First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads Review – Beautiful With Brains

So, you want to jump on the glycolic acid bandwagon but all those horror stories of irritated, flaky skin are holding you back? I hear ya. Go overboard and your skin will pay the price. Think flaky, red, irritated skin. But when you get it right, the results are worth it. Skin that’s softer to the toucher. Brighter to the eyes. Even fine lines and wrinkles look smaller. Much better to tip your toes in the water (or skin in the acid, in this case) slowly, so you can enjoy these benefits without the annoying side effects. How? First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads are a good place to start. Here’s why:

Key Ingredients In First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads: What Makes It Work?
Glycolic acid is the smallest member of the Alpha Hydroxy Acid family, a group of exfoliants that allows dead skin cells to slough off by dissolving the “glue” that holds them together. Size matters here: it’s what allows glycolic acid to penetrate skin better than other acids… and makes it more irritating than them. Glycolic acid is usually what makes your skin sting really bad.
Not here. First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads don’t sting (unless you have super, super, super sensitive skin). There’s enough glycolic acid here to exfoliate your skin BUT not enough to sting or boost collagen. That’s why these pads are in beginner territory. You can always switch to something more heavy duty when your skin gets used to the acid.
Related: The Complete Guide To Glycolic Acid
Lactic is another member of the Alpha Hydroxy Acids family. It exfoliates skin just as well as glycolic acid but has a bigger molecular structure that makes it way less irritating. That’s why, out of all the acids, lactic is usually the top choice for sensitive skin. While we’re on the subject, lactic acid also works as a humectant. That’s a fancy way of saying it attracts moisture from the air into the skin, keeping it hydrated.
Related: Glycolic Acid Vs Lactic Acid: What’s The Difference?

What do aloe vera and cucumber extract have in common? They both have soothing properties that calm down redness and irritations. This matters because even the gentlest exfoliant can irritate skin if used too often or if your skin is on the super sensitive side. Their addition means that even the few irritants in the formula (more on that in a minute) won’t be able to do much harm. 🙂
Related: 9 Soothing Ingredients That Reduce Irritations
Brands love to put citrusy extracts, like lemon and mandarin, in their products because they’re natural exfoliants. Don’t be fooled.

These extracts are used in such tiny amounts, they won’t exfoliate anything.
Citrusy extracts are among the most irritating ingredients used in skincare.

Sure, when you use only a drop, they won’t do that much harm. And we have soothing ingredients that reduce their irritating potential anyway. For the vast majority of people, they’re not a concern – not in this tiny amounts anyway. But if you have super sensitive skin that reacts to everything, do a patch test first. Just in case.
Related: 7 Natural Ingredients That Can Exfoliate Skin

Struggling to put together a skincare routine that minimises wrinkles, prevents premature aging, and gives your complexion a youthful glow? Download your FREE “Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine” to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):

The Rest Of The Formula & Ingredients

NOTE: The colours indicate the effectiveness of an ingredient. It is ILLEGAL to put toxic and harmful ingredients in skincare products.

Green: It’s effective, proven to work, and helps the product do the best possible job for your skin.
Yellow: There’s not much proof it works (at least, yet).
Red: What is this doing here?!

Water: The main solvent in the formula, it dissolves other ingredients and hydrates skin to boot.
Glycerin: A humectant that draws moisture from the air into your skin, keeping it hydrated and suppler for longer.
Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate: A preservative made by fermenting radish roots with Leuconostoc, a bacteria from lactic acid. It helps skincare products last longer.
Chrysanthemum Parthenium Extract: An antioxidants with soothing properties. It prevents wrinkles and calms down irritations.
Sodium Hydroxide: It adjusts the pH of skincare product. A super important job in an exfoliant. Get the pH wrong and the exfoliating acids won’t work (here, they do work, First Aid Beauty got it right).
Polysorbate 20: An emulsifier that helps oil and water blend together.
Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract: Derived from green tea, it’s loaded with polyphenols, a group of antioxidants with soothing properties. They neutralise free radicals before they give you wrinkles and soothe UV-induced inflammation (another cause of premature wrinkles and dark spots).
Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract: Derived from licorice, it has soothing properties that calm down irritations.
Hyaluronic Acid: It’s a humectant, a fancy way of calling ingredients that attract water from the environment into your skin and binds it in. It can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, leading to a softer and plumper complexion.
Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract: A natural extract with antioxidants and soothing properties.
Edta: A stabilizer that prevents ingredients from binding with trace elements and minerals in the water that would otherwise spoil the formula.
Tetrasodium Edta: A chelating agent that prevents minerals and metals present in the water from bonding to other ingredients and compromising their efficacy.
Phenoxyethanol: A preservative that prevents bacteria contamination and helps skincare products last longer.
Chlorphenesin: A preservative that inhibits contamination & increases the formula’s shelf life.

The material is soft and doesn’t scratch my skin and the exfoliating solution they’re imbued in is lightweight and fast-absorbing.
Technically, it’s fragrance-free. But without fragrance, most products don’t smell nice. So, brand often put citrusy extracts to give them a beautiful scent. It’s a less irritating approach than putting a fragrance, but can still irritate sensitive skin. Still, if you like your pads scented, these smell fresh and citrusy.
How To Use It
Like all exfoliants, use it two or three nights a week, after cleansing. Don’t use on retinol nights.
I’m currently using the big version of First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads. My box contains 60 pads, which is enough to last you for a couple of months – more if you don’t exfoliate daily. But they also come in a smaller version with only 28 pads. I’m thinking of getting that one for travelling. The box is much smaller and easily fits into a carry-on bag or purse.

Performance & Personal
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads are one of the gentlest exfoliants I’ve ever tried. They don’t sting. First Aid Beauty say they’re so gentle, you can use them daily. I say, that depends. My skin is pretty resistant and can tolerate daily exfoliation with “harsher” exfoliants so I can indeed use them daily. But if you’re just starting out on your acids journey or have sensitive skin, start with twice a week and build up frequency gradually.
Although they’re gentler than the exfoliants I’m used to, these pads still do a great job at exfoliating skin. After every use, my skin is smoother and brighter. Overall, I’m pretty impressed. I’d definitely recommend them to acid newbies. 🙂

What I Like About First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads

The material of the pads is soft and doesn’t scratch skin
Lightweight formula, sinks in quickly
Makes skin softer and smoother
Makes the complexion brighter
Gentle for new Glycolic Acid users
Practical packaging, the smaller version is handy for travelling

What I Like About First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads

Fragranced citrusy extracts may irritate sensitive skin
If you’re a pro acid users, these are too gentle for you

Who Should Use This For?
I recommend these pads to people with dry skin and acid newbies who want a gentle introduction to Glycolic Acid. You can upgrade to something stronger later on. If you have oily and/or acne-prone skin, you need salicylic acid. And if you have sensitive skin, I don’t recommend glycolic acid for you at all.
Related: How To Choose The Right Exfoliator For Your Skin Type
Does First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads Live Up To Its Claims?


A daily treatment pad that contains just the right amount of Lactic and Glycolic Acids to safely and effectively exfoliate, tone, and brighten all skin types, including sensitive.
It’s not suitable for daily use, but everything else is true.

Facial Radiance Pads are safe for daily use by all skin types—even sensitive.
Daily use is never safe for sensitive skin.

Regular use of these pads will smooth the skin’s texture—providing the perfect canvas for flawless makeup application.

Price & Availability
28 pads, $20.00 and 60 pads, $38.00 at Dermstore, Look Fantastic, Nordstrom, Sephora, Skin Store, and Ulta
The Verdict: Should You Buy It?
If you’re looking for a gentle exfoliant for dry skin, this is a good option to consider.
Dupes & Alternatives

Pixi Glow Tonic To-Go 5% Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Toner Pads ($18.00): Gentle Glycolic Acid exfoliating pads infused with soothing aloe vera and super hydrating urea for a softer and brighter complexion. Available at Ulta

Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract, Lactic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Chrysanthemum Parthenium Extract, Sodium Hydroxide, Polysorbate 20, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract, Citrus Nobilis Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon Peel Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Edta, Tetrasodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin

About Gio
Hi, I’m Gio. I’m a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is skin coach and writer on a mission to help you achieve your best skin day ever – every day. I bust skincare myths and debunk marketing jargon to help you figure out what’s worth the splurge and what’s best left on the shelf – using science, not hype. I also offer skincare consultations to help you create the best skincare routine for your unique needs.

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