If you’ve followed me on Instagram for longer than it takes a Bachelor contestant to fall in love (so like, a fortnight and a group date), then you’ve seen me singing the praises of Paula’s Choice. I used the read Paula’s Choice reviews religiously before making purchases of any kind (not any kind, just skincare) and the skincare range has lived up to my obscenely high expectations. I’ve been getting an overwhelming response so my Paula’s Choice posts on social, so now that I’ve been well and truly on the bandwagon for a solid month I feel like I’m in a good spot to write a proper review.
To determine which products I should be using, I had a phone consultation with the Paula’s Choice team in the US (I’m 99% sure this service is available to everyone and while it’s not quite the same as a face-to-face dermo consult, however the team were very thorough and the products have been a perfect fit for my skin. I digress). My greatest skincare concerns are dryness (particularly in the winter) and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which means those annoying dark spots that are left behind after a pimple. They aren’t scars, but they’re a right nuisance.
The team recommended the MOISTURE BOOST One Step Face Cleanser which I’ve not tried yet (it is currently hot footing its way to me because I am ahead of the curve in all aspects of life… literally none, this is an anomaly), but from what I can gather it’s a milky lotion cleanser, so the same concept as something like a balm cleanser (which I love) but water soluble. This also means it doesn’t foam, which is wonderful because, as most of you know, I think foaming cleansers exist solely as a personal attack on me. The toner they prescribed was the SKIN RECOVERY Toner, which has been specifically formulated for dry skin (you’ll see the pattern here is that each product has been prescribed to target one or both of my concerns). It’s been a really nice break for my skin to move away from the very acidic toners I’ve used previously. This new routine has quite a focus on chemical exfoliation, which I love, so rehydrating the skin post-cleanse has added some balance.
For both morning and evening, I follow that up with the RESIST Omega+ Complex. I’m mad for a serum as this is the step that allows you to pack on your actives, actives being the ingredients that actually do work to target those concerns. This serum has been particularly good at keeping my skin plump and juicy throughout the last month and a bit of heinous cold. Omega fatty acids work to create a really solid moisture barrier to protect the skin from the elements, namely wind and artificial heating. Because I’m using such a hydrating serum, they’ve kept my daily moisturiser pretty universal (as opposed to a dry-skin-specific variety) to keep that balance I mentioned earlier. I am truly loving my HYDRALIGHT Shine-Free Daily Mineral Complex, because although it’s targeted at those with oilier skin who require some mattifying, it’s been giving me the SPF hit I refuse to live without and it’s not overpowering when combined with the Omega serum. It doesn’t “ball” under makeup either, which is rare for an SPF moisturiser.
Another reason I’ve been enjoying more of a lightweight moisturiser for the daytime is that I’m able to mix in a drop of the RESIST C15 Super Booster. I’ve used a Paula’s Choice booster in the past, a really hydrating one, but the team suggested a switch to the C15 as Vitamin C is the best antidote for pigmentation of any kind (see that pattern I mentioned?). You pop a drop or two in with your moisturiser, day or night, and it more or less super charges it by adding in those all-important actives. I mix this in with my evening moisturiser as well, which is the SKIN RECOVERY Replenishing Moisturiser. Unlike my day cream, this has been formulated for especially dry skin, and while I’m already using so many hydrating potions on my face already, I much prefer a really rich consistency for the evening so that I know it’s doing its job and it working over the course of my sleep. And I love sleep, so if it’s lasting for any less than 8 hours then I will be angry at both my body clock and my skincare.
I can say very confidently that the C15 booster is WORKING. My hyper pigmentation has faded at an unbelievable rate and I sincerely believe it has a lot to do with this product. I think it also has a lot to do with the RESIST Vitamin C Spot Treatment. Unlike traditional spot treatments, which are designed to dry out existing pimples, this treatment relies on the potency of Vitamin C to fade surface spots. It’s a godsend.
For me, the most important part of my evening routine is ridding my skin of any dry and dead cells before getting stuck into the aforementioned treatments and hydration. I have favoured chemical exfoliants over their physical counterparts for YEARS, and was using the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Lotion for a long time prior to this consultation. The team recommended that I keep using this, but also suggested alternating it with the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA, which I now use when I still feel I need some exfoliation but am also using a strong treatment and don’t want to strip the skin too much. I’d love to go into my love for chemical exfoliation a bit more, but I might save that for a separate post because it’s going to be quite a wordy love letter.
When I talk about a stronger treatment, I mean something along the lines of the CLINICAL 1% Retinol Treatment, which the team prescribed to me for one night a week before gradually building up to alternate nights (I’m currently on two nights per week). While Retinol is traditionally lauded for anti-ageing, I love this for its other qualities. Retinol works to boost cell turnover, which is great for me as it means my skin is restoring itself sooner post-exfoliation as well as fading dark spots, thus targeting my two biggest skin-related issues in one hit. Great for dryness, congestion and spots, but unfortunately won’t do your taxes or cook your dinner.
I’ve written this post a bit out of order, however if you’re ever unsure of which products to use after which, apply them in order from the finest consistency to the thickest (so a lightweight serum before a thick moisturiser, and a chemical exfoliant before both of those).
This does seem like an excessive number of products, but I don’t follow this routine strictly every morning and night. The more you learn about skincare in general, and about your own skin, you’ll be able to pick and choose different products based on how your skin is feeling. Chuck us a follow on Insta to follow more of my skincare journey with my new best mates at Paula’s Choice- this ain’t over.
This post is sponsored by Paula’s Choice Australia, however all views are, as always, my own.