Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is one of the most popular and well-loved liquid exfoliating products on the market.
It’s a powerful beta hydroxy acid product (BHA) that helps clear pores, fight blemishes, reduce redness, and even out skin tone. But its price tag it’s not always feasible for everyone.
So I purchased and tested several BHA toners and it came down to this list of the best Paula’s Choice BHA dupes that are just as effective at a fraction of the price.
These affordable picks from drugstore brands contain similar ingredients and give you the same skin-smoothing results as Paula’s Choice.
So if you’re looking for an alternative to Paula’s Choice BHA Liquid without breaking the bank, read on!
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Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is Paula’s Choice’s best-selling product. This customer-favorite leave-on exfoliant contains a 2% concentration of salicylic acid.
Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that exfoliates dead skin cells for a brighter, smoother complexion. It also reduces the look of enlarged pores, helps clear clogged pores, and reduces the appearance of pimples and breakouts.
Salicylic acid is oil-soluble, which means that it can penetrate deep into pores to clear out dirt, excess oil, and other debris (unlike alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid or lactic acid, which are water-soluble and only work on the surface of your skin).
This BHA also helps reduce redness associated with breakouts, making it ideal for acne-prone skin. Salicylic acid can even reduce the look of wrinkles and fine lines for a more youthful-looking complexion.
The exfoliant is enriched with green tea to calm irritation while offering anti-aging benefits, including improving sun damage.
Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is formulated at an optimal pH of 3.2 – 3.8, which makes it gentle enough for all skin types to use on a daily basis.
Paula’s Choice BHA Dupes
Why spend a fortune when you can get the same results from a cheaper alternative?
These Paula’s Choice BHA dupes target the same concerns as Paula’s Choice and contain similar ingredients but don’t have a high price tag.
NOTE: Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) and all exfoliating acids can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. So be sure to apply a broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher daily and limit direct sunlight while using these products.
1. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Triple-Action Toner
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Triple-Action Toner is a multi-tasking facial toner that treats acne before it even gets a chance to show up on your skin.
This Paula’s Choice BHA dupe contains 2% salicylic acid, just like Paula’s Choice. The potent concentration of salicylic acid helps dissolve dirt, oil, and other bacteria that can clog pores and lead to breakouts.
Neutrogena’s MicroClear Technology targets sebum (oil) and delivers salicylic acid to where its needed – at the source of breakouts. This allows salicylic acid to go to work and dissolve oil and dead skin cells, clearing pores for a clearer complexion.
The toner reduces shine and prevents future oil clogs, plus soothes redness and skin irritation with green tea (like Paula’s Choice) and cucumber extracts.
The non-comedogenic toner is gentle enough for everyday use but still strong enough to help keep acne at bay. Please note that there is added fresh fragrance in this salicylic acid acne treatment.
2. Naturium BHA Liquid Exfoliant 2%
Naturium BHA Liquid Exfoliant 2% is a leave-on BHA exfoliant that contains 2% encapsulated salicylic acid and bioactive fruit acids to reduce the look of pores and improve skin tone and texture.
Great for hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and sun spots, this alcohol-free and oil-free exfoliant encapsulated salicylic acid for improved stability.
Naturium’s formula is unique because, due to the microencapsulation in a microemulsion format, alcohol isn’t needed to allow the salicylic acid to dissolve.
Microencapsulated salicylic and an advanced bioactive fruit blend work together to gently lift away dead skin cells without drying out your skin and maintaining skin hydration.
The bioactive complex of Australian lime extracts, including caviar lime, desert lime, and rainforest lime, offer antioxidant benefits while providing a mild natural exfoliation.
This exfoliant maintains your skin’s acid mantle without causing irritation. Get ready for smoother, more radiant-looking skin!
Related Post: Naturium Skincare Review
3. Biore Witch Hazel Pore Clarifying Toner
Biore Witch Hazel Pore Clarifying Toner is an oil-free toner that is formulated with witch hazel and 2% salicylic acid to tighten pores, control oil, and banish blemishes and pimples.
The combination of witch hazel and salicylic acid helps to reduce the look of large pores, minimize blackheads and blemishes, and fight future breakouts.
Witch hazel is a natural astringent that helps control oil production while salicylic acid penetrates pores to help clear out dirt, oil, and other debris and helps prevent future breakouts.
This fragrance-free blackhead remover and oil-free facial toner leaves your skin soft and smooth without feeling heavy or leaving an oily residue on your skin.
This Paula’s Choice BHA dupe also has anti-inflammatory properties, making it ideal for those with acne-prone or sensitive skin. Please note there is added fragrance in this toner.
4. Pixi Clarity Tonic
Pixi Clarity Tonic pairs AHAs and BHAs with hydrating actives to exfoliate, clarify, and nourish your skin.
This toner contains two AHAs: lactic and glycolic acid, to exfoliate dead skin cells while salicylic acid (concentration not disclosed) and Salix alba (willow) bark extract clear out dirt, oil, and other debris.
The combination of AHAs and BHAs helps reduce the look of large pores while improving skin texture for a smoother complexion.
As a bonus, this toner contains several soothing and hydrating actives to offset any dryness or irritation from the exfoliating actives.
These hydrators and skin soothers include Aloe barbadensis leaf juice, lactobacillus ferment lysate filtrate, and Centella asiatica extract.
Antioxidant magnesium ascorbyl phosphate is a vitamin C derivative that works with Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract to brighten dull skin.
This oil-free toner is suitable for all skin types, especially acne-prone skin.
5. Peach Slices Acne Exfoliating Toner
Peach Slices Acne Exfoliating Toner is a Korean toner that helps break the acne cycle.
This salicylic acid acne treatment contains 2% salicylic acid, just like Paula’s Choice, to help exfoliate, reduce excess sebum, and keep skin clear. With regular use, this product can help prevent breakouts and promote a smoother complexion.
In addition to the salicylic acid, Peach Slices’ formula is also packed with other natural extracts like Malpighia emarginata (acerola) fruit extract, which is rich in nourishing vitamins like vitamins C and A.
The formula also contains exfoliating lactic acid and glycolic acid, two AHAs that work to gently exfoliate the skin.
This K-Beauty toner also contains soothing allantoin, Cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit water, and cica (Centella asiatica extract).
The toner is gentle enough for sensitive skin but still effective at delivering results.
It’s a great dupe for Paula’s Choice BHA Liquid because it provides the same benefits with additional soothing actives, all without the hefty price tag!
6. Bliss Clear Genius Clarifying Toner + Serum
Bliss Clear Genius Clarifying Toner + Serum is a little different than the other Paula’s Choice dupes in that this is a toner and serum in one that purifies your pores while toning your skin.
Bliss’ proprietary Clarity 5 Complex uses several active ingredients to unclog pores and break the acne cycle.
This complex contains salicylic acid (concentration not disclosed) to clarify your pores and control excessive oil production while sweeping away dead skin cells.
Witch hazel water is an astringent that supports salicylic acid in clearing pores and soothing your skin.
Niacinamide (vitamin B3) helps balance oil production and offers antioxidant benefits that fight environmental stress. Zinc PCA calms redness and regulates oil on your skin’s surface.
Cica (Centella asiatica extract) helps soothe your skin. Sodium hyaluronate (the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid) helps improve your skin’s barrier and keep your skin hydrated to prevent irritation.
The leave-on toner/serum has a lightweight gel texture that is thicker than Paula’s Choice, but it’s still quickly absorbed into the skin.
This is a great Paula’s Choice BHA dupe because it delivers all the benefits of a salicylic acid exfoliating toner plus additional oil control, brightening ingredients, and antioxidants.
Plus, it comes with a pump dispenser on the top of the bottle, so you don’t have to worry about spilling or over-applying product!
7. Revolution Skincare 2% Salicylic Acid Tonic
Revolution Skincare 2% Salicylic Acid Tonic is a 2% salicylic acid toner that looks a lot like Paula’s Choice salicylic acid toner.
The lightweight liquid uses salicylic acid to help unclog pores, exfoliate your skin, and prevent the formation of blemishes.
It also contains witch hazel water, which offers astringent, antibacterial, and soothing benefits. Marshmallow extract moisturizes and calms inflammation and redness.
This salicylic acid toner clearly takes inspiration from Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, as the packaging is very similar.
The results are similar, too! It has a wonderfully light texture that does not feel heavy on the skin.
Paula’s Choice BHA Dupes: The Bottom Line
There is no reason, especially if you’re on a budget, to pay a lot for a salicylic acid treatment like Paula’s Choice when there are so many effective dupes available at the drugstore.
All of the dupes in this post contain salicylic acid (and many at the same 2% concentration as Paula’s Choice), the workhorse ingredient that helps reduce the look of large pores, control oil production, and clear out dirt and debris from your skin for fewer breakouts.
For more skincare dupes, be sure to check out these posts:
- Bum Bum Cream Dupes
- Drugstore Skincare Dupes
- Drunk Elephant Dupes
- Tatcha The Dewy Skin Cream Dupes
- Tatcha The Water Cream Dupes
- Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream Dupes
- Clinique Moisture Surge Dupes
- SK-II Facial Treatment Essence Dupes
- Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream Dupes
- Cream de la Mer Dupes
- Glow Recipe Niacinamide Dew Drops Dupes
- Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Dupes
Thanks for reading!