Paula Begoun’s ‘Paula’s Choice’ skincare line now easily available to South Africans. Yay!

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 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.

Love, love


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!

20 thoughts on “Paula Begoun’s ‘Paula’s Choice’ skincare line now easily available to South Africans. Yay!

  1. The RESIST Weekly Resurfacing Treatment sounds AWESOME! My skin is in serious need of some AHA! Thx for the info.

    1. You’re going to love it! I can already see a difference to the pores around my nose in regards to the BHA gel. Sooo going to get the sterk one to use on my boyfriend’s big ‘man’ pores 😉

  2. With all due respect to you – and you know I love you – this has to be the best review you’ve written. I’ve been using Clinique since forever, and thanks to this introdustion, I’m actually contemplating switching. Visiting the site, now. xxx

  3. Love the fact that under ‘Shop by skin concern’ there’s a category that combines Anti Aging/Breakouts, as my skin, at the ripe old age of 28 has decided that it’s actually now super oily in places and horribly dry and fine-line prone in others. Have always been combination, but this is just ridiculous! Am also now struggling with zits! Have recently changed my pill so think that may be the cause. Anyways, will def be diving this a try as my Clarins multi-active that was perfect 6 months ago, now turns my face into a complete slick! And can’t seem to find a balance between anti-aging and oil controlling. Here’s holding thumbs…

    1. I feel ya! I’m 31 and still break out. Perhaps try the BHA gel to keep those pores super clean and consider the RESIST Anti-aging Clear Skin Hydrator. It’s got wrinkle-busting ingredients as well as those to zap acne.

  4. Darling Leigh, I am soooo sad. I have been using Paula’s Choice products since you wrote this post, but now they don’t sell in SA anymore. Boohoo! My skin looked better than it ever had before using Paula’s Choice products. Prettttty pleeeease will you suggest AS GOOD replacements for Paula’s super antioxidant concentrate serum, hydrating moisturizer for day and night, face wash and retinol. I have dehydrated skin with a very slightly oily
    t-zone. Ag your help will be so very much appreciated. Thanks Leigh-Leigh.

    1. Hi hun! I’m also super bleak that PC’s now so trick to get hold of. I’m now using Dermaceutic’s 1% retinol serum and am very happy with it. As far as face wash and a basic moisturiser goes, you can decent offerings in the drugstore from Neutrogena and Cetaphil. PC’s antioxidant serum is tricky to replace as she used a really nice mix power players but Dermaceutic’s C25 cream is fab as it contains vitamins A, C and E. You could actually use that as your day and night cream then apply their retinol serum every other night until you adjust to it.

      1. Oh, my Leigh! Thanks for answering this question for me. I appreciate it. Leigh, these products are k*k expensive, so I would really like to ask if you have any recommendations for other serums that have a good mix of power players that will make my skin feel plump, hydrated and smooth. I am lost with this – like a fart in a thunderstorm. Please will you help?

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