Thursday, 30 April 2015

Paula's Choice Resist 2% BHA Daily Pore-Refining Treatment

I've been using Paula's Choice BHA 2% on and off for a few months now.

What is it?
'Wrinkles and breakouts at the same time? Not anymore. This lightweight leave-on exfoliant removes old cells on the skin’s surface and inside the pores, while repairing signs of aging.'

Who is it for?
It says combination to oily skin, but it's gentle enough for any skin type - I would even say sensitive. Zero tingle factor, very gentle. Be ye not afraid.

What’s in it?
Water, Dipropylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol (slip agents and penetration enhancers), Salicylic Acid (beta hydroxy acid exfoliating agent), Butylene Glycol (slip agent), Polysorbate 20 (emulsifier) Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 (cell-communicating ingredients), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (anti-irritant), Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid (antioxidant), Oleanolic Acid (anti-irritant), Sodium Hyaluronate (skin-repairing ingredient), Allantoin (anti-irritant),Trehalose (skin-repairing ingredient), Panthenol (skin-conditioning agent), Glycerin (skin-repairing ingredient), PEG-60 Almond Glycerides (emulsifier), Caprylyl Glycol (skin-conditioning agent), PEG/PPG-18/4 Copolymer (solvent), Methyl Gluceth-20, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane (skin-conditioning agents),Glycereth-26 (emollient thickener), Sodium Metabisulfite (stabilizer), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Carbomer (gel-based thickener), Disodium EDTA (chelating agent).

Possibly acne/allergy/troubling for some ingredients?
Not really, it has glycols and pegs that some people don't like - but I don't concern myself about them - and clearly neither does PC.

Natural? Organic? Man made? Vegan?
Man made. Vegan.

Tested on animals/sold in China?
No./No. Paula loves a bunny.

What's not in it?
Fragrance.

How do you use it?
You apply this as you would an acid toner, on to cotton pads and then all over the face avoiding eyes. Follow with serum/treatments etc

What’s good about it?
This, to my mind, is an essence rather than a 'treatment'. That's why it's more expensive and in a smaller bottle size. The highlighted ingredients above are far more than you would normally find in an acid toner product. This is called a 'treatment' and for good reason. Salicylic acid means it is great for unclogging stubborn pores and the peptides help with the signs of aging, making it a good starter/introduction product to the Resist line for those of you (us) with either adult acne or hormonal breakouts on the other side of your 20's.

What’s not so good about it?
Although I understand that it contains more than the usual acids - this is £25.00 for 88ml. The same size in the US is $28.00. I don't know about you but I've been seeing US brands translate dollars into pounds almost on a like for like basis for over 20 years and I'm bored of it now. In today's exchange rate this should cost you £18.00. £7.00 extra because we happen to live in the UK. Even allowing for taxes, import duties and shipping etc it's a hard pill to swallow. Even more so because Paula's Choice is only available on their own website, cutting out any margin for a third party retailer. You also have to pay for shipping. Something that most of the large online retailers now offer free as standard. You have no choices here. It's the only stockist.

I know it works both ways, UK brands are frequently pound for dollar, and none of us have it as bad as the poor Australians. Sorry chaps, you have it much worse than anyone else. And so to prove fairness to PC, I'm adding another heading to my reviews to include prices in the brand's home country. Because you know: CASH.
But that is my only (albeit long-winded) gripe. The product itself is great. Sorry Paula.

Where to use in your routine?
I use this at the acid toner stage but I don't follow it with a spritz. I usually go straight in with her Retinol 1%.

Similar products?
Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion (no peptide action though)
Clarins Gentle Exfoliator
Some essences, but it's a fairly unique product.



Paula's Choice BHA 2% is £25.00 and available from www.paulaschoice.co.uk or .com in the US.

I've liked the PC products I've used. I'm going to start working my way through the brand. Taking one for the team. ;)


49 comments:

  1. I offer get the PC website up when looking for products ingredients and I just don't like the way they bad mouth every other product that is not their own it makes me avoid trying theirs!

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    1. Yes, I noticed the same thing. It keeps me on the fence about their own line, although there seem to be some pretty good products included.

      LindaLibraLoca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

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    2. There's actually lots of products she loves that aren't her own, ranging from very inexpensive to really expensive:). And some of the products that Caroline has reviewed favorably here have also received high praise from Paula. That's usually when I get strong urges to buy!:)

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    3. @givekittygoodface oh Ill have to have a look sthanks thats really interesting.

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    4. Glad you thought it was useful! Let me know if any products stand out to you.xo

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  2. Thank you for your hard work ! I was wondering if you could recommend a good acne combo skin clnser mid range from the likes of vichy,avene etcc..

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  3. I've been considering the PC 2% Salicylic Acid Liquid Exfoliant (looking for a BHA to use at toner stage) and now I'm a bit confused! Caroline, if you happen to see this and have time, could you maybe explain the difference between it and this, please?

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    1. I just wrote you a really long reply that disappeared
      If you were looking for a 2% BHA, but aren't sure about spending on Paula's there is one I mentioned in a comment below that might be worth looking at, its alcohol free, and pH 3.8.

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    2. Not the Lady Hirons, but the Liquid exfoliant works only as exfoliant. Paula add a little bit of anti oxidant in the ingredients, but not much to make difference I gather. Resist line is loaded with more anti aging ingredients and hypothetically, much better if you're looking for anti aging benefits.

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    4. Hi, as Sara said this one includes more lovely antioxidants and what not. I have tried nearly all of the PC BHA's and find the 2% liquid great in terms of unclogging action, but it leaves my combination skin feeling a little greasy so I only use it at night. I'd grab some samples to try... I got a couple of 30ml bottles to try too, not sure if they sell them on the EU site though ;)

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    5. I tried a few of PC BHA products and I find that the 2% liquid is the best in terms of unclogging pores but it may leave a bit of sticky residue. The Resist 2% BHA treatment does not leave any residue at all (it is as light as water) but in my opinion it is not as effective. I would compare its effectiveness to the 1% BHA gel, which is more gentle than the Resist treatment (but it may be a little be tacky because of its gel texture). Hope I have not confused you! Next time I buy a PC exfoliant I will go for the "classic" 2% liquid BHA.

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    6. Thanks so much for this, helps a lot! I've been using the 2% bha exfoliant for a while, and wondering whether the resist would work better, but since I follow up with various serums and oils, I would go with you as well in that the exfoliant should be the more effective.

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  4. Here's the question on everyone's minds...when is the Caroline Hirons line going to come out? In my mind there would at least be a beautifully scented, luxurioud cleansing balm and a fab acid toner:). And hopefully, it would be at a price point that your readers would be able to afford:).xo

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    1. Lol! I was wondering this myself not a few days ago!
      Please let me be one of the first few to get my hands on it :)

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    2. Me too! I was thinking about this this morning, what the acid toner might be like, and also the packaging... Refined like the YouTube intro clip, or dayglo neon and sporty!!!

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    4. Super idea! Have a great bank holiday everyone!

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  5. Is this safe for breastfeeding mamas?

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  6. Thank you for explaining what each of the ingredients do, most helpful x

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  7. The dollar to euro prices are even worse on the PC stuff, a $29 moisturiser that somehow became €32.50 (?!) plus €15 for shipping? Not even worth looking at anymore. And if you order it from the US they wanted $40 for shipping! Madness.

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  8. We really cop it here in Australia. The Clinique mild clarifying is for $35 here and $13 in America. It makes my blood boil

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  9. Try the cleanser in the Clear line, it's been my skin saviour for years.

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  10. Clinique and Clarins are not fair comparisons since they only contain a tiny amount of BHA. Even this toner is milder than 2% BHA in a white bottle, despite the same percentage of BHA in both o fthem. This one in blue bottle I use in the mornings. As for the price, she often offers 15-20% off on her website. Also she sells in other online stores, I saw on skinstore, beauty.com, and even nordstrom now. Those stores also often offer discounts. And honestly, I would pay any price for her acid products because you can search forever, there are no dupes that are also efficient, have right ph, enough acid percentage, and no irritating ingredients such as alcohol, mint etc.

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    1. I agree. That's why I said it's a fairly unique product. I always use the 'similar products' category to give regular readers an idea of what I've mentioned previously that contains similar ingredients. I disagree about the acid products though - there are a lot of great acids available. And over here it's her website or nothing - to my knowledge...

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    2. Just thought i'd pipe up with a recent discovery for a 2% BHA with a pH of 3.8 which is also alcohol free.

      A brand called COSRX have a product called BHA Blackhead Power Liquid. The BHA ingredient is Betaine Salicylate which is reportedly less irritating than Salicylic and is also used in Paula's BHA products sold in Korea, as you can't sell Salicylic over the counter there.

      It only has 10 ingredients with a bit of Niacinamide and COSDNA.com seems to say they are all ok

      It costs a little over £10 with shipping from Korea (a bit slow but i've heard its worth it), so if anyones after a BHA it might be worth a look if Paula's exchange rate doesn't make you happy.

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    3. I concur.

      Given I haven't tried their BHA (friend is using that one and loves it), but I'm currently using their AHA and Galactomyces essence and both are lovely. No fuss no muss products with minimal ingredients and at affordable prices. I got mine off Jolse. It's a Korean retailer. They have free shipping, promos and discounts all.the.time. and it usually takes about 7 working days for the packages to arrive from Korea (for reference I'm in Eastern Europe). Also? They always send samples. And who doesn't like a good sample? :)

      They are not paying me honest :)

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  11. Hi Caroline (and all), good news - you can actually get it through other stockists in EU who offer free shipping within the EU :-) skincity.se (not affiliated) for instance is an authorized e-tailer and they ship for free within the EU

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  12. Hurray! I've been waiting for your thoughts on this, thank you for the review!

    I agree that PC is quite expensive for us in the UK, but one thing I've really enjoyed about using her site is that you can buy samples at about 70p a pop of almost every product. Yes, you have to pay for shipping (3 quid I think), but I think she provides a good enough level of customer service that it doesn't bother me too much - if you read the reviews of her products you'll see that customer service team always respond if someone has been unhappy or hasn't appeared to have used a product correctly. Clinique (considering they are one of the biggest skin care companies in the world, catering towards the sensitive/fragrance free market, maybe not too disimilar to PC in that regard?) doesn't give out samples at all and has considerably less information readily available to the consumer about their products...I can live with the how PC distributes and goes about things.

    Thanks again for the review, looking forward to more PC from you in the future!

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  13. I use this product. It is weaker than PC's 2% BHA formulas IMO. It feels like a 1.5% to me (though I doubt that exists but just saying what it 'feels' like on my skin). 1% is too low for me and 2% is too high :/. I have combo/acne/eczema/sensitive/age 30+ skin if anyone is curious.

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  14. Hmmm... After your last PC review I'm trying the 1% retinol. You write here that you use this exfoliant before the retinol, but I thought it was too much to use an acid toner and then retinol product immediately following. No?

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    1. Hi Jennifer. I use both, I use the 2% BHA from the clear line (regular strength so similar to the resist one) and then the 1% retinol - alternate nights. I don't get any peeling or irritation, but my skin is very accustomed to acids (I also use the AHA and vitamin C treatment daily). I think it just depends how your skin handles it :)

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  15. hi Caroline, I've been using the SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA GEL EXFOLIANT by Paula's Choice and whenever you have time, I'd like you to do a comparison between that one and the Resist one you have just reviewed. Thank you.

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  16. never tried PC products but am very interested as they are so much cheaper than other brands... currently using Dr. Dennis Gross and Sunday Riley so I think I may try out some PC just to see if they work as well. Bit skeptical though as the beautypedia site seems to think everyone else's products aren't so good... they didn't seem impressed with good genes and I think that's HG for many people. Anyone have recs on PC products to try out (25 y.o., acne scarring, combination skin) ???

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    1. Their serums are lovely, packed with peptides and retinols. I used to like their serum for combo skin when I battled acne and rough skin. They are quitr silicone-y though. I'm with fine with that, makes a great makeup primer. When I started PC in my twenties and had acne along with combo skin, I loved, and still love their bha liquid and their aha gel or treatment. It worked wonders for my skin. Why not try theIR sample or trial sized products First before committing? Although they do have a good returns policy, so if it doesn't suit you, they're happy to do a return. Good luck!

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    2. Hi... Nearly everything I use is from PC. stand out products for my acne prone combination skin would be the 8% AHA gel, C15 vitamin C serum, 1% clinical retinol and the benzoly peroxide treatments in the clear line (no nasty alcohol). Definitely get a load of samples and check online for discount codes! ;)

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  17. Thank you Caroline for a PC product! Paula's website actually gives bad reviews to all the acid products except for her own.
    I wanted to buy something there and the shipping quote was $ 90 (I live in Belarus), so it is nice to know the affordable like Clinique!
    againstandforward.blogspot.com

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    1. Hm. I think that's part because there are not a lot of acid exfoliants in the beginning, the trend have just recently taken off. Part because not a lot of products with acids contains the right PH for exfoliation- and this point is critical. Beautypedia gave a glowing review to Sunday Riley's Disrobe body lotion as a Lactic acid exfoliant, and Olay's classic regenerating elixir. However, I would think she will slam Liquid Gold and P50 down because of her strong dislike of alcohol denat and tingling- to each their own.

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    1. How do you get free postage? They use to offer it only for US...

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    3. At the moment there is a "spend 100 dollars -get free postage" deal for Australia. They pay the postage.

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  19. Oh, this sounds like a brilliant product, need to try! :) It's such a pain that ALL of the acne products out there seem to be focused on this one thing alone and do not take aging and hydration into account much... Thanks for this recommendation!

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  20. Caroline, how does this differ from Liquid Gold?

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  22. Paula recommends absolutely not to skip SPF when using this product. Do you think a SPF15 foundation would be ok for someone working indoors in London?

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