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Updated September 1, 2021

COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid Review

What it is:
An exfoliating liquid that unclogs pores, fights blackheads, and smooths skin texture.
Skin Type:
Oily, Acne-prone, and Combination
Skincare Concerns:
Blackheads, Congested pores, and Uneven skin texture
Clear, runny, slightly sticky liquid
Highlighted Ingredients:
  • Willow Bark Water: Contains Salicylic acid and BHA to prevent acne while soothing skin.
  • Betaine Salicylate: Mild form of BHA that clears pores, soothes irritation, and moisturizes the skin.
  • Niacinamide: Known as Vitamin B3, it nourishes, heals, and brightens the skin. It also minimizes pores and fights acne.
  • Sodium Hyaluronate: As the salt form of Hyaluronic acid, it hydrates skin and retains moisture to maintain elasticity.
Ingredient Callouts:
This product has no parabens, sulfates, phthalates, or alcohol. It’s also 100% vegan.

Blackheads are one of the trickiest issues to solve. Getting them extracted by a facialist is still arguably the best solution. 

If you’re looking for something to tide you over until your next facial though, then an exfoliator like the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid is your next best bet.

Table of Contents

Product Overview

The COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid has potent pore-clearing powers. 

It can get rid of blackheads, control sebum, and exfoliate dead skin cells for smoother skin.

Key active ingredients like Salicylic Acid, Willow Bark Water, Betaine Salicylate, Niacinamide, and Sodium Hyaluronate provide anti-acne and ultra-hydrating properties.


  • Clears blackheads
  • Controls sebum production
  • Has Salicylic Acid to prevent breakouts
  • Doesn’t have harsh ingredients 
  • Doesn’t cause dryness as most BHAs do


  • Has a subtle scent that some might not enjoy
  • Causes initial skin purging

Things to Consider When Choosing an Exfoliator:

Things to Consider

Exfoliator Type

There are two kinds of exfoliators. Physical exfoliators come in the form of face scrubs and masks. 

They usually contain microbeads that physically rub off dead skin. 

This is in contrast to chemical exfoliators that come in the form of face washes, toners, or serums. 

They contain special acids like AHA or BHA that exfoliate the skin. 

Chemical exfoliators are generally more potent since the acids renew and brighten skin faster. 

They’re also safer to use on sensitive or easily irritated skin.


As with any other product, be on the lookout for harsh ingredients mixed into your exfoliator. 

It’s a given to always look for non-comedogenic formulas.

For physical exfoliators, watch out for microbeads that can damage your face. 

For example, face scrubs that use crushed walnut shells can cause microtears that weaken the skin’s barrier. 

For chemical exfoliators, it’s also best to start with formulas that only contain one type of acid. A mix of too much will only irritate your skin. 

For example, if you’re using Glycolic Acid, then stick to that.


The words “cosmetics” and “RX” (or prescription) are what created the name COSRX. 

Its skincare products are formulated to soothe many specific skin issues.

This skincare brand has continuously researched ways to address unique skin problems and irritations. With these, they have also consistently improved and upgraded their product formulas. 

The COSRX philosophy believes in the empowerment of its consumers. Beauty begins with how one feels about oneself. 

With highly effective skincare products for different skin concerns, customers feel more confident in their skin.

The skincare brand also believes that less is more. Only the cleanest and most essential ingredients are used for its formulas. 

Product packaging is also kept simple and without intricacies.


COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

Keeping blackheads at bay will now be easier because the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid exists.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

This product lives up to being a BHA Blackhead Power Liquid. When used, results are almost always immediately noticeable. 

We definitely think of it as a holy grail.

COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid gets rid of blackheads, especially on a tricky spot like the nose area. In turn, fewer breakouts happen and skin is kept clear.

Unlike most BHA products, COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid is also not overly drying nor is it too greasy either. It’s one of the best BHA products because it dries within a few minutes and doesn’t feel tight on the face at all. 

One thing to watch out for with the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid though is initial purging of the skin. Since BHA is a chemical exfoliant, your skin will have to adjust to it.

You should first apply it only twice or thrice a week. You’ll most likely experience some breakouts during this time since all the gunk hiding in your pores will be expunged.

You can then start increasing usage of the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid per week once purging is over and you don’t notice any irritation. 

The COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid also isn’t meant to be used every day since, as mentioned, it’s an exfoliant. 

You should avoid using it on days when you apply other AHA, BHA, Retinol, or Vitamin C products.

We give the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid 5 stars out of 5. It’s an effective pore-clearing BHA that delivers fast results. 

We think it’s one of the best Korean exfoliators you can get today since it’s both effective and affordable.

Key Ingredients and Their Benefits on Your Skin

Willow Bark Water

Willow bark water is also known as Salix Alba. Salix Alba is its scientific name since it’s derived from a plant.

Unlike just plain water, Willow bark water contains Salicylic acid and BHA. The Salicylic acid, especially, helps in preventing pimples and breakouts. It’s good for acne prone skin.

It also soothes the skin. Salicin, which is an extract from Willow Bark, has even been shown to have anti inflammatory and anti-aging capabilities.

Betaine Salicylate

Betaine Salicylate is formed by mixing Salicylic acid and Betaine. 

The result is a mild form of Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) which clears blackheads, soothes irritation, and moisturizes the skin.

Salicylic Acid and Betaine have anti inflammatory effects as well.

Betaine Salicylate has become a popular component in skincare because of its effective properties. Betaine Salicylate is also safe since it soothes rather than irritates the skin.


This ingredient is better known as Vitamin B3, which has many nourishing and healing properties.

It can lighten pigmentation, prevent fine lines, and refine large pores. It can also fight cystic acne and strengthen the skin’s protective barrier through its anti inflammatory properties.

Sodium Hyaluronate

This is the salt form of Hyaluronic acid, a popular moisturizing ingredient. It helps the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid hydrate the skin and retain moisture to maintain elasticity. 

An additional ingredient called Butylene Glycol enhances the effects of Sodium Hyaluronate. Butylene Glycol is known for its softening properties. When Butylene Glycol is added, skin becomes smoother and more nourished.

No Harsh Ingredients

The COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid doesn’t contain parabens, sulfates, phthalates, or alcohol. It’s also dermatologist-tested and vegan.


The COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid comes in a translucent plastic bottle with a clear cap and black pump dispenser. The total volume is 100 mL.


The COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid has a thin, clear, and runny gel texture. It’s easy to spread on the face.


The COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid has a subtle scent that eventually dissipates upon application.


After cleansing and toning, pour a small amount of the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid onto a cotton pad. Swipe the cotton pad gently on the face while avoiding your lips and eye area. 

Proceed with the rest of your skincare routine and don’t skip sunscreen after.

Start by using this 2-3 times a week, then increase frequency as your face gets used to it. Always make sure you’re swiping your face avoiding the eye area.

Ingredients List

Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Water, Butylene Glycol, Betaine, Niacinamide, Betaine Salicylate (Salicylic acid + Betaine), 1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Xanthan Gum, Ethyl Hexanediol

User Reviews

User Reviews

People who’ve used the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid all agree that it lives up to its name since it eliminates blackheads. 

They also notice that it smooths skin and minimizes their pore size. It’s a great exfoliant that perfects your skin the more that you use it.

Many of them also suggest that you should slowly incorporate it into your skincare routine at first. 

Once or twice a week is enough and then you can slowly increase your usage as your skin gets used to it.


Smooths Texture on Face and Back

One user said that the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid got rid of her large pores and smoothed the bumps on her forehead. She saw the results in as fast as 5 uses. 

She even used it on her back since it also had bumps and bad texture. It was still an effective skin care product and even softened her back. 

“It reduces my black heads and minimizes pores. It also smoothed my bumpy forehead. I started using it once a week and increased to 2/3 times a week. I also decided to test this on my back and it worked.”

Cleans Out Pore Lining and Reduces Blackheads

Another user noticed that this skin care product had a slight tingling sensation when she first applied it. It wasn’t painful nor did it irritate though. It was most likely just her face’s initial reaction to BHA.

She noticed that her blackheads decreased when she began to use the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid regularly as well.

“My face doesn't feel congested and I have no more bumpy hard blackheads anywhere on my face. It had a slight tingling effect due to the BHA but had no other bad effects though.”

Hydrates Dry Skin while Clearing Blackheads

One user even dubbed this product as a holy grail. She’s always suffered from blackheads and this solved both problems. 

Despite being able to control her oiliness, it still hydrates the face well unlike other drying BHA products. 

“My t-zone is less oilier and half of my stubborn blackheads on my nose have completely dissolved. It’s also super moisturizing and doesn’t dry out your skin like most BHA/AHA’s do.”


If you’re looking for more exfoliator product options, then you can check out these alternatives.

Paula’s Choice BHA Liquid Exfoliant 2%

The Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is a worthy alternative since it has the most similarities with the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid. It also comes in a clear, runny liquid and delivers the same effects.

Paula’s Choice BHA Liquid Exfoliant’s key ingredients are Salicylic Acid and BHA as well, which clear pores and smoothen the face. The formula can also fight fine lines and wrinkles from forming.

Paula’s Choice has stronger exfoliating power than the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid so we recommend it if you want more drastic results.

How do I know this is for me?

This exfoliator is for you if you have congested pores and blackheads.

NEOGEN Dermalogy Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Lemon

This exfoliator has AHA in the form of Lactic Acid. It targets uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation as opposed to BHA which is better at unclogging pores.

The product consists of soaked pads that exfoliate dead skin cells when you swipe them on your face. It also has Vitamin C, which enhances the AHA’s brightening properties.

It’s a hybrid of both a physical and chemical exfoliator since the pads physically exfoliate the skin as the AHA seeps through.

How do I know this is for me?

This exfoliator is for you if you have uneven tone and hyperpigmentation.

SkinCeuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub

The key exfoliant of this product is Hydrated Silica. Similar to acids, it can remove dead skin cells and dirt from clogged pores.

This is a face scrub so it’s great if you want to hit two birds with one stone while cleansing. It’s also mild enough for everyday use so you don’t have to worry about irritation.

Apart from exfoliating the face, it also delivers moisturizing properties through ingredients like Glycerin and Aloe leaf extract.

How do I know this is for me?

This exfoliator is for you if you have congested and sensitive skin.

Conclusion - Should I Buy the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid?


We love this product. The COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid is a great blackhead-clearing product. It effectively unclogs dirt, oil, and sebum from your pores.

It contains Willow Bark Water, Betaine Salicylate, Niacinamide, and Sodium Hyaluronate. These all work to fight breakouts and retain skin moisture. The formula is also paraben free.

Just remember… 

  • Like all BHAs, this will cause your skin to go through a purging period as it pushes deep-seated dirt from your pores.
  • It has a slight chemical scent that some may not like.

Overall, this is a good BHA exfoliator for congested and clogged pores. It not only removes but also prevents blackheads and sebum from staying on the skin.

If you’re looking for a good AHA exfoliator that targets pigmentation instead, then you could also try the NEOGEN Dermalogy Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Lemon.


September 1, 2021 – Updated article formatting and content

July 21, 2021 – Reviewed and updated article links

Paola Diaz
Paola Diaz

Hi, I'm Paola! A skin care enthusiast and nature lover. Creating content that promotes proper skin treatment and keeping a healthy glow is my way of sharing with the world how healthy skin can go a long way. I’m a firm believer of natural beauty that radiates inside all of us. All we need is the right kind of nourishment that inspires our wellness from inside out. So it’s really not about physical beauty alone – it’s the beautiful life we can create for ourselves when we connect with our own nature and see there is beauty that shines from every one of us.