Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid – a comparison

Skin Perfecting BHA

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting BHA exfoliant

Several months ago I ordered a mini-size of the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting BHA Liquid exfoliant (the 2%), to compare with RESIST Daily Pore Refining Treatment 2% BHA Liquid from the same brand, which I already reviewed some months ago.

First off, I have to say this system of offering trial sizes is one of the major reasons why I tend to prefer many of Paula’s Choice’s products… I’ve gotten several months of frequent use from this deceptively small bottle: a few drops of product, applied two or three times a week, are enough for the job, so it’s ideal for using for long enough to decide whether the product suits you or not, and if it turns out it wasn’t quite right, you won’t be stuck with a costly full-size bottle that’s only good for cluttering your cabinet.

Same as with the RESIST treatment, this BHA doesn’t sting or leave my skin tight, dried-up or flaking; note, however, that my skin is very used to this type of actives, which it likes a lot – my skin LOVES acids, and I tend to follow them up with other hydrating products in my routine, anyway.

Exfoliante 2% BHA Paula's Choice

Paula’s Choice liquid 2% BHAs: RESIST Daily Pore Refining Treatment 2% BHA vs Skin Perfecting BHA exfoliant

Compared with the former, the consistency of this product is slightly thicker and a touch “goopier”… this doesn’t sound great, but once applied and absorbed, it doesn’t feel uncomfortable, or affects the texture of other products in my routine, a problem I had with the gel version of this same product, which I used some years ago (I do wait a few minutes to let it absorb, though).

In all, for this reason, the Skin Perfecting Liquid BHA seems to me more suitable for use during the cooler months, while the RESIST, which is indistinguishable from water, feels like a better pick during warmer weather.

But enough nitpicking… does it do what it’s supposed to do?

Does it clean out pores? It does help visibly, but don’t expect miracles, either. If I become careless and forget to apply the product for a week or so, I notice it on my skin, but it doesn’t completely do away with sebaceous filaments on the nose. I didn’t really expect it either, because in my experience, the only way to degunk those pesky filaments and visible pores for several days is with a clay mask.

Does it work to keep breakouts in check? It does that too, again up to a point. In truth, since adopting a gentler cleansing and exfoliating routine, breakouts are becoming more and more of a rarity; occasionally a rebel breakout will threaten around those days of the month, and I can make it toe the line applying this product once every other night… sometimes even during the day for putting some pesky little zit in its place and make it go sooner, but used diligently in the way indicated before, I don’t think it’s necessary (or even advisable).

Exfoliante Skin Perfecting 2% BHA

Aqua, Methylpropanediol, Butylene Glycol, Salicylic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Sodium Hydroxyde, Tetrasodium EDTA. See analysis in CosDNA.

So, in all, would I buy the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA exfoliant again?

Yes, although I’ll probably wait until mid-autumn or so to order this. During the warmer months I prefer the RESIST Daily Pore Refining Treatment.

Generally, I like the latter just a little more than the Skin Perfecting: even thought the brand says this one is specifically designed for keeping skin free of blackheads and breakouts, I have the impression that the other product, recommended by the brand for its anti-aging benefits along with its skin-clearing action, worked a bit better at decongesting my skin and giving my face a touch more of “glow”.

In any case, that’s another factor that influences my preference for this brand’s exfoliants: I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it happen with many products that at first they work great, then hit a plateau and don’t seem to do that much for my skin… so I like to have tried and trusted alternatives to change every so often, and keep my skin on its toes.

My rating for Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA exfoliant: 4 points. In my experience, it’s definitely a good pick to have in mind for rotating products, and it’s likely I’ll order a full-size bottle of this later on.

1 point: No! Never again, not even if you gave it to me, or even paid me to wear it.


2 points: I didn’t finish the container and it’s very unlikely I’d buy this again. It might work for you, but it does nothing for me.


3 points: Meh. I’ll use up my jar/tube, but I don’t think I’d buy again. It might work for you, but it doesn’t do much for me.


4 points: I like it. It’s nice and does its job. I might buy this again, if I find nothing I like better.


5 points: I love it! It does its job very well, I find it a pleasure to use, and it’s earned its place in my beauty routine.

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