My Paula’s Choice Skincare Routine for Dry Skin

This post is sponsored by Paula’s Choice. All opinions are honest and my own.

Several weeks ago, I switched up my skincare routine and had a consultation with Paula’s Choice. I was so excited to try her products because I’ve been hearing so many awesome things, and Paula is actually one of the reasons I started blogging. Her book, Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, became an obsession of mine to read when I first started blogging. I loved the no-nonsense approach to reviewing skincare and the way she determined whether or not something was worth its price tag. I knew right away that if she was making products I was going to love them. I was so excited to get a customized treatment plan for myself, and today I have the results to share with you. 

paula's choice skincareI shared with my consultant that I have dry skin and that I am having occasional issues with acne flare ups. I am concerned about anti-aging as well and don’t want my anti-acne routine to dry out my skin. They had all kinds of wonderful and helpful suggestions and I was so excited to get started with a routine. 

resist hydrating cleanserTheir recommendation for a cleanser was the Resist Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser. This is a creamy cleanser that applies like a soft lotion. It’s very gentle and will take off makeup, even eye makeup and it’s 100% fragrance and colorant free. It does an excellent job at removing makeup and doesn’t leave my face feeling greasy. Other cream cleansers I’ve used have made me feel as though I had to follow up with a cleanser that lathers to get the rest of the gunk off of my skin. This one left my skin feeling clean and soft, and really all I felt I needed after was a toner, which was the next step. The pump locks on this too, which makes it perfect for traveling. 

paula's choice tonerPaula’s Choice sent me two toners. When we were on the phone I remember them saying that PC4 Men Soothe + Smooth was to take the place of something else in their system they were out of and today it is escaping me what that was. I’ve been using the PC4 Men Soothe + Smooth at night and the Resist Advanced Replenishing Toner in the morning. I have not always used a toner but I find when I do, my skin looks so much better. The Replenishing Toner is a great way to start off my morning. I apply a little bit of it to a cotton ball, and it has a milky texture to it that glides over my skin. I’m very careful to remove my makeup at night in full, so I’m not getting any last traces of makeup off, but it definitely leaves my skin tone looking even and hydrated. The PC4 Men is intended to be used after cleansing or shaving to reduce redness and unclog pores and blackheads. I feel like I get the same effect from this as I do the other toner. Both leave my skin feeling soft. I am trying to get my hubby to try the PC4 Men– he’s got awful post shaving bumps on his face that I think this would address.

paula's choice treatments copyLastly, I’ve been using a treatment and some moisturizers. The Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment is what I’m using right now for anti-aging and acne. I’ll be honest- I’ve avoided retinol in the past. I tried it briefly in my early 20s for breakouts and my skin got all out of whack. I’m convinced I was using this wrong. If you’re not familiar, retinol is amazing for smoothing out wrinkles, uneven skin tone, loss of firmness, and helping reduce acne. I take great care of my skin and I want it to show! I don’t want to feel as thought I HAVE to wear makeup every day.

At first I used this one night in a week, then the next week I bumped it up to two nights a week. Currently, I’m using it every other night, which is kind of my happy place with this. I don’t want to get a chemical burn and the stuff is strong. So far so good! I’m growing bangs out right now and in the past few months I’ve noticed I have some fine lines that are developing that have been hiding beneath bangs. After several weeks of using the retinol, my forehead looks and even feels firmer. Also, some of the hormonal acne I was getting on my chin and cheeks seems to have gone away. I am so pleased that this seems to be making a great difference for me! 

At night, I am following up my retinol (or toner, depending on the night) with Resist Barrier Repairing Moisturizer. I am a sucker for skincare and usually use a few serums before my night cream, but I am finding with this that I can cut all of those out and use just the moisturizer. That’s insane to me! This is meant for dry to very dry skin and although it’s insanely hydrating it’s not at all greasy and absorbs pretty quickly. It does have retinol too so I am using this at night. I could be using it during the day but I save my SPF moisturizer for day time use! 

For day, I have been using Skin Recovery Daily Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 30. This is also very hydrating but also fast to absorb. I really like that I don’t even need to use serums with it because my skin feels so good. I feel like I’m getting so basic with my skincare routine!

paulas choice before and afterHere’s a before and after picture taken with my iPhone 6+. Not the best lighting in my kitchen and I think my case is a little dirty so sorry that they’re not super clear. I will say I’m pretty happy with the way my skin was looking before because I take great care of it, but in the after picture I do think my redness is toned down a touch. When I am testing out skincare I typically feel like my skin will either improve because what I was using before was not as good as the current routine, or stay the the same because it’s on par with what I had used before. I’m usually happy either way as long as I’m not losing traction with the way my skin is looking. In this case, I think my skin looks just as good as it did before.

Reviewing skincare is tricky because results can depend on a TON of factors- your diet (eating lots of dairy makes me break out), your hormones from pregnancy or post pregnancy, stress, and even the season. I could love something in this routine today and hate it when I pick it up in the summer. For the price of this skincare routine I’m pretty thrilled with my results. All of these items together can be picked up for less than $200, and with high quality and normally expensive ingredients like retinol…that’s a steal. I like how no nonsense it is and there are not a ton of extra steps I need to take to get great results. It really makes me question what I’m doing purchasing other expensive skincare items from Kiehl’s, Lancome, etc. even though I really do like those products too! 

Just a little food for thought! As a Power Primper, and I am offering 20% + free shipping with promo code: PRIMPHOLIDAY to my readers. Just click through this link. It expires Dec. 31, 2015. To register for Pretty in my Pocket, click here, and check out mine and other bloggers’ profiles, looks, and reviews!


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  1. 12.21.15
    Sandy said:

    I use Paula’s Choice products for my oily/acne prone skin and swear by their Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion. Decided that I would give the Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment a try after reading your review. These products are awesome and all I use on my skin now. Thanks for your review!

    • 12.21.15
      justina said:

      Hi Sandy! I am so glad you’re giving it a try! Let me know how much you like it when you get a chance!

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