Will This Liquid Exfoliant Give You Clearer, Smoother Skin?

Unclog pores and smoothen skin?

When you have oily and acne-prone skin, you may also be struggling with clogged pores and uneven skin tone. Did you find yourself nodding to this? Then, consider adding some type of exfoliant to your skincare regimen. One of the popular products among the beauty community is Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant.

We put it to the test to see if it can truly unclog and minimise the appearance of pores, as well as improve your overall skin tone. Read on to find out more.

First impressions, claims, and ingredients

A hand holding the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

The Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is one of the brand’s best-selling and award-winning products.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about the brand’s products, and this chemical exfoliant is one of the highly recommended ones I’ve come across. It promises to do the same things as any other exfoliating product — unclog and minimise the appearance of visible pores as well as smooth and even out skin tone by removing dead skin cells — with the additional perk of being lightweight and quick-absorbing.

As someone with combination-oily skin who likes to rush through her skincare routine in 10 minutes or less, it is a great addition to my rotation of skincare products.

The chemical exfoliant is formulated with 2% beta hydroxy acid (BHA) a.k.a salicylic acid as its main pore-declogging agent. It’s supported by green tea leaf extract, known for its soothing and oil-controlling properties.

It also claims to have a pH of 3.2 to 3.8 and be fragrance-free.

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant packaging

The exfoliant comes in a matte grey and white bottle with a screw cap. I find that this packaging stays secure and hasn’t caused any spills since I started using it.

It has the same packaging as its 30ML version, so there’s a travel-friendly option if you need it.

Applying the exfoliant

The brand recommends applying the exfoliant using your hands or a cotton pad. I prefer the latter because it also adds mechanical exfoliation.

a comparison of cotton pads before and after applying the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

I use a cotton pad to apply the exfoliant after cleansing my face.

Regardless of the manner of application, the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant leaves a very thin sheen of residue on your skin upon the first touch. It absorbs quickly enough, but I find that it’s best to let it sit on your skin before moving on to the next skincare step.

While it claims to be fragrance-free, it does have a slightly clinical scent that resembles alcohol. It dissipates quickly enough, but it may be a con for others.

I use this exfoliant every other day in the morning, which is the recommended starting dose. I also consistently apply sunscreen after using the product. The result? I’ve noticed that the visible pores on my nose and cheeks have indeed appeared to be less visible than before. As a bonus, my skin isn’t as oily as it was before.

A comparison of skin texture and tone after applying the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

Left - My skin in the morning. Right - 30 minutes after using the exfoliant.

Over the past few months, I’ve also started getting more persistent breakouts so I sometimes increase the number of times in a week where I’d apply the product. It helps calm the blemishes and speed up the recovery process, as long as you don’t overdo it.

Tip: If you have a single blemish that you want to banish, soak a small piece of cotton with the exfoliant and let it sit on the pimple for a quick spot treatment. I find that this helps calm down a blemish in a jiffy — try it and let me know if it works the same for you!

I’ve also received comments from friends that my skin looks radiant. I’ve since paired the exfoliant with a niacinamide serum — a combination that works wonders for increasing skin radiance and improving skin texture.

Would you like to try this chemical exfoliant?

Final verdict on the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

a full shot of the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

Need a potent blemish buster and pore minimised? This is the real deal.

If you’re looking for a gentle exfoliating product that you don’t need to rinse off, the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is for you. It’s a no-mess or frills option that gets the job done. And if you deal with stubborn or persistent breakouts, this potent chemical exfoliant may become your new best friend.

However, if you’re someone with mild and occasional breakouts or sensitive skin, you may want to consider getting a less potent formula to be on the safer side. Paula’s Choice recommends the CLEAR Regular Strength 2% BHA as an alternative.

Price and where to buy in Singapore

Want to add this exfoliant to your skincare wardrobe? It’s priced at SGD52 per 118ML and SGD21 per 30ML on the Paula’s Choice Singapore website.

Don’t forget to apply sunscreen after exfoliating in the morning! For recommendations, check out our review of the Ultra Violette Supreme Screen.

Comments, questions or feedback? Email us at [email protected].

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