a dupe for paula's choice 2% bha liquid exfoliant

“What’s the best salicylic acid exfoliant, Gio?”

My answer’s always the same: Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant or The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution.

No, I’m not cheating. I just like to give people choice. 😉

Cos what works for me may not work so well for you. Or you may not like the texture of my HG. Or the price.

Most people don’t like the price. I get it, I like to get the most bang for my buck, too. So if that’s what you’re after, is The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2%Solution a dupe for Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant?

Let’s find out:

Salicylic Acid

Oily skin? Meet your new BFF.

Salicylic acid is an exfoliant that does triple duty:

  • Exfoliates: it dissolves the “glue” that holds skin cells together on the surface of the skin, leaving it smoother and brighter.
  • Unclogs: it’s oil-soluble so it easily penetrates into the pores and removes all the gunk that’s giving you blackheads and pimples.
  • Soothing: it has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce redness and irritation.

If you’re dealing with blackheads, whiteheads or pimples, you MUST add salicylic acid to your skincare routine. I’m not kidding when I say this is the most important ingredient for your skin type.

Those nasty buggers rear their ugly heads when your pores are clogged. Salicylic acid removes those clogs and prevents new ones from forming. 

Both The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution and Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant have 2% salicylic acid. That’s more than enough to do the job.

P.S. Salicylic acid belongs to the Beta Hydroxy Acid family. If you see BHA on the packaging, it means salicylic acid.

Related: Why Salicylic Acid Is Key To Spot-Free Skin

What Else Do You Need To Know?

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution is cheap for a reason: all you’re getting is salicylic acid. If that’s all you want, cool.

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant has a drop of green tea, an antioxidant with soothing properties. It fights off free radicals and calms down irritation.

Plus, PC is loaded with humectants, i.e. moisture magnets that attract water from the air into the skin. That makes it a little more hydrating, too.

Texture-wise, neither is perfect. Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant leaves skin a little shiny. I guess if you have oily skin, that’s the last thing you want.

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution doesn’t have that issue. But it foams a little when you apply it. I know, it’s weird. But it doesn’t compromise its effectiveness so I’m cool with it too.

Related: The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution Full Review

SHOP THE POST

Which Of The Two Should You Go For?

It depends on your needs. If you’re on a budget or can’t put up with a shiny feel, The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution is for you.

If you have oily and dehydrated skin or simply prefer a more multi-tasking product, Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is your best bet.

If you want something in between, like a multi-tasking exfoliant that does NOT leave a shiny residue behind, check out my guide to Paula’s Choice salicylic acid exfoliants. The brand makes 12! so you’ll sure to find one that suits your needs.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Paula’s Choice Salicylic Acid Exfoliants: Which One Is Right For You?

Availability

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant (£26.00): available at Dermstore, Feel UniquePaula’s Choice and Selfridges

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution (£4.25): available at Adore BeautyBeauty Bay and Cult Beauty

Is The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution A Dupe For Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant?

Nope. The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution is a more basic version of Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant. But it unclogs pores just as well.

What’s your fave of the two exfoliants? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Methylpropanediol (hydration), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Salicylic Acid (beta hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Polysorbate 20 (stabilizer), Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract (green tea/skin calming/antioxidant), Sodium Hydroxide (pH balancer), Tetrasodium EDTA (stabilizer)

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Hamamelis Virginiana Leaf Water, Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Salicylic Acid, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Citric Acid, Polysorbate 20, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Ethoxydiglycol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol