Explore Routine Login

Updated on February 06, 2024

Overview

What they are

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

Suited For

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

Free From

They both do not contain any harsh alcohols, 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 Liquid Exfoliant US
The INKEY List Niacinamide Oil Control Serum

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

Ingredients Side-by-side

found in both products
Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid 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.
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.

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 ->
Camellia Oleifera Leaf Masking

Camellia Oleifera Leaf is a green tea plant native to China. It is closely related to Camellia sinensis. Both plants have very similar properties.

Unknown 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.

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 ->
Niacinamide Oil Control Serum
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.

Niacinamide Smoothing
Niacinamide IconGood for Oily Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Dark Spots IconHelps fight Acne IconHelps brighten skin Icon
NiacinamideNiacinamide Icon 6 Benefits

Niacinamide has emerged as an all-star ingredient due to its many benefits.

Glycerin Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
0 / 0 Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
2 Benefits

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
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.

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 microbial growth. By itself, it has a scent that is similar to that of a rose.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer Emulsion Stabilising

This is a synthetic polymer. It helps improve the texture of products by adding thickness and gel-like feel.

Disliked Full details ->
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.

Phospholipids Skin Conditioning

Phospholipids are naturally found in our skin as they are the main component of cell membranes. Phospholipids have humectant, emollient, antioxidant properties.

Squalane Emollient, Skin Conditioning
1 / 0 Helps hydrate Dry Skin Icon
Helps hydrate Dry SkinHelps hydrate Dry Skin Icon

Squalane is an emollient that helps the skin hold onto moisture. It's an oily liquid that occurs naturally in certain types of fish and plant oils.

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Xanthan Gum Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming

Xanthan gum is used as a stabilizer and thickener within cosmetic products. It helps give products a sticky, thick feeling - preventing them from being too runny.

Disliked Full details ->
Glycine Soja Oil Emollient, Skin Conditioning
3 / 0 Oil IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
OilOil Icon Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Glycine Soja Oil comes from the soybean. Glycine Soja is native to eastern Asia.

3 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
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.
Sodium Phytate

Sodium Phytate is the synthetic salt form of phytic acid. Phytic acid is an antioxidant and can be found in plant seeds.

Polysorbate 60 Emulsifying
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Polysorbate 60 is used to help stabilize products. It is a surfactant and emulsifier. These properties help keep ingredients together in a product. Surfactants help reduce surface tension between ingredients with different states, such as liquids and solids. Emulsifiers help prevent oils and waters from separating.

Very Disliked Full details ->
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.
Glycolipids Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Glycolipids.

Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate Antimicrobial

Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate is a natural preservative. It comes from fermenting radish roots with a bacteria called leuconostoc. Leuconostoc comes from lactic acid. This bacteria is used to make the traditional Korean side-dish, kimchi. It is also used to make sourdough bread (both incredibly yummy foods).

Sorbitan Isostearate Emulsifying
1-2 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Sorbitan Isostearate is an emulsifer and cleaning agent. It is created from isostearic acid and sorbitol.

1-2 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Glycine Soja Sterols Emollient, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Glycine Soja Sterols is derived from the soybean plant. Sterols are an organic compound and technically an alcohol.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Citric Acid Buffering, Masking
AHA IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 4 Benefits 2 Concerns

Citric Acid is an AHA derived from citrus fruits (think oranges, lemons, and limes!).

Disliked Full details ->
Hyaluronic Acid Humectant, Moisturising, Skin Conditioning
Hyaluronic Acid IconGood for Skin Texture IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation Icon
Hyaluronic AcidHyaluronic Acid Icon 4 Benefits May cause irritationMay cause irritation Icon

Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in healthy skin. It is a humectant, meaning it draws moisture to your skin.

Disodium Phosphate Buffering, Masking

We don't have a description for Disodium Phosphate.

Unknown Full details ->
Sodium Phosphate Buffering

We don't have a description for Sodium Phosphate.

Unknown Full details ->

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.

Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
2
3
2
1
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated
Niacinamide Oil Control Serum
12
3
7
2
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated

When to use

3,413 Routines
27% use in am
73% use in pm
67% use every day
When to use See routines that use it ->
568 Routines
47% use in am
53% use in pm
94% 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 Liquid Exfoliant 8 ingredients

4.2 /5
from 38 ratings
Works Well (8) Expensive (6) No Scent (2)
MichelleR's avatar

MichelleR

8 months ago · Dry Skin
Review

Viral for a REASON
This product is popular for a reason. Back in the day [showing my age] we used to use Noxzema and Stridex for our acne. But...

Viral for a REASON
This product is popular for a reason. Back in the day [showing my age] we used to use Noxzema and Stridex for our acne. But those products were so harsh, burned, and didn't produce any results. This product not only clears pores but is also nourishing [suspect it is the green tea]. After I apply, my skin doesn't feel raw or sensitive. The formulation of this product is FANTASTIC. Truly viral for a reason. It will forever be in my skincare collection.

skinogre's avatar

skinogre

2 months ago · Oily Skin
Review

The first night I used Paula’s choice exfoliant just once, it cleaned up my skin scraping it whole, I was left GLOWING but it felt kind of tight...

The first night I used Paula’s choice exfoliant just once, it cleaned up my skin scraping it whole, I was left GLOWING but it felt kind of tight like I had been using corsx salicylic acid for 3 days straight, it takes some getting used to, to the extent that the instructions literally say to start off once a week and slowly build your usage up overtime, it’s really strong but does the job well. I’ve noticed that if I overuse it, I get extremely coarse skin and whiteheads slowly appear in the places I use it most (my nose). This is why I highly advise to purchase the small sample bottle first and to build your way up, at MOST every other day. I’ve used it 3-4 times a week since and on the few days I don’t I use a daily-friendly exfoliant toner pad so my skin barrier isn’t destroyed but bacteria doesn’t also build. It dries up all the forehead gunk, removes residue on the sides of my nose and dried up the pimples I had been trying to rid of for so long, my skin is left gleaming, exfoliated as ever, and I know my skin wouldn’t be as flawless without it. 30ml sample version Lasted 2 months from Dec-Feb used every other day. I now use the 118ml version since Feb and there’s plenty left, will most likely last for about 7 months and 3 weeks in total (based on how long i went through the sample size). As much as I love this I deeply suggest researching and sampling because there are mixed reviews of people claiming that it ruined their skin which doesn’t surprise me -since it is pretty harsh exfoliant and skin is diverse. I tend to be wary of western products but one thing western products do well is harsh exfoliants. If you have a lot of bacterial residue, sebaceous filaments and the feeling of gunk on your face even after your exfoliant, this is a good one to consider. This combined with my Needley daily Toner pad is the only reason why my forehead looks like a glazed doughnut

The INKEY List Niacinamide Oil Control Serum 24 ingredients

3.7 /5
from 10 ratings
Absorbs Well (2) Great Value (2) No Scent (2)
Hubayobi's avatar

Hubayobi

7 months ago · Combination Skin
Review

SUPER GOOD
I had redness on my cheeks and this product got rid of it! It’s super cheap and it’s seems small but it lasted me like 3 months. It’s...

SUPER GOOD
I had redness on my cheeks and this product got rid of it! It’s super cheap and it’s seems small but it lasted me like 3 months. It’s very lightweight but it has a little bit tacky finish but after you layer it with moisturizer it feels good. Did such a great job. Recommend!

faulmag's avatar

faulmag

7 months ago · Dry Skin
Review

Did not irritate my rather sensitive skin, and I like that it also has hyaluronic acid. However, I hate the bottle, it feels like I bought it at...

Did not irritate my rather sensitive skin, and I like that it also has hyaluronic acid. However, I hate the bottle, it feels like I bought it at the dollar store.