Isn’t it annoying when a brand makes more than one vitamin C serum? Like, how the heck are you gonna pick one?!
Paula’s Choice is one of the worst offenders. It has 3 main vitamin C serums for anyone who’s serious about antiaging. But, it also likes to sneak vitamin C derivatives pretty much everywhere else.
Are you getting a headache, too? Fret not, this quick guide to Paula’s Choice Vitamin C products will help you choose the right one for your skin type and needs:
Pure Vitamin C VS Derivatives: Which One Is Better For You?
Not all forms of Vitamin C are created equal.
Ascorbic Acid is the pure form. It’s the most powerful. It destroys free radicals, boosts collagen production and brightens the skin tone. The catch? It’s highly unstable (goes bad quickly) and irritating. If you’ve got sensitive skin, you may not be able to use it. At least, not in high doses.
Vitamin C derivatives are forms of vitamin C that need to be converted into Ascorbic Acid by the skin. They do everything that Ascorbic Acid do but on a smaller level. They’re less effective but way more stable (so last longer) and less irritating. If you have sensitive skin, a derivative is the best choice for you.
Paula’s Choice uses all kinds of Vitamin C forms in their products. If you can tolerate it, I recommend going for Ascorbic Acid. But if you have sensitive skin or would like a Vitamin C serum that doesn’t go bad within a few short months, a derivative is worth considering, too.
Now that you know the difference, let’s figure out which Paula’s Choice Vitamin C product is right for you:
Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster ($49.00)
What form of vitamin C does it use?: 15% Ascorbic Acid, the pure form of vitamin C.
What’s the texture like?: Lightweight, can easily be used alone or mixed with moisturiser.
Are there any side effects?: Ascorbic Acid has a short shelf life, so use your bottle quickly. It may also irritate sensitive skin.
Who is it best for?: Anyone who’s serious about preventing premature ageing and dull skin.
Paula’s Choice C25 Super Booster ($55.00)
What form of Vitamin C does it use?: 25% Ascorbic Acid, the pure form of Vitamin C.
What else is here?: Not much else. Vitamin C is in a silicone base that releases it slowly into the skin.
What’s the texture like?: Silky and rich, it glides smoothly on the skin.
Are there any side effects?: If you have sensitive skin, avoid this. This much Vitamin C can irritate your skin.
Who is it best for?: Fading away dark spots.
Paula’s Choice Resist Super Antioxidant Serum ($39.00)
What form of Vitamin C does it use?: Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (TA) and Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, two derivatives of vitamin C. TA has the edge here: it’s oil-soluble, so it can penetrate skin better than any other form of vitamin C.
What else is here?: Any antioxidant you can think of (Vitamin E, green tea, superoxide dismutase etc).
What’s the texture like?: Heavy and rich, but not sticky. May feel a little uncomfortable on oily skin.
Are there any side effects?: Derivatives aren’t as effective as Ascorbic Acid. It’ll take longer to see results with this.
Who is it best for?: Sensitive skin who can’t tolerate Ascorbic Acid.
Other Paula’s Choice Serums With Vitamin C
The serums/boosters above are the workhorses of the Paula’s Choice’s Vitamin C offering. If you’re serious about antiaging, pick one of them.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t use vitamin C anywhere else in your skincare routine. Plenty of Paula’s Choice serums, masks and moisturisers use Vitamin C derivatives to give your skin that something extra to keep wrinkles and dark spots at bay. Here are the highlights:
- Paula’s Choice’s 10% Niacinamide Booster ($42.00): Who said you can’t use niacinamide and vitamin C together? This serum pairs niacinamide with ascorbic glucoside (a derivative of vitamin C) to brighten the complexion, fight free radicals and shrink pores. Available at Dermstore, Nordstrom, Paula’s Choice and Selfridges.
- Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment ($56.00): A 1% retinol treatment that fights fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots. It also has Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, an oil-soluble vitamin C derivative that penetrates skin better than any other form of vitamin C, and every antioxidant you can think of. But the high concentration of retinol can be irritating for most people. Build your way up to it slowly. Available at Dermstore, Feel Unique, Paula’s Choice and Selfridges.
- Paula’s Choice Radiance Renewal Mask ($36.00): An hydrating mask with a few antioxidants thrown in the mix. It uses Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, a derivative of Ascorbic Acid that fights free radicals and boosts collagen. Available at Dermstore and Paula’s Choice.
- Paula’s Choice Resist Anti-Aging Clear Skin Hydrator ($33.00): A lightweight, anti-aging moisturiser for oily skin. It uses Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, a form of Vitamin C that helps treat acne. Available at Dermstore, Feel Unique and Paula’s Choice.
- Paula’s Choice Resist Anti-Aging Eye Cream ($34.00): You don’t need an eye cream, but if you’d like to use one, this moisturises and prevents premature wrinkles at the same time. It’s loaded with antioxidants, including Ascorbyl Glucoside, a Vitamin C derivative that fights free radicals and fades away dark spots. Available at Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice.
- Paula’s Choice Resist Brightening Essence ($42.00): A lightweight essence loaded with skin-brightening ingredients to fade dark spots and discolourations. The Vitamin C derivative here is Ascorbyl Glucoside: it fades away dark spots and brightens a dull complexion. Available at Dermstore andPaula’s Choice.
- Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum ($42.00): An emollient retinol serum with a few anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients thrown in the mix. It uses Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, an oil-soluble form of Vitamin C that penetrates skin easily. Available at Dermstore, Feel Unique, Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice.
- Paula’s Choice Resist Weekly Resurfacing Treatment With 10% AHA ($36.00): A glycolic acid exfoliant with a few antioxidants thrown in for good measure. It uses Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, a derivative of Vitamin C that prevents wrinkles and fights acne. Best suitable for dry skin prone to acne. Available at Feel Unique, Look Fantastic and Paula’s Choice.
- Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Serum ($34.00): A silicone-based serum loaded with every antioxidant under the sun, including retinol and Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, a fast-absorbing form of Vitamin C. Better suitable for oily skin. Available at Dermstore, Look Fantastic, Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice.
- Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Replenishing Moisturizer ($29.00): An oil-based moisturizer for dry skin that’s loaded with antioxidants, including 3 forms of vitamin C (Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ascorbyl Palmitate and Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate) to banish dryness and fight wrinkles. Available at Dermstore, Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice.
- Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Serum ($34.00): A rich serum with retinol and any other antioxidants you can think of, including Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, the fastest-absorbing form of Vitamin C. Best suitable for dry skin. Available at Dermstore, Look Fantastic, Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice.
Do you use any Paula’s Choice Vitamin C products? Share your picks in the comments below.