COSRX is a popular Korean skincare brand that offers a variety of products to be incorporated in your skincare routine. The Cosrx Blackhead Power Liquid is a one of their great exfoliating liquids that helps control oil and keep skin clear.

To learn more about the benefits of using this product, read our review.

Key takeaways

  • Gentle exfoliant containing a beta hydroxy acid, betaine salicylate
  • Effective for blackheads, clogged pores and uneven texture
  • Suitable for those with oily, acne-prone skin as well as those with combination skin type

Blackhead Power Liquid

Best COSRX Exfoliator for Acne-Prone Skin

COSRX Blackhead Power Liquid

This beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) exfoliator is one of the best COSRX products for those prone to acne and blackheads. It penetrates deep into the skin to unclog pores, which helps maintain clear, smooth skin.

Skin types: Normal to Oily Skin
Best for: Reducing Blackheads and Acne
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, dispense the product onto a cotton pad, and then gently wipe all over the face.
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BHAs are some of the most effective chemical exfoliators when it comes to unclogging pores. This product contains gentle BHAs – willow bark water and betaine salicylate – which exfoliate with a minimized risk of irritation.


  • Fragrance-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free


  • May not be suitable for sensitive skin

This product contains sodium hyaluronate (the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid) and panthenol, which help counteract some of the potentially irritating side effects of the exfoliating ingredients.

Chemical exfoliation involves using acids that help dissolve the glue between skin cells. This leads to the topmost dry, dull layers of the skin being shed off, allowing for newer, fresher layers of the skin to surface.

The two main types of acids used for chemical exfoliation are alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids.

Because they are oil soluble, beta hydroxy acids like salicylic acid have the added advantage of going deep into the pores and dissolving the oil and skin cells in the pores as well - clearing them up!

This makes them an excellent option for those with clogging and especially stubborn blackheads.

Product Overview

Cosrx Blackhead Power liquid is a leave-on exfoliant. It is formulated with a natural salicylic acid derivative called betaine salicylate instead of pure salicylic acid, making it a gentler option for exfoliation.

Even though the product is called COSRX Blackhead Power Liquid, it can do a lot more than get rid of blackheads. It can help with both closed and open comedones (whiteheads and blackheads, respectively), clogged pores, acne as well as blemishes.

It is a clear gel based formulation, with a light feel.


COSRX claims that the product provides chemical exfoliation to achieve clear, acne-free skin. Instead of plain mineral water, it contains willow bark water (a natural exfoliant) to maximize exfoliating and clearing benefits without irritation.

They have also kept the list of ingredients incorporated into the Blackhead Power Liquid to a minimum in order to avoid excess irritation.

Key Ingredients

1. Betaine salicylate

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid. Betaine salicylate is a combination of salicylic acid with betaine. It works as an exfoliant and natural moisturizer, without being too harsh on the skin.

Betaine salicylate is a common ingredient in K-Beauty products. It is present as 4%. It is thought that 4% betaine salicylate is as effective as 2% salicylic acid.

Salicylic acid is known to be drying for the skin. The addition of betaine makes it much gentler on the skin as betaine itself has skin-smoothing action.

It is also anti-inflammatory - helping calm down active acne.
Because it keeps the pores clean of sebum and oil, it makes them appear smaller.

2. Niacinamide

It is all-round ingredient with numerous benefits for acne-prone and clogged skin.

It acts on the skin in numerous ways:

  • It decreases sebum production
  • It soothes redness and inflammation associated with acne
  • It also decreases blemishes and pigmentation
  • It increases the skin’s hydration as well

3. Others

Willow bark water and panthenol are soothing ingredients. It is surprising to see willow bark water first on the list instead of plain water as in most formulations, but this is what the base of the product is. Willow bark water itself contains small amounts of salicylic acid.

Sodium hyaluronate adds to skin hydration making it smooth and plump.

How to Use

  • Cleanse your face
  • After patting it dry, take a few drops of the COSRX Blackhead Power Liquid and apply them all over the face
  • Focus on the target area with blackheads and massage lightly.
  • If you are using it in the morning, apply sunscreen over it.

It is important to be careful around the eyes and mouth. You can also pump a few drops onto a cotton pad instead of applying the product directly onto the face.

Wait for 15-20 minutes before moving on to the next steps of your skincare routine.

When to apply

You can use it during the daytime or night.

I’d suggest to include it as part of your night time routine.

The instructions about the frequency of use are very clear - start with once a week only and then slowly increase it up to twice or thrice a week. Exfoliating more often than this is not necessary.

Other Tips

1. Go easy on your skin

Do not over-exfoliate. Signs of over-exfoliation include redness, irritation, stinging sensation and skin sensitivity.

Do not use other ingredients like glycolic acid and retinoids in the same routine as together, these can irritate the skin.

2. Moisturize frequently

Beta hydroxy acids are particularly effective in decreasing the sebum production. So, they can dry out the skin. Remember to moisturize a couple of times everyday.

3. Wear sunscreen daily

Even though salicylic acid is actually photo-protective , it is still important to use sunscreen as chemical exfoliation can make your skin sensitive to UV light.

What to Expect

Chemical exfoliation speeds up the skin's natural turnover. This causes whiteheads and blackheads underneath the skin's surface to rise up to the surface, making it seem like the acne is worsening. This is temporary and resolves over a span of 4-6 weeks.


How long will it take to see results?

It will take about one week to start noticing subtle changes in the skin texture. The blackheads will look less prominent.

The duration of one skin cycle is approximately 4 weeks. So it will take about 4-6 weeks to notice significant difference in your skin.

The benefits from COSRX Blackhead Power Liquid will max out at 12 weeks.

Does this product contain fragrance or other irritants?

It is alcohol-free and fragrance-free.

How often should this product be used?

Begin using the product once a week and gradually increase usage to 2-3 times per week.

The Bottom Line

COSRX Blackhead Power Liquid is a gentle, yet effective product. It provides all the benefits of salicylic acid with little irritation and dryness!

It can also be used by those with sensitive skin, starting with once weekly application. It resurfaces the skin, improving its tone and texture.