I'm starting a trio in FAB & FAV posts. I tend to prefer comprehensive posts that cover wider range of categories (as you can tell from my frequent FAB & FAV posts). First installment is on skin care.

I've always loved Paula's Choice because they just work without irritating on my already sensitive & easily reddened skin. That, and I don't need to worry about products having alcohol or read reviews to see if they would really work on me. I've consistently used Paula's Choice for about 4 years now, and after moving to Seoul, my skin care products pretty much all changed to Paula's Choice, except a couple. You can read about my philosophy on approaching skin care/rave on Paula's Choice in this oldie, but a goodie post here.

Below are the reviews per product in the order of my skin care routine.


Paula's Choice Moisture Boost One Step Face Cleanser:

Before this one, I've loved & used the cleanser from the Skin Recovery line, but I didn't really like it after they've reformulated it, so I changed to the Moisture Boost line. It's lotion-y type in consistency, and it rinses well (I don't use a face cloth to remove it). I often just use this cleanser as it removes pretty much all of my makeup, except waterproof mascara & eye liners. Power cleanser!


Paula's Choice Clinical Instant Calm Advanced Redness Relief:

I've only changed to this toner few weeks ago, but I've already seen less redness around my cheek area. I used to use & still love Resist Advanced Replenishing Toner as it really moisturizes (the most moisturizing toner I've ever used) during winter months. Resist toner really boosts moisture on my skin as the first layer. However, I really wanted to see changes on my skin regarding redness & uneven skin tone, so after consulting, I decided to change my toner to the Clinical toner. Really love it!


*It's so important that exfoliants are formulated at the right concentration & at the right pH. You can find more information about this on Paula's Choice website here.

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting BHA Gel with Betaine Salicylate:

(not BHA or salicylic acid as Korea doesn't allow BHA as over-the-counter product in higher concentrations as Paula's Choice uses)

I don't love this one to be honest because BHA/salicylic acid really works better than betaine salicylate on my skin. I feel like betaine salicylate is not as effective, but this is totally personal, and it might work better for you. Salicylic acid is also anti-inflammatory & anti-bacterial, so I remember it really calming my skin down after irritation (a bit counter-intuitive as BHA is an exfoliant, but it really is mildly effective!). Then again, there are people who are allergic to aspirin where salicylic acid is derived. I use BHA as a part of morning skin care routine.

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel with Glycolic Acid:

I only started using AHA since a year ago because I wanted to deal with flakiness on my skin (I have dry skin). I couldn't totally give up on BHA as I also struggle with blemishes. After some experimenting, I liked using AHA daily at night time. It's a bit irritating because my skin is just uber sensitive & prefers lactic acid (which acts milder on my skin), but it works effectively.

Acne Treatment

Paula's Choice Resist Skin Transforming Multi-Correction Treatment with Azelaic Acid & BHA:

If you've been following up with my blog, you'll know that I used to use benzoyl peroxide as my go-to acne treatment. However, it was such as hassle to find the rightly formulated benzoyl peroxide in Seoul, and somehow Paula's Choice doesn't offer benzoyl peroxide products in Korea... So, I looked into what they offer instead, and I found that they've substituted benzoyl peroxide with azelaic acid for acne treatment. There are 2: the one I've pictured above & the other as part of Clear line (targeted for acne). Their website states that they're both the same product, just packaged differently. However, I've looked closely into both (as a nerd I am), and I found out that the ingredient lists are slightly different. I've tried & used up the Clear line azelaic acid, and I really didn't like it. Something about the texture, perhaps? Resist line, however, works beautifully on my skin (I think they're pretty different). Resist line's azelaic acid is formulated creamier & silkier than the Clear line (purely based on my experience with both). Resist azelaic acid works better on my skin, somehow: It just absorbs better, and it really works to keep my blemishes at bay (maybe 1 per month?), which is what it's supposed to do. I know that it's too early to say this, but I think this might be my holy grail acne treatment product, serious!

Skin Lightener

Paula's Choice Resist Pure Radiance Skin Brightening Treatment:

Remember how I've told you about getting down with uneven skin tone? From the same consultation, I was recommended to try this product. I was a bit skeptical at first because I've tried their skin lightening product that contained hydroquinone, but my skin just did not get along with it; it broke me out. (As a side note, hydroquinone is a melanin inhibitor, which has shown to fade dark spots & discolourations from research). Resist Pure Radiance contains a high concentration of niacinamide, which is also a melanin inhibitor. I found that it indeed brightened my skin & evened out the discolourations around my mouth area. I'll have to stick to it to maintain the results, and I'll give an update at a later time.


I'm big on moisturizers as I have a dehydrated, combination skin. You'll see that I use a combination of moisturizers according to my needs.

Paula's Choice Resist Anti-Aging Clear Skin Hydrator:

I decided to change to this moisturizer even though it's targeted for normal to oily skin because it contains niacinamide. I think you get the theme here. My skin really loves niacinamide. And, because of it, I found that not only it helps with skin lightening, but it also moisturizes. The finish of it (once the product is fully absorbed) is quite dry to touch (as intended for the targeted skin types), but I didn't find that it was drying on my skin. Weirdly, it felt more moisturizing than some moisturizers that are targeted to dry skin in Paula's Choice product lines.

Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Light Hydrating Treatment Mask:

This is a mask, which has multiple functions: wash-off mask, leave-on moisturizer, makeup base/primer. It's a new product in Seoul (I don't see it launched in the US/Canada), and it's basically the previous version of current Skin Recovery Hydrating Mask (i.e. before the reformulation in 2012). I remember being heartbroken when Paula's Choice reformulated the mask because I did NOT like it, which is why I bought the light version (pre-reformulation) as soon as it was launched. Using it reminded me how much I loved the mask back in 2012. Even though Skin Recovery line is for dry skin, I think people with oily skin can also benefit a lot from this product (maybe as wash-off mask?). This product really moisturizes deep into my skin & primes my skin for my sunscreen. This is a rave review, and I feel like keep on ranting, but you can try it out for yourself. Then, you'll understand :^) The texture is silky cream. It just glides on (like those ads) & sinks in really well. It doesn't ball up like other creams.

Paula's Choice Clinical Ultra-Rich Moisturizer with Coconut Oil & Shea Butter:

I bought this product for my winter moisturizer, and it was really good in terms of its purpose. I now use it as my eye cream (when I remember to do so). I don't normally separate moisturizers for different areas, but I wanted to use up the product. The texture is quite thick; it's wise to warm up the product before putting it on to better absorb it. This is the most moisturizing product in my shelf, and I really love that it doesn't break out my skin as some rich products do around my mouth area.


Paula's Choice Hydralight Shine-Free Daily Complex SPF 30:

Although my skin is dehydrated, I just don't like the feel of greasy sunscreens... It's sticky! I also fare better with mineral sunscreen than chemical. Chemical sunscreens tend to have silkier texture that doesn't leave behind a white cast, but it reddens my skin. Mineral sunscreen is better tolerated to those who have sensitive skin. Hydralight sunscreen is mineral-based, and it doesn't leave behind a white cast for me. It applies runny & a bit sticky, but after settling in, it's not sticky anymore. Mineral sunscreen tends to have that dry texture, and this product has a matte finish on top of it, which is definitely drying on my skin used alone, which is why I layer moisturizers underneath...  It's a hassle to go through, but I'm willing to do it to avoid sticky sunscreens. If there's a mineral sunscreen that's not drying, I'd be the first one to try it. Other than the drying finish, I like this sunscreen.

Lip Balm

PapayaGold PawPaw Papaya Ointment:

This reminds me a lot of Eucerin's Aquaphor Healing Ointment, which I used to love! I couldn't get it anymore in Seoul without the hideous shipping fee. PapayaGold's ointment is not quite the same as Aquaphor, but it does its job on my easily peeling lips. It's less thick in texture compared to the Aquaphor.

Body Care

CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion:

This is a staple in my body care routine... This or the Moisturizing Cream. I'm so so glad that Seoul now imports CeraVe (not the complete line, but oh well) in drugstores like Olive Young. I'm just hoping that they bring in CeraVe's Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM, which is my holy grail moisturizer. I love that CeraVe, in general, is really gentle to skin because they just stick to the basics. They may not be fancy, but I like them for that.

This concludes this post... I think it may be the longest post yet. Did you make it here? If you did, I love you!

Next installment on FAB & FAV will be on make up!

*I'm not affiliated with Paula's Choice or any other brands that I talk about on my blog, and I wasn't paid to review these products. The post contains my honest opinions & mine only*

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