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The Review: COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

I can’t remember the exact date I first heard about the legend of COSRX Blackhead Power Liquid but I do remember the exact moment I decided to finally give this cult product a try—six weeks, two days and three hours ago to be exact. It seemed like nearly every skincare blogger was singing its high praises.

COSRX, which stands for cosmetics + RX (prescription), is a Korean based brand that creates its products directly from the needs and feedback of their very dedicated customers. As Charlotte mentioned, their Good Morning Gel Cleanser was crowdsourced from customer feedback. How cool is that?

So what exactly is this heaven-sent liquid and why is every beauty blogger raving about it? The first thing you should know is that this product contains 4% BHA, that’s short of Beta Hydroxy Acid (sounds scary, but it’s not).

BHAs clean pores by penetrating deep inside of them to get rid of, exfoliate, dead skin cells trapped inside. Since BHAs are oil-soluble they are able to penetrate through oil, natural and otherwise, to truly dissolve it and clean out clogged pores. They also have amazing anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

And while products containing BHAs are typically prescribed for individuals with oily and breakout prone skin, I actually have dry skin and am still able to use this product. So all my fellow dry skin peeps, it’s safe to keep reading.

The most common forms of BHAs are Salicylic acid, if you’ve ever used a product for acne  you’ve definitely encountered Salicylic acid before, and Betaine salicylate — it’s less widely known but just as powerful cousin. The BHA Blackhead Power Liquid uses Betaine salicylate as it’s main active ingredient. What’s great about Betaine salicylate is that it provides time released exfoliation, meaning it exfoliates the skin long after the product is removed and evaporated.

Other stand out ingredients include white willow bark and B5 vitamin, which has great moisturizing and anti-wrinkle properties. It’s also paraben free and contains mainly naturally derived ingredients. Win!

Chemical Exfoliants
As we all know exfoliating, removing your skin’s dead skin cells, is super important. Consistently exfoliating, at least 1-3 times per week, will drastically improve the skin’s overall health and appearance. Furthermore, exfoliating allows your skin to better absorb the other products in your routine and helps them do their job more effectively.

Manual exfoliants, think any of the scrub products currently in your shower, differ from chemical exfoliants, such as COSRX’s, in one major way — they only remove what’s on the surface of the skin. This means manual exfoliants are, unfortunately, far less effective.

Chemical exfoliants on the other hand, because of their texture and active ingredients, can go beneath the surface of the skin to help shed more dead skin cells and even promote cell regeneration.


Love the simple packaging of COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid.
No frills. Just great ingredients.

How You Use It
The first thing you will notice about this product once it hits your skin is its water-like texture.  While there are no added fragrances there is a slight, but oh so faint, chemical-like smell — thankfully it fades after about two seconds. What I love most is that the texture of the product is nothing like I expected — it isn’t greasy or slimy and is only slightly thicker than water.

After double-cleansing, and toning, I apply two pumps of the liquid to my fingertips and gently pat it all over my face, avoiding the eye area and including the neck,  letting the product naturally absorb into the skin. I skip using cotton pads since I end up wasting product that way.

I have read several reviews that mention people’s hands or fingers starting to peel from directly applying the product. I haven’t experienced this but if you do, then I recommend applying it with a cotton pad.

I also want to note that various sources will recommend you forgo toning and apply this product to your skin directly after cleansing. I’ve tried both ways and haven’t a noticed a difference in the effects of the product. But since I really like the feeling of a squeaky clean and hydrated face (aka cleansing plus toning) I’ve stuck with toning before applying the Blackhead Power Liquid.

It has great slip and consistency is not too thick or thin!

The product absorbs super quickly into the skin. After waiting about 15-20 minutes, I then move on to the next steps in my routine. The reason you want to wait before using the rest of your skincare products is that the time allows the product to work its magic and fully penetrate the skin. That way you get its full benefits. It’s recommended you wait about 30 minutes before applying the rest of your products, however I typically don’t have that much time before I have to rush out the door or pass out for bed.

So far I’ve been using this product in both my AM and PM routine. Full disclosure, I do not have sensitive skin or any active breakouts at the moment, so I feel using this product twice a day is totally safe for my skin. But if you’re new to chemical exfoliants or have sensitive skin, I would start off with using this product once a day 1-3 times a week and slowly incorporating it more often. If you’re going outside, remember to use sunscreen afterward applying the power liquid because chemical exfoliants do sensitize the skin!

After about six weeks of using it I absolutely love this product! While I don’t currently have any breakouts, the hyperpigmentation, aka dark spots, and the small bumps I do have are definitely less noticeable. My overall complexion is a lot brighter, the texture of my skin is smoother and my pores, especially around my nose, are visibly smaller. I’ve definitely have a pre-spring glow going on!

If you’re going to add one product to your routine, I’d make it this one. Whether you’re suffering from acne, blackheads or enlarged pores, this a game changer product that will definitely help.

At $21 for a 100mL bottle this is a complete steal. You only need a few pumps per use so this size is sure to last you at least a few months — even if you use it twice a day like myself.

—Siraad Dirshe

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