13 Best Liquid Exfoliators That Expose Soft And Radiant Skin

The road to radiant skin is easy with the help of top-quality liquid exfoliators.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Samar Kalil, Dermatologist Dr. Samar Kalil Dr. Samar KalilDermatologist
Written by , MBA, Certified Skin Care Coach Krati Darak MBA, Certified Skin Care Coach Experience: 3 years
Edited by , Integrated MA Medha Deb Integrated MA Experience: 5 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Shiboli Chakraborti MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Experience: 4 years
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We have what you need if you are looking for the best liquid exfoliators. Of course, you must have envied celebs whose makeup looks like a work of art. However, for those who have been using makeup merely to cover your dark spots and blemishes, it can do way more than that! A perfect skin helps makeup application easy, complementing your gorgeous skin. But to achieve that, you must add exfoliation to your skin care routine.

Liquid exfoliators are a miracle alternative to the scrubs that leave your skin feeling dry. They contain glycolic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, and mandelic acid that remove dead cells and impurities. Moreover, the best part is the results are visible within a few days. This works amazing for people with sensitive skin types. These products help in cell regeneration while keeping the surface of your skin clean and clear. Here are the 13 highest-rated exfoliators you must invest in. Scroll down to know what they are.

Top PicksCheck Price
Best Overall:Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid ExfoliantPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best For Dry Skin:The Ordinary Lactic Acid Superficial Peeling FormulationPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best Alcohol-Free:Pixi Skintreats Glow Tonic 5% Glycolic Acid Exfoliating TonerPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best For Daily Use:The Body Shop Drops Of Youth Liquid Peel ExfoliantPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best For Aged Skin: By WishTrend Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep WaterPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best Fragrance-Free: Clinique Clarifying LotionPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best Gentle: Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow BHA + PHA Pore-Tight Facial TonerPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best Non-Irritating:Naturium BHA Liquid ExfoliantPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best Age-Defying:Caudalie Paris Vinoperfect Brightening EssencePrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best SLS-Free:Billy Jealousy LiquidSand Exfoliating Facial CleanserPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart

Top 13 Best Liquid Exfoliators For Soft And Bright Skin

1.Best Overall:Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

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4.4
Paula's Choice—SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant Image: Paula's Choice

The Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is a skin-perfecting chemical exfoliator that is gentle and non-abrasive, making it suitable for all skin types. With 2% beta hydroxy acid or salicylic acid, this leave-on-exfoliator will unclog and diminish large pores, exfoliate dead skin cells, smooth out wrinkles, improves skin radiance, softens fine lines, and even out your skin tone. The lightweight BHA liquid exfoliant formula also contains green tea extracts that are absorbed quickly and dramatically improve your skin’s texture, and provides visible results for a radiant and youthful glow. You can combat redness, wrinkles, aging, blackheads, and clogged pores with this hydrating and scientifically-backed formula. The efficacy of this product is supported by clinical data.

Skin Type: Oily, Combination, Dry, Normal | Product Dimensions: 1.57 x 1.57 x 5.51 inches | Weight: 3.99 Ounces

Pros
  • Tackles clogged pores
  • Gentle facial leave-on exfoliant
  • No added fragrance
  • It does not contain parabens
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Clinically proven results

Cons
  • This leave-on liquid exfoliant may feel greasy for some.

protip_icon Pro Tip
Apply it to areas with large pores on your face and wash after 15 minutes. Then, use a clarifying mud mask for 10 minutes to reveal clear, smooth, and radiant skin.

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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

It has gained over 7,118 positive reviews on Amazon, making it an all-time best-seller.

2.Best For Dry Skin:The Ordinary Lactic Acid Superficial Peeling Formulation

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The Ordinary Direct Acids Lactic Acid 10% + HA Image: Theordinaryskincareproducts

The Ordinary Lactic Acid Superficial Peeling Formulation is an affordable scientifically formulated exfoliator that targets uneven skin tones, textural irregularities, and fine lines. This water-based serum has a pH formula of approximately 3.8 and is intended to be used before oils and creams for the optimum results you want for your skin. This pH-balanced solution is non-drying and non-comedogenic. Best suited for dry skin types, the mild-exfoliating formula of the lactic acid will help you reduce signs of inflammation and sensitivity, while purified Tasmanian pepper berry, which is a plant-based derivative, reduces any skin irritation. No clinical testing on animals was done in the making of this product. The visible results of this product are vouched for by the numerous positive reviews on Amazon.

Skin Type: Dry

 

Pros
  • Alcohol-free
  • Silicone-free and gluten-free
  • It does not contain oils or nuts
  • Vegan product
  • Cruelty-free

Cons
  • It may not be suitable for sensitive, peeling, or compromised skin.

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The Ordinary’s remarkable success is linked to affordability, single-ingredient science-backed, and ingredient transparency to consumers.

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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The overwhelming 3,568 positive reviews on Amazon show how popular this product is with happy users.

3.Best Alcohol-Free:Pixi Skintreats Glow Tonic 5% Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Toner

With 5% glycolic acid, the Pixi Skintreats Glow Tonic is a highly-concentrated exfoliating facial toner that helps you improve your skin’s texture and complexion by deeply cleansing pores and sweeping away excess oils and impurities. For a brighter and smoother complexion, this formula contains aloe vera and ginseng that nourish, soothe, and hydrate your skin. As the glycolic acid accelerates cell renewal and gets rid of dead skin cells faster, you can incorporate this toner into your daily skincare routine to visibly minimize pores and fades acne scars. Suitable for all skin types, this exfoliating formula can be used twice a day and can also be followed up with a hydrating serum or moisturizer. You can also check this video out for a brief review of the product.

Skin Type: All

Pros
  • For a smoother and brighter skin complexion
  • Alcohol-free
  • This product is not tested on animals.
  • Contain natural ingredients like aloe vera
  • Cruelty-free product

Cons
  • Contains added fragrance

protip_icon Caution
Avoid using a retinol or salicylic acid-based product with this exfoliating toner, as it can irritate your skin and disrupt its natural barrier.

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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

This product has received 384 reviews from customers on Amazon, indicating its popularity and reliability.

Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
Best Overall
The Ordinary Lactic Acid Superficial Peeling Formulation
Best For Dry Skin
Pixi Skintreats Glow Tonic 5% Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Toner
Best Alcohol-Free
Skin Type Oily, Combination, Dry, Normal Dry All
Dimensions 1.57 x 1.57 x 5.51 inches--
Weight 3.99 Ounces--
Rating
Reviews7,1183,568384
Price$35-$28.95

4.Best For Daily Use:The Body Shop Drops Of Youth Liquid Peel Exfoliant

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If you’re looking for a gentle and hydrating formula, the Body Shop Drops Of  Youth Liquid Peel Exfoliant is ideal for you. Formulated with 3 plant cells, including Edelweiss from the Italian Alps, sea holly, and Criste Marine from the Brittany coast, this liquid peel removes impurities from your skin while lifting dead skin cells and residuals. Using the Body Shop liquid exfoliator solution regularly will not just help you get rid of skin pollutants but also leave you with fresh, smooth, and luminous skin. Its non-sensitizing formula ensures effective yet gentle exfoliation for a radiant complexion. Trust that you will instantly feel like dead skin cells are lifted with this product, and you are free from any dirt or grime left behind on your skin’s surface. If you need more convincing, feel free to take a look at this YouTuber’s video on the reviewer’s experience and the merits and demerits of the product.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 2.13 x 1.69 x 6.3 inches | Weight: 5.11 Ounces

 

Pros
  • 100% vegan
  • Contains plant-based ingredients
  • Cleanses and leaves your skin free from impurities
  • Suitable for daily use
  • Cruelty-free

Cons
  • Some users felt that it dried on their face quickly, making it feel crusty.

5.Best For Aged Skin:By WishTrend Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water

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The By WishTrend Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water is exfoliating water formulated to remove dead skin cells and smoothen dull and rough skin. This hydrating and non-irritating exfoliant can be used even on the most sensitive skin daily. Formulated with 5% mandelic acid, this product helps improve pigmentation as well as restore aged skin. Infused with ingredients like sorbitol, beta-glucan, panthenol, vitamin C, and licorice, you can get improved skin tone and texture and additionally prep your skin for other products. Its lightweight texture effortlessly penetrates the skin and clears clogged pores.

Skin Type: Sensitive | Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.97 x 1.97 inches | Weight: 6.74 Ounces

 

Pros
  • Maintains pH balance of 5.0
  • Vegan-friendly and cruelty-free product
  • Ethanol-free formula
  • Paraben-free and silicone-free
  • It does not contain steroids
  • No artificial colors or fragrances

Cons
  • Some may find the fragrance of this product to be overbearing.

6.Best Fragrance-Free:Clinique Clarifying Lotion

For oily and combination skin, the Clinique Clarifying Lotion will help strip away skin impurities and dead cells while offering an instant burst of refreshment. You can use this gentle daily exfoliating lotion twice a day to address any skin issues. Formulated while keeping all types of Asian skin types in mind, this formula effectively and gently clears away dead skin cells without irritating or upsetting the skin’s natural barrier. This liquid exfoliating lotion is dermatologist-developed and specially formulated for maximum results to give you smoother and clear skin. Regular use of this gentle exfoliator reveals improved skin elasticity.

Skin Type: Oily | Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 1.75 x 6.8 inches | Weight: 6.7 Ounces

 

Pros
  • Preps skin for moisturizer
  • For oily and combination skin
  • Paraben-free
  • Contains no fragrance
  • No phthalates

Cons
  • Some may find that this product feels slightly sticky on your skin.

7.Best Gentle:Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow BHA + PHA Pore-Tight Facial Toner

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With the best hydrating extracts, the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow BHA + PHA Pore-Tight Facial Toner are formulated with essential vitamins and amino acids that help your skin feel renewed. With gentle watermelon extracts and PHA to provide gentle exfoliation and hydration, you’ll be one step closer to smoother-looking skin. Infused with willow bark, a natural form of BHA to unclog tight pores, and cactus water, which helps seal in moisture and evens skin tone while delivering electrolytes and antioxidants, this facial toner is a steal! If you want a detailed review of the product, make sure to take a look at this video.

Skin Type: All

 

Pros
  • It can be applied directly to your skin
  • Free from parabens and sulfates
  • No mineral oil
  • It does not contain phthalates or drying alcohols
  • No synthetic dyes
  • Vegan product
  • Cruelty-free

Cons
  • Some may find the scent to be slightly overbearing.
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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

It has received 2,087 reviews on Amazon and is a popular choice among shoppers.

8.Best Non-Irritating:Naturium BHA Liquid Exfoliant

The Naturium BHA Liquid Exfoliant 2% is an effective formula that contains salicylic acid and bioactive fruit acids to give you smoother and brighter skin. This results-driven leave-on liquid exfoliant helps you unclog pores, even out your skin tone, and fight the signs of premature aging. If you’re looking for a clinically-verified daily formula that your skin needs, this product contains BHA that delivers natural exfoliation for young skin and controls excessive oil production. The powerful and non-irritating formula also contains microencapsulated salicylic acid specially developed to be mild on the skin and created for sensitive skin.

Skin Type: Oily, Combination, Dry, Normal

 

Pros
  • Made with the highest-quality botanical, earth, and marine-based ingredients
  • It comes with a money-back guarantee
  • Cruelty-free and paraben-free
  • Vegan product
  • Gluten-free
  • No added fragrances
  • Biocompatible and dermatologist-tested

Cons
  • It may not be entirely suitable for susceptible skin.

9.Best Age-Defying:Caudalie Paris Vinoperfect Brightening Essence

Ideal for all skin types, the Caudalie Paris Vinoperfect Brightening Essence is a concentrated formula that is an ideal addition to your anti-dark spot regime. From the French skincare-line, which uses age-defying technology, the lightweight essence is gentle yet effective in refining pores along with smoothing, plumping, and illuminating tired complexions. Enriched with glycolic acid that works to eliminate dead skin cells and white peony extracts that revitalize dulled skin to reveal an even, healthy glow, this essence has a delicate and natural orange blossom fragrance that provides an immediate sensation of freshness.

Product Dimensions: 6.69 x 3.15 x 4.72 inches | Weight: 3.53 Ounces

 

Pros
  • Vegan
  • Restores radiance and luminosity
  • Evens the complexion and moisturizes the skin
  • 97% of ingredients are of natural origin
  • Clinically tested and proven formula

Cons
  • Slightly expensive

10.Best SLS-Free:Billy Jealousy LiquidSand Exfoliating Facial Cleanser

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Billy Jealousy LiquidSand Exfoliating Facial Cleanser Image: Billy Jealousy

If you’re looking for a solution that isn’t as penetrating as a skin scrub, the Billy Jealousy LiquidSand Exfoliating Facial Cleanser thoroughly exfoliates your skin to remove dead surface cells, dirt, and grime. This liquid exfoliating cleanser helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, nourishes skin while improving luminosity, and also preps the skin for a less irritating shave without over-drying it. With lactic AHA and silica, this formula is specially formulated for men and helps to flush out any clogged pores, leaving your skin feeling healthier and renewed.

Product Dimensions: 2.25 x 2.25 x 2 inches | Weight: 2.3 Pounds.

 

Pros
  • Cruelty-free
  • PETA approved
  • It does not dry out the skin
  • SLS-free
  • No added colors
  • Safe for all skin types

Cons
  • Contains methylparaben

11.Best Dermatologist-Tested:Bliss Clear Genius Clarifying Liquid Peel

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The Bliss Clear Genius Clarifying Liquid Peel transforms your skin overnight for a clear, calm, and smooth complexion. This spa-quality, pore-cleansing facial treatment comes with a patented time-release system that delivers a 10% optimal blend of alpha (AHA), beta (BHA), and polyhydroxy (PHA) acids to decongest pores and exfoliate dead surface cells and give you smaller and tighter-looking pores overnight. The dermatologist-tested lactic acid exfoliator also contains salicylic acid, and glycolic acid, which are effectively combined to suit all skin types.

 

Skin Type: All skin types, especially oily and problem skin | Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 1.8 x 4.1 inches | Weight: 1 Ounces.

 

Pros
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan product
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Fragrance-free
  • Suitable for all skin types, especially oily and problematic skin

Cons
  • The product may have a strong scent that some may find overpowering.

12.Best For Acne-Prone Skin:Cos De Baha S2 Salicylic Acid BHA 2% Liquid

The Cos De Baha S2 Salicylic Acid BHA, 2% Liquid, is a snail mucin filtrate serum that contains a blend of niacinamide and D-panthenol enzymes that soothe irritated skin and evens out your complexion. The results-driven gel serum gently glides over your skin, building a moisture barrier for long-lasting hydration. You will be left with smooth and comfortable skin when you use this snail serum that also contains chondroitin that improves skin elasticity, and makes the skin smooth. The snail secretion filtrate acts as a strong anti-wrinkle agent and improves wrinkles, and keeps your skin elastic and healthy. No animal testing was conducted in the making of this product.

Skin Type: Normal | Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 1.7 x 6 inches | Weight: 4 Ounces.

 

Pros
  • High-quality ingredients
  • Cruelty-free
  • Suitable for acne-prone skin
  • It does not contain alcohol
  • Paraben-free and sulfate-free

Cons
  • It may feel slightly sticky on your face.

13.Best For Sensitive Skin:bareMinerals Poreless Exfoliating Essence

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The bareMinerals Poreless Exfoliating Essence is a gentle daily exfoliating liquid that will leave your skin looking refined and smooth. It is clinically proven to deliver visible results. Suitable for all skin types, this formula contains prebiotics like sugar cane and sugar maple that support healthy-looking skin, along with skin-refining super fruits like bilberry, noni-fruit, orange, and lemon extracts to help minimize the appearance of enlarged pores. Clean your skin without compromising its health with this product that is free from various chemicals and synthetic fragrances, which makes this product also suitable for sensitive skin types.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 1.8 x 5.7 inches | Weight: 5 Ounces.

 

Pros
  • Rich in exfoliating super fruit acids and nutrient-packed prebiotics
  • weightless essence
  • Minimizes pores
  • Paraben-free and phthalate-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan product
  • No added synthetic fragrances

Cons
  • It may have a slightly watery consistency.

Since you’ve browsed through our list of the best liquid exfoliators for smoother skin in 2023, you can get ahead of the buying game. In case you’re a little confused about finding the right product for you, we’ve got you covered with our guide.

How To Choose The Liquid Exfoliator That’s Right For You: A Buying Guide

Depending on your skin type, skin concerns, and skin routines, you can make an ideal choice when it comes to buying the right facial liquid exfoliator for your skin. The exfoliating acids, including an AHA/BHA blend, fruit enzymes, and natural exfoliants, provide a potent combination for effective skin exfoliation. The best liquid exfoliators for the face contain beta hydroxy acids (BHA), such as salicylic acid, penetrate pores and go deeper than the skin’s surface. In contrast, products with AHAs, such as lactic and glycolic acid, are gentler. BHAs and AHAs both exfoliate dead skin to expose a healthier, younger-looking complexion. BHAs tend to have additional antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making them an excellent anti-aging and anti-acne treatment. Look for ingredients that are dermatologically tested to reduce any risks of irritation on sensitive skin.

What Ingredients You Should Be Looking Out For in A Liquid Exfoliant

  • Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is the most common BHA. Concentrations can range between 0.5 and 5 %, depending on the product at hand. It’s well-known as an acne treatment, but it can also help calm down general redness and inflammation.

  • Glycolic acid

Glycolic acid is the most common type of AHA. It’s also made from a widely available plant: sugarcane. Glycolic acid provides significant exfoliation. This makes it a comprehensive treatment for many skin concerns. Its antimicrobial properties are also supported by clinical data that may even help prevent acne or reduce breakouts.

  • Lactic acid

Lactic acid is another common AHA. Unlike other AHAs made from fruits, lactic acid is made from lactose in milk. It’s also known for its significant exfoliation and anti-aging effects.

  • Citric acid

As its name suggests, citric acid is made from citrus fruit extracts. Its primary purpose is to neutralize the skin’s pH levels and even out rough skin patches. Citric acid makes a good serum or toner used before applying a moisturizer. It may even help work with sunscreen to provide maximum UV protection.

  • Mandelic acid

Mandelic acid contains larger molecules derived from almond extracts. It can be combined with other AHAs to increase exfoliation. Used alone, the acid has shown proven efficacy in improving skin texture and pore size.

What Are AHAs And BHAs?

AHAs or alpha hydroxy acids are water-soluble acids made from sugary fruits and often help you tackle mild hyperpigmentation (including age spots and scars), enlarged pores, fine lines and wrinkles, and uneven skin tones. Alpha hydroxy exfoliants help peel away the surface of your skin so that more evenly pigmented skin cells may generate in their place. AHAs are primarily suitable for all skin types. Still, those with extremely dry or sensitive skin may want to gradually incorporate AHAs into their skincare routine to avoid irritating the skin.

BHAs or beta hydroxy acids are oil-soluble and, unlike AHAs, can get deeper into the pores to remove dead skin cells and excess sebum. They work wonders when it comes to tackling acne and sun damages. They work by penetrating the hair follicles and drying out excess skin oils to unclog your pores.BHAs are often considered suitable for combination and oily skin. Dermatologists also recommend using lower concentrations to calm more sensitive skin types.

Exfoliation is the process of removing makeup residue, dead skin cells, dirt, and bacteria from the skin’s surface. Unlike traditional scrub exfoliators, the best liquid exfoliators contain mandelic acid, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid that help to reduce acne spots and blemishes to give you spotless glowing skin. In addition, they help in regenerating new skin cells and provide visible results. You cna opt for the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant as it targets clogged pores and improves skin texture, or The Ordinary Lactic Acid Superficial Peeling Formulation for its gentle yet effective exfoliation in a mild, water-based formula. The Pixi Skintreats Glow Tonic 5% Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Toner offers a balanced and soothing formula with acclerated cell-renewal. These products are vegan, cruelty-free, and alcohol-free. Some liquid exfoliators may have an overpowering fragrance and can be overlooked. Refer to the buying guide to know what AHAs And BHAs are, and carefully choose the right exfoliators that suit your skin type.Remember to do a patch test before using them to avoid allergic reactions when you use it on the face.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

Krati Darak, the author of this article, has a keen interest in skin care. Her in-depth research and continuous look-through on the emerging products bring out the best for readers. After reading many online consumer reviews and feedback, this list of best liquid exfoliators was compiled. She says that one should not compromise on exfoliation in their skin care regime as it is the deciding factor of other products’ effectiveness. These exfoliators are a perfect substitute for scrubs and even suitable for sensitive skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are liquid exfoliants good for the skin?

Yes, they are more gentle than scrubs that can often dry out your pores.

Is it possible to use both AHAs and BHAs?

Yes, if you find the right combination, you can use both AHAs and BHAs for an effective remedy, especially when it comes to acne-prone skin. AHAs and BHAs yield fuller skin when used together. This may be due to increased collagen production, which can make both the dermis and epidermis visibly plumper.

How often can you use a liquid exfoliator?

Ideally, you can use a liquid exfoliator once every couple of days for maximum results.

How do you use liquid exfoliant?

Cleanse your face thoroughly, pat dry, and then apply the liquid exfoliant. Let it sit for 10-15 mins (refer to the instructions on the package for timing) and wash with cold water.

Can you use a liquid exfoliant every day?

No. Two to three times a week is perfect for getting the best results from your liquid exfoliators.


Dr. Samar Kalil

Dr. Samar KalilDermatologist

Dr. Samar Khalil is a dermatologist with over 18 years of experience in treating various skin conditions, including acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and dermatitis. She is also well-versed in anti-aging treatments, such as Botox injections, dermal fillers, chemical peels, and laser resurfacing. She is also a talented makeup artist who combines her medical knowledge with artistic flair to offer personalized...read full bio