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I'm A Beauty Editor And I Prefer This $30 Exfoliator To Its $175 Luxe Counterpart
As someone whose skin is prone to a freakout, I don’t take swapping out my products lightly. Particularly when one of those products is a cult favourite (skin care guru Caroline Hirons even said it “sets the bar” for exfoliators) and quite frankly has always been very agreeable with my skin.
However, when a budget-friendly alternative with an equal level of cult-status (I’m talking one sold every minute) landed on my lap, how could I not have given it a try?
Let’s start with the luxe $175 buy I was previously using. The Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 is an exfoliator formulated with salicylic acid and widely regarded for its ability to minimise the appearance of pores, reduce breakouts and control uneven texture.
And although it’s straightforward to apply (you just dab it on with a cotton pad), actually getting your hands on a bottle in Australia always seems to prove difficult. It’s so tricky in fact, you can’t even purchase it off the brand’s actual website and when you do find a certified seller, you receive the ‘price on application’. From where I’m standing, it feels like it would be easier to buy drugs.
However, it’s been my post-cleansing step for about a year now and I thought I’d found a match for life. That was until I met the more wallet-friendly model. The slim-bodied, readily available and sensitive skin-friendly, Paula.
The first thing you need to know is that Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant retails for $38 – that’s roughly $140 cheaper than the French version! Also formulated with salicylic acid, and in the same fashion as its more expensive counterpart, it sloughs away dead skin cells, minimises pores and keeps cystic acne at bay. And dare I say it, I think it actually does a better job. It smells better too.
More hydrating than your regular toners, the Paula’s Choice formula has an oil-esque feeling to it. And because I’m always running out of cotton pads, I usually just tip my head back, drip the formula onto my cheeks and dab it around my face (I also think you waste less product this way).
In comparison to Biologique Recherche’s exfoliator, the Paula’s Choice version made a greater impact on eliminating blackheads that I thought I’d never be able to get rid of, clearing hormonal chin acne and creating a base that effectively absorbs my serums, moisturisers and oils better than it ever had before. How do I know this is all thanks to the exfoliator? Because if I leave it out of my routine for only a few days, spots that weren’t there appear, my skin is redder and the texture returns to its original rough and oily state.
Plus, the addition of green tea means the budget-friendly version also ticks an anti-ageing box and adds a soothing element to an otherwise potentially irritating formula.
Already earning a 4.5 star rating on beautyheaven, it feels as though I might be preaching to the converted. But if you need a bit more convincing (and not just my own unequivocal praise) here’s what some of our most trusted members also have to say about this exfoliator...
“SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA LIQUID is the best BHA out there. Perfect for anyone with fine lines or open pores it is easy to use and super - SUPER - effective. Your dry dull looking skin looks refreshed and brighter with in a few days of using this magic liquid. Every woman (or man for that matter) need SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA LIQUID in their life.” -dmgale
“I can't live without this product. I have been using this for about 2-3 years now and I can't imagine stopping anytime soon. It's great for large congested pores, great for smoothing uneven skin texture and gives an amazing glow. Suitable for sensitive skin. Can't recommend it highly enough.”- SD85
“I have tried almost every acne solution under the sun. After about a week, I felt like a new person. My skin was so clear and radiant. I have even stopped wearing makeup on a daily basis, as my skin looks so much better now and I am proud of it.” - Mezzbeth99
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