Review: Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid

I have heard people mentioning this product for years, but it wasn’t until I read that it was part of Kerry’s daily routine on that I decided to finally give this a try.

Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid

And I LOVE Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid!  I’ve used it for about 6 weeks, my trial bottle is almost empty, and will definitely be purchasing the full size soon.

If you’ve heard about this product but never got around to trying it, I highly recommend you get it right away! This is a mild exfoliant that promises to shrink enlarged pores, reduce redness from rosacea, help rebuild collagen and create more even-toned skin.  All things that I desperately need, so I took the plunge!  On Paula’s Choice website, they had a promo where you could purchase the 1 oz trial size for only $9 (usually $14), and so far it’s lasted me over 6 weeks.  Amazing!

Paula Begoun from Paula’s Choice is also known as the “Cosmetics Cop,” who has written several best sellers about skincare and cosmetics.  I’m sure you’ve heard of her, her books and her products.  I use her Beautypedia reviews quite a bit when I purchase American skincare and makeup, and I usually agree with the reviews. (EXCEPT: there are a few acne-triggering ingredients that are widely used in American skincare that she recommends for acne-prone/sensitive skin, which I HIGHLY disagree with – but that’s a whole other blog!)  Overall, her products seem to be pretty good, many of them formulated for sensitive skin.  This liquid is also formulated for sensitive skin with no irritants, but has a highly effective amount of BHA in the form of Salicylic Acid, and at the right pH level!

Ingredients: Water, Methylpropanediol, Butylene Glycol (slip agents/penetration enhancers), Salicylic Acid (beta hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (anti-irritant/antioxidant), Polysorbate-20 (solubolizing agent), Sodium Hydroxide (pH balancer), Tetrasodium EDTA (chelating agent)

Love the simple formulation of this product! There are no acne-triggering ingredients and the added green tea extract is a huge plus.

Ok… so let me get to how this product worked for me:

I apply this product after my toner dries, using my fingers to apply a few drops all over my face.  (For multiple reasons, I don’t ever use cotton pads anymore to apply liquid products to my face: 1)Save money and less waste, 2)Use less product, 3)Cotton swabs are slightly irritating to sensitive skin, and 4)I think it leaves trace amount of dust that clogs my pores.)  So after I apply this liquid to my skin with my fingers, I wait a few minutes to let the product work its magic.  At night, if my skin feels like it needs a bit more exfoliation, I apply a few extra drops where needed and leave it on for 15 minutes.  Then I follow up with the rest of my skincare.

The 1st week that I used this product, I started by using it only at night to acclimate my skin.  And it made my skin itch terribly!  I knew what to expect because I’ve used chemical exfoliants before, and I just as I expected, it took about a week for my skin to get used to this product.  By day 3, I broke out in a few small whiteheads, especially from my enlarged pores on my cheeks and forehead, but these soon cleared up.  I’m positive that using Mizon’s Snail Repair Cream really helped my skin to heal quickly from the acne.

The 2nd week, I got three HUGE cystic acne all on my left cheek (the side that I inevitably sleep on).  The acne was definitely a product of the exfoliant because it’s unusual for me to break out like that all at the same time.  Also, I normally only get cystic acne along the jawline and only right before my period.  Because I got these cystic acne in an unusual area on my face AND at an unusual time, I know it’s because the exfoliant was doing it’s job and clearing my pores.  But of course I HATE getting cystic acne, and for several days I didn’t want to leave the house because of this breakout.  I actually thought about stop using this product, but I just stuck with it, and I’m glad I did! I expected my skin to take at least a week to clear up, but amazingly the cystic acne cleared up within 3 days using this product and the Snail Repair cream.

By the 3rd week, I started using this product day and night, and my skin has totally acclimated to it.  No itching, no major acne.  I still have the occasional white head, but those clear up within a day at the most.  I also started noticing that my pores were starting to close up and my rosacea was noticeably less red.  Even using it twice a day, I noticed that this product did not make my skin more sensitive or dry, even in this cold and dry climate!

Week 4 was the ultimate test for me about whether this product works to clear up my hormonal cystic acne.  Amazingly, I did not break out before my period!  I cannot even remember the last time this has happened.  I’m curious to know if this will happen every month, but so far, I’m amazed by the results!

I’m now into week 6+ and I’m really happy with the results!  My pores have shrunk about 30%-50% overall (some pores have shrunk a lot more than others). My skin is less prone to redness.  AND this product has helped eliminate my cystic acne! I’m a total believer in this product and will definitely purchase the larger size.


I am in love with this exfoliant!  The ingredients are few and non-irritating, and best of all the pH is at a level that makes this exfoliant effective.  I will definitely continue using this!  I highly recommend this product, but please just keep in mind that your skin will “purge” during the first two weeks and get a little worse before it gets better!

Pros: Delivered on ALL its promises! Less redness, acne greatly improved, and it shrunk my enlarged pores!

Cons: The only thing I can think of is that I regret not using this earlier!

Total score: 10/10

Ingredients: 10/10 (no irritants or acne-triggering ingredients)

Quality: 10/10 (Really impressed with how this product delivered on all it’s promises!)

Wear: 10/10 (Absorbs right into the skin, and once your skin gets used to the BHA, it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing anything!)

Price: 10/10 (Really great value! The 1oz bottle that I bought for $9 has lasted me 6+ weeks, and the 4 oz bottle is only $26.)

5 thoughts on “Review: Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid

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