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Updated on June 07, 2024

Overview

What they are

These products are both cruelty-free and reef safe . They have a total of 2 ingredients in common

Cool Features

They both contain BHA

Suited For

They're both likely to be good for brightening skin, sensitive skin, oily skin, reducing pores and scar healing

Free From

They both do not contain any harsh alcohols, common allergens, fragrances, oils, parabens, silicones or sulfates

We independently verify ingredients, and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Spot a product that needs an update? Let us know.

COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner
Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and see relevant ingredients

At a glance

Click on any of the items below to learn more

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Ingredients Side-by-side

found in both products
AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner
Water Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

Salix Alba Bark Water Astringent, Skin Conditioning, Soothing

Salix Alba Bark Water is created by distilling parts from the white willow tree. The white willow tree is native to Europe and Central Asia.

Pyrus Malus Fruit Water Masking

Pyrus Malus Fruit Water is created by distilling parts of the apple.

Butylene Glycol Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
1 / 0

Butylene Glycol (or BG) is used within cosmetic products for a few different reasons:

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
1,2-Hexanediol Skin Conditioning, Solvent

1,2-Hexanediol is a multi-tasker ingredient. It acts as a preservative to increase shelf-life and can aid other preservatives in preventing microbe growth. 1,2-Hexanediol also helps the skin retain moisture as a humectant.

Sodium Lactate Buffering, Humectant

Sodium Lactate is the sodium salt of lactic acid, an AHA. It is a humectant and used to adjust the pH of a product.

Glycolic Acid Buffering
AHA IconGood for Oily Skin IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 7 Benefits 2 Concerns

Glycolic Acid is arguably the most famous AHA with a ton of research to back up its benefits.

Betaine Salicylate Antimicrobial
BHA IconGood for Oily Skin IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
BHABHA Icon 2 Benefits May worsen RosaceaMay worsen Rosacea Icon

Betaine Salicylate is considered a salicylic acid alternative.

Allantoin Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Soothing
0 / 0 Helps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconGood for Scar Healing Icon
3 Benefits

Allantoin plays a role in soothing and moisturizing the skin. Because of this, it is often added to products with strong active ingredients.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Panthenol Skin Conditioning
0 / 0 Helps reduce irritation Icon
Helps reduce irritationHelps reduce irritation Icon

Panthenol is a common ingredient that helps hydrate and soothe the skin. It can be found naturally in our skin and hair.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Ethyl Hexanediol Solvent

Ethyl Hexanediol is an aliphatic alcohol. It is a solvent.

Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant
Water Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

Methylpropanediol Solvent

Methylpropanediol is a synthetic solvent and humectant.

Butylene Glycol Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
1 / 0

Butylene Glycol (or BG) is used within cosmetic products for a few different reasons:

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Polysorbate 20 Emulsifying
0 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Polysorbate 20 is made by combining ethoxylation of sorbitan, ethylene oxide, and lauric acid. It is a mild cleansing agent, surfactant, and emulsifier.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Salicylic Acid Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
BHA IconPreservative IconGood for Oily Skin IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne IconHelps brighten skin IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
BHABHA Icon PreservativePreservative Icon 5 Benefits 4 Concerns

Salicylic Acid (also known as beta hydroxy acid or BHA) is one of the most well-known ingredients for treating skin that struggles with blackheads and acne. It helps to exfoliate both the skin's surface and pores, and also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Phytosphingosine Skin Conditioning

Phytosphingosine is a phospholipid naturally found in our skin. It helps moisturize, soothe, and protect skin.

Hydroxyethylcellulose Emulsion Stabilising, Stabilising

Hydroxyethylcellulose is used to improve the texture of products. It is created from a chemical reaction involving ethylene oxide and alkali-cellulose. Cellulose is a sugar found in plant cell walls and help give plants structure.

Vitis Vinifera Seed Extract Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Skin Protecting
Antioxidant Icon
AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon

Vitis Vinifera Seed Extract comes from the grape vine. Grape seeds are a byproduct of creating grape juice or wine.

Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract Astringent, Skin Conditioning

Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract is the extract of the leaves of Camellia Oleifera, Theaceae.

Epilobium Angustifolium Extract Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Epilobium Angustifolium Extract.

Unknown Full details ->
Bisabolol Masking, Skin Conditioning, Soothing
Helps reduce irritation Icon
Helps reduce irritationHelps reduce irritation Icon

Bisabolol is pimarily used to add fragrance to a product. However, it is also famous for helping soothe skin.

Tetrasodium EDTA

Tetrasodium EDTA is the salt formed from neutralizing ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid with sodium hydroxide. It is a chelating agent and used to prevent metal ions from binding to other ingredients. This helps keep the product and ingredients stable.

Disliked Full details ->
Sodium Hydroxide Buffering

Sodium Hydroxide is also known as lye or caustic soda. It is used to adjust the pH of products; many ingredients require a specific pH to be effective.

Ingredients Explained

These ingredients are found in both products.

Ingredients higher up in an ingredient list are typically present in a larger amount.

Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Loved

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

So why is it so popular? Water most often acts as a solvent - this means that it helps dissolve other ingredients into the formulation.

You'll also recognize water as that liquid we all need to stay alive. If you see this, drink a glass of water. Stay hydrated!

Learn more about Water
Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
Mixed

Butylene Glycol (or BG) is used within cosmetic products for a few different reasons:

  • It is a solvent, meaning that it helps to dissolve other ingredients. This also enhances the absorption of the product into one's skin.
  • It is a humectant, which means that it helps attract moisture into the skin.
  • It helps improve product application.

Overall, Butylene Glycol is a safe and well-rounded ingredient. It is unlikely to irritate skin, and works well with pretty much all other ingredients.

Ingredient Ratings

Here's what our community thinks of the ingredients in these two products.

AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner
8
3
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated
Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant
6
4
2
1
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated

When to use

2,106 Routines
37% use in am
63% use in pm
83% use every day
When to use See routines that use it ->
253 Routines
26% use in am
74% use in pm
66% use every day
When to use See routines that use it ->

Reviews

Here's what our community thinks

COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner 11 ingredients

3.8 /5
from 38 ratings
Light (5) Absorbs Well (4) Great Value (3)
Gracekp_827's avatar

Gracekp_827

3 months ago Β· Dry Skin
Review

My first chemical exfoliator. Great as an introduction for beginner or sensitive skin. Works well for a couple of months and then it didn't give...

My first chemical exfoliator. Great as an introduction for beginner or sensitive skin. Works well for a couple of months and then it didn't give the same effect as it used to. Help reduce blackheads, bumps, and prevent hormonal aches.

jojoswrld_'s avatar

jojoswrld_

6 months ago Β· Dry Skin
Review

When I first used this, it made my skin tingle ever-so-slightly before revealing the smoothest skin ever. The ever-present texture (closed...

When I first used this, it made my skin tingle ever-so-slightly before revealing the smoothest skin ever. The ever-present texture (closed comedones) on my forehead and cheeks have diminished greatly because of this. I only use it at night because AHA can cause sensitivity to sunlight!

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant 13 ingredients

5.0 /5
from 2 ratings
No Scent (1) Sticky (1) Works Well (1)
nafi_saa's avatar

nafi_saa

1 year ago Β· Combination Skin
Review

Single-handedly cleared up my ever present stubborn blackheads!

MichelleR's avatar

MichelleR

6 months ago Β· Dry Skin
Review

I started using this product during the day and layering it under my sunscreen. It wasn't bad for that, but I just find using it at night is much...

I started using this product during the day and layering it under my sunscreen. It wasn't bad for that, but I just find using it at night is much more effective. It is a thick enough consistency that it can go on as the last layer of a night-time routine and act as an overnight mask.

I love the BHA liquid exfoliant and use that during the day now, due to its quick absorption. I am not able to use the BHA lotion exfoliant at all, due to my Dimethicone allergy. The gel and liquid products are my GO TO products when i'm battling a break out. I literally wake up with better skin.

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