Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant Review

paulas choice 2% BHA Before and after

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Are you looking for a way to get rid of the clogged pores and uneven texture on your skin FAST?!

The Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is a best selling chemical exfoliant because it smoothes out your skin, eliminates clogged pores, is PERFECT for sensitive skin and works within one application. This product is also really easy to incorporate into your skincare routine, especially for beginners or those who have suffered with acne due to the salicylic acid included.

I never thought I would have smooth skin again due to my acne and clogged pores.

I was gifted the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant and this is my honest review on how this product has worked for my skin and a before and after photo will prove that.

This is the BEST BHA Exfoliant that I have ever tried. Keep reading to find out why I recommend the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Exfoliant.

You can buy the 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant on or Sephora if you are in the United States. Here are the prices of the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Exfoliant.

4 ozTrial Size
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Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant Prices

The best place to buy Paula’s Choice is from their website because they always have sales and coupon codes.

Sephora does not carry Paula’s Choice in Canada so you will have to shop on the website. The website is all in USD but they have sales and promo codes often so you can get free shipping to Canada.

How To Use The Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant for best results

Since this is a liquid product, all you need to do is use a cotton pad after you cleanse your skin. Essentially, you use the Paula’s Choice 2 BHA Liquid Exfoliant like a toner.

Since the main ingredients in the 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant are: Salicylic Acid for unclogging the pores and fighting oil and build up, Green Tea to soothe and provide anti-aging benefits.

One of the main benefits of using the Paula’s Choice BHA is the reduction of wrinkles and fine lines because it helps skin shed dead skin cells, promoting quicker skin turnover and the production of newer and younger cells.

I had so many bumps on my cheeks from clogged pores and built up sebum or blackheads on my nose. I used the BHA Liquid Exfoliator one time and saw instant results. My skin no longer felt gritty or sandy and my makeup application was instantly better too because my skin ended up being the smoothest it has ever been.

Can you Use the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant Every Day?

No, you should not use the Paula’s Choice BHA everyday when you first start using it. Suggested by Paula’s Choice you use it every other day to allow your skin to get used to it. You’ll likely want to start using it everyday because the results are so amazing. However, it is best not to irritate your skin and use it every other day until your skin gets adjusted. Then you can start using it everyday or even twice a day if you feel your skin needs it.

I found that when I started to use this product, I didn’t need to use it every day anyway as my skin still carried though so you should be fine to use it every other day and still see results.

In short, initially use it every other day until your skin gets used to it and then feel free to use the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant daily.

Before and After of the Paula’s Choice BHA Liquid Exfoliant

Take a look at my before and after photos of using the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant. On the left is about 2 months before and I took this photo for another reason. On the right, is the result after ONE use of the BHA Liquid Exfoliant and you can see an obvious difference in the congestion of the skin.

I did use the Ole Henriksen Sheer Perfecting Transformation Moisturizer after I applied the exfoliant because otherwise your skin will feel a bit exposed and dry. It is always recommended to follow up with a moisturizer after using a liquid exfoliant.

I suggest using this product in the morning BUT you must make sure to use an SPF or sunscreen product during the day because your skin is more exposed after the exfoliation.

Tell me you can see a very big difference in some of the bumps on the skin!

What is a Chemical Exfoliant and Do I need One?

What is a chemical exfoliant? A chemical exfoliant is an acid that helps remove dead skin cells that may be clogging your pores. It also promotes cell turnover depending which active ingredient you choose either AHA and BHA (more on those below). These are not scrubs or have any particles in the product as those become harsh on the skin.

You may not know that you should be using a liquid exfoliant vs. scrub exfoliants such as St. Ives. These scrubs are NOT recommended anymore and are outdated.

The Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is a BHA or Beta Hydroxy Acid. This means that the BHA active ingredient gently removes layers of skin that are dead or are ready to be turned over. When you remove dead skins cells, you get healthy glowing skin!

Over the age of 30, our skin doesn’t age as well so if you want to get ahead of wrinkles and fine lines I suggest using this product before you get wrinkles.

How to Use a Chemical Exfoliant

I was very scared to try a chemical exfoliant because I didn’t know how to use them. For example, a popular drugstore product is the Glow Tonic by Pixi Beauty and I see it everywhere but I didn’t know how or when I should apply the product.

I have tried the Pixi Glow Tonic but more on that specific comparison below!

Since a Chemical exfoliate is an acid you want to ensure not to mix it with other acids. That means, if you use one type of liquid exfoliate you should stick to that.

A beginner skincare routine with a liquid exfoliate should be as follows:

Step 1 – Cleanse with a gel cleanser

Step 2 – Tone or apply your Chemical Exfoliate

Step 3 – Apply your Serum *(Not Vitamin C)

Step 4 – Apply your moisturizer

***Note: You never want to use two acids at the same time in the process and you want to be sure not to space them out. A vitamin C serum is considered an acid and using two acids can dry out your skin and work against each other. If you’re using a Chemical Exfoliant such as the Paula’s Choice BHA then try to use the Vitamin C serum on opposing times of the day.***

There are two types of chemical exfoliates: AHAs and BHAs (see my Frequently Asked Questions about Skincare article here).

A BHA stands for Beta Hydroxy Acid which penetrates deep into the pores because they are oil soluble. AHA or Alpha Hydroxy Acids and are soluble by water made by sugary fruits and those are better for turning over dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. Both work well together to even out skin tone, reduce the look of pores, remove dead skin cells and heal acne.

Again, many beginners in skincare may not understand how to use Chemical Exfoliants but I promise they aren’t as scary as you may think. If you are a beginner the best chemical exfoliant to start with is the Paula’s Choice BHA but we’ll look at this product compared to other chemical exfoliants.

Does the Paula’s Choice BHA cause purging?

The Paula’s Choice BHA did not cause my skin to purge but in some other reviews I have heard of skin purging. I am a big fan of skin purging because I would rather have my skin be aggravated for 4 – 6 weeks and then become clear. If that’s all I have to go through to get clear skin then I wouldn’t mind the purging.

In writing this article it has been 4 weeks since I have been using the Paula’s Choice BHA and I have not experienced purging yet.

Does the Paula’s Choice BHA Burn?

The Paula’s Choice BHA doesn’t really burn too much. You should apply it after you cleanse your skin and because your pores are open then it will give a bit of a stinging effect but it is not bad at all. Don’t forget that this is the active ingredient going down into your pores so you want to at least feel something!

Paula’s Choice BHA vs. The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2%

There is a very big contract between the Paula’s Choice BHA and The Ordinary BHA namely because The Ordinary AHA + BHA is a mask. These are two very different products so don’t let the name fool you. The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% is a peel that sits on your face for awhile and you remove. The Paula’s’ Choice BHA liquid exfoliant is just that – a liquid that you apply once or twice a day for maximum results.

The PH levels are the same for these products so they do both help decongest the skin. Both Paula’s Choice and The Ordinary contain salicylic acid which is good for fighting and preventing acne. The Ordinary AHA BHA is the red product that you’ve likely seen all over TikTok. If you apply it it will make you look like a vampire! In fact, I’m not sure why they made it red?

The Ordinary AHA BHA vs. Paulas Choice

Another difference between these two is that the Ordinary AHA BHA is just focused on unclogging the skin whereas the formula for Paula’s Choice will do more than just unclog skin, it will decrease the signs of aging and leave your skin glowing and brighter.

If you can afford Paula’s Choice I would suggest purchasing the BHA vs. The Ordinary AHA BHA. Also, if you are from Canada, you will not be able to purchase The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% because Canadians have different allowances of the types of products that can be purchased.

Paula’s Choice BHA vs. Glow Tonic by Pixi Beauty

The Glow Tonic by Pixi Beauty is a drugstore bestseller and so many people love this chemical exfoliant. I have used the Pixi Glow Tonic before and while it is affordable, I will tell you why it is one of the WORST chemical exfoliants I have ever tried.

The Glow Tonic has a very sticky finish and feels like it leaves a film on your face. The Glow Tonic is also very drying and contains witch hazel. Witch hazel does help with inflammation and redness but it is also very drying on the skin.

The Paula’s Choice BHA is slightly more expensive at $29.50 for the full size on but there are more active and quality ingredients which makes it worth the money. The Pixi Beauty Glow Tonic at Shoppers Drug Mart or any other drugstore is about $20 either CAD or USD but you’re getting a product that won’t perform as well.

Paula’s Choice is a reputable skincare brand and has better ingredients for a skincare line. There are more active ingredients and therefore, your skin will be given a wide variety of actives and anything you use from Paula’s Choice will help your skin tone overall.

Paula’s Choice BHA vs. COSRX BHA Blackhead Power LIquid

The COSRX BHA has very similar properties to the Paula’s Choice BHA. Similarities include: refines large pores, best for acne prone skin and exfoliates dead skin cells without irritation because it also contains salicylic acid or salicylate that helps fight oil and acne. The PH level is 4.5 – 5.5 vs. Paula’s Choice is less at 3.5. The other main difference is that the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid contains Willow Bark Water that helps reduce redness and Paula’s Choice uses Green Tea extract. The COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid also contains

The COSRX BHA price is about the same as Paula’s Choice at $25 for 3.38 oz and the Paula’s Choice regular size is $29 for 4 oz.

I hope you enjoyed this Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant review. In short, you should consider the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant if you have clogged pores and want clear, clean glowing skin.


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