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Updated on July 18, 2023

Overview

What they are

These products are both cruelty-free and reef safe . They have a total of 3 ingredients in common

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 common allergens, fragrances, 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.

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant
The INKEY List Glycolic Acid Toner

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
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.

Glycolic Acid 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.

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 research to back up its benefits. Its main role is to peel the top layer of skin cells from the newer layer of skin underneath. This helps skin to remove dark spots and look more even.

Propanediol Solvent

Propanediol helps absorb ingredients into your skin, boosting their benefits. It can act as an emollient, making your skin softer. Propanediol can help products last longer by boosting the properties of preservatives within the formulation.

Hamamelis Virginiana Water Astringent, Skin Conditioning, Soothing
Can worsen Dry Skin Icon
Can worsen Dry SkinCan worsen Dry Skin Icon

Hamamelis Virginiana Water is made used distilled parts of the witch hazel plant. The witch hazel plant is native to eastern North America.

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.

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.
Phenoxyethanol Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that has germicide, antimicrobial, and aromatic properties. Studies show that phenoxyethanol can prevent germ and microbial growth. By itself, it has a scent that is similar to that of a rose.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Alcohol Antimicrobial, Astringent, Masking
Alcohol IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconMay worsen Oily Skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AlcoholAlcohol Icon 5 Concerns

Alcohol comes in many different forms. Different types of alcohol will have different effects on skin. This ingredient is usually an astringent alcohol.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Ppg-26-Buteth-26 Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Ppg-26-Buteth-26.

Disliked Full details ->
Betaine Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation Icon
3 Benefits

Betaine is a common humectant (a substance that promotes retention of moisture). It's known to be gentle on the skin and can help balance hydration.

Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil Emulsifying
Oil IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
OilOil Icon Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil is derived from castor oil and polyethylene glycol (PEG). It is used as a emollient and emulsifier.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract Skin Protecting
Helps reduce irritation Icon
Helps reduce irritationHelps reduce irritation Icon

Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract comes from the Boerhavia Diffusa tree, or more commonly known as punarnava, red spiderling, spreading hogweed, or tarvine.

Unknown Full details ->
Ethylhexylglycerin Skin Conditioning

Ethylhexylglycerin (we can't pronounce this either) is commonly used as a preservative and skin softener. It is derived from glyceryl.

Trisodium EDTA

We don't have a description for Trisodium EDTA.

Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate

Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate is used to help stabilize a product.

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. Talk about multi-purpose! 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.

Buffering
Mixed

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.

In small amounts, sodium hydroxide is considered safe to use. However, large amounts may cause chemical burns due to its high alkaline.

Your skin has a natural pH and acid mantle. This acid mantle helps prevent harmful bacteria from breaking through. The acid mantle also helps keep your skin hydrated.

"Alkaline" refers to a high pH level. A low pH level would be considered acidic.

Learn more about Sodium Hydroxide

Ingredient Ratings

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

Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant
6
4
2
1
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated
Glycolic Acid Toner
5
4
5
1
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated

When to use

256 Routines
26% use in am
74% use in pm
66% use every day
When to use See routines that use it ->
127 Routines
31% use in am
69% use in pm
85% use every day
When to use See routines that use it ->

Reviews

Here's what our community thinks

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

12 months 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.

< 3

The INKEY List Glycolic Acid Toner 15 ingredients

4.0 /5
from 1 rating