Like tons of other women and [some] men, I've been a huge fan of Paula Begoun for at least a decade, ever since I discovered her book, Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, 7th Edition. Cosmetics companies loathe her, some people don't trust her, but anyone with a healthy skepticism about the oft-inflated claims made by the beauty industry and its handmaiden, the women's magazine industry, should celebrate her intelligent, balanced, detailed, and often funny reviews of just about every beauty product you can think of.
Not to be outdone, Ms. Begoun has created a fairly extensive and well-reviewed product line of her own, including everything from cleansers to cosmetics. What distinguishes her from many -- if not all -- her competitors is that she's happy to recommend worthy products made by other companies. She just thinks hers is just as good, and rightfully so.
I recently tried out a number of products from her skincare line, Paula's Choice, specifically, the Skin Balancing Toner for Normal/Oily and Combination Skin; the Skin Balancing Super Anti-Oxidant Mattifying Concentrate Serum for Normal to Very Oily Skin; and the Skin Balancing Daily Mattifying Lotion SPF 15 for Normal and Oily/Combination Skin. I love them all.
Finally! I have a wonderful, affordable and effective skincare line that works with my fussy complexion. The toner, which I used morning and evening, feels silky soft and soothing to my skin right after cleansing. The serum does the same thing, depositing tons of valuable antioxidants into my skin and making it feel touchably smooth. It's the last thing I put on at night; with my oily skin, especially in this humid Dallas climate, I don't need any additional moisturizer. The daily mattifying lotion is a godsend; it's very lightweight and easily absorbed, giving my skin a clean, matte finish. I still need to use blotting sheets several times throughout the day, but hey, this is the hot and moist Southwest; I'm happy that it doesn't make my face look like an oil slick by the end of the day, which is the frequent problem I have with a lot of daily suncreens. The only thing I wish for it is that it provided a higher SPF -- say, 30 or even just 20 -- but if you're mostly officebound or otherwise spend little time outdoors in a day-to-day basis, this is perfect either under your foundation or on its own. It's probably my very favorite product in the Paula's Choice skincare line, as it makes my morning routine so much easier: cleanse, tone, lotion, voila! I'm done in less than five minutes.
The bottles are pretty simply designed, all plastic and white with either blue or green lettering, but I would guess that Ms. Begoun would rather focus her efforts on creating effective products than on pretty packaging, and that's fine with me. Antioxidant-rich products are contained have pump-style dispensers, which is ideal because open jars and bottles would expose the potent ingredients to air, rendering them useless.
You can only order these products online, but they're definitely worth the purchase. I ordered mine on Wednesday and received them by Friday via USPS, even though I only requested the Standard Delivery. Now's a good time to order, too, as Paula's Choice is offering a great sale. If you want to try them out, the company offers cheap samples (you're also offered free samples with any full-sized order). Folks with oily/acne-prone skin will especially benefit, as the PC line specifically targeting that skin type is well formulated and is the best I've seen anywhere.
Note: the antioxidant concentrate may seem pricey, but remember that you only need to use less than a pea-sized amount for your entire face. I've had mine for a week now and use it every night, and I'm nowhere near the bottom of this tube. I would guess that it will last me a month and a half, if not more.
Toner: $15.95/6 oz.
Mattifying Lotion SPF 15: $20.95/2 oz
Antioxidant Mattifying Concentrate: $24.95/1 oz