Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant – DIY Dupe Recipe

This is a leave-on chemical exfoliant that I’ve been using for a while. It makes my skin sooooo smooth.

It costs $29.50 per 4.0oz bottle regularly. You can make a whole Sephora’s worth of the stuff for about $42.

It has 8 ingredients, including water.

The Active Ingredient

The active ingredient is BAH (Salicylic acid). It was a little tricky to find the correct ingredients because the chemical in question is not actually BAH, that is apparently a marketing misnomer. It’s still a type of AHA.

Another ingredient “Methylpropanediol” is sold as “Propanediol 1,3” if you wish to purchase it as a separate ingredient.

Ingredient List

Anyways, here’s the ingredients list from their website:

Water (Aqua), Methylpropanediol (hydration), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Salicylic Acid (beta hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Polysorbate 20 (stabilizer), Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract (green tea/skin calming/antioxidant), Sodium Hydroxide (pH balancer), Tetrasodium EDTA (stabilizer).

Here is the ingredients list in English:

Water, Solvent [Methylpropanediol, also called Propanediol 1,3], Alcohol-Preservative/Emulsifier/Solvent [Butylene Glycol], Salicylic Acid (alpha hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Moisturizing Emulsifier [Polysorbate 20], Green Tea Extract, Salt [Sodium Hydroxide], Preservative/Antioxident/Makes skin more permeable to product [Tetrasodium EDTA]

Value Vs. Cost of Going DIY

The total cost of all of these ingredients purchased IN BULK sized bottles from the cosmetic ingredient wholesaler Making Cosmetics (I verified that they are legit) costs $42.

Each ingredient comes in 4.2oz as the smallest size you can purchase. The product in question is 4.0oz. I don’t even need to do the math to know that it’s an excellent value to just mix it myself.

Measuring Ingredients

1/2 tsp Salicylic Acid

What to Buy

But if any of you would like to get your own ingredients, here’s your shopping list:

  • Distilled Water
  • Propanediol 1,3 (4.2oz) $9.80
  • Butylene Glycol (4.2oz) $8.25
  • Salicylic Acid (4.4oz) $11.90
  • Polysorbate 20 (4.2oz) $6.10
  • Green Tea Extract (2.0oz) $9.20
  • EDTA (4.4oz) $5.90

The bottles I used came in a 6 pack for 7.59 on amazon.

You can purchase these from reputible cosmetic wholesalers, the one I used is Making Cosmetics.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments