A few months ago, I finished my go-to chemical exfoliants (Cosrx’s Blackhead BHA Power Liquid and Pixi’s Glow Tonic) and decided to branch out and replace them with different products.

First, I bought and started using Deciem/The Ordinary’s AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution. The big selling points for switching to this facial mask were the convenience factors:

  • Instead of 2 separate products for AHA and BHA, I have everything I need in one bottle;
  • Whereas my previous routine had me leaving each acid on my face for 30 minutes, this solution is a fast 10 minute treatment; and
  • Lastly, it does not require the un-environmentally-friendly practice of using cotton pads for each application because the jelly-like peeling solution is applied directly onto the face.

While style and entertainment value (or “skintertainment”) is not a factor in my decision making process for buying something, the blood red appearance of the solution is admittedly fun to behold.

The results are difficult to ascertain. For the first month, I did not notice any difference in my skin the day after using it. No smooth texture, no absence of dullness, or quick disappearance of inflammation. However, after using it in the morning a few months in, I did notice that my skin looked great. It could be that, in contract to the immediate results of acids wiped on my face, this solution is a more indirect approach to exfoliation that take a longer period to time to see the results. I need to watch this more to see if it is a slow burn, or if it is simply not a fit for my skin.

In December, my favorite educational video content creator (for health and lifestyle content) Liah Yoo released a new skincare line called Krave, including an AHA product with a tongue twister name, Krave Beauty’sKale-lalu-yAYA. It acts much like Pixi’s Glow Tonic in that my skin looks immediately smoother and more plump soon after its use. The morning after using this at night, all my whiteheads disappear.

It’s a undeniably effective exfoliant. At $25 for 200ml, it’s quite reasonable. It’s not as cheap as The Ordinary’s Glycolic Toning Solution (few things are! $9 for 240ml is insane), and a similar value to Cosrx’s AHA Whitehead Power Liquid ($12-17 for 100ml). If I were to use Kale-lalu-yaha as my main AHA, I would pair it with Cosrx’s BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, and I would absolutely choose it over Pixi’s Glow Tonic.

I’m currently using both, each one is used once a week, on different days, while deciding want I want to continue using in the future. Both are great though and I would recommend either to friends.