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Post in Skincare Aware

Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

Do you agree with her views on skincare products? 

I'm on a hunt for my Summer night serum & moisturizer. I think I'm going to purchase the Perricone Blue Plasma even though it stinks so bad of fish & I hate fish. I've been researching products a lot and one of the sites I was on was Paula's Choice. She is not a fan of the serum... Actually the more I read through her "beautypedia" reviews, it seems like she's not a fan of a lot of products. I also got a feeling she was mainly trying to push her own products and Olay. 


- She's against treatment cleansers since it's just "washed down the drain". I have to disagree with this. When I use a treatment cleanser, although they can be drying, I do see improvement in my breakouts. 

- Witch Hazel is bad. I find witch hazel to be an important ingredient when choosing a toner. She think it's just as bad as alcohol if not worse. 


Products she gave a "poor" rating to: 

- Anthony Logistic's Glycolic cleanser got a poor rating because it doesn't contain any glycolic acid. 

- doctor dennis gross's A/B pads since we can just skip step 2 by simply splashing water on our face to deactivate step 1. 

- Dior Capture Totale One Essential Serum because it's not a "miracle serum" since it's primarily just "water, slip agents, and alcohol"

- ExfoliKate

- Just about every Ole Henriksen product I love Smiley Sad 

- Origins Checks & Balances, Charcoal Mask & every other decent product from them

- Most Murad products


I do agree with a few points she makes, like companies need to stop putting active ingredients in clear vials so the sun doesn't break down the properties of the treatment. Also jar packaging is a big no-no for her. I understand that some creams are too thick to be put in a pump, but what about those airless jars that Bosica & Dermadoctor are using? I hate sticking my fingers in jars & the air does break down the active ingredients over time... 

Overall though, I don't think I'll be going to her site when I'm researching a new product I want to try. 

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

I wasn't like this before, but now I obsessively check her reviews and buy her products. Lately, my skin has been very sensitive and easily irritated, so even though her reviews might be greatly overrated for people with normal skin, I personally would rather be safe than sorry when it comes to my skin. I have keratosis pilaris on my body that can become rashy and red in a minute and frequent eczema flare-ups on my face and body, so her fragrance-free, soothing products are wonderful. I love that she is obsessive about the packaging, ingredients, and effectiveness, because you really do have to be like that when your skin reacts to just about anything. 


Right now, I love the Paula's Choice Barrier Repair and Retinol Skin Smoothing Body Treatment. My skin is a lot smoother and even, and my horrible KP is finally under control. That being said, I think that some of her products are overpriced, like her cleansers. There are nice drugstore cleansers made for sensitive skin that you can get for less. However, her retinol, BHA, and eczema-geared products are the best I've tried. 

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

Thanks for the info!   I love the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser for normal to oily.   So, I stick with that. But now, I will try her other products!

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?



PC's anti-redness exfoliating solution is the only thing I'll ever use for the rest of my life. I know this sounds dramatic, but seriously... it's the only exfoliator (chemical or physical) that I can use that wont make me red-faced. I'm whatever about her cleansers, her lotions are alright (they're lightweight which I like, but the one I had smelled very odd to me and I just couldn't get over it), but her anti-redness BHA exfoliating solution is phenomenal (I've tried her regular BHA exfoliating solution and it was too harsh for my skin unfortunately, but I'm very sensitive).

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

That's it! I'm placing an order this week! Smiley Happy Heart

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

I've been using her products for right about a month now! And I'm super impressed!! I've got some stuff i will repurchase for sure!! And stuff that's okay...

Here is what i bought and what i think!


Clear Cleanser- I use it every night with my clarisonic. It's nice, Does the job, Leaves me skin nice and soft, which for a dry skin girl, Is pretty good! And only $11... Yeah i'll stick with it!


Clear Extra strength 2% BHA exfoliator And her regular(not Clear) 2%BHA liquid- They are basically the same thing so i just use which ever at night. I don't use this twice a day, It gets a little drying, So at night is perfect! My face is soooooo soft, and i don't break put very much, unless i slacked off that night and just used a cleansing cloth... But i love this and will absolutely repurchase either!


5% AHA Exfoliator- I use this during the day, about 5 times a week, sometimes i forget, But it does help keep my face soft, and has a liquid-y creamy texture which i like better than a liquid. So i might repurchase, or just stick to BHA at night.


4% BHA Weekly Treatment- I use this once a week, i have used it twice a week, and didn't have any problems, My breakouts have decreased, which could be from this or either the 2%, But either way, I like this and will repurchase!


Skin Recovery Moisturizer- I bought a sample packet, and got right around 4-5 uses, And i LOVE it! My skin is super dry, and this is so moisturizing, but not too heavy. So i will probably buy the SPF one for Daytime, and the regular for night, Because it's light and thick and creamy all at the same time, Which i love for night time.


Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer With Retinol- It's nice and super light, But not hydrating for me whatsoever! So i use this before my night moisturizer, and then right before bed, i put on my actual moisturizer. I do what something with retinol, so i'll keep it and use it, but i won't repurchase. I'll try the Retinol Serum she has. 


C15 Antioxidant Serum- This is super liquid-y, I use it during the day on it's own or i mix it with another Serum, Paula's Choice says this is meant to be mixed with another product like your exfoliant, Moisturizer or whatever. I like this because when i do get a pimple, i do feel like all the Antioxidants help it heal faster. I will probably repurchase. 


I have also purchased the 10% AHA Weekly treatment, I haven't used it yet, But i will be incorporating it in my skincare routine once a week, So i do the 4% BHA on Sunday and probably do this on Wednesdays!

And I also bought the trial Clear regular strength trio. I've never used a product with Benzoyl Peroxide, and the treatment in the trio has 2.5% So i still need to use that too. 


I also have a bunch of samples of things to try. So when i do i will update! I think it have some Toners, the Resist SPF, Pure radiance treatment, and her other skin lighteners.


Overall, I really like the products so far. My skin is far less Dry and Flakey, Less breakouts, Baby soft skin... I think i'm keeping this regimen!

I've tried soooooo many skincare brands from Sephora, And have always been let down a little, Nothing has really helped my dry skin and acne problems! 

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

Good to hear you are happy with PC.

May I ask, since I haven't researched AHA vs BHA, why are you using three items, different days of the week, rather than just one everyday?  I need simple Smiley Wink

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

You can certainly pick one exfoliator for everyday use. BHA's are most beneficial for those with Acne prone skin. They are a good chemical exfoliant to get off the dead skin, and help get into pores, which is why they are recommended over AHA's is you have acne prone skin. AHA's help exfoliate the Surface of skin, but don't get into your pores. I like using both, It's preference of mine after trying so many AHA/BHA products and figuring out what works best. The weekly treatments are meant to be used in place of your regular exfoliant, so i won't use my 2% if i'm using the 4%, It's amps it up once a week to help keep skin clear. Just the to 10% AHA treatment, It's stronger and more effective, and to be used in place of your exfoliant. 

I'm a skincare junkie so naturally i couldn't just get the basics, I needed everything Smiley Tongue

But just pick either BHA or AHA depending on your needs, and you'll be good to go! 


Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

OMG. Does that come a spreadsheet???  LOL. 

Kk,.. I'm thinking AHA everyday for me with a once a week 'peel' and mask? 

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

Yupp that would be a good solid routine! 

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

I just bought a toner plus some samples, waiting for theit arrival! 


I do like to read her reviews, just with a grain of salt. My skin is super sensitive so I find it helpful with her pointing out potential irritating ingredients. I found two of my favorite moisturizers through her reviews (both "good" not "best") She does give many negative reviews to thing many people love, but I just take it as she didn't like it (if you think about it, highly raved products still have some 1 lippy ratings on makeupalley). Not all her recommendations (with high ratings) perform well though I find, so I use her reviews in conjunction with makeupalley and other blogger reviews. Although I do wish she would incorporate paraben into consideration. I find it hard to accept anything with paraben to be considered "best."


She doesnt believe in rose water, and that is my favorite toner! So obviously I don't follow her word for word, but she is helpful nonetheless. Smiley Happy

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

I have very sensitive skin and eczema, and I've found her review hit or miss, but still more attuned to potential irritants. Some products she has been right about, and others have warned me about products that have been fine. I just use her reviews as one factor in my decision making, not the main one.

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

Love all of Paula's Choice Skincare. I literally have tried almost every product she offers. I use the Clear Cleanser, the Clear Regular Strength BHA Exfoliant, the 2.5% Acne Treatment and the Hydralight Moisturizer in the morning. At night I use the same cleanser and exfoliant, but use the retinol serum and the Resist Clear Anti Aging Hydrator.

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

I have used a lot of her skincare. The thing that I found about her products is that it will help maintain your skin and prevent breakouts but it doesn't improve it. I was able to prevent further breakouts, which is nice, but I needed to improve my skin and I didn't see any improvement at all, while I have with other products.

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

What other products do you use, if you don't mind my asking?

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

I'm so glad that this thread was bumped up! It's good hear that other people agree with me that she seems to have an agenda. I was having this discussion on another board recently, and I felt like, maybe it is just me. Glad that her products work for so many people, but I'm a little skeptical of someone that rates all of their products as the best.

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

Well she created her line to be non-irritating, and include good ingredients at the right ph levels and all that, so of course they are rated best. 

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

She actually has some ingredients that in her line that are known irritants, especially for people with rosacea. propylene glycol being one of them, so that it why I'm a bit skeptical. Some of her products are loaded with silicones, which can aggravate rosacea too (though it depends on the person), and others have parabens which I is something I avoid and would not consider a good ingredient (but that's a personal opinion).

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

Do you have a source for propylene glycol being an irritant for people with rosacea? (I can only find sites with "overviews" of rosacea irritants). Is it an allergy thing, a rosacea thing, or an individual-response?

The reason I ask is because I think Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser has been recommended for patients with Rosacea (and there's one article listed in PubMed that says this product is beneficial), which has propylene glycol listed as the third ingredient.

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?


It's an alcohol that's listed as a skin irritant, and I have found this ingredient come up a lot on rosacea support groups. If this product works for you, that's great. Cetaphil products have never worked for me Smiley Sad

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

That sucks! I always feel bad for people with rosacea because it must be so annoying. I used to have mild seborrheic dermatitis (on my face) when I was in high school/college and it was very confusing to deal with (I ended up growing out of it mostly, but yeah, I never figured out how to take care of it and just gave up).


The sources the EWG Skin Deep page on propylene glycol cited (which a mod might take down if they see it because outside links aren't allowed) aren't well referenced and actually none of them mention rosacea, so I don't where they got that claim. The only sources listed (and the sources are listed pretty unprofessionally, I'm surprised) that apply to skin contact was the Cosmetic Ingredient Review on Propylene Glycol (EWG references the 2006 version) - I took a look at the report (most recent modification is 2010, I think) and they don't mention rosacea. They only indicate some irritation in some people when applied to the underarm as a deodorant. I'm very confused as to where the rosacea stuff came from. But they did mention that scientists want to give propylene glycol 4 different potential skin irritant classifications (dermatitis, allergy, sensory irritation, and urticaria) - but I don't feel the data support propylene glycol as a problematic ingredient in general (different people will be sensitive different things, it's kind of like allergies too - just because some people are allergic to peanuts doesn't make peanuts bad).


I hope you find an ingredient mix/product that works for you! Smiley Happy

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

I think I'd be a little skeptical about the Environmental Working Group. I do use them as a resource along with other things but I feel that a good portion of what they say to avoid is fear-mongering. The paraben hysteria is one such example. And besides the initial study that the media clung to about parabens being found in cancerous tissue there hasn't been any conclusive evidence that parabens are "toxic" or bad. In fact the complete opposite is true!