This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Pretty In My Pocket. The products featured were provided free of charge by Paula's Choice for review consideration.
I was beyond excited when Pretty In My Pocket presented me with the opportunity to test out a custom skincare routine from Paula's Choice. Long-time readers of the blog will know that Paula's Choice is a brand that I trust when it comes to effective cruelty, fragrance and dye-free products suitable for sensitive skin and acne, which I've been struggling with most of my life. Paula's Choice also kindly offered me a personal email consultation with one of their skincare experts, but the great thing about their website is that this perk isn't just reserved for bloggers or VIPs - it's free and available for anyone who desires to find the best Paula's products to suit their skin's needs - just call 1-800-831-4088. Paula's Choice also offers 100% Money Back guarantee within 60 days if you're not completely satisfied with any of their products.
Dermalogica Ultracalming cleanser, if you've ever tried that; but basically, it does feel a little bit like washing your face with just glycerin, which I quite like :)
According to Beautypedia, the second ingredient in this cleanser, sodium laureth sulfate, is a gentle detergent that's suitable even for the most sensitive skins, while sodium lauryl sulfate is the extra harsh, irritating ingtedient we should aim to avoid in our skincare (read more about sulfates on Beautypedia here). I can't verify that - but in the past three years, I've taken to avoiding both ingredients, as well as any foaming face washes just to be on the safe side and try to protect my skin's acid mantle as much as I can. So I'm not entirely sure if I've now become allergic to sodium laureth sulfate or if it was something else in this cleanser, but unfortunately, during the three weeks I've used it day and night, my skin freaked out. It became dry, tight and red, and I developed a lot (and I mean a lot) of clogged pores on my forehead. In the last week of testing the Hydralight routine, I replaced the One Step Cleanser with the Andalou Apricot Probiotic Cleansing Cream, and I've now pretty much got the situation under control. So unfortunately, while I quite enjoyed the Paula's Choice Cleanser to begin with, it turned out not to work for my skin - but your experience may of course vary.
3. Hydralight Moisture-Infusing Lotion ($28 for 2 oz): The Hydralight Lotion is a light moisturizer meant to soothe sensitive and combination & oily skin, and it's suitable for use around the eyes. The ingredients include emollients such as caprylic/ capric triglycerine, squalane and glycerin, soothing oat kernel extract and a whole skew of antixodiants such as Vitamin E & C as well as superoxide dismutase. I'm always slightly skeptical when trying out new moisturizers as most of them leave me very greasy, but I was pleasantly surprised after using the Hydralight Lotion - it absorbs very quickly and leaves no shine behind, just plump, moisturized, happy skin. Even though I was advised to use this mostly at night, when my skin was feeling particularly dry I would sneak this into my morning routine as well, as I found the Lotion to be more moisturizing and soothing on my skin than the Mineral Complex; it almost has a cooling effect when you massage it into your skin. I give it two thumbs up!
Paula's Choice RESIST sunscreen I've been using this summer, I think the Hydralight Mineral Complex is marginally heavier in texture, but I'd say I like them both about the same, and find them very effective in terms of UV protection.
5. Skin Perfecting 1% BHA Lotion ($26 for 3.3 oz): My Paula's Choice consultant advised me to use the BHA Lotion in the mornings, or alternating it with the RESIST 5% AHA, discussed below. In the past, I've tried both the BHA Gel and the BHA Liquid in the 2% strength. The 1% BHA Lotion is aimed at more sensitive skin, hence its inclusion in the Hydralight Kit, and claims to unclog pores and mild bumps for normal and slightly dry skin types. I was a bit hesitant to try it as my skin certainly isn't dry, but I found the Lotion to be very lightweight and fast absorbing - on me, it's actually significantly lighter in feel than the viscous BHA Liquid. The Lotion helps to keep my pores clear and even out my skintone, but at the moment, I need to pair it with a slightly heavier moisturizer to help with seasonal dryness.
7. RESIST C15 Super Booster ($48 for 0.67 oz): All of the Paula's Choice RESIST Super Boosters are packaged in little glass bottles with a dropper and are meant to be used as add-ons to your regular routine to target specific concerns: the Hyaluronic Acid Booster for dehydration, the Renewal Oil for moisture, the new Retinol one to firm and prevent fine lines, and lastly my C15 to fight hyperpigmentation and dark spots as well as brighten the skin. You can either use them alone, like a serum, or mix them into your moisturizer or lotion. The C15 Super Booster contains 15% of ascorbic acid (according to Beautypedia, the most effective but difficult to stabilize form of Vitamin C) as well as Vitamin E, ferulic acid and octapeptide.
So while not all of the products I was recommended worked out for me, I did very much enjoy clearing out my medicine cabinet of all the extraneous bottles to follow this simplified, no fuss routine for a month. I will continue to use all of these products with the exception of the One Step Cleanser, and while I currently have products from other lines to supplement what I lacked in my Paula's Choice regime, I absolutely think I could customize the Hydralight routine further with other Paula's Choice products such as the RESIST Hydrating Cleanser, Hyaluronic Acid or Renewal Oil Boosters. Paula's Choice continues to be one of my favorite affordable skincare lines, and I'm so glad to have had the opportunity to road test more of their products. Have you ever followed a skincare routine with products from just one brand? What are your favorite Paula's Choice products? If you've been thinking about placing a PC order, don't forget to use my code PRIMPFALL20 for 20% off your purchase and free shipping - and get on that discount now, the code expires Dec 31st 2015!
PS. You can read even more reviews on Paula's Choice as well as hundreds more brands on the Pretty In My Pocket app, which you can download here: http://www.prettyinmypocket.com/download