Some time last year, I made a big Paula’s Choice order and I also bought some products off the secondhand market. Here is a loooong post with reviews on many of the items I bought.
Overall impressions: They are solid, and decently priced, although you can find much cheaper alternatives in certain categories. All products come in sensible packaging. All products are unscented (does not mean no scent!!) The site also has pretty good customer service. You can return products, and the staff also makes recommendations. Overall, I would buy some products again, although the markup in Singapore is pretty high and I’m not too happy about that.
Cleansers: In general, cleansers don’t have a very difficult job, and there are cheaper options out there, although I would say that these cleansers work well, if you’re willing to pay the price for them.
Earth Sourced Cleansing Gel: This is an earthy smelling gel, not too unpleasant, but after awhile it can smell a bit like pee/ammonia. It’s cleans well, and doesn’t sting eyes, which is a huge plus point. I haven’t tried it on my baby. My skin feels very clean and soft after this, without any tight feeling, or filmy residue. Good stuff.Skin Balancing Oil Reducing Cleanser: This was mainly for my sister, although I do use it when I stay over at my parents’ place. It’s a thick cream consistency, which can make it hard to control how much you squeeze out (usually, too much.) It smells kind of like rice. I actually think it’s quite soothing, but at the very least, i don’t think it is offensive for many. This is a bit too drying for my skin, because my skin is not hardcore oily, although my sister who has much more acne and oil has good results with it. However, this stings my eyes to high heavens, and I have to make very sure I don’t get any into my eyes. Since I like to massage cleanser into my eyelids and lashes after make up remover/oil cleansing, to make sure I emulsify all oil away, this is a huge no no for me.
Exfoliants: Great stuff. A lot of brands mess up exfoliants, so if you don’t feel like doing too much research on which exfoliants to use, use these.
Resist 10% AHA exfoliant: This is a liquid that smells a little funny, but not too strong. I use this around once a week. My skin looks visibly better the day after. It can sting a little, and you can wash it off around half an hour if your skin is sensitive. It is relatively moisturizing, and I sometimes skip all other products after this. It feels kinda slimy on my skin, but I can deal with it. Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion: One thing I like is that the BHA comes in 3 forms: Liquid, gel and lotion, for you to choose. I rather stupidly got the lotion, although Singapore is very humid and my skin is not very dry. It’s great for clearing up blemishes and acne, and because of the lotion consistency, sometimes I skip the moisturizer too, although occasionally it can be a bit drying (seems to vary depending on my skin that day.) It can also sting a little sometimes, especially on the senstive cheek areas around your nose. My sister, who has acne and blackhead problems (seriously she has a ton of blackheads, I frequently have a lot of fun squeezing them out for her, oops) has seen vast improvement in the texture of her skin by using this.
I also have some rather large milia under my eyes, and they look noticeably better after hardcore usage of BHA.
Serum and moisturizers:
Resist Antioxidant Concentrate Serum: This is a silicone based serum. I got the wrong version, because this is meant for dry skin. It’s very hydrating and emollient, but a bit slippery to use under make up in the day. I honestly cannot say I have seen miracles with this, but I only use very little every day so it lasts a long time.
Skin Balancing Ultra Sheer Daily Defense SPF 30: This is a moisturizer with sunscreen for the day. This also uses chemical filters, which I do not prefer, because physical filters are more reliable. It is a thin, watery milk consistency, similar to Japanese sunscreens. Similarly, it dries fast, and leaves a kind of dewy finish but definitely not greasy (cosmetically elegant finish), which is great for oily people. It also has very minimal white cast. It is quite moisturizing: I sometimes skip all steps before sunscreen and go straight to it. However, in recent months when I apply this it has started to sting my face a little when it did not before. Also, do not ever apply this to your eyelids or they will itch/sting like hell. That is not so good, because eyelids need protection too!!!!
This is the product I would least repurchase. I like the finish, but I do not personally like watery sunscreens. Plus, I have a much, much, much cheaper sunscreen that I like, which is SPF50. This is rather expensive as a sunscreen because of the sheer amount of sunscreen you are supposed to use everyday.
Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer: I must say that I have not been using this moisturizer very often because there is another moisturizer I am trying to get through. Hence, I cannot vouch for its efficacy. It is gel based, which I like, and does not have much smell. It is pretty lightweight as a moisturizer, although still moisturizing enough for the night. I have used this to sheer out foundations due to its lightweight finish, and it works great for that. I don’t know if the antioxidants and the retinol is all that amazing, but the texture is top notch. Also, many moisturizers come in stupid jar packaging, so I’m pretty happy that this has a sensible pump (that dispenses just enough product.)
Overall, I think that Paula’s Choice is a great starting point for the skincare consumer who wants to delve into skincare beyond all the marketing hype and overpriced bullshit. The products are well formulated, with a variety of options and very good professional support to help you decide what’s best for you. It’s decently priced, although not cheap. There are definitely cheaper alternatives out there which work just as well which I have been using too, but if you want something that generally lives up to marketing claims, it is a good range.