Review: Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant


I received this chemical exfoliant from Nordstrom as a sample with an order recently and have been using the heck out of it. (It is a very generous sample.)  It contains salicyclic acid, green tea, and some other things to enhance its penetration into the skin. I use it every day after I cleanse my face. I just sensed some of you recoiling, but really - it's gentle enough that you can do that. If you feel your face becoming irritated, back off of it for a few days and try a gentler exfoliant, such as lactic acid. Not only will it leave you with fresh, glowing skin because it gets rid of the dead stuff, but it will help your other products work better if you use it in the proper order because of that great ability to help your skincare penetrate deeper into the skin. Here's what I do each morning:


  • Cleanse skin gently - usually just with water - to remove products used the night before
  • Swipe BHA exfoliant all over face with a cotton pad
  • Mist with a comforting toner, just to get a little extra water into the skin and calm down any irritation from the BHA. Lately, I've been enjoying this Mario Badescu mist.
  • After it dries a bit, apply Vitamin C serum.  This is the real reason why you want to use the acids in this order - you want all those delicious antioxidants in your serum to get as deep into your skin as possible.
  • Apply moisturizer.  This summer I've been enjoying Ole Henriksen's Vitamin Plus.
  • Apply sunscreen and make-up.
I will purchase this product after I run out of my sample. Paula's Choice products are pretty affordable, and this one will run me a mere $28 for 4 oz. I like to keep an array of acid exfoliants around and this has very nicely filled my BHA niche.

Just one cautionary note: you really shouldn't be using physical exfoliants on your face anyway, but it is super important not to use them if you are already using a chemical one. So no scrubs, nothing with microbeads, no manually scrubbing at your face, please. Your skin will thank you.

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