[ REVIEW ] COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

So Anthony goes from washing his face with powder, to exfoliating his skin with ACID? Yes, the infamous BHA Blackhead Power Liquid is finally in my hands, and it’s thanks to Style Story for sending it to my house, along with some other goodies. If you haven’t already read, I have typed up a post on the Tosowoong Enzyme Powder Wash and gave it a good rating based on how it works alone. (YOU SHOULD READ THAT POST AS WELL). Just like the powder wash, this BHA product is a huge favorite amongst the KBeauty junkies, is all over Instagram as a HG product and has pretty much taken the world by storm. Even a few of my friends who aren’t about the Korean skincare life, have sworn by this one bottle of liquid and has told me many times to hurry up and grab myself one. So now that I finally have, let’s take a look as to why every single person seems to have fallen in love with this damn product.

Keep in mind this writer has troublesome skin. Not only is the skin dehydrated with a combination skin type (oily in the t and dry in the u), he also suffers from acne and sensitivities around the mouth area.

****side note: this review is indeed sponsored and I will be providing a discount code for you guys, but as any other review I make in this blog, all comments are made up of my own thoughts and feelings and in no way am I changing up anything to glorify or bash this product to see fit, unless that is truly how I feel.  I also want to note that being a sponsored post, I will NOT be making any profits from any sales towards any of these products. If you feel uncomfortable making a purchase from this post, then feel free to shop elsewhere. Otherwise, the complementary code I will be giving you guys are free for your use. OK ONTO THE REVIEW!


What is COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid?

An oil-soluble acid exfoliant the can clear the dead skin cells deep within the pores to minimize the appearance of enlarged pores and prevent break outs. With a light watery texture, it works with your skin to soften and improve over time, to provide a flawless, blemish free and brighter skin tone.

Unlike the majority of BHA products in the market, COSRX uses betaine salicylate as the main ingredient opposed to the more generic and more common, salicylic acid. This means that it is ideal for those who suffer from acne, as it can help to fight the signs of acne production before it occurs, and also helps to treat the pre-existing acne on your skin. It also contains willow bark water as the main ingredient unlike other branded products that use the generic “aqua” as their moisture ingredient. The BHA Blackhead Liquid can also help oily skin types to control the amount of sebum produced on the skin.

Being that it gently exfoliates your skin and helps to deep cleanse the pores at the same time, you can use the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid everyday, opposed to your physical/chemical scrubs that you can only use once or twice a week. It is also balanced with a pH of 4, to protect your acid mantle whilst providing you with a deep clean for the perfect skin texture and appearance.

This product judging by the description, tackles everything I need in life. Not only does it work to minimize the pores, but it also helps to keep the pores clean from impurities or blockages, in turn helping those who suffer from excess sebum production. It also helps to control and fight off signs of acne, whilst gently peeling away the dead skin for a more softer and brighter skin tone. Overall, the claims offer you less oil, better pores, no pimples, brighter skin AND improved skin texture all in one. Now I must say, who wouldn’t want that? BHA, being an acid type, obviously needs a pH low enough to function properly, so it’s nice to see that this product sits at a pH of 4, which is slightly acidic to work well with your skin. Each bottle comes with 100mL of product, which is the standard for most road store branded toners and exfoliants.

On that note, let’s take a look at the ingredients and see how well this little list fairs against our skin.

INGREDIENTS: Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Water, Butylene Glycol, Betaine Salicylate, Niacinamide, 1,2-Hexanediol, Arginine, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Xanthan Gum, Ethyl Hexanediol

Ingredients listed in bold have an acne reading of 1, and ingredients highlighted have a safety reading of 3. Since safety only measures the impact of how an ingredient will affect your skin with prolonged use over a VERY long duration of time, I don’t think it’s something really worthy of mentioning, considering so many other external factors are more likely to cause you harm than something that appears at the end of an ingredients list. Butylene Glycol, as I’ve mentioned in so many of my blogs, has an acne reading of 1 and acts as a solvent and moisturizer. This ingredient basically helps to prevent your skin from drying out, and is vital in a product like this BHA Power Liquid, since BHA tends to dry your skin out. I’d say the alarm is there only for those who suffer extreme cases of acne and may be alarmed by ingredients that show even the slightest probability of acne induction. As for normal people who usually don’t express acne, or someone like me who has only minor to moderate acne occasionally, this isn’t something to be wary about.

I’d say overall, the ingredients list is pretty darn good, and it’s nice to see there aren’t any artificial preservatives or artificial fragrances added to this product. I’d dare say that even a sensitive skin type person may be able to use this based on the ingredients list alone. COSRX uses 4% betain salicylate in the ingredients, which I personally find high, compared to other brands who use roughly 1 or 2% salicylic acid, so keep that in mind. Betaine salicylate is actually more gentler on the skin than salicylic acid is, which also makes it more easier to use for those with sensitive skin types. Also, note the first ingredient isn’t “water” or “aqua” but instead, it’s willow bark water. If you didn’t know, willow bark water has slight BHA properties in it as well, though compared to betaine salicylate, it isn’t worth the mention, other than the fact it replaces general water which usually ends up being a filler ingredient in most cosmetics.

DO NOT USE if you are allergic to betaine salicylate, or the other ingredients in the list. You also shouldn’t use if you incorporate any products that include retinoid (vitamin A) or vitamin C products as this will cause your skin to have severe irritations and backlash, and it’ll decrease the effects of both the vitamins and this BHA. Another note, if you’re allergic to aspirin, then I strongly suggest you visit a doctor or patch test before making a purchase of this product.

Unfortunately the camera couldn’t pick up on the liquid content inside the bottle, since the liquid is virtually clear toned as well. So far within the time of me trying out this product, I have used a little over half way down the black label (somewhere in between Power and Liquid).

For the packaging, the bottle is sleek; it’s see through and labelled black, with a clear cap and a black pump dispenser. Nothing screams out to me with the design, but being that COSRX is on the affordable side of the Korean skincare world, it doesn’t look nor feel cheap. The bottle itself is a sturdy plastic, meaning that if you’re a clutz like I am, you’re not going to damage the bottle if you accidentally drop it on the floor. Since the bottle is clear, you have a good indication as to when your liquid is running low, which is probably the best part of the whole design in my opinion.


As for the actual product inside, the liquid is clear and has the viscosity of water, only slightly thicker. It feels a tad oily upon application but absorbs almost immediately into the skin and leaves a sleek, but soft skin texture that isn’t too sticky, nor too dry. There is a very slight chemically scent present, but dissipates within minutes after application, and didn’t really bother me. I wouldn’t have noticed either way if I wasn’t sticking my nose into the liquid. I didn’t notice any irritations on my skin at all, unless I were to be too rough with my daily face shave and cause micro tears in the skin. Even then, the pain only lasts a few seconds before it completely disappears. The directions specifically state to apply with a cotton and as if you’re cleaning your skin, wipe against the skin texture in your toner/essence stage of skin care, and avoid the delicate eye areas. After application, be sure to use sunblock. I’ve read other reviews on this product, and the majority of people have also stated to use cotton pads, only if your hands start to peel; since this product is designed to remove dead skin. I’ve trialled this product for nearly a month now, and I’ve yet to see my hands shed, so I guess it depends on your skin and how your skin can tolerate it.

When I apply the BHA liquid, I generally tone first using a cleansing toner of some sort, otherwise I apply directly onto my skin right after washing. Using a cotton pad, I take a few pumps and I work my way up from my neck, then take another pump directly onto the finger tips and massage into my nose and porous areas of the skin. I then allow the product to work it’s magic in the space of a half hour wait. In this time, I generally sit around, watch a bit of Youtube or have a mug of coffee. The waiting game is the hardest part for me. The reason being, is that you need enough time for the product to fully absorb into the skin for the exfoliating to be at it’s most optimal, otherwise you run the risk of the product not working to it’s full potential, thus causing your skin to reject by producing blackheads or acne. After half an hour, I just go about my regular skin routine, making sure to have some form of SPF coverage, as BHA can cause your skin to sensitize, especially in direct sunlight.

Now, if you’ve been reading my blog posts for a while, then you’d know that I’ve always mentioned that my pores have been small and I’ve never really had any trouble with blackheads whatsoever. Well, ever since using this product, I can now apologize to you all because, this bottle of liquid magic has tightened my pores even more than I could ever imagine, and has kept my skin so clean that I am most probably going to revise my entire outlook in life. This means that I can stop my Meiji Collagen intake since this BHA liquid can do everything the Meiji did for me, without the expense of $50 AUD per month. I could probably even replace my HG essences with this one product. (GOODBYE MISSHA FTE). On top of that, using for nearly a month, twice a day (surprised my skin could even tolerate it) has only reduced the amount of liquid by a teeny tiny bit, so I can verify that this bottle will last you a very long time.

Most reviews I’ve read on “cult favorite BHA products” found in the Western market often state that they dry your skin out like no tomorrow. I was half expecting it to be the same with this COSRX product, or at a level comparable to Clinique’s skincare products, but I was surprised to find that my skin never felt dry, but at the same time, my sebum levels in the skin actually reduced by a ten-fold throughout the day. I am even inclined to say that my excessive oily t-zone is slightly shifting to a more normal to oily skin type.

I’ve taken 3 tests to check my skin condition prior to using the Power Liquid to give you guys an average indication of what state my skin was. The average water content in my skin was 50.9% and sebum at 22.8%. Overall, my skin was well balanced.
After application, I retook the test 3 times. On average, my skin had a water content of 51.4% and a sebum reading of 23.1%.  That means, my skin increased in moisture by 0.5% and sebum by 0.3%. Overall, my skin stayed well balanced.

For price, one bottle at Style Story costs about $21.95 AUD, which, just like the Tosowoong Cleanser, is by far the cheapest toner/essence/exfoliator (whichever you want to categorize this product as, that is), I have used in my entire life. The cheapest toner I have had to date has cost me $22 AUD, the cheapest essence at $48 and the cheapest exfoliator at a hefty $55 AUD. Of course, the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid wins, and quite frankly, the effectiveness of this product compared to the three I mentioned put together, shits all over them all. Why wouldn’t you want to get your hands on this?

An extra bonus for you guys; if you shop at Style Story and use the coupon code ANTHONY15, then you can drop the price even more by 15%, which then makes the price sit at $18.65.


  • pH balanced at 4 on the pH scale, to work with your acid mantle barrier and your skin.
  • 100mL is a pretty decent amount per bottle
  • Being a BHA, it isn’t drying on the skin whatsoever, and only caused me irritations if I shave too carelessly on the day.
  • Slight smell that disappears really quickly.
  • Lasts quite a long time.
  • Makes skin really smooth, fights acne pretty well, brightens face complexion, clears pores from blackheads and tightens pores.
  • Very good ingredients list. The only concern was butylene glycol with an acne trigger of 1, which isn’t too bad as it’s more likely going to impact on the hydration levels of your skin more than it clogging your pores or aggravating acne.
  • There is no water/aqua in the ingredients list; it is replaced with willow bark water which has slight BHA properties to it, which is fitting for this product.


  • Being a BHA, you have to wait 20 to 30 minutes for the product to work at is optimal state before continuing with the rest of your skincare.
  • Since you’re supposed to wear SPF every single day anyway, it’s not really a con, but you’re encouraged to wear SPF daily since BHA can make your skin more sensitized to UV rays and sun damage.


PRICE ★★★★★

★☆☆☆☆ – I want all my time wasted and all my money back for this crap. If I could turn back time and tell my past self not to use this, then I would without a single doubt. If I find this in my collection or if someone gave it to me, I’ll set it on fire and pray to the All Maker to repent for using such a terrible product.

★★☆☆☆ – It’s pretty bad and I definitely wouldn’t recommend this to anybody, but it’s nice to give it a go for myself. I’ll only use it if it was given to me for free and I’m severely desperate.

★★★☆☆ – It’s nice but I wouldn’t go out of my way to get another one for myself. Maybe if it was on special then I’d consider buying it, otherwise there are better products that I like a lot more than this.

★★★★☆ – It’s quite good and I would repurchase definitely. It’s not a staple yet, but if I can’t find anything better, then I’ll happily stick to this product.


Now that you know what the stars mean, you can figure out what I mean by my personal ratings.

VERDICT: For me to turn around and say that I did notice a change in my pores, and the cleanliness of my pores went from what I thought to be extremely clean, to unbelievable changes, this definitely can’t receive a rating other than HG. There really isn’t anything else I can say other than for you all to go and purchase it online for yourselves before it’s sold out in every single retail store near you AND online.

Have you been sleeping on BHA products? Are you now intrigued by them and want to give them a shot? Or maybe you’ve used this product before, or have a different BHA that you’ve totally fallen in love with. Let me know down in the comments below what you think of the BHA Blackhead Power Liquid by COSRX. DOn’t forget to like this review, share with your friends and family and don’t forget to add my SNS sites down below for extra content and everyday life.

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6 thoughts on “[ REVIEW ] COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

  1. hi i know you’re clearly a fan of the product, but the way you presented a way was quite worrying. you first mentioned it was “infamous”, which essentially means famous for being bad.

    also the way you ended off the ratings scared me a lot, i think the way you can present the stars could be a different font or so, because as i read downwards i initially thought you gave it 1 star, or you could give a title heading!

    no hate, I appreciate the detail that went into this, i hope my comment was helpful 🙂


  2. Between this and Benton’s Aloe BHA Toner (if I want to use it as a toner), which do you recommend for oily, acne prone skin, and have dust allergy. Best to also recover acne scars.


    1. I found the benton one a little soothing and way more hydrating, compared to the cosrx but in all honesty both I liked equally. I think you’d prefer the cosrx if you’re looking more for the scarring since benton is more mild imo


  3. First and foremost this product goes bad easily. You can tell this by a color change to yellowish. For what this cost I can make a case of customised BHA. Salicylic Acid crystals are dirt cheap and formulations can be found easily on the web. Betaine silicate shares the exact same pH requirements as SA for effectiveness . This is no better than four dollar Strdex pads.


  4. Hi!

    I was planning to buy the Cosrx AHA/BHA Claritfying treatment toner and the BHA Blackhead power liquid. I have heard that you shouldn’t used both BHA products. Is this true? And does this product (BHA Blackhead power liquid) work with every product? because I am not sure which specific kind of products you mean.

    Thank you for your answer and lovely review!


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