Paula’s Choice — the affordable cult skin-care brand loved by the internet and the Cut — is turning 23. To honor its birthday, the site is throwing a sale. From now until June 18 you can save 20 percent on every purchase from paulaschoice.com. Are you a Paula’s Choice newbie? Or maybe you need a bit of guidance in how to expand your skin-care horizons? Fear not: below is the Cut’s edit on the absolute best Paula’s Choice products.
If there is a skin-care hall of fame, this extraordinary liquid is surely in it. Made with 2 percent salicylic acid, which is a key acne-fighting ingredient, this “Skin Perfecting” solution is a big hit among the Cut staff. The world seems to agree: it is the global number-one-selling product from Paula’s Choice. Pat your face with it every day for clear pores and fewer zits.
If You’re Worried About Fine Lines
Retinoids are the most researched wrinkle-reducers of all time, and this retinol booster offers a powerful, concentrated version of the anti-aging ingredient. Because it’s a booster, you can mix it with a moisturizer or serum and shave a step from your skin-care routine.
If You Want Tiny Pores
You can’t shrink your pores, but you can make them look a lot smaller. Salicylic acid is the old standard for this job, but newcomer niacinamide does this really well, too. Kathleen Hou, the Cut’s beauty director, alerted me to the existence of this serum, and though I wasn’t sure it would work for me, I have to admit that it’s really great. You won’t notice an effect overnight, but give it a few weeks and you’ll experience crazy-smooth skin and become a teeny-tiny pore person.
This is the same formula as a much more expensive version from another brand, but save your coins and buy this one instead. The combination of vitamin E and ferulic acid stabilizes the typically finicky vitamin C (vitamin C’s potency weakens when exposed to light and air), and they increase the brightening capacity of vitamin C from four-fold, to eight-fold. Add a few drops to a serum or moisturizer, or pat it directly on your skin every day.
If You Have Stubborn Dark Spots
You’re going to need to up your vitamin-C game if you want to treat stubborn hyperpigmentation. Unlike the liquid booster version, this cream formula is equipped with 25 percent vitamin C, instead of 15 percent. Only use this on tough spots and sparingly so — vitamin C is highly acidic and can sensitize your skin if overused at this concentration.
If You Want a Really Smooth Face
Don’t be afraid of a little glycolic acid. This one caps at an 8 percent concentration, which is powerful enough to smooth the texture of your face one day at a time, but not as potent as a weekly acid peel. The light gel version is great for summer, or year-round if you have oily skin.
If You Want a Really Smooth Body
Rub glycolic acid all over! Your body skin is thicker than your face skin, so it makes sense that Paula’s Choice’s body lotion is a little higher in glycolic-acid content: 2 percent higher, to be exact. Pro tip: focus on your elbows and lower legs to prevent or erase the tiny, pimple-like bumps known as keratosis pilaris.
The Perfect, Barely-There Sunscreen
You should wear sunscreen every day, and you’re going to need to be especially diligent if you add retinol or acids to your skin-care routine. This light, liquid-y sunscreen doesn’t feel like a mask, and it won’t leave your skin shiny.
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