone to excessive discolouration and breakouts.

Key Allies

This section has been taken from the Allies of Skin website to explain to you what the main ingredients within this serum do:

  • 11% Mandelic + Lactic + Salicylic Acid – Powerful alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) & Salicylic Acid (beta-hydroxy acid) work together to reduce blemishes and blackheads, refine large pores, speed up cellular renewal, lighten dark spots + melasma while increasing hydration and strengthening the skin’s barrier.
  • Hyaluronic Acid + Niacinamide – Promotes the retention of essential moisture while plumping the skin and shielding it against free radicals and environmental stress. Reduces dark spots and strengthens the skin’s barrier.
  • Organic Rosehip + Tamanu Oil – Provides superior antioxidant protection, stimulates collagen production and feeds the skin with essential fatty acids, hydration and trace nutrients.
  • Superoxide Dismutase – One of the most powerful antioxidants around, Superoxide Dismutase overpowers the damaging reactions of superoxide, and protect the cells from superoxide (the most common free radical in the body) toxicity. As such, it reduces inflammation quickly as well as helps to prevent wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, soften scar tissue and speed up cellular healing.
  • Rumex Occidentalis Extract – Strong inhibitor of tyrosinase enzymatic activity, one of the main enzymes involved in the pigmentation process. It has higher activity than arbutin, turmeric and hydroquinone and with no unwanted side effects. It safely reduces skin pigmentation by limiting both melanin production and skin reddening for an even skin complexion.
  • Bakuchiol – Clinically proven to reduce multiple signs of ageing: significant reduction in roughness and dryness as well as fine lines and wrinkles. It also improves skin tone, elasticity, firmness, radiance, and brightness.
  • Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 -Slow down the skin ageing process. It mimics the body’s own mechanism, simultaneously boosting collagen production and protecting against collagen degradation. It visibly reduces the appearance of wrinkles in age-prone zones, significantly reverses visible signs of photo-ageing damage, rejuvenates and smoothens the skin, refines the appearance of large pores and improves skin firmness and elasticity.
  • Nonapeptide-1 – Inhibits the production of melanin. Shows significant brightening effect in 28 days.
  • Acetyl Tetrapeptide-40 – Reduces redness and irritation. It also has a photo-protective effect that reduces cell damage and the harmful effects of skin inflammation.

I think we can all safely agree that this serum is PACKED TO THE BRIM with incredible ingredients 😍.

My Experience With This Serum

At The Beginning…

So, I began using this serum 3 nights a week. Initially it appeared to be fine, I experienced no irritation or sensitivity but I did breakout in spots! Mainly around my cheeks, mouth and chin. My chin is a common area to break out in, especially when it’s my time of the month but the cheeks and around my mouth were not common breakout areas. However, I expected to purge with this product as it’s an acid, so I just sort of accepted it!

3 Weeks In

By about 3 weeks in of using this serum 3 times a week, the area around my mouth now looked sort of rashy and felt dry. So, rightly or wrongly so, I blamed my retinoid product and made the decision to stop using it for the time being. I thought this would be wise as clearly my skin was going through it a bit with the purging and dryness and didn’t want to cause anymore stress to my skin. 

7 Weeks In

Stopping the retinoid didn’t seem to help, if anything my breakouts were getting worse (retinoids really help with my acne!). So, by the 7 week mark I decided to reduce use of this serum down to twice a week and start using my retinoid product again but once a week. I did this for another 3 weeks.

10 Weeks In

By 10 weeks, I had had enough! My skin was still breaking out in red lumps on my cheeks and around my mouth so I went down to once a week usage and contacted Allies of Skin. They were super helpful and we went through my entire routine together. It became apparent that by the sounds of it, my skin just did not like mandelic acid, so they advised me to stop using it. I was so upset as I really wanted this serum to work for me as I know so many people who love it! However, upon reflection, deep down I knew this product wasn’t right for me as I was getting spots in areas that are not common for me to break out in!

I gave this serum a good 10 weeks; it’s recommended to try a product for at least 8-10 weeks before deciding if it’s right for you so I gave it my best shot!

This was at the 10 week mark so you can see the acne on my cheeks and around my mouth. Just red lumps in areas I don’t commonly break out in.

Wrong Acid For My Skin Concerns

What I would say is that in hindsight, this probably wasn’t the right acid for me! I don’t suffer from inflammatory spots (pustules/papules/nodules) which is what mandelic acid is best for! I get a lot of whiteheads/blackheads (non-inflammatory spots) which are better suited to salicylic acid.

So, even though this serum has 1% salicylic acid, which I know my skin loves, I just think my skin was really disagreeing with the mandelic acid and that ultimately was getting in the way of me seeing any good results. I also don’t really have any pigmentation which is what this serum works great on so, again not really for me!

I probably should have done more research on the types of spots that mandelic acid is best for, before buying this serum! But it’s a learning curve and sometimes you can do all the research in the world but you still may experience a reaction that you just couldn’t have predicted!

Another thing I would say is that for my skin, using this serum 3 times a week, was probably too much! Especially when considering this serum is a blend of 3 different types of acids so, it really is powerful! 3 times a week is fine for me when it’s just one acid, not 3!

My Advice?

If you have pigmented skin which is prone to inflammatory acne, this may be the right chemical exfoliating product for you! BUT, I would say go steadier than I did. Try doing the classic introductory method of using it once a week for 2 weeks, twice a week for another 2 weeks before getting up to 3 times a week! I should have done this but to be honest, mandelic acid wasn’t agreeing with my skin anyway, so I probably still would’ve broken out the way I did but maybe my skin wouldn’t have got so dry and rashy!

One Last Thing

This serum genuinely gave me the most incredible glow! Like not a greasy glow from the product but an actual, from within, glow. So asides from the breakouts, I was genuinely impressed! See the picture below for proof.

Not grease I assure you! Just a fully brightened complexion!

How Do I Use This Product?

Allies of Skin advise to use this product nightly (PM), after cleansing and toning. You would then follow up with any other serums you want to use (e.g. hyaluronic acid etc) and then finish with moisturiser +/- oil.

I did exactly that but as you’ve seen from my experience, I didn’t get any further than 3 times a week. I know many people that built up tolerance to this serum and used it nightly which worked wonders for their skin. However, I think that using an exfoliating product every day is just not necessary! I would say 3 times a week is enough, personally!!

Gimme The Deets…


30ml = £89. As I had to stop using this product, I can’t tell you how long it would have lasted for but I only used one pump each time I used it and that did my entire face. So, I would say it would definitely last a while! With 10 weeks of use, I barely made a dent in the bottle!

Where Can I Buy It?

You can purchase this product from, Space NK, Cult Beauty, Amazon, Beauty Bay and Feel Unique, to name a few. 


In regards to the time you have to use the product in, once opened, it lasts 9 months. In terms of storage, nothing special is required. Allies of Skin have already taken care of everything for you by housing the serum in an opaque bottle to protect it. 

Stick Or Spin Again?

Sadly this is a spin again situation, for me personally! This serum is an absolute powerhouse as I’ve said but it’s not the right product for my skin and my skin concerns!

However, if you struggle to use glycolic acid, perhaps have darker skin and suffer from pigmentation and/or inflammatory acne, then this could be the dream serum for you!!

Don’t let my experiences effect your decision on whether to try this serum! One person’s holy grail, may not be the next person’s holy grail and that’s the beauty of us all being different!

So, have any of you tried this serum from Allies of Skin? If you have, what’s your experience been with it? If you haven’t, would you consider trying it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!

Love & Knowledge,

S A M A N T H A 


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INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), Mandelic Acid (Alpha-hydroxy acid/chemical exfoliator – good), Glycerin (skin-replenishing/restoring – good), Butylene Glycol (texture enhancer – good), Polysorbate 20 (cleansing agent – good), Niacinamide (antioxidant/skin-soothing – best), Lactic Acid (Alpha-hydroxy acid/chemical exfoliator – best), Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Fruit Oil (Organic) (antioxidant/emollient/plant extract – good), Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil (tamanu oil) (skin-soothing/hydration – good), Superoxide Dismutase (antioxidant/skin-conditioning – goodie), Bakuchiol (antioxidant – best), Salicylic Acid (beta-hydroxy acid/chemical exfoliator/skin-soother – best), Tocopheryl Acetate (D-alpha) (vitamin E) (antioxidant – best), Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant – best), Panthenol (D) (pro vitamin B5/humectant – best), Hyaluronic Acid (antioxidant/skin-replenishing/restoring – best), Resveratrol Dimethyl Ether (antioxidant/skin-soothing – best), Rumex Occidentalis Extract (plant extract/skin-soothing/conditioning – no rating), Ascophyllum Nodosum Extract (alga extract/skin-conditioning – no rating), Nonapeptide-1 (peptide/skin-conditioning – no rating), Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 (peptide/skin-restoring – best), Acetyl Tetrapeptide-40 (peptide/skin-restoring – best), Diethylhexyl Syringylidenemalonate (antioxidant – good), Dextran (skin-replenishing – good), Xanthan Gum (texture enhancer/thickener – good), Sclerotium Gum (thickener/emulsifier – good), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (emollient/texture enhancer – best), Ethylhexylglycerin (preservative – good), Sodium Gluconate (skin-softening – good), Caprylyl Glycol (preservative – good), Sodium Hydroxide (cleansing agent – average), O-cymen-5-OL (preservative/antibacterial + microbial – no rating), Phenoxyethanol (preservative – good).

*Ingredient info & ratings from Paula’s Choice Ingredient Dictionary & Incidecoder (my personal faves for ingredient ratings)*

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