the best Paula's Choice products

The 11 Best Paula's Choice Products For Every Type Of Skin

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Everyone’s skin is different, and so the best Paula’s Choice products for you will feature ingredients that address your skin’s unique needs, whether you’re looking to tackle acne, brighten your skin, or something else. Pay attention to your skin type when thinking about the products that make the most sense to you: For example, those with dry skin will likely prefer picks that focus on hydration, while those with oily skin may benefit from picks that minimize greasiness, and those with combination skin may prefer a balance of the two. And finally, in order to pick products you’ll actually use, think about where you have space for new products in your skin-care routine and choose the type of product that fits.

Paula’s Choice makes a wide variety of products — all of which are fragrance-, phthalate-, alcohol-, cruelty-, and formaldehyde-free — so whether you’re new to the skincare world or you’re looking to bulk up an existing regimen, you’ll be sure to find great picks from the brand. Consider the following product categories:

No matter which types of products you’re looking to add to your routine, you’ll be sure to find the right product among these 11 Paula’s Choice products, all formulated to minimize irritation and backed by hundreds of reviewers.

1. An Oil-Reducing Cleanser

  • Best for: Oily and combination skin
  • How to use: Cleanse with this pick in the morning and evening as the first step in your skin-care routine.

This oil-reducing cleanser is designed for those with oily or combination skin since the cream-to-foam formulation can remove excess oil, makeup, and other substances to help reduce clogged pores. Aloe is a key ingredient in this pick, and it helps to soothe any redness or irritation on the skin, while providing the perfect amount of hydration. Amazon reviewers are all-in on this cleanser, and many specifically mention that it’s a favorite since it doesn’t leave the skin feeling tight or uncomfortable, despite the fact that it cleans it so well. One reviewer even wrote, “It cleans without stripping the skin. It very definitely removes the oil, but my skin does not feel tight -- just nice and soft.”

This pick contains 8 ounces of cleanser, but it is also sold in a larger 16-ounce bottle, too (which is cheaper per ounce).

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “Love love love it. It's exactly what I've been looking for. It's very gentle, no irritation. Clean and simple ingredients to nourish the skin. Î have oily skin.”

2. A Hydrating Cleanser For Dry Skin

  • Best for: Normal to dry skin
  • How to use: Cleanse with this pick in the morning and evening as the first step in your skin care routine.

If you’re seeking a cleanser that’s ultra-hydrating, the Paula’s Choice Optimal Results cleanser from the brand’s RESIST line is truly the best of the best — Amazon reviewers back it up with a solid 4.5-star rating overall on the site, after more than 500 reviews. Designed for normal to dry skin, the lotion-like cleanser helps to remove makeup, dirt, and other substances, while simultaneously maintaining the skin’s natural barrier function. Green tea and chamomile go to work soothing any sensitivity that you may face.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “This is one of the few cleansers I’ve found that doesn’t irritate my [sensitive], dehydrated, acne prone skin! My face doesn’t feel overly dry after using, nor does it feel oily. It feels perfect! I also love that I can use less than a full pump. Combined with my skincare routine, this has my skin feeling great, and I’m so glad I found it!”

3. A Highly-Rated Toner That Balances Your Skin

  • Best for: Oily and combination skin
  • How to use: Apply twice daily after cleansing.

With a knockout 4.5-star rating overall on Amazon, after 4,000-plus reviews, this powerhouse toner is one of the top-rated products from the brand on the site. And it makes total sense that people are into it. For one, the toner is packed with beneficial ingredients like soothing chamomile, hydrating hyaluronic acid and ceramides, and niacinamide to even out your skin tone. Plus, the toner can help to remove any last traces of makeup, dirt, or oil that remain on the skin after cleansing.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “This stuff is amazing! It’s so gentle on my extremely sensitive skin, and immediately effective. My skin felt smoother and softer, instantly, no more rough texture. I’m totally sold!”

4. An Editor-Approved BHA Exfoliator

  • Best for: Normal, oily, or combination skin
  • How to use: Apply with fingers or a cotton pad after cleansing and toning, up to twice daily. During the day, be sure to follow with sunscreen.

BDG Commerce Editor Jen Fiegel swears by this bestselling BHA liquid exfoliant, explaining, "This is a surprisingly gentle acid that doesn't burn my skin at all. I've been patting it on two or three times a week for more than two years, and it keeps things clear and smooth." And she’s not the only one who loves this product — Amazon reviewers are wild about it, too. It has a whopping 4.6-star rating overall after more than 51,000 reviews, with tons of commenters calling it their “holy grail” product.

This lightweight exfoliant contains 2% BHA in the form of salicylic acid to break up dead skin cells, plus green tea to help soothe the skin. The leave-on pick can be used up to twice a day after cleansing, and it’s best for those with normal, oily, or combination skin.

This pick contains 4 ounces of product, but a smaller 1-ounce size is also available — perfect for travel or to test out the product before committing to the full size. If you want a larger bottle for home use and a smaller one for taking on the go, you can also purchase a set with both sizes.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “This is something I will never not purchase now. I've purchased several bottles now over the last few months or so and I am truly obsessed. Nothing has ever changed or improved my skin so much in such a short time. It's amazing. Holy grail for sure. It evens my skin tone, quickly gets rid of marks or breakouts, smooths my skin, adds a glow [...] I literally saw results the first night I used it (the next morning).”

5. An Exfoliant With AHAs For Normal To Dry Skin

  • Best for: Normal to dry skin
  • How to use: Apply a dime-sized amount after cleansing and toning, up to twice daily. During the day, be sure to follow with sunscreen.

If you have normal to dry skin, this AHA exfoliant is calling your name. The product contains 8% glycolic acid to exfoliate — but don’t worry, the gel formulation isn’t abrasive or harsh in the slightest. Other ingredients include chamomile and green tea to soothe, plus hyaluronic acid to provide amazing hydration.

The lightweight, leave-on exfoliant can be used twice daily after cleansing. This pick contains 3.3 ounces of product, but a smaller 0.5-ounce size is available, too.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “I ordered the sample size, because my skin is sensitive, and I didn't want to invest a lot. It will actually take me a while to use this up, because you only need a drop twice a day, but I will be ordering more. I noticed softer skin within just a couple of days. It's a very cold winter here right now, and I always have some dry skin around my nostrils. That is completely gone. My skin is soft and smooth, and my make-up goes on nicely. There has been absolutely no irritation. This was a recommendation from someone else, and I am very happy to recommend it to others. I was blown away by how quickly I noticed the difference in my skin.”

6. A Concentrated Vitamin C Serum

  • Best for: All skin types
  • How to use: Apply two to three drops after cleansing, toning and exfoliating, up to twice daily. Can also mix into moisturizer. During the day, be sure to follow with sunscreen.

With 15% vitamin C, this concentrated serum is formulated to brighten and smooth the skin. Other skin-benefitting ingredients — like moisturizing hyaluronic acid and antioxidants vitamin E and ferulic acid — round out this pick, hence why it is such a favorite among those that have tried it.

The lightweight serum can be applied directly to your skin or even added to your moisturizer — use two to three drops at a time. It’s suitable for all skin types.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “My skin is GLOWING! A complete over night difference. I have struggled with dry and dull skin. I have used this product for one week and my skin looks better then it ever has. It is expensive, but it is worth it to me. I will continue to buy this!”

7. A Trio Of Products For Acne-Prone Skin

  • Best for: All skin types
  • How to use: Twice daily, use the cleanser as the first step in your skin care routine. Next, apply exfoliating solution with fingers or a cotton pad. Follow with benzoyl peroxide skin clearing treatment. During the day, be sure to follow with sunscreen.

If you’re seeking picks for acne-prone skin, this trio of products is your best bet, since they’re designed to work together to tackle acne, breakouts, blemishes, and blackheads. The first product in the kit is a refreshing gel cleanser that cleans the skin and soothes redness. The second step is an exfoliant with 2% BHA to help unclog pores — don’t worry, it’s super gentle. And the third step is a treatment with 2.5% benzoyl peroxide to further help with acne if that’s something that interests you.

This trio of products is suitable for all skin types — including dry, oily, combination, and even skin that’s prone to cystic acne — and they won’t dry out the skin. These full-size bottles are regular strength, but this pick is also sold in an extra-strength option with the third product featuring a higher percentage of benzoyl peroxide.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “This kit far exceeded my expectations! I was worried it would be too strong for my sensitive skin but I find every product in the kit to be gentle yet effective. 1- the cleanser is one of my favorite cleansers I’ve used. Cleans but doesn’t strip my skin. 2- the exfoliate is super gentle but definitely does it’s job while also calming redness. Never stings or burns. 3- the spot treatment is also gentle but works wonders at calming and treating pimples, even cystic ones. Can even be worn under makeup since it’s so light. I love that the texture isn’t so heavy.”

8. A Spray With BHAs For Body Acne

  • Best for: All skin types
  • How to use: Spray on the areas of your body that you want to treat and rub it into the skin. Follow with moisturizer when dry. During the day, be sure to follow with sunscreen.

If you’re looking for a product to help with body acne, Amazon reviewers confirm that this lightweight spray is wildly effective, thanks to the 2% salicylic acid BHA that goes deep into the pores to remove oil and debris, minimizing blackheads and breakouts, and smoothing skin. This pick also features soothing licorice and barberry extracts to reduce redness.

Suitable for all skin types, the leave-on exfoliant is super simple to use — just spray it on any areas of your body that you desire (many reviewers indicate that they specifically find it useful for back acne), and you’re good to go.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “This is literally one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. I was skeptical of the reviews because I’ve tried EVERYTHING for eleven years and nothing has ever worked. Lately, my chest has broken out like it never has before. I tried this spray, and I haven’t seen anything since. Literally nothing. [...] If you have body acne that affects you and your self confidence PLEASE GET THIS!! You won’t regret it!!!”

9. A Gel Moisturizer For Oily Or Combination Skin

  • Best for: Oily or combination skin
  • How to use: Apply as the last step in your skincare routine. If you use during the day, follow with sunscreen.

If you have oily or combination skin, it can be challenging to get your hands on a moisturizer that provides the right amount of hydration. Luckily, this gel moisturizer is the answer — it has the perfect balance of hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, which moisturizes without causing excess greasiness. Other skin-benefitting ingredients include a blend of antioxidants that can help defend against environmental factors, and oat extract to soothe skin. Licorice extract is meant to calm redness. And let’s not forget about niacinamide, which can even out discoloration and smooth the skin, should that be something you’re interested in.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “I've tried a lot of different moisturizers ever since I started wearing masks and this is by far my favorite. It doesn't make my skin oily throughout the day, but I also don't get those dry patches around my mouth after I take the mask off after my shift. It's like a perfect balance of moisture if that makes sense. Also it didn't make me break out. 10/10 would buy again”

10. A Creamy Moisturizer For Dry Skin

  • Best for: Normal to dry skin
  • How to use: Apply as the last step in your skincare routine. If you use during the day, follow with sunscreen.

The creamy, lotion-like formulation of this barrier repair moisturizer feels absolutely heavenly on the skin — it’s the ideal pick for those with normal to dry skin. The highly adored product boasts a variety of ingredients that help to restore the moisture on your skin, plus a blend of antioxidants that can defend against environmental damage. Retinol is another powerhouse ingredient that’s touted for its ability to increase cell turnover and smooth the skin.

Use this pick as the final step in your skin-care regimen before bed, and it can be used during the day, too — just be sure to follow up with sunscreen afterwards.

If you have very dry skin, you may prefer this pick from Paula’s Choice instead, which features ultra-nourishing ingredients to quench the skin.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “I love this moisturizer. I have problems with dry skin and this stuff is great. No smell, not greasy, not watery. I love it.”

11. A Non-Greasy Sunscreen With SPF 50

  • Best for: All skin types
  • How to use: Apply liberally as the final step in your daytime skincare routine, 15 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply after 80 minutes if your skin gets wet.

This SPF 50 sunscreen is adored among those that have used it, since it can be applied all over your body — including your face! — and it’ll provide broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. The lightweight formulation will feel absolutely amazing on the skin, and it won’t weight you down even as you re-apply it throughout the day. Other key ingredients include antioxidants to help to protect your skin from damage, and aloe that provides plenty of hydration. Kaolin helps to absorb oil, so your skin won’t feel greasy as you use this pick — a common problem with other sunscreens.

This sunscreen is designed for all skin types, and it’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Use this pick as the final step in your skin care routine, and it’ll dry to a soft, matte finish.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “I've tried so many sunscreens to wear under my make-up but they felt either too greasy or heavy or they smelled like sunscreen, or they made me break out. Enter this product. I don't have any of those issues anymore. It's also fast drying so if I'm in a hurry I can move on to my next step [...] I won't go back to any other product.”