Gentle exfoliation with Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water by Wishtrend

Gentle exfoliation with Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water by Wishtrend

Korean beauty and skincare seem to be very much in vogue just now. Sheet masks and creams are huge but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Exfoliaters are also increasingly popular. After trying the Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water By Wishtrend* for a month, what did I think?


Although I’ve used a Korean foot peeling mask (!) and a sheet mask from my first ever Birchbox, I haven’t tried any other Korean skincare products before. Wishtrend are an online Korean beauty, skincare, body and hair care store. As well as stocking brands such as Klairs and Jungle Botanics, they also sell their own specifically created By Wishtrend products because, “healthy skin is the best makeup you can do.”

Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water

The only exfoliating toner I’ve heard of before is that cult favourite Pixi Glow Toner which uses glycolic acid. So I know it can cause skin irritation for those with sensitive skin. Mandelic acid, from bitter almond, is kinder but, as a cautionary note up front, I think (but don’t know) that it may not be suitable for those with nut allergies or who are specifically allergic to almond.

The Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water is one of Wishtrend’s top ten most loved products of 2017. Recommended for all skin types (sensitive, dry, combination, oily, acne-prone, aging) it’s a hydrating and non-irritating exfoliant that can be used daily, while boosting the effectiveness of other products.

The mantra of this gentle acid water is “Don’t peel but prep with Mandelic Acid.” It helps with pigmentation to improve skin tone and texture by removing dead skin cells and smothing dull or rough skin. As a mild exfoliator that works on the surface of the skin, it should be safe to use even for sensitive skin. And it’s helpful for acne due to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial properties.

Key ingredients

Mandelic acid. As one of the AHA ingredients, it has a large molecular size which causes very little irritation to the skin due to low permeability (unlike Pixi’s glycolic acid). It helps to improve pigmentation as well as to restore ageing skin. It also has antibacterial properties that are effective for inflammatory acne.
Beta-Glucan. Moisturising, redness reduction, anti-inflammatory and soothing effects.
Panthenol. Also known as vitamin B5, it acts as a humectant and moisturiser, improving the skin’s abilities to regenerate and maintain hydration. It’s also used to prevent inflammation and to prevent itching.
Centella Asiatica Extract. Helps regenerate damaged skin.
Sodium Hyaluronate. It naturally attracts and helps retain moisture within the skin, preventing dryness after exfoliation.

How to use

Wishtrend recommend using this on a clean face before your toner or moisturiser – so basically the same as any other exfoliator. You can either tip a small amount into your hand and smooth it over your face, or saturate a cotton pad and wipe it over your skin. I didn’t want to waste any so I used my hands. There’s a slight but not unpleasant smell to the water, reminiscent of almonds (to me anyway, although I may be susceptible to auto-suggestion here!). And because it’s a water, it’s colourless and clear – hence no shot of it in my hand because there’s nothing much to see!

Because it’s an acid-based product, you shouldn’t use it with other facial scrubs, AHA/BHA, or Vitamin C products. And if you’re going to use it in the morning then you should definitely apply sunscreen afterwards.

But I don’t see the point of removing dead skin cells to then clog my face with sunscreen. I trained as a Beauty Specialist a looooooong time ago and remember being taught that skin renews itself at night. This being so, for the last month I’ve been using it at night, after cleansing. The theory being that if I remove any dead skin cells then my night-time moisturiser will stand an even better chance of working 🙂 (Wishtrend suggest sensitive skin users only use it 2-3 times a week though.)

Does it work?

Yes! That was straightforward, wasn’t it? My skin isn’t usually especially sensitive (although Balance Me products don’t agree with me) but I do have a fair amount of redness and occasional breakouts across on my cheeks. As mentioned above, I’ve been using the Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water every night for a month, which isn’t that long. However, I’ve definitely noticed my skin is clearer, smoother, with less redness, and fewer breakouts. I plan to continue using it (at night) when we’re on holiday too, although I’ll probably limit it to 2-3 times a week in case my skin flares up.

Final thoughts

I didn’t know what to expect from either Wishtrend or their Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water. At first glance, I couldn’t see how an acid water was going to manage the job of my usual exfoliators (you know, the sort you apply and rub gently) but I’ve been very surprised and delighted. I think it’s one of those rare suit-all products that once you find you’ll keep using it because it actually works.

For $22 (around £16.50) I also think it’s great value, especially as I’ve only used a tiny amount of my 120ml so far. I clearly won’t need to restock for a while, but after reading some other fellow bloggers’ Korean beauty and skincare reviews, I’m excited to add some more items to my Wishtrend shopping cart in due course!

Have you tried any Korean beauty or skincare products before?

* I was gifted this product in exchange for a review but all opinions are my own and this is an honest, unbiased review. This post also uses affiliate links.


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Jenny in Neverland

My skin is bloody awful so I’m open to trying literally anything by this point; I really like the sound of this and I’ve never used any Korean skincare before but you’re totally right, it does seem to be featured everywhere at the moment so there must be something in all the positive claims xxx


Sounds like a great product. I really want to try Korean skincare products!


I’ve being seeing a lot from this brand but I love the sound of this product. My skin is soooo sensitive I need to be really careful with exfoliating products but this contains so many of my favourite ingredients. I ordered a new exfoliator two days ago and I’m a little bit annoyed with myself after reading this haha x



Glad to hear it hasn’t done any harm to your sensitive skin! Would love to try this one out, sounds interesting 🙂

Emma Rollason

This sounds interesting, I’ve never used a product like it, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever used a Korean Skincare product ever before. I’m glad to hear it worked well for you.

Emma x

Cally Lai

Lisa this is a fantastic review! I love trying new skin care as well and this looks like a great product! ? Korean beauty, and Asian beauty products in general, are so fab!
Love, Cally x


I’ve never tried Korean beauty products before but this sounds like a good one! It’s great that it’s suitable for all skin types and that it has a lot of natural ingredients. I loved the breakdown of ingredients list with the explanations, that’s really handy as I never know what anything means. Also, that’s a really helpful tip about using the product at night. Great review Lisa, I’ll keep my eye out for this one! xx

Bexa |


I have heard so many good things about Korean Beauty and skin products but have never tried any myself . This sounds like a fabulous product so glad it seems to be helping you achieve clearer skin. My skin seems to have reverted back to a teenagers right now I could probably do with giving this a go!
Great post Lisa ?

Melanie |


This sounds really great! I’ve seen so much hype about Korean products recently, and STILL haven’t managed to pick anything up so I’ll have to change that soon! I’m so glad you found that this worked well for you!
Sophie – – x


I keep getting hormonal breakouts so I would love to try this, up for any thing at the moment haha! This sounds like such a great product thought, it’s really great value too. Great post as always 🙂

Kate |


I really like the sounds of this skin care! Glad that it worked for you

Shevy du Toit
Shevy du Toit

I’ve never even heard of this acid so thanks so much for sharing, I have a fair amount of redness myself… thanks so much for sharing your experience XX



Seems like an interesting product. I have a hard time finding exfoliators that aren’t to scratchy feeling but this might be a good thing to try.


I’ve heard good things about Korean beauty as well! Great review and you will have to provide an update how it faired after your holiday

Kay xx

Bethany Jane

I absolutely love chemical exfoliants. After years of using physical exfoliators to no avail (apart from the time I got a bit of apricot shell in my eye and couldn’t see for three days), I started using chemical ones and they are SO much more effective. I’ve never used a mandelic acid before but I love the idea for winter when my skin is at it’s most troublesome. I love that this sounds so gentle and that you can use it daily! Perfect for a smooth and clear face 🙂
Beth x


I have been hearing amazing things about Korean skincare for ages now, but I have yet to bite the bullet and purchase anything to try out myself! I am really impressed with the results that you’ve described after having used this product, anything that reduces redness and keeps your skin feeling smooth with fewer breakouts can only be a good thing! It does sound like a great value product as well, especially as a little seems to go a very long way! I definitely need to check out Wishtrend on your recommendation!

Abbey xx

Ms Via

I have tried a few Korean skincare products and love them all. The sheet masks, hydrating masks etc and really love them. This sounds so good and I really want to try more from K-beauty. 🙂 Loved reading your detail review. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

Prachi Maulingker Naik

Yes infact I’m off lately a fan of korean skin care products! I use sheet masks from the face shop and also green tea seed serum from innisfree and it works magic with my skin !!