Paula’s Choice is just about as legendary as it gets when it comes to beauty brands. Way before the transparency movement gained mainstream traction, the brand’s founder, Paula Begoun, earned the nickname “The Cosmetics Cop” as an investigative journalist holding the industry accountable for its marketing myths. Today, she still critiques the industry though Beautypedia.com, a hub on her website which reviews other brands’ products.
Begoun launched Paula’s Choice in 1995—where it was one of the first beauty brands ever sold online—and more than 25 years later, it’s cult-like following hasn’t died down. If anything, you can’t scroll for five minutes on Instagram or TikTok without seeing someone raving over their almost too-good-to-be true before-and-afters, or singing the praises of Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid, a favorite of editors, derms, and bloggers alike for its ability to gently exfoliate but powerfully smooth skin over time.
The brand mirrors her no-B.S. ethos. While you’ll find a long list of ingredients Paula’s Choice skin care isn’t formulated with, nothing about its marketing is scaremongering or centered around dubious claims. Each of the products are tailored for specific skin types and concerns, and everything is cruelty-free, fragrance-free, and non-irritating—and all less than $50.
But even with this wealth of information, the brand can be somewhat intimidating since there are so many different formulations and collections to choose from. What do each of the eight lines (like Resist, Clinical, and Defense) exactly mean? Which of its 17 sunscreens are best for you? We had Glamour staffers with a range of skin types and concerns put the line to the test. Read on for their honest Paula’s Choice reviews of the products that are absolutely worth your money.
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