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Products I’ve Purchased from Paula’s Choice

Just because I disagree with a few things that Paula has to say, doesn’t mean I allow that to affect my opinion of her products.

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.


This cleanser is removes makeup beautifully, and has a soft, cushiony texture.

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.


This is definitely my HG exfoliant. And who loves the almost neon-blue packaging? Me!

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.


While the texture is quite greasy, this contains too many good and well-documented ingredients to ignore!

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.

The Slip into Silk Body Lotion is divinely-fitting for oily skin types!

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.


This does what it says it will: reduce shine. But I don’t find myself reaching for it, considering how well the rest of my makeup/going out routine keeps me matte.

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.

About John

The Triple Helixian is an unbiased science and research-based site that attempts to clarify and elucidate questions about skin care, while aspiring to be the most thorough and complete source of information.


36 thoughts on “Products I’ve Purchased from Paula’s Choice

  1. I wonder how you can tell exactly which product(s) made a difference in your skin. It’s grade school basic science to control the variables in an experiment or how can you know exactly what made the difference z. Was it the toner ? The cleanser? The particular level of hormones at the time? Stress level? There’s no way to know. That’s why your evidence is anecdotal and does not show a correlation between the product and the condition of the skin or a causal effect.
    Bad science sister. My fifth graders could tell you your revues are sloppy science. I’ll look elsewhere for helpful information.

    Posted by G | January 22, 2014, 10:14 pm
    • Sorry to hear that. I specifically stated in this post that my observations and extrapolation of cause were based on personal experience. As these are personal product reviews, they are not supported by research, as noted. It’s too bad that you jumped the gun. As someone obviously versed in science and logic, We all could have benefited from you being a part of our community.

      Posted by John | April 21, 2014, 4:03 pm
      • I think that the original post is a little overly hostile. There’s no need for nasty comments if they’re unsatisfied with your reviews.

        Posted by ladyisla | April 22, 2014, 6:41 am
        • Hey!! It’s so nice to see you back here.

          I too wish that people could just point something out, rather than attack my character. But it’s partially my fault too. I should have more obviously emphasized that these were personal reviews. Must use bold haha.

          Regardless, I look forward to seeing more of your comments! ❤

          Posted by John | April 22, 2014, 9:49 am
  2. Congrats for the great blog! Really good material! I’m following you from Brazil and I really hope that you update your routine asap. Thank you for all your time and effort.

    Posted by Ana Carolina | February 28, 2013, 6:40 pm
  3. Hi John,

    Thanks again for the great post.

    I have been a fan of Paula’s Choice for about two years now and I quite enjoy some of her products.
    I love her skin balancing invisible finish moisturizer as well as the skin balancing toner. I also just purchased a few samples of her 10 aha weekly resurfacing treatment to see if it is any better than Neo Straata’s skin renewing peel solution I am using right now. Her lip scrub with micro-beads is really amazing as well.

    I also just purchased her Resist Super Antioxidant Concentrate serum and my skin is loving it. However, I read one of the futurederm’s posts where the review was done on this product. Although it scored high on the review marks (9.5) the post was saying that percentages of useful ingredients such as vitamin C are not displayed so therefore we don’t know if there is enough of them in there to make any difference to our skin. Since you are a fan of the serum, I wanted to know what are your thoughts on this issue?

    Posted by Jelena Malik | November 26, 2012, 2:27 pm
    • You’re very welcome.

      Now, I’m still a fan of Paula’s Choice moisturizers, but I’ve actually stopped using the serum quite a few months ago. I’ve been testing out a vastly different routine, which I’m absolutely loving, than the one that’s displayed on the blog. I will update my routine in the coming month or so, while I finalize everything. But yes, one of the main reasons why I stopped using this serum (and a lot of her other products) is because she does not list the concentrations of specific/more important ingredients. Therefore, I’ve gone on to significantly more dependable products.

      Does that make sense? Overall, I think Paula’s Choice products are excellent for the average and generally-aware skin care consumer. However, for skin care fanatics, there are just better products out there.

      I hope that makes sense and thanks for reading!

      Posted by John | November 28, 2012, 12:07 pm
  4. John, I want to say how much I love your blog! It’s nice to have an informative resource available. I feel like I’ve been exposed to inaccurate and often contradictory information for so long that it’s going to take a while before I can make informed decisions about my skincare. At the moment it seems like it’s all just trial and error. I’ve tried so many Paula’s Choice products but I feel like I just want to keep repurchasing samples to try to decide whether one product will work better combined with another – maybe this toner works better with this cleanser or that moisturizer etc. (I do try to take ingredients into consideration to help make my decision, but sometimes it makes my head spin.) I think I may have figured out which products I’ll probably end up purchasing though. I have dry skin so I’ve mostly tried products recommended for my skin type.

    Cleansers: I’ve tried the Skin Recovery Cleanser and I like it. It doesn’t leave my skin feeling tight and dry as many cleansers do. Though I don’t find that it removes makeup effectively. The Moisture Boost Cleanser left my skin feeling just slightly dry and didn’t remove makeup well either; while the RESIST Hydrating Cleanser left me feeling much drier, it did remove my makeup fairly well.

    Toners: I didn’t notice much of a difference between the Skin Recovery Toner or the Moisture Boost one. I did like the RESIST Replenishing toner and found it to be hydrating. I read your review for the latter and I think it’s convinced me it’s the toner I should go with.

    Moisturizers: I didn’t like either the Moisture Boost moisturizer with SPF or the Hydrating Treatment Cream. They both felt rather heavy and thick. The former did not spread over my face well. It was almost as if I had to drag it across my face. While the Treatment Cream did not sink into my skin until about three hours after I applied it – though even then I still felt a bit of residue. The Skin Recovery moisturizer with SPF wasn’t much better; it left a noticeably white cast and it seemed to ball up under my foundation. (I have since tried Josie Maran Daily Moisturizer with SPF 40 and love it! I may have to combine it with another moisturizer during the winter though.) The Skin Recovery Replenishing Moisturizer however, is nice, though it’s not quite as moisturizing as I would like. I’ll go ahead and list the Skin Recovery Hydrating Treatment Mask here too since I used it as an overnight moisturizing treatment as suggested on the label. I really liked this mask. I left this on three nights in a row and my skin felt soft and well moisturized. It also helped clear up some of the flaky patches of skin around my nose. Unfortunately, by the third day I had a few breakouts so perhaps it’s best to use only once or twice a week? The RESIST Barrier Repair moisturizer was my favorite in terms of texture although it was not very moisturizing – I did feel like I needed to slather it on quite a bit.

    I’m currently using the Skin Perfecting 1% BHA lotion. I love the texture and I do find that it helps calm redness and helps reduce clogged pores – though I’ve yet to notice any reduction in blackheads. I’ve only tried the lotion as I was worried that the liquid and/or gel might be too drying for my skin. It’s the same reason I decided to try the 1%, as some reviews I read stated that the 2% was too drying – I think I need to get a sample and check to see if indeed it is.

    Lastly, I want to say that while not all of Paula’s products are amazing, I do appreciate that they are all fragrance free, non-irritating, and help reduce redness. I’m so sensitive to fragrance that’s is just such a relief to not have to worry about what a product is going to smell like and whether or not it’s going to be offensive or irritating. I’ve also suffered from redness on my cheeks for most of life and it was something I thought I was going to have to deal with forever. But since switching to Paula’s Choice it’s no longer an issue.

    I’m not sure if the products I’ve chosen make a well-balanced skincare regimen, so if you have any suggestions please let me know! And if you’ve managed to read all this, I thank you!

    Posted by Lisa | November 18, 2012, 9:25 pm
    • Lisa, I will ALWAYS read through everything that you guys write to me; that’s one of the main reasons I’m doing this: to help you guys! So never hesitate to ask me about anything related to skin care!

      Thanks for taking the time to write such a comprehensive comment. You clearly put a lot of thought and effort into it.

      I completely understand where you’re coming from. As you can see, I’ve tried many, MANY PC products (and this doesn’t even list the samples I’ve tested). I’ve since then gone beyond just limiting myself to PC products. I’ve departed even further than what’s listed in my current routine; I’ve been using different products (than the ones listed) for a few months now and will be updating my routine soon. I’ll be updating a lot of things soon. 🙂

      But anyways, let’s get back to you.

      Cleansers: I can tell you that I’ve sampled every single cleanser from PC. From my experience, the Skin Balancing one is the most effective at removing makeup, while being surprisingly gentle. I know that the Skin Balancing line is recommended for normal to oily skin types. However, looking at the ingredients, this cleanser may still be appropriate for drier skin types. The combination of mild surfactants (sodium cocoyl isethionate and sodium lauroamphoacetate) and emollients like sunflower seed oil gives this an aptly given description of having a cushiony and mousse-gel texture. I’d recommend getting a sample or two of this.

      Have you considered using makeup wipes or a separate makeup remover before cleansing?

      Toners: The most important purpose of any toner is to reduce the level of transepidermal water loss (TEWL) that occurs after cleansing. Therefore, try to apply the toner as quickly as possible after cleansing. You can use a cotton pad if you’d like, but I find that pouring some into the cup of my palm, and gently smoothing it over the face, allows for better absorption and less product consumption. I too, would recommend the RESIST toner for you.

      Moisturizers: I wouldn’t recommend any of the PC sunscreens just because there are so many better options out there in terms of the level of protection, texture, and finish. Now, I’m not sure where you found this blog–through a search engine or from FutureDerm, but I’ve written multiple articles on there, one of which was a series on sunscreens. You may want to peruse that if you’d like: https://thetriplehelixian.com/category/pages-in-detail/sun-protection-in-detail/inorganic-sunscreens-vs-organic-sunscreens/. By the way, you can see all the posts I’ve written for FutureDerm by using the Category drop down menu; there are some really helpful posts there: https://thetriplehelixian.com/category/series/futurederm-posts/. In the final part of the sunscreen series, I had a list (though not exhaustive one) of the sunscreens I recommended. One of them, which I also referred to multiple times in subsequent posts, is the Josie Maran SPF 40! I’m so glad that you found it. It’s an excellent sunscreen for drier skin types!

      As for nighttime moisturizers, if you want to stick with PC products, you may want to try mixing the Skin Recovery Cream with the Mask. Perhaps that will allow you have to receive any moisturization, without experiencing breakouts.

      Exfoliants: While the 1% BHA lotion is good, is there a reason why you opted to use salicylic acid, rather than glycolic acid? Because the former is more appropriate for dry skin types.

      Also, what makes you think that you have dry skin? Are you saying you don’t experience any oiliness? And what do you mean by you have blackheads? Blackheads usually don’t occur in people with dry skin. Please don’t think I’m questioning your intelligence or anything. I’m just trying to get a better understanding of your skin so that I can give you better recommendations.

      I hope this helps you with your routine. Now, I don’t know if you’ve seen this yet, but one of the features of this blog is that I periodically review a person’s entire skin care routine in detail. Here’s a list of routines I’ve reviewed so far: https://thetriplehelixian.com/category/series/come-out-with-your-skin-care/. If you’d like for me to review your routine in a similar fashion, here’s the template form: https://thetriplehelixian.com/2011/10/16/come-out-with-your-skin-care-template/ (Keep in mind there’s a queue of requests I have yet to fulfill).

      Let me know how this works out for you, and once again, welcome to the blog!

      Posted by John | November 19, 2012, 7:11 am
  5. Wow…Well, you know I rather like Paula’s Choice…so, I thought I might as well take a crack at this, too! But I just discovered how freakishly many things I’ve tried. I’ve basically used every oily skin product in the line but none of the CLEAR products (since I only get an occasional pimple). It would honestly be easier to just list the things I’ve tried that I haven’t liked. Most have been satisfactory-to-good, but I have relatively normal skin, my only issue is stubborn blackheads on my nose. I did start getting a few compliments on my skin though, after I started using PC products, so…I figured, why not keep using them? I think overall my skin is in better shape than when I was just using whatever was around (Cetaphil, clinique moisture spray, random Biore, Clean and Clear scrubs and washes. They all worked okay, but I never got compliments with them!) and it is more consistently in good shape (I used to have a lot of VERY OILY days.)

    I doubt you’re really interested, but oh well, here goes!

    Just recently, I started using the RESIST Weightless Body Treatment with –2% BHA on my nose instead of the 2% BHA Liquid and Lotion.
    –2% BHA Gel (sample): I think it was a little sticky? So I wanted something with more slip.
    –2% BHA Liquid: I’ve repurchased this 2-3x but I am bothered that the liquid feels a little too slippery. And once it sinks in, I feel very greasy/oily and I usually rinse my face with water, which probably isn’t a great idea. I should probably blot but I forget to. With regular use, I was seeing some improvement (2 or 3 weeks in).
    –2% BHA Lotion: Meh. I used it a couple of times and just didn’t like how it felt & it had a slight odor I didn’t like so I just left it.
    –RESIST Weightless Body Treatment with 2% BHA: This gives me a less greasy feeling. It sinks in pretty quickly…it also makes me feel a little oily but I saw some improvement in the blackheads after a couple of uses. I’m not sure why but I’m going to keep using it; and I think it’s a better value price-wise.

    I”m strongly considering a sample or two of the new BHA 9, though I feel like it might be too strong. Have you looked at it?

    I have used a LOT of the cleansers, Moisture Boost, Skin Balancing, One Step, and Earth Sourced; as well as the Shampoo…they all work fine. The first two I like for days I feel a little dry (usually winter) and the One Step for slightly oily/summer. Earth Sourced was a sample and unremarkable. I use the Hydralight Toner and Skin Balancing Moisture Gel.
    –Skin Balancing Toner — sometimes stings, won’t repurchase.
    –Hydralight Moisturizer — smelled awful but I think it’s been reformulated, thinking of trying samples again
    –Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum w/ Retinol—Texture is a little too slick; didn’t mattify (it used to be called mattifying) and smelled odd. I tried it awhile ago though…I think it may have gone through a reformulation? I may try samples again.
    –Moisture Boost Essential Hydrating Toner — too emollient (sample)
    –Earth Sourced Purely Natural Refreshing Toner — unremarkable (sample)
    –Skin Balancing Carbon Mask: I try to use this 1x a week on the T-zone. I’ve repurchased once. It seems to help a little, but not impressively, and it CAN feel a little too dry. I need to try it now that I’ve switched BHAs though, maybe it won’t feel as dry and help more? I guess I will find out!
    –Shine Stopper Instant Matte Finish with Microsponge Technology : trying this out, I like it so I don’t have to blot all day and I’m not wearing foundation anyway. Haven’t tried it over sunscreen yet (& still searching for an HG sunscreen)
    — All Over Hair & Body Shampoo — This is great, I use for body wash and shampoo. I miss having scented products in the shower so I occasionally use them but my hair has been much more manageable since I started using this (no buildup). Now when I use scented products, I sometimes feel itchy/skin feels just a little irritated (not all over, just maybe a couple of spots on my arm or leg; not sure if this used to happen and I just didn’t notice or something).
    –Smooth Finish Conditioner — same as shampoo. Also use this as a light lotion sometimes; for skin that is a little more raw.
    –Slip into Silk Body Lotion — agree with you, it’s great! Still on my first bottle though. I can’t use it on raw skin though; then it stings. Sinks in pretty quickly. Not enough for winter though, so also have:
    –Beautiful Body Butter — lost my tube but will repurchase; it works on very dry skin, and sometimes I want to feel a layer instead of having it sink in.
    –Lip and Body Treatment Balm — overnight, on lips and cracked skin on hands (my hands can get scaly in the winter). very thick and kinda sticky but definitely helps, and really conditions lips.

    This actually reminds me, I have some samples yet to try! The Resist and Skin Balancing daytime moisturizers with SPF, and Resist Barrier Repair.

    Posted by ladyisla | October 3, 2012, 7:28 pm
    • I could probably really afford to streamline this…but I like having options. :-p

      Posted by ladyisla | October 3, 2012, 7:29 pm
    • Whoa. That’s all I have to say. Haha, kidding! Jeez, this must have taken you like half an hour to type!

      I’ve never tried the BHA gel nor the lotion so I can’t comment on those. The BHA liquid as you know is my HG, and while it is a bit oily-feeling, I only use it at nighttime and when I don’t go out during the day; so when I don’t wear sunscreen. But I agree that it is a bit greasy and slippery, which is what allows it to penetrate and exfoliate better by the way. But you already knew that! I’m really surprised that the 2% body lotion is working better for you, maybe because you always washed off the 2% liquid? But yeah, that did nothing for my body; I’ve never tried it on the face. But I’d imagine that it’s a good one-step product since it’s like a moisturizer. I haven’t actually looked into the BHA 9 because one, it’s very pricey, and two, my skin is in a place where I’m satisfied with what the 2% liquid does for me, along with the rest of my routine of course. I hardly ever break out now, which is great! Also, a sample is like $3.5… so no thanks. Haha! But you can try it if you’re curious.

      I’ve never tried the Hydralight moisturizer, Skin Balancing Serum, Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Butter (too heavy theoretically), or the Lip Balm, so again I can’t comment on those. But can I just say, you’ve tried a LOT of the products. Dang. Anyways, I wonder why the Skin Blaancing toner stings your face; it’s amazing for me. And ironically the Moisture Boost stings my face, though apparently it doesn’t for you. And I didn’t find it emollient really; it was quite watery and I would say less emollient than the Skin Balancing. It’s also nice to hear that you’ve implemented the Carbon Mask into your routine; it’s useless for me. 😦 Let me know how the Shine Stopper works for you! Finally, I agree that the Slip into Silk Lotion is definitely not rich enough for normal skin in the winter time; it’s great for an oily skin type (like me) though.

      Finally, I think you’ll really like the RESIST Barrier Repair. The texture is quite fantastic! But I guess we’ll see right? Have you tried the Paula’s Choice RESIST Retinol serum? Because if you want more retinol than what’s in the Barrier Repair, you’ll want to try that out. It has a similar though slightly slipperier texture, that’s also quite emollient.

      Thanks for typing all that out!

      Posted by John | October 4, 2012, 1:21 pm
      • Yeah, a good 30, maybe 45, minutes! 😉

        Well…I think I exaggerated when I said I USUALLY wash the BHA Liquid off, but I always feel tempted to and have done so sometimes. I know it’s odd the lotion works; I tried it because I saw a comment from someone who used it that way, and was very surprised! It does eliminate moisturizing, but I don’t usually put moisturizer on my nose anyway.

        I can understand not changing BHAs when things are going well, especially since you have the dermatitis issues!

        The Body Butter was surprisingly nice; and smells faintly of chocolate or something to me (cocoa maybe?) whichis partly why I like it. It doesn’t feel anything like the Body Shop/Bath & Body Works body butter or other butters I’ve tried, it doesn’t really have much slip to it but it soaks in nicely and is cushion-y. I think you might still like it.

        I wonder a little if the itchy skin (when I use scented shampoo/etc.) is a little bit in my head or not. It makes me worry that I’ve just lost my tolerance for it! :-p

        I do like having a different body item moisturizer (or two or three…) just because my hands and a couple other spots just get really dry, or dry AND raw. I’ve actually tried the Skin Balancing Moisture Gel on my hands and found it’s too light and doesn’t provide enough moisture.

        Yeah, I don’t know exactly why the Skin Balancing Toner stings me sometimes–it’s actually more of a “burn” feeling instead of a “sting” which I’m assuming is very bad irritation of some kind. I’m not SURE if the Moisture Boost toner was too emollient, maybe it was just not a good texture for me, I didn’t like the milkiness. The Hydralight (I think it used to be called Healthy Skin) Toner just works better for me for some reason.

        I occasionally get a little bit of burn from the carbon mask too (not often, and nowhere as bad as the toner) so maybe there’s a common ingredient there. I’m not sure I’ll repurchase it.

        I’ll let you know what I think of the other ones after I try them! I must sound like a Paula’s Choice fiend! I like to support the company though, since it IS one of the only places that carries good, reasonably-priced exfoliants.

        Posted by ladyisla | October 4, 2012, 6:33 pm
        • Well congrats again! And I’m glad to hear that the BHA lotion works for you.

          I’ll have to get a sample of the Body Butter, though I don’t really have any dry skin on my body so we’ll see.

          As for the Toner, I actually quite enjoy the milkiness of it, but that’s all just personal preference.

          Finally, I also agree with you that the exfoliants from Paula’s Choice are the stand-out products that I don’t see in any other brand that’s anywhere near as affordable. Another thing we have in common!

          Posted by John | October 5, 2012, 5:39 am
      • Oh, btw, which serum did you mean by “Paula’s Choice RESIST Retinol serum”? The Mattifying one?

        Posted by ladyisla | November 20, 2012, 11:11 pm
  6. John–As always you share such helpful, honest information. Because of my skin type, I can’t use the Skin Recovery line or the Moisture Boost moisturizer. The Moisture Boost toner made my face sting a bit. So did the Carbon Mask. The Hydralight Moisturizer was a bit too heavy, and I think the formula is a tad outdated. I didn’t like the price of the Skin Balancing moisturizer. The Olay Regenerist serum is better for the summer. For dryish skin in the winter, I like CeraVe PM moisturizer.

    My staples are 2% BHA liquid, RESIST serum, Skin Balancing toner, Anti-Redness Relief Treatment, and the 2% Weightless Body Treatment (for KP.) They discontinued their sunscreen spray. I’m still in mourning about it. I also only use PC Hair and Body Shampoo for a body wash, and I keep buying the Hydralight Cleansing gel. I could get comparable versions of those cheaper at Target or Walmart, but I’d rather pay a couple of bucks to support her company.

    FYI–Is there any research that body acne is from a yeast overgrowth. Could a zinc pyrithione soap or lotion be helpful? Just a completely un-researched thought.

    Posted by amy | October 3, 2012, 5:03 pm
    • Thanks for sharing amy! The CeraVe PM moisturizer is great! It contains a lot of niaicinamide, though I wish there was more variety in terms of antioxidants. But it’s super affordable!

      And I’m the same with the cleanser issue. I know I can find (and I have found) similar and cheaper cleansers at the drugstore, but I’d rather spend a tad more to support Paula because her brand and message are so well-intentioned!

      And nice job with the yeast overgrowth! That’s actually what seborrheic dermatitis is caused by, an excess of yeast and therefore, excess byproducts or “yeast poop,” that will trigger various skin issues. But yes, zinc pyrithione can most definitely work. In fact, using zinc pyrithione is part of my new skin care routine that I’m still testing out and finalizing. Wow, you guys never cease to amaze me with your intelligent predictions! 🙂 *High-five* After I figured everything out, I’ll be sure to let you guys know about my findings.

      Posted by John | October 3, 2012, 5:25 pm
  7. You forgot the Skin Balancing toner 🙂

    Posted by Arlon | October 3, 2012, 11:26 am
    • I actually didn’t forget it because I’ve never actually purchased a full sized bottle! I know, shocking right? But because I had already ordered the Moisture Boost and Skin Recovery toners, I wanted to use them up before buying the Skin Balancing one. Not to mention that I needed to somehow finish the RESIST one, too. So I finished them all about a month ago, and have been waiting for a big sale to happen. So with my most recent purchase, which was a few days ago, I bought my FIRST Skin Balancing Toner. I know, I know, it’s been in my routine list forever. I guess it was more like my “ideal” routine. But I knew I enjoyed the Skin Balancing toner because every time I made an order, I would get free samples of that toner. I’ve received probably 10-15 packets of that toner, and I knew it was the one. I figured, if I bought a full size bottle, I would ignore all my other toners. I didn’t want to be wasteful. Haha!

      Posted by John | October 3, 2012, 5:17 pm
  8. Hey,

    I think specially when it comes to toners, it’s hard to find alternatives to Paula’s Choice. I tried some other toners listed on beautypedia.com but they weren’t as good.

    I tried the Skin Recovery Cream Cleanser, but that was too emollient and for some reason gave me REALLY inflamed acne. Is that even possible? Isn’t the cleanser supposed to rinse away and therefor could not cause this? Anyway, I stopped it and never had that sort of breakout again.
    I bought the Moisture Boost One Step Face Cleanser and some samples of the Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser but didn’t come around to try them because I found another cleanser that I really liked.

    I also bought the Hydralight toner and used that for a while, but now I use the Skin Balancing toner in the morning and the RESIST toner in the evening, since they seem to have better ingredients.

    I tried the Skin Perfecting 1% BHA Lotion Exfoliant (old formulation) and gel, settled for the lotion and used that for a few months but now can’t find a place for it since I’m using tretinoin and it seems like too much.

    I apply the CLEAR Extra Strength Daily Skin Clearing Treatment as a spot treatment to any active blemishes. It’s nice that they now sell a smaller “trial size” package, because the full size lasts too long when just spot treating.

    I really like the RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum and use it every morning and in the evenings when I don’t use tretinoin. I repurchased this 3 times already!
    As for moisturizers, I tried the Skin Recovery one and the Hydralight lotion. The Skin Recovery is very emollient so I use that under my eyes at night; I haven’t tried the Hydralight lotion yet.
    I used the Skin Recovery Hydrating Treatment Mask as a night-time moisturizer for a while, but I think that was too emollient for me and never could quite pinpoint its effect on my skin. Recently I tried using it as a mask but can’t tell if it helped at all. Actually, after rinsing it, my skin seemed drier, but I don’t know.

    That’s it.


    Posted by Lucas | October 3, 2012, 9:54 am
    • Wow, thanks for sharing so extensively! Yes the cleanser does wash away, but as I noted in my review, it does tend to leave a slightly greasy finish, meaning that not all of the product is gone. Perhaps you’re allergic or sensitive to one of the ingredients present, or maybe you were just having a bad skin day? It could be anything, but I’m glad you’ve found a cleanser that appeals to your tastes.

      I also agree that the Skin Balancing and RESIST toners have the best ingredients out of all of the toners.

      Haha, I’m surprised that someone else likes the RESIST Super Serum as much as I do, because most people I’ve spoken to complain that its texture is kind of um, gross? Lol! But yeah, I don’t use it during the daytime, so I’m fine. I used to, and even then, it wasn’t THAT bad.

      As for the mask, especially a “moisturizing” one, if it’s left on for like 15 minutes and then washed away, it makes sense that your skin would be drier afterwards. Because first, I’m assuming that you cleanse the skin before applying the mask. Then you apply something heavy for 15-20 minutes. Then you wash it all off, making sure there’s no residue right? Well, in that process you’re removing even more of youre natural facial oils. This is just a hypothesis, but again who knows? It’s something to think about. And it’s more reason to just avoid masks entirely. In my experience, they are never effective because what you do in a regular daily routine will influence the skin much more than something that you apply for 15-20 minutes, 2-3 times a week, with the exception of strong chemical peels of course.

      Thanks for commenting, Lucas!

      Posted by John | October 3, 2012, 5:11 pm
      • I thought it could be just a bad skin day, but it happened three times, always a week apart and when I stopped using it, never occurred again. And I didn’t feel any grease feeling, but it must’ve been there. I may try it again just to be sure, but I’m kind of scared. The post-inflammatory pigmentation is so hard to treat/fade.

        Haha, yeah, the RESIST serum can have a weird texture at first, but for me, in like a minute, it sinks in and just leaves a soft feeling. I can use under sunscreen without any problems.

        Yes, that’s exactly how I used it and the feeling of “removing my natural oils” is how it felt.
        I agree. And now I don’t know what to do with the almost full tube I still have. Maybe use on the dry skin on my body.


        Posted by Lucas | October 4, 2012, 8:01 am
        • Hey if that negative reaction happen three times, there’s no reason to go back to it. There are plenty of other cleansers!

          Yeah, I used to use the RESIST Serum under sunscreen as well, so it certainly isn’t awful. I’ve just found something better.

          And you’re right. Try the moisturizing mask on your body or something. Maybe give it away to someone with dry skin?

          As always, thanks for commenting!

          Posted by John | October 4, 2012, 1:25 pm

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