While it seems that these days, most of the press I get in regards to Paula Begoun–the creator of the Paula’s Choice brand–are about how I disagree with her various positions on skin care, one if which quite dramatically refutes her claim that acidic products should be used in conjunction with retinol ones, it’s easy to forget that I actually champion many of her products for their ingredients, efficacy, and affordability. So I figured it’s be fun and interesting for you guys to see all of the products I’ve ever purchased and/or repurchased from Paula’s Choice.
Keep in mind that this will NOT be a review of each product, though if there is one on the blog, I will link it. This is more like my personal journey and experience with Paula’s Choice.
Note that the (#x) after each name signifies how many times I’ve purchased said item.
For reference, I have very oily, mildly-sensitive, acne-prone skin with a suspected case of seborrheic dermatitis.
Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser (1x): I purchased this with the rationalization that because it was more emollient, it would function kind of like an oil cleanser, and remove makeup and sunscreen more easily. It did not. I had to massage it in for 30-60 seconds, two or more times in order to remove everything. Repurchase? NO.
Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser (1x): This works well with my skin type and removes makeup and sunscreen adroitly; at least significantly better than the above-mentioned cleanser. It isn’t overly drying either. Repurchase? YES.
Skin Recovery Enriched Calming Toner (1x): I haven’t actually reviewed this anywhere, but I bought it as an experiment to see if it would help my flaky skin. It didn’t and the ingredients aren’t as impressive as those of the other toners. Repurchase? NO.
Moisture Boost Essential Hydrating Toner (1x): Not only did this sting (for an unknown reason) upon application, but some of its benefits may be hindered due to the size of the superoxide dismutase enzyme, which won’t penetrate into the skin. Repurchase? NO.
RESIST Advanced Replenishing Toner Skin Remodeling Complex (3x): While I’ve purchased this three times, I discovered that this just didn’t suit my skin very much due to the high fatty acid contents, which I suspected were aggravating my seborrheic dermatitis based on various studies. The ingredients are very impressive, which is why I really tried to make this work. In the end, that unfortunately wasn’t the case. Repurchase? NO.
Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant (1x): This was actually one of my first purchases almost two years ago from Paula’s Choice, but even now I still have some leftover. The finish is quite tacky, and isn’t as efficacious as the next item. And while the price is much more affordable than that item, it just doesn’t give the results I want. Though I listed it in my body routine, in reality I hardly use it for that purpose because it doesn’t really do anything. I may try the RESIST Skin Revealing Body Lotion with 10% AHA in the future, which has been reformulated with the removal of petrolatum, giving it a more elegant finish. Anyways, if I decide to try the RESIST Body Lotion, I’ll make sure to update you guys on my resulting opinion. Repurchase? NO.
RESIST Weekly Resurfacing Treatment with 10% AHA (1x): Even though this was also one of my first purchases, the liquid formulation is so efficacious that a tad goes a long way; I still have about 1/3 left. It’s chock full of fantastic ingredients, which along with a liquid delivery system similar to the CLEAR product mentioned down below, allows this product to exfoliate deeply and effectively. Repurchase? YES.
CLEAR Extra Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution (4x): This is my HG exfoliant and I will probably never find a replacement. Repurchase? YES.
RESIST Weightless Body Treatment with 2% BHA (1x): This did nothing for my back acne, or any other body areas with blocked pores, especially when compared to the above-mentioned product. Repurchase? NO.
RESIST Clearly Remarkable Skin Lightening Gel with 2% BHA (2x): While this gives almost-as-good exfoliation when compared to the CLEAR product, the hydroquinone content gave me no results. I didn’t see noticeable lightening of hyperpigmentation. And I’m very religious with sun-avoidance and sunscreen. When I’m indoors I have both blinds and curtains shielding the windows, and my lamp (the one closest to my face) uses incandescent light rather than the newer compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), the latter of which in in-vitro studies have indicated that it can cause significant UV damage in conjunction with chronic close-ranged exposure. But don’t worry, I use the energy efficient CFLs for all the other lights in the house, since none of them are in close proximity to anyone. Going back to this product, I don’t know if I’m just immune to hydroquinone, which I doubt, or that for some reason, this formulation just isn’t effective for me. Repurchase? NO.
Skin Recovery Replenishing Moisturizer (1x): I purchased this back when I tried to “quench” my flaky skin with extra emollience and hydration. As with the Skin Recovery Toner, this was ineffective in doing so. I ended up giving this away. Repurchase? NO.
Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel (2x): I quite love this product, but with the most recent adjustments in my routine (which I will update you guys with soon), this isn’t emollient enough. The texture is too “dry” due to the presence of so many silicones. Furthermore, the inclusion of wheat germ oil while present in relatively low amounts, may be aggravating my seborrheic dermatitis. I’ll have to see how well my “hopeful” replacement for this works out. Repurchase? MAYBE.
Moisture Boost Hydrating Treatment Cream (1x): As with the Skin Recovery Moisturizer, I bought this to see if it would help my flaky skin. I bought both just to see which one I liked more, because I just couldn’t decide which one was “better” based on the ingredients alone. Both of them did not help in this aspect. Furthermore, I forgot to mention that I also wanted to use this along with the Skin Recovery Moisturizer as heavier products for the area around the eyes. Unfortunately, both caused milia to spring up in my undereye area. I ended up giving this away, too. Repurchase? NO.
RESIST Barrier Repair Moisturizer with Retinol (1x): I purchased this as a quick-fix for lazy days when I didn’t want to go through my entire routine, and to just cleanse and moisturize. I figured the low retinol content and other ingredients would be sufficient for my flaky, but also acne-prone skin. Unfortunately, while the texture is divine, this was too emollient for my skin type. And once again, the fatty acid contents weren’t helping my seborrheic dermatitis. Repurchase? NO.
RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum (2x): While the texture is slightly greasy, I plan to only use this at nighttime. Again, wait for my updated skin care routine to see how it will fit in with everything else. But the cocktail of well-documented ingredients present is undeniable excellent. Repurchase? YES.
Slip Into Silk Body Lotion (4x): While pricey for a body lotion, as you can see, I absolutely love this. The texture is sublimely silky and many good ingredients make an appearance. Depending on if I decide to try the RESIST 10% AHA Body Lotion and if I like it, I may decide to replace this with that. Also, there are rumors that Paula’s Choice is coming out with a retinol body lotion, which is definitely interesting! But for now, this is irreplaceable. Repurchase? YES.
Skin Balancing Carbon Mask (1x): I bought this to see if the drying action of clay could help loosen some of the blackheads lodged in my nose area. It didn’t, and now I really have no place for this product. The tube is almost completely full and I have no idea what to do with it. I could give it away, but the person I usually give skin care products to has dry skin. Anyways, this product has been discontinued with a reformulation coming out later this month, though that’s irrelevant for me. Repurchase? NO.
Shine Stopper Instant Matte Finish with Microsponge Technology (1x): I actually suggested this as an alternative to Milk of Magnesia in my post on FutureDerm. And while this does help prolong wear-time, the finish (which is quite powdery) and thickness in texture makes me less inclined to implement this into my regular routine. I see this as an unnecessary extra step, since I’ve since found a sunscreen/primer, foundation, and powder routine that takes care of my oiliness. However, when I’m not wearing sunscreen (which really helps enhance longevity), I may use this when going out at nighttime. And despite having purchased this over a year ago, I still have almost the entire tube left. So I doubt I’ll be repurchasing this. Repurchase? NO.
And that’s it! Clearly, I’ve supported this brand quite a bit. I hope this was interesting and make sure to share your Paula’s Choice purchases down below!
Finally, for additional details into my skin care history, make sure to read my entire journey here. It doesn’t list all the skin care products I’ve EVER tried; mostly just those I started using after my skin cleared up, which was less than two years ago.