Thursday, October 20, 2016

Exfoliating pads (and the Paula's Choice BHA liquid)

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads - Stridex Maximum

I have been using these pre-soaked pads that come in plastic jars since several weeks and I love them! Exfoliating has never been so easy...

First of all, the packaging: You screw open the jar and see it is filled with a bunch of thin pads. Both of these are nicely saturated with toner.
While the FAB pads are round, the Stridex pads have an edge on one side:

Quantity: The FAB pads come in a different sizes. This one here has 28 pads. The Stridex box is a lot larger and contains 55 pads.

Ingredients and effectiveness: The FAB pads contain two different types of AHA - Lactic Acid and Glycolic Acid. Overall 5%. I did not measure the pH-level - I will update this post if I do. AHAs are most effective at a pH of 4 or lower. At first I was quite disappointed. Having used glycolic acid toners of 8/10% before, this one did not make my skin as smooth and even and radiant as the higher concentrated products. BUT: I could never use my previous glycolic acid toners several days in a row, otherwise on the 3rd day my skin would reach the state of being over-exfoliated. It would be red and irritated. These pads are mild enough to be used daily. And with regular use they do a great job of smoothing/evening out my skin.
The Stridex pads contain 2% Salicylic Acid. They are great against blemishes and clogged pores. Not as good as the Paula's Choice BHA liquid, but more on that later. These pads are also great for daily use.

Pros & Cons: Both of these pads are alcohol-free, which is great. The FAB pads contain some citrus ingredients. Actually, I hate anything citrusy - it makes me think of Innisfree products. Ingredients like lemon and orange can irritate the skin, and make it more sensitive. Luckily, in this product it did not cause any problems for me. It might be that the concentration of these ingredients is not very high and the pads also contain cucumber water and aloe which are soothing and counteract the negative effects of CITRUS.
Stridex contains Menthol. I was scared to use it at first, because menthol and peppermint irritated my skin in other products. But I can handle it, since there is no alcohol and other irritating ingredients in this product. The pads are heavily saturated with product but it dries quickly once it is applied. 
Now there are many exfoliating pads out there but not many of them have THE CORRECT PH to exfoliate. Clearasil Ultra pads are one of those that work, because the pH is 3.8. But the downside is they contain alcohol, making them very irritating.

Overall I like these pads very much. Especially when used together, they are even better. Use the Stridex pad first, wait 10-15 minutes, use the FAB pad, wait another 10 minutes, continue with the routine.
If you are one of the people who thinks exfoliating means scrubbing with beads, you can throw that scrub away now. If you have these pads, you will not need to use it ever again.

I also tried the Paula's Choice BHA liquid about a month ago. And right after the first use I was blown away. I have tried many BHA exfoliants in the past few years but none of them was as effective as this one. Unfortunately, the "liquid" is not a toner, but a sticky serum. It is one of the most sticky things I have used (just like CosRX), it does not dry even after 15 minutes. It needs a veeeery long time to dry and absorb. But the effect is incredible. All my pores were gone for a while. All the oil inside the pores was taken out. The pH is 3.2 which is quite low. But with its sticky texture it is much harder to integrate into my routine. 

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