Paula's Choice vs Dermalogica 2023 (The Definitive Guide)

By Calum Torrington

14 February 2023

We're positive you've seen Paula's Choice and Dermalogica on the shelves at your local beauty store before. But which is best? And which brand should you choose?

Come with us as we compare their best-selling exfoliators side-by-side to help you decide which is best for you and your skincare routine.

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Paula's Choice 2% BHA vs Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant


Daily Microfoliant by Dermalogica is a very interesting product. It is interesting due to the fact that it is not a cream or a liquid, but a powder that turns into a paste! Which is not what you would expect from your typical exfoliator. The product arrives in a plastic tub with the powder inside. Dermalogica recommends that you apply half a teaspoon of the product to very wet hands and mix until it forms a paste. Then you apply the product to your whole face and remove with warm water.

At this point, you might be wondering how this product effectively exfoliates the skin. Well, it has some powerful ingredients. Salicylic acid, papain and rice extract are activated once water has been added. These ingredients are known for their exfoliation properties. A skin brightening complex of phytic acid, white tea and licorice extract are included to brighten the skin and even the skin tone. Finally, included within this product is calming oatmeal and allantoin. This wonderful cocktail of ingredients ensures Daily Microfoliant is an effective brightening and exfoliating product but it is also safe for everyday use.

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant really is a cult classic. It is one of Paula’s Choice best selling products all around the world and it’s not hard to see why. It contains 2% salicylic acid which helps aid the exfoliation process, unclog pores and even helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also contains green tea extract. Green tea extract is a wonderful calming ingredient. It is able to soothe irritation and can visibly treat the signs of ageing and even pigmentation! Paula’s Choice recommends applying this product with cotton pads in the morning and/or evening but to start off using it either just in the morning or just in the evening. This is to ensure that the skin does not have any adverse responses.

Both of these products are suitable for those who have blemish prone skin, blocked pores and uneven skin tone and texture. Paula’s Choice Liquid Exfoliant is also very beneficial for those who are starting to notice the signs of ageing.

As we have mentioned before, Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant comes in a plastic tub with a cap which opens to allow the product to come out. It comes in multiple sizes; 0.45 oz and 2. 6 oz. It also comes in a refill carton that can be decanted into the 2.6 oz tub. The 0.45 oz tub retails for $18. The 2.6 oz tub retails for $65 and the refill carton costs $56. Paula’s Choice Liquid Exfoliant is packaged in a plastic bottle with a screw cap. It comes in two sizes, 4 oz and a travel size. The 4 oz bottle costs $34 and the travel size costs just $14. It is good to know that all of the packaging used for both of these products are completely recyclable. Kind to our skin and the planet!

With both yielding similar results, picking between the two comes down to a matter of deciding how 'strong' you prefer your exfoliators (with Paula's Choice coming up trumps here with a concentration of 2% Salicylic Acid versus Dermalogica's 0.5%), and what your preference is for application (since Dermalogica's Daily Microfoliant requires the additional step of turning the powder into a paste). Ultimately, we prefer the slightly milder Dermalogica exfoliant, especially since it also contains other skin-loving goodies, and the process of applying it is very spa-like.

Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant by Paula's Choice, fast absorbing liquid removes built-up dead skin cells and fights blackheads.

Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant by Paula's Choice

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Fast absorbing liquid removes built-up dead skin cells and fights blackheads.

What makes it special? The Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is the brand's number one best-selling product and is hailed as one of the best chemical exfoliants on the market. The formula contains a concentration of 2% salicylic acid (the most common BHA) that once applied to the skin, does not need to be washed off with water. As a result, there are no harsh abrasives, no scrubbing, and your skin is left feeling incredibly soft.

Which skin types? Combination skin, Oily skin.

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Daily Microfoliant by Dermalogica, brightening powder exfoliant.

Daily Microfoliant by Dermalogica

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Brightening powder exfoliant.

What makes it special? Achieve brighter, smoother skin every day with this iconic exfoliating powder. Rice-based powder activates upon contact with water, releasing Papain, Salicylic Acid and Rice Enzymes to polish skin to perfection. A Skin Brightening Complex of Phytic Acid from Rice Bran, White Tea and Licorice helps balance uneven skin tone while a super-soothing blend of Colloidal Oatmeal and Allantoin helps calm skin. Gentle enough for daily use.

Which skin types? All skin types.

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