If you’re a beauty freak like me you’ll know Paula Begoun. An acclaimed skincare expert and beauty critic (they call her the Cosmetics Cop!), she’s also the author of the bestselling beauty books in which she’s critiqued thousands of different beauty products, dispelled beauty myths and dished out the low down on what you should be looking for when it comes to skincare.
Things I’ve learned from Paula include to always look for good ingredients as opposed to getting sucked into just one brand; give skincare packaged in a jar a skip (air degrades active ingredients) and that ‘anti-aging’ eye creams are uneccessary if you’re using a good moisturiser.
Naturally, it wasn’t long before she created her own skincare line, Paula’s Choice. It flys off the shelves in the states and I’ve actually used a few of her goodies in the past but have always resented having to buy them off eBay or use my US postal forwarding company; both options hurt my wallet. Thus, I’m THRILLED that you can now get Paula’s products locally via paulaschoice.co.za. And, if you pick regular postal delivery, you’re looking at a mere R35 delivery costs!
Last week, the SA PR peep sent me a few samples to play with and these are the things that impressed me the most, so much so that I’ll be buying them with my own money;
Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Mattifying Concentrate, R280
I’ve had a zillion pore-minimising silicone-based serums cross my desk and every single one has looked amazing for the first hour and then my face just seems to explode with grease. This one doesn’t do that! It’s got a weird Jell-O-like texture but smoothes over my face like silk, giving my skin a perfect ‘airbrushed’ look that stays matte for ages. I also love, how, afterwards, whatever foundation I apply glides on with the greatest of ease.
Aside from the cosmetic effect, the serum contains a mega mix of antioxidants, anti-irritants to calm red, angry skin and a dash of wrinkle-busting retinol. (If you’ve got a drier skin type, don’t stress, she’s got other more hydrating antioxidant serums for you to pick from.)
Paula’s Choice RESIST Weekly Resurfacing Treatment with 10% Alpha Hydroxy Acid, R355 currently on special for R310
I love AHA-based products! For those of you in the dark, AHA’s include lactic and glycolic acid. They’re chemical exfoliants that sizzle off the top dead layer of your skin to reveal newer, brighter skin underneath. I’m always slapping them on after I’ve suffered any kind of breakout as they help you get rid of the marks they leave behind super quick.
Anyway, I love Paula’s Weekly Treatment and plan to use it once a week to give my face a good ‘clean up’. It’s too strong to use more often than that, to do so would result in red, flaky skin. Still, if you’re particularly concerned with uneven skin tone or post-acne blemishes, consider getting one of her milder AHA treatments that you can use every second day if not every day, something like her RESIST Daily Smoothing Treatment with 5% Alpha Hydroxy Acid, R290. Just make sure you use a good SPF when you set food outdoors; AHA treatments make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Paula’s Choice 1% Beta Hydroxy Acid Gel, R265 currently on special for R230 (If you’ve got a seriyas blackhead issue, you can also opt for this same product in 2% strength.)
BHA is different to AHA. While AHA exfoliates the surface of your skin, BHA exfoliates deep inside your pores to clear away blackheads. Paula’s BHA gel is a clear gel that you can wear under your moisturiser and make-up. With daily use, it’s going to help keep the pores around my nose clean and clear and prevent further breakouts. The formula also contains loads of natural soothing anti-inflammatories to combat any redness.
I also got to try Paula’s retinol serum and really wanted to like it but found it too silicone-y for my oily skin so I’ll be sticking to my RoC Retinol Correxion deep wrinkle serum for now. (It’s discontinued in SA but I’ve been buying it by the bucketload when I visit Europe.) I also liked her Earth Sourced Purely Natural Refreshing Toner; a 98% natural hydrating antioxidant-rich fluid with soothing properties. If I was into toners, I’d use this one, but just never reach for them. Oh! And her Skin Balancing Daily Mattifying Lotion with SPF15 and Antioxidants is fabulous but I’ll be sticking to my beloved el cheapo Neutrogena Oil-free Moisturiser with SPF15 as I find them very similar, despite the latter lacking antioxidants.
If you’re looking for skincare that works, Paula’s line is one of the best money can buy. It’s not prettily packaged in a glass jar with a gold lid and there isn’t a make-up counter where you can get a free mini makeover, but if you want skincare that’ll do the things it promises, it’s an exceptionally good bet. And don’t let her array of products intimidate you; you can shop by concern or skin type and that makes things super easy. Better yet, you can buy samples off the site for less than R10 before you decide to commit.
P.S. Want more Paula? Visit the US version of her site; it’s jam-packed with beauty info including a handy cosmetic ingredient dictionary that not only tells you what the active is intended to do, but if it’s any good at it!