I Switched to Paulas Choice Skincare for 12 Months - This is What Happened

Paula's Choice Review About twelve months ago, I started exclusively using 'natural' skincare and makeup products. Within 6 mont...

Paula's Choice Review

Paulas Choice ReviewAbout twelve months ago, I started exclusively using 'natural' skincare and makeup products.

Within 6 months my once clear and healthy skin was covered in cystic acne, blackheads and whiteheads. My skin texture was severely damaged, blemishes would not heal and my skin was showing signs of premature ageing. Not only that, but my skin type changed from normal to extremely oily.

In this time I tried several different natural skincare brands. I was so convinced that naturally derived ingredients were better for my skin that I was completely blind to the fact that they had literally destroyed it.

Something I noticed with most of the natural cleansers and moisturisers was the cool or fresh feeling they gave my face. As I later found out - this feeling meant irritation.

If your having any skin issues, please check out my post on skin irritating ingredients to avoid to make sure you're not using any ingredients that have been clinically proven to irritate the skin.

Desperate to fix my skin, I found the book 'The Best Skin of Your Life Starts Here' By Paula Begoun.

I ditched all the natural products and started exclusively using Paula's Choice Skincare. This is what happened.

My skin stopped forming new spots straight away.

I had 50+ tiny bumps over my cheeks that were very deep and didn't seem to ever come to a head. They were deep enough that I couldn't squeeze them out. It took about 6 weeks for these to completely disappear but I did notice they were getting smaller after about 1 week.

From day one, I didn't get any new acne. Having consistently had about 20 massive red spots over my cheeks and chin for 6 months, this was enough to convince me that Paulas Choice is legit.

I had pretty bad post inflammatory hyperpigmention which took around twelve months to clear. Even today, my skin is not perfect but it's pretty close thanks to my Paula's Choice Skincare routine. The skin damage is still there but improving slowly.

Paula's Choice are unique in that they formulate their products to fit what is proven to be great for the skin.

No pseudo-science or marketing gimmicks. Once you learn about the science behind skincare, just by looking at the back of a bottle you will lose faith in brands you thought were trustworthy.  You can see the crappy ingredients some use just because they market well or how they make pretty packaging a priority over the shelf life of the product.

There is a discount link for $15 off your first order at the end of this post. I get $15 store credit if you use it too which helps me out a lot. I have been lucky enough to have had lots of women hear my story, try some of the products and come back to me and rave about them. It makes me so happy to help other women find Paulas Choice!

Anyway, here is a review of the Paulas Choice products I have tried.

Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser

I originally bought this in the travel size pack so I could test it out before investing in the full size. I wasn't a huge fan at first. It just seemed 'meh' but by the time I finished the sample it had grown on me and I purchased the full size.

This silky formula removes makeup quite well and refreshes my skin without leaving it dry or oily. It contains an antibacterial ingredient that fights bacteria and also contains soothing ingredients which reduced the redness around my blemishes.

My skin is not acne prone or oily since I stopped using natural products so after my first bottle (which lasted 4-5 months) I tried using Cetaphil because it's a bit cheaper. Big mistake. It didn't clean my skin as well as the Paula's Choice cleanser and I started to notice some minor breakouts so I quickly repurchased another bottle.

I am nearing the end of my second bottle now with no plans to try anything new.

If it works - why change it?

Paulas Choice review

Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner

I never noticed a benefit from toners before trying Paulas Choice. I actually found them drying and irritating. With that being said - this toner blew.me.away.

Immediately after applying for the first time my skin looked incredible. It shrinks my pores (makes them appear small, since I dont think its actually possible to reduce pore size), gives me an even skin tone and reduces the redness around my nose.

After a while I stopped noticing a difference when I used this so when it ran out I didn't repurchase. Another big mistake.

Within a week my skin became lacklustre and my skin tone was not as clear. I ended up buying another bottle and my skin improved again. I will not be without it again!

What I think happened was that I grew accustomed to how my skin looks when I use this, so I stopped noticing its effects.

Paulas Choice Review

Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

I finished up a full bottle of the Clear Extra Strength 2% salicylic acid (a very similar formula) before purchasing. I cannot live without it. I have skin that needs constant exfoliating as I am very prone to clogged pores and blackheads.

Using this twice a day has helped to prevent my pores from getting clogged. Like I mentioned before, I had 50+ tiny deep pimples over my cheeks which I think were clogged pores and I believe that this is what cleared them up.

According to Paulas Choice Salicylic acid can exfoliate excess skin cells both outside (so they don't build up in the pore) and inside (to improve its shape) the pore and this is something I can attest to. My pores are no longer an issue, in fact - I dont even really notice them anymore. Before using this BHA, I would literally spend an hour every night with a bobby pin extracting my blackheads.

The 2% BHA keeps my skin smooth and healthy, it diminished the redness from my acne scars and helps keep acne and blackheads away. If you try any Paulas Choice product - let it be this one.

Hint: If you try this, you need to be liberal with the amount applied to see the full benefits. When I have tried to just use a little bit, it was not very effective.

Paulas Choice Review

2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide

I have used benzoyl peroxide in the past and always got dry, irritated skin. This stuff is amazing. Occasionally I will get slightly dry skin from daily use but I can generally use it daily with irritation.

It is only 2.5% but it prevents breakouts. I originally used a sample of this but purchased the full size when I got low. I will re-evaluate my skin when I finish the tube and see if its something I will still require. You only need the tiniest amount on acne prone areas so this tube should last at least a year.

*Update: I seldom use this now because my skin is no longer breaking out. I get a pimple here and there but they go away quick enough that I dont even think to use this. I still highly recommend it if you are breaking out.

Paulas Choice Review

Calm Redness Relief Moisturiser

I tried a sample of this and ended up purchasing the full size.

This moisturiser has a siliconey texture but its not heavy or suffocating. I havn't noticed any redness relief from this - it's just a basic moisturiser.

It worked well when my skin was oily but now that is normal I prefer something slightly more moisturising so I didn't repurchase this one.

Although it wasn't a stand out product for me, a friend with oily skin really enjoys it so if you are oily, pick up a sample and see if it works for you.


Paulas Choice Review

Moisture Boost Hydrating Treatment

I originally purchased this to use as an eye cream. It was too heavy for my oily, acne prone skin at first but over time my skin type changed and became normal/dry so I started using it as my night time moisturiser. My skin still breaks out to heavy, emollient moisturisers so I need to be careful.

The Moisture Boost Hydrating Treatment is light weight but quite moisturising at the same time. I ended up I repurchasing another tube and at the end of my second tube I switched to a new product (which I will review soon).

Although I really like this, I wanted to try a more affordable option, knowing that I can always repurchase if it doesn't work out.

Paulas Choice Review

25% Vitamin C Spot Treatment

I got this to help deal with my post-inflammatory hyperpigmention. If I use this on its own, I do see a small visible improvement overnight. It's not a miracle but enough to make me keep repurchasing it.

Acne hyperpigmentation can take up to a year to heal so anything to speed that up is amazing. I find I get the best results with lightening my acne scars when I combine this with the Toner and 2% BHA. I honestly feel it has sped up the healing process but I dont know how fast things would be healing without it. It seemed to be taking forever before I started my new skincare routine.

I ended up buying another small sample tube because I have seen enough improvement to buy again. This is pricey but compared to procedures such as laser for acne hyperpigmentation, there is less risk and less cost involved.

*Update: I finished my second sample tube and it will be my last. Mainly because my scarring is much better. This is a great product and I saw visible results. If it was more affordable, I would buy another tube. Paulas Choice Review

Resist Weekly 10% AHA Treatment

I considered getting chemical peels done at a dermatologist but decided on this product instead. It is a light peel that gives noticeable results and it costs less than one peel from the dermatologist.

There is no down time. The day after using this I sometimes have some peeling and sometimes I have smooth glowing skin.

It helps my acne scarring to do this once a week as well as preventing acne. My skin tone is looking more even and my damaged skin texture is improving.

I am moving on to a stronger peel as soon as I have finished this. Once my skin is at a good place (as in my scarring has healed), I would consider returning to this as a maintenance product.

*Update: After trying a few different peels, I feel confident saying this was the best. It was quick, painless and gentle whilst still giving me noticeable results.

Paulas Choice Review

Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment

While the Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment is not as strong as a prescription retinol, it contains lots of other beneficial ingredients that compliment retinol. At first this felt quite warm on my skin and led to some flakiness but within a few weeks I could use it a few times a week without any issues.

Retinol has a lot of evidence behind it and its an ingredient I think we should all be using.

I have about 4 sample tubes of this and thus far, I am really liking it.

I see a difference in my skin tone and hyperpigmentation it with all the other products it's hard to pinpoint which exact products are working the best. As I don't use this as often, I can't be sure it's the one helping my skin. At the moment, I am mainly using this around my eye area. Paulas Choice Review

Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum

I have just started this on the 3/3/17 so I cant speak for its results but this is a lovely formula for acne prone skin. It's super light and not greasy at all. I will update this post as soon as I have more news on this!Paulas Choice ReviewRadiance Renewal Mask 

I have had this for about three months and rarely use it. I think it breaks me out.

This is an overnight mask that is supposed to brighten the skin.

I find it heavy on my skin and I always seem to get a few new spots the day after use. I also don't notice my skin looking any brighter the next morning.

I am not saying it doesn't work - it just doesn't work for my skin. This is one I wish I would have purchased a sample for first.Paulas Choice Review

I love Paulas Choice and will continue to repurchase from them. Their advice and products have saved my skin and I am so grateful I found them!

Paulas Choice ReviewBefore Paulas Choice. This was about a month after I stopped using irritating natural products. This was not the worst my skin looked.
Paulas Choice Review

Three months into my Paulas Choice Skincare Routine.

CLICK HERE to get $15 off your first order!

Thanks for reading my Paulas Choice Review. Leave me a comment below if you have tried any PC products. What do you think of them?

Lisa Wood Beauty

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  1. How I wish my acne was product-related! LOL But it's mostly fixed for now...

    I'm wondering if you ever tried the Calm Redness Moisturizer with a pump of Jojoba oil? I didn't like the feeling of it either long term. It wasn't moisturizing enough for my normal skin and would make it even drier.
    But together with a pump of jojoba oil (I've tried it with other oils but jojoba is the best!) it just transforms to this no-moisturizer moisturizer! haha What I mean is that it just feels like your normal skin – not too dry and not to oily, just moisturized and calm.

    Because of this trick I'm considering repurchasing the Calm Redness moisturizer as I haven't found anything with a similar light feel! It's also like my face has become addicted to it! Nothing else feels as good... I've been using only oils before, but the moisturizer adds in another dimension with water, which our skin needs too.
    Would love to test it out with Paula's Choice Oil booster too, but jojoba oil is otherwise a very inexpensive ingredient to add.

    You probably have just finished your tube, but I wanted to throw this tip out there if anyone else with sensitive skin have the same issue with this moisturizer :) Just try it with a drop of oil ;)

  2. I have a sample of the PC hydrating oil booster (pretty sure thats what its called) and I have been mixing it with the moisture boost moisturiser but I havnt tried it with the Calm moistuiser yet. I still have most of it left - I will have to give it a try. Thanks for the suggestion!

    The hydrating oil booster is really light and sinks in nicely. I like it much more than jojoba or argan oil which I find heavy on my skin.

    Thanks again for the suggestion <3


  3. I am finding that cost of Paula's Choice creeping up.
    As I don't have the problems many of the users have. I have used most of the product over the years.
    Pro...My specific problem product is the BHP 9. My skin is really very good for an ancient but from time to time I do get a small out break of psoriasis. It is an inherited problem but I am luckier than some as my out breaks are minimal and where the sun 'don't shine'.
    Nevertheless it is annoying. Where I have had success is with a small outbreak of eczema inside the top of an earlobe. A dab of no 9 and it is gone in a day or two.
    My next find for the use of this product is my navel. I have a very deep inny navel and it get very wet and tends to get smelly. I tried drying the area very well then applied metho on a cotton bud followed by moisturiser. Some improvement but as the procedure took up too much time I stopped and thought I would give No9 a go. I pop a small dab in once a week.
    The psoriasis takes little longer but I don't use very much, just enough to wet the patch doing that once a day until cleared.
    Cons. PC prices have gone up and it is now becoming to expensive. So I will soon not buy it. Many of the cosmetic companies are milking the ignorant for all they can and I am not going to be one. Pity ,,,,

  4. Thanks for sharing Martha!

  5. Hallelujah!
    I suffer from severely clogged pores and sensitive skin and after having been chemically burned several times I have developed a deep fear of facial routines. However, as I am not growing any younger my skin has become a massive priority so I am on the hunt for a good routine that wont burn, dry out my skin or cause more breakouts and Paula's choice might be the answer.
    Thank you Lisa for writing such a comprehensive review; for giving before and after photos and for giving the product a decent length of time to work before raving about how great it is! Some are lucky to have great skin that adjusts quickly, but I remain skeptical of any review that thinks a couple of weeks is long enough to justify recommending a skin care product.
    Thanks to your blog I have definitely been convinced me to at least give the product a go!