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This review contains PR samples° and affiliate links* Since I was able to try out the Geek & Gorgeous Porefectly Clear Serum before its official launch, you are getting a full review already today! This is a 2% salicylic acid serum which comes just in time to knock The Ordinary’s hard to get 2% BHA solution from its throne, thanks to that G&G texture magic!
Here we go, again – my favourite European indie brand dropped a new serum, and… Well, it’s good! Very good indeed! I’ve had mixed results with BHA products, which technically should be perfect for my combo skin and pore issues, but there have been quite a few duds so far, including the ever popular, currently out of stock pretty much everywhere The Ordinary 2% Salicylic Acid Serum. That particular cult product did absolutely nothing for my skin: I emptied an entire bottle, religiously applying it around my blemish- and blackhead-prone T-zone every other day, but I could not tell any difference to my skin whatsoever from using it. The equally popular Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid was pretty effective overall, but I do find it quite pricey and wouldn’t mind a more affordable alternative.
Geek & Gorgeous launched their new Porefectly Clear 2% Salicylic Acid Serum just a few days ago, but I had already been testing it out during summer. Thus, I can already share my thoughts with you on this exfoliating BHA serum. If you have skin that is on the oily side and/or issues with enlarged pores, then you definitely want to read on!
Geek & Gorgeous Porefectly Clear 2% Salicylic Acid Serum: Move over, The Ordinary!
Listen, I fully respect those of you that are fans of The Ordinary: the brand has done so much for the industry and certainly were pioneers when it comes to offering effective, affordable skincare. But – and long-time blog readers and podcast listeners know this well by now – for me personally, most of their products just didn’t work that great overall. Some didn’t do anything (hello 2% niacinamide serum), some were downright unbearable (ugh, that nightmarishly grainy 30% ascorbic acid serum!), and most were just kind of “meh” to me. The only two The Ordinary products I still love are their 10% Mandelic Acid and the cold-pressed Marula oil, which just has an incredible price point and works great for my frizzy hair.
So, whenever Geek & Gorgeous launches an alternative for The Ordinary cult classics, I get extra excited! Because you see, G&G gets something right about skincare that The Ordinary usually struggles with: all Geek & Gorgeous products have the most pleasant, super sophisticated (for that low price point especially!) texture. Their B-Bomb 2% Niacinamide Serum, for instance, doesn’t feel sticky at all, and it absorbs fast and residue-free. Same for all of their liquid exfoliants, which feel light and comfortable on the skin.
The Geek & Gorgeous Porefectly Clear Serum is predominantly marketed as a pore-unclogging exfoliant for combo to oily skin. Salicylic acid is a BHA, a “beta hydroxy acid”, which is oil-soluble and thus able to break down oil-based gunk trapped in our pores. Regularly using a BHA product in your routine can help with (milder) acne issues, blemishes, oiliness and enlarged pores. No, not because the pores “shrink”, but because cleaning out the clogged up sebum mixed with other “pore dirt” can make them look more refined and thus also smaller.
Here is the full list of ingredients for the Geek & Gorgeous Porefectly Clear 2% Salicylic Acid Serum:
“Aqua (Water), Pentylene Glycol, Dipropylene Glycol, Methyl Gluceth-20, Salicylic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Sarcosine, Allantoin, Sodium Hydroxide, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA.”
All Geek & Gorgeous products are strictly alcohol-, fragrance- and colorant-free, so they tend to work great for most skin types, even sensitive skin peeps. Of course, given that this is a chemical exfoliant, you still need to make sure your skin can tolerate the peeling effect, and BHAs can sometimes be a bit aggravating for acid newbies. So, start slowly and take your time! Apart from the 2% salicylic acid, Porefectly Clear also contains Sarcosine, which is a sebum-regulating amino acid, plus skin-soothing allantoin.
Overall, this formula is a straight-forward exfoliating serum, and you will need to add another serum and/or toner for additional hydration!
Geek & Gorgeous Porefectly Clear 2% Salicylic Acid Serum: Pores Cannot “Shrink”…But They CAN Look Smaller!
Given the astonishingly positive track record that Geek & Gorgeous has had when it comes to their products, I definitely had pretty high expectations of this newbie. The Porefectly Clear 2% Salicylic Acid Serum is advertised as a pore-unclogging, sebum-fighting powerhouse for anyone with congested, acne-prone skin on the oilier side. Now, having crossed the dreaded age threshold of my 40s, I am starting to notice less oiliness and more dehydration issues, so one of the things I was a bit nervous about with this serum was that it would maybe be a tad too strong for me.
And indeed, compared to the three 2% salicylic acid products I’ve tried so far – from The Ordinary, Bravura London and Paula’s Choice – Porefectly Clear seems to have a more noticeable tingling effect when I apply it. Personally, I feel that it isn’t skin-friendly to constantly use acids, and I tend to limit exfoliants with acids to every other day at max. I also tend to regularly take breaks from any actives for a few days, instead opting for a skin barrier friendly, extra gentle routine in the evenings. If you are new to BHAs or any type of actives, I would advise to start carefully, maybe using Porefectly clear 1-2 times per week and only in the areas of your face where you actually have pore and blemish issues!
Since the Porefectly Clear serum is a straight-up exfoliant and not meant as a hydrating product, you best apply it right after cleansing and before any toners, serums, etc. If you also use a retinol, the two shouldn’t interfere too much, given that retinols are applied after water-based hydrating layers and before your moisturiser/oil-based products. Again, be mindful of overusing your actives, so see if you can actually tolerate having both BHA and retinol products in one routine. Unlike AHAs, products containing BHAs do not sensitise your skin to UV rays, but of course you still need to wear your daily SPF! Personally, I prefer to use any actives except my vitamin C serum (oh hello there C-Glow!*) in my nighttime routine, because they can make skin feel and look a little stressed out straight after use.
Porefectly Clear is a water-based serum, with a milky, semi-opaque colouring. As expected, the texture is a lot more agreeable than The Ordinary’s salicylic acid serum, and it also pleasantly lacks that slightly strange, oily slickness that the Paula’s Choice BHA solution has to it. The serum is practically odourless, with only a faint chemical smell that doesn’t really linger after application. I usually apply Porefectly Clear very sparingly, only a drop or two, and really only where I need it. Unless you have really oily skin or blemishes all over, I would advise to do the same, concentrating on the T-zone in particular.
Now, how did I do with the Geek & Gorgeous Porefectly Clear then? Well, unlike previous 2% salicylic acid products, this one seemed to have a noticeable effect on my skin pretty fast! It took maybe a good 2 weeks for me to notice my nose pores looking cleaner – sure, I still struggle with enlarged nose pores that fill up with new sebum pretty quickly, but the blackheads are rarer now. Same with my chin area, where blackheads can quickly form during that time of the month. I also applied a small drop of Porefectly Clear to my left cheek area when a massive zit formed there for rather mysterious reasons, and I swear, it shrunk so much faster than usual!
Porefectly Clear isn’t a miracle cure for acne or clogged pores (not that the brand would ever claim such a thing!) – like all chemical peelings and all skincare, really, it takes time to see results. However, if you are looking for an effective, well-formulated, straight-forward pore care serum, this one is another winner from Geek & Gorgeous. It is affordable, does what is advertised, and if you do not overdo it, will also keep your skin barrier intact. Pair this with the other new release from G&G, the wonderfully gentle hydrator Stress Less*, and you have a fantastic combo for mixed to oily skin in particular.
Geek & Gorgeous Porefectly Clear 2% Salicylic Acid Serum: My Final Thoughts
I’m perfectly happy with Porefectly Clear! This is the first 2% salicylic acid serum where I can see positive changes to my skin, and I enjoy the texture far more than other 2% salicylic acid serums. Porefectly Clear is a great choice for anyone looking to add a BHA exfoliant to their routine, especially if you want to be able to precisely target certain areas of your skin, instead of using the product all over your face.
So, where can I buy Porefectly Clear?
As always, the price point for the Geek & Gorgeous Porefectly Clear Serum is more than fair: the 30ml bottle retails at 7.80€, approximately 9.50$. Geek & Gorgeous ships to most countries, and you can purchase this 2% salicylic acid serum via their English-language online shop.*
Let me know in the comments: Do you use BHA in your skincare routine? What’s your favourite chemical peeling product?
Take care guys, and stay safe – don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook for all the latest K-Beauty and skincare news, and check out my other work, e.g. my review of the Missha Night Repair Ampoule 5X!
°PR Sample, kindly provided by a brand or shop – I am not obligated to write this blog article, was not paid for the article, and my opinions are entirely my own.
*Affiliate Links, meaning I earn a small commission if you decide to use the link to purchase an item. This does not raise the purchase price for you, and it helps me and my blog to grow – so, thank you for supporting me in this way!!!