Paula's Choice C15 Booster review

It’s no secret that Paula’s Choice C15 Booster is my fave Vitamin C serum ever.

I know, I know. It’s expensive. Can’t you just get something from The Ordinary? They’ve got like a dozen Vitamin C serums. One must be as good as this, right?

Wrong. Here’s what makes this serum stand out from the crowd (and a steal compared to true valid alternatives, like Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day and Skinceuticals CE Ferulic):

What’s In Paula’s Choice C15 Booster?


Ascorbic Acid is the pure and most-effective form of Vitamin C. Here’s how it keeps your skin young:

  • It fights the free radicals that cause premature wrinkles
  • It brightens the complexion
  • It fades away dark spots
  • It boosts collagen, the protein that keeps skin firm and elastic

The catch? L-Ascorbic Acid must be formulated at a pH below 3.5 to work its magic. But low pHs can be irritating for sensitive skin. If yours can’t tolerate Vitamin C serums, this is why.

Paula’s Choice C15 Booster has a pH of 3, so it’s effective and not terribly harsh (but it may still cause tingling in very sensitive skin).

One more thing: L-Ascorbic Acid goes bad within weeks. You can’t order this serums now, leave it in a drawer for 6 months, and expect it to still work when you finally decide to use it. If you buy it now, use it now.

Related: What’s The Best Form Of Vitamin C?

Paula's Choice C15 Booster 02


Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidants alone. But pair it with its BFFs ferulic acid and vitamin E and it becomes unstoppable.

A study conducted by Duke University has found that “its [ferulic acid] incorporation into a topical solution of 15% l-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and 1%alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E) improved chemical stability of the vitamins (C+E) and doubled photoprotection to solar-simulated irradiation of skin from 4-fold to approximately 8-fold as measured by both erythema and sunburn cell formation. This combination of pure natural low molecular weight antioxidants provides meaningful synergistic protection against oxidative stress in skin and should be useful for protection against photoaging and skin cancer.”

In plain English, when used together, ferulic acid, Vitamin C and Vitamin E double their own sun protection properties and help you fight premature wrinkles much faster.

Paula’s Choice C15 Booster uses the perfect combination: 15% L-Ascorbic Acid, 1% Vitamin E and 0.5% Ferulic Acid.

Related: Why Your Vitamin C Serum Should Always Contain Ferulic Acid


Sodium Hyaluronate is a form of Hyaluronic Acid.

Hyaluronic Acid is a moisture magnet: it attracts moisture from the environment into the skin, helping to keep it hydrated for longer. It’s so powerful, it can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water!

All that moisture makes skin plumper, softer and brighter. (Moisture is the secret behind Korean skincare, remember?)

Related: The Complete Guide To Hyaluronic Acid In Skincare

Struggling to put together a skincare routine that minimises wrinkles, prevents premature aging, and gives your complexion a youthful glow? Download your FREE “Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine” to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):


Lightweight. Runny. Fast-absorbing. Non-greasy.


It’s fragrance-free.

How To Use It

In the morning, after cleansing, to supercharge the sun protection from your sunscreen.

You can either use it alone or mix it with your moisturiser (this dilutes it a little). You’ll see results faster if you use it alone.

Performance & Personal Opinion

Paula’s Choice C15 Booster is a clear yellow in colour. That’s cool. Just make sure you use it before it turns brown (the colour of death for Vitamin C). As a rule, the darker the colour, the less effective Vitamin C becomes.

Like all Vitamin C serums (well, those that are properly formulated, anyway…), it brightens a dull complexion, gives skin a lovely glow, and helps fade away dark spots.

Of course, don’t expect results overnight (that’s true for any serum). But, with regular use, you’ll see results.

It’s the addition of Vitamin E + Ferulic Acid (at a lower price than most of its competitors) that makes this a must-have for me.

This combo helps boost sun protection and prevent wrinkles. But you won’t see it straight away. You have to use it constantly for years to wake up one day and realise you’re aging better than your friends.

One more thing: I have resistant skin, so I can use this without any trouble. But, if your skin is sensitive, you may experience tingling or stinging.

If this happens, cut back use to a couple of days a week to build up tolerance or switch to a derivative of Vitamin C.

Related: Can You Use Vitamin C If You Have Sensitive Skin?

Paula's Choice C15 Booster 01

Who Is This For?

  • Anyone who wants to fade away dark spots
  • Anyone who wants to supercharge their sun protection
  • Dull skin
  • Mature skin
  • Young women (and men) who want to prevent premature aging, but aren’t ready for retinol yet

Who Is This NOT For?


A white bottle with orange accents, with a screw on cap. You replace the cap with a dropper applicator when you’re ready to use it. It’s both pretty and practical.

Does Paula’s Choice C15 Booster Live Up To Its Claims?

This concentrated booster with 15% pure vitamin C dramatically brightens uneven skin while improving the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. True.
Feather-light, liquid formula absorbs quickly. True.
Diminishes visible signs of aging for smoother, brighter, and firmer-feeling skin with a blend of 15% stabilized vitamin C (l-ascorbic acid) at a pH of 3.0, potent antioxidants including vitamin E and ferulic acid, and skin-smoothing peptides. You’ll see dramatically younger-looking and more radiant skin day after day! Mostly true. I wouldn’t say the results are dramatic, but this serum does work.

Price & Availability

£46.00 at Cult Beauty, Dermstore, Feel Unique, Net-A-Porter, Nordstrom, Paula’s Choice, and SpaceNK

Do You Need It?

Yes! If you’re looking for an effective Vitamin C serum (and your skin isn’t sensitive or acne-prone), this is an excellent option to consider.

Dupes & Alternatives


Water (Aqua), Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C/antioxidant), Butylene Glycol (solvent/texture enhancer), Ethoxydiglycol (solvent/texture enhancer), Glycerin (skin-replenishing), PPG-26-Buteth-26 (emulsifier/skin-softening), PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil (emulsifier/solubility enhancer), Pentylene Glycol (skin-softening slip agent), Tocopherol (vitamin E/stabilizing antioxidant), Sodium Hyaluronate (hydration), Hexanoyl Dipeptide-3 Norleucine Acetate (skin-restoring peptide), Lecithin (skin-restoring/hydration), Ferulic Acid (stabilizing antioxidant), Panthenol (vitamin B5/skin-softening, skin-soothing), Bisabolol (skin-soothing), Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract (skin-softening/chelating agent), Propyl Gallate (antioxidant), Sodium Gluconate (chelating agent), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Phenoxyethanol (preservative), Ethylhexylglycerin (preservative).