First Impressions: Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% Liquid Exfoliant.

4:01 PM

Happy Friday everyone! For those of you working Monday through Friday jobs, congrats -- you've made it to the weekend! (I know the struggle)

I had the luxury of spending part of Wednesday with my friend Chris (TophCam on YouTube) and we filmed two videos that will go live next week, one on his channel and one on mine. We often swap products with each other or make samples for each other to try prior to purchasing something ourselves, but Chris was very kind and brought me the following that I shared on Instagram this week:

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant and Resist 10% Niacinamide Booster (Both can be purchased here through my refer-a-friend link, which gets you $10 off your first order and I get a $10 credit -- complete transparency ya'll!)

Chris picked these up for me because I had never tried Paula's classic (I think the Skin Perfecting BHA Liquid is the item from the brand I see mentioned most next to the 1% Retinol). I've been looking for a good BHA to use in the morning after shaving that doesn't dry my skin out or cause congestion (cause believe it or not, I've ran in to some that do -- which seems counterproductive). I had actually tried a BHA from Paula's Choice in the past from their Clear line for acne and shortly into using it, I was going through a period of breakouts, so, I placed blame on the toner and shortly after discontinuing my skin cleared up.

(The old Clear toner I used -- the packaging and formula have since changed)

Looking back, it was probably user error and I'm sure I was using something else my skin didn't agree with. So, I happily obliged to trying again and was certainly optimistic that this could become the BHA I've always wanted!

I'm writing this Friday afternoon, so, I've used the SP BHA Liquid (what I'll be referring to this as moving forward) as my sole chemical exfoliant both AM and PM (Aka 4 skin routines LOL). No Good Genes, no FAB Radiance Pads, nothing else. Below are the ingredients and my thoughts so far...

Water, Methylpropanediol, Butylene Glycol, Salicylic Acid, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Polysorbate-20, Sodium Hydroxide, Tetrasodium EDTA.

It's a very unique texture. This is definitely not quite a traditional BHA toner that evaporates on the skin due to the high alcohol content (This product contains none) -- it's actually somewhat viscous and has a slip to it, almost slick on the skin, but not quite oily. If you're used to the somewhat sticky feeling something like a Stridex Maximum Strength Pad can leave behind, this will definitely be different.

Looks like water but it is a bit "creamier"

I love the packaging. Yes, it's no frills, but as I've said before, I don't need something glamorous if what's inside is effective. The opening in this is small enough that the product doesn't pour out, but you'll almost need to shake it out on to a cotton pad or fingers (I've used cotton from Muji to apply this all four times so far, but I've HEARD that people do use their fingers...I'm personally good).

Picture of the case you were curious...

Experience so far:
I've enjoyed using it so far. No adverse effects. No new clogs, no irritation, no flaking, no redness. I'm happy so far! I'm looking forward to continual use to see how this goes. If I end up continuing to use it and enjoy it, I think I'll reserve it for AM using post shaving and I'll add my FAB Radiance Pads back in to my routine.

Have you tried this before? If so, what are your thoughts? Do you have a favorite BHA product?

Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy your weekend :)


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  1. Thanks for the thorough review! You always seem to answer all my questions. I'm looking forward to seeing the videos you did with Chris. Love you both!

    1. Thanks Sierra! :) It will be up on Thursday!

  2. Thanks for this, I'm always curious about AHAs & BHAs. Right now I'm trying out the Dermaadoctor Kakadu C serum for a week & it's been good. Thoughts??

    1. Hi there! The Dermadoctor is actually a great dupe for the Skinceuticals Vitamin C products and a beautiful formula. I'm interested in the Kakadu Cleanser myself!

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I'm thinking about replacing my current acid toner with this when I run out. ~~ Carol

    1. Hi Carol! If you try it, let me know what you end up thinking! :)

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I'm thinking about replacing my current acid toner with this when I run out. ~~ Carol

  5. I first tried the gel & it just felt too sticky so I then sampled the lotion & prefer it so much more. I have very oily skin & I'll use a cotton pad, swipe the liquid all over, let it sink in for a few minutes. I will then use my fingers to lightly spread it all over- this was the key for me! I find that by doing this, it doesn't leave a sticky residue & I can apply my mattifying moisturizer on top easier. This lotion really minimizes the appearance of my pores & my skin just feels so much smoother.
    I just received the niacinamide booster this week so I'm still trying it out, but so far I like it. Looking forward to reading more of your posts- I'm a YouTube fan as well!