Friday, June 28, 2013

Paula's Choice Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment + Weekly Resurfacing Review

So, this is a change of pace from my usual Asian cosmetics reviews, buuut I still wanted to review these two products for you because they changed my life. If you look at past reviews, you can see I had really bad hyperpigmentation and very uneven skintone.

Early March

And if you look at more recent reviews, my skin's significantly more even toned and less red.

Late June

I still get the occasional pimple (that one near my lip was from testing out a new product u_u ) but most of my PIH has been dramatically reduced. Paula's Choice products played a huge part in dealing with my hyperpigmentation, even if I don't still use them. I hope reading these reviews can convince some of you with hyperpigmentation to look into chemical exfoliation as a gentle and viable option for helping make your skin beautiful.

There are a lot of different AHA products available- especially in America. I know of a few Korean brands that make some, so if you're interested in a purely Asian routine I can recommend some options. However, I was living in Britain at the time and wasn't sure where else I could find well made AHA products. The first product I'll be reviewing, the Daily Smoothing Treatment, is like a light lotion you use every day. The second is like a toner, and you are supposed to use it once a week. I used these products from early March until the late May! I'm currently using an 8% AHA toner every other day as well as doing weekly Lactic Acid peels, as I found that these fit into my routine better.

Also- sorry that this review is so disorganized! The medicine I'm taking for my wisdom teeth extraction makes me dizzy when I try to focus on writing. :c

Paula's Choice Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment

Where to get it:

Description: Paula's Choice RESIST Daily Smoothing Treatment with 5% Alpha Hydroxy Acid is a must-have exfoliant for those who want their skin to look and act younger. It features an effective concentration of glycolic acid with a boost of pore-penetrating salicylic acid. This anti-aging exfoliant reveals youthfully radiant skin and counteracts sun damage—without redness or irritation! The innovative daily-use formula continually renews your skin's texture, evens skin tone, smoothes fine lines, and stimulates healthy collagen production via exfoliation and by delivering a potent blend of antioxidants that help fight free-radical damage. Fragrance- and colorant-free, this silky treatment doubles as a lightweight moisturizer and is recommended as an integral part of the Paula's Choice RESIST line This AHA exfoliant has a pH range of 3.5-3.8. (from

 Effective for: Acne Breakouts, Anti-Aging, Brown Spots, Wrinkles
 AHA exfoliant reduces multiple signs of aging
 Builds skin-firming collagen
 Corrects uneven skin tone
 Silky lotion calms skin with anti-irritants and antioxidants
 Clinically proven non-irritating
 100% fragrance free, no added dyes
 No animal testing

Ingredients: Water, Glycolic Acid (AHA exfoliant), Cetyl Alcohol (thickener), Butylene Glycol (slip agent and penetration enhancer), Palmitoyl Oligopeptide (cell-communicating ingredient), Ceramide 2 (skin-identical ingredient), Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrodemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrobisdemethoxydiferuoylmethane (anti-irritants/antioxidants derived from curcumin), Epigallocatechin Gallate, Caffeic Acid (antioxidants), Salicylic Acid (BHA exfoliant/anti-irritant), Disodium Lauriminodipropionate Tocopheryl Phosphates (vitamin E-based antioxidant), PEG-10 Rapeseed Sterol (fatty acid thickener), Cucumis Melo (Melon) Fruit Extract (antioxidant), Bisabolol, Allantoin (anti-irritants), Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethiconol (silicone slip agents/texture enhancers), Tribehenin (texture enhancer), Polysorbate 20 (emulsifier), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, PPG-14 Butyl Ether, PEG-40 Stearate, Sorbitan Stearate (thickeners), PVM/MA Decadiene Crosspolymer, Polyacrylamide (film-forming agents), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), C13-14 Isoparaffin (solvent), Laureth-7 (emulsifier), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Caprylyl Glycol (preservative), Ethylhexylglycerin (skin-conditioning agent), Hexylene Glycol (solvent), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

Packaging: After being used to adorable Korean and Japanese packaging, boring mature American packaging is... disappointing. Still, it's sensible and good quality. The pump dispenser for this lotion works well, and I usually used a pump and a half to cover my whole face sufficiently. It does get a bit messy sometimes, so you have to be sure to wipe it off every few days if you want to keep it presentable.

Scent:  There is definitely a scent- but since it's fragrance free, I guess it's just whatever is naturally occurring. I like the smell, it's very hard to describe though. Not fruity, kind of chemical-y, but not in a bad way. It's moderately strong, but doesn't stick around after application.

Swatch: Like stated above, it's a lotion. It's is nicely moisturizing, somewhere between a standard emulsion and cream. It leaves your skin slightly shiny, but sinks in in about 5 minutes. I only use AHAs at night, due to the fact that they make your skin sensitive to sunlight. I would usually apply a cream on top after I had given the AHA time to neutralize, but just this alone might be enough for oily skin.

Results: Ok- so if you're curious about what exactly AHAs are, read this. Common AHAs include glycolic and lactic acid, and the most common BHA is salicylic acid. AHAs are good for dryer skin with hypepigmentation, and BHAs are amazing for basically deep cleansing your pores and helping with acne. A lot of people actually combine them for even better results, and I'm thinking of doing that. Anyway, on to more about this actual product.

I would apply this after cleansing and toning- it tingles a bit when you first put it on if you're not used to AHAs, and sometimes would still tingle/sting a little bit even after I'd been using it for awhile. This was a good thing, and meant it was working. It took about a week for me to begin seeing a difference, and after a month there was definite and noticeable changes. After like 4 or so months my skin was a ton better- not perfect, but a lot better. It's not a product that changes your skin beautifully overnight, but daily use has amazing results.

The lotion would leave my skin feeling soft and smooth. Unfortunately, it just didn't end up fitting very well into my Asian skincare routine. I couldn't properly 'layer' everything on, because I would have to start with this lotion, which was thicker than any serums or essences, messing everything up. However, now that I've started using an AHA toner instead, I can get all the benefits of chemical exfoliation without having to mess up my skincare routine.

For before/after pictures, see the introductory paragraph. :)

Conclusion: Final score 4.8/5

  • does everything it claims to (helps with acne, PIH, uneven skin tone, skin texture, etc)
  • leaves skin super soft and nice
  • nice smell despite being fragrance free
  • non-irritating 
  • I didn't like the fact that it was a lotion- it didn't really fit in with the rest of my skincare routine
  • kind of pricey 

Paula's Choice Resist Weekly Resurfacing Treatment Review

Where to get it:

Description: This exclusive, extraordinary resurfacing treatment is an exfoliant formulated to reveal youthfully radiant skin overnight. It couples age-fighting antioxidants with 10% glycolic acid—ingredients proven to stimulate healthy collagen production and reduce wrinkles. A unique liquid delivery system, along with innovative soothing anti-inflammatory ingredients, guarantees impressive results that are visible from the first application. In less than two weeks your skin will experience improved texture, color, tone, and a noticeable reduction in the appearance of wrinkles. With ongoing use, skin becomes firmer and is better able to further resist the signs of aging.
Fragrance- and colorant-free, this weekly treatment is recommended as an integral part of the Paula's Choice RESIST line for younger-looking, firmer skin. This AHA exfoliant has a pH range of 3.5-3.8.

 Effective for: Acne Breakouts, Anti-Aging, Brown Spots, Enlarged Pores, Wrinkles
 Fast-acting exfoliant reveals dramatically younger skin
 Increases firmness and repairs damage
 Brightens dull, uneven skin tone
 Unique delivery system for impressive results without irritation
 Antioxidants and glycolic acid repair damage and stimulate collagen production
 Liquid, toner-like consistency is easy to apply
 Clinically proven non-irritating
 100% fragrance free, no added dyes
 No animal testing

Ingredients: Water, Methylpropanediol (slip agent/penetration enhancer), Glycolic Acid (alpha hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Butylene Glycol (slip agent), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (water-binding agent), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (vitamin C/antioxidant), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (anti-irritants), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract (antioxidant),Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract (anti-irritants), Borago Officinalis (Borage) Extract, Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract (antioxidants), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (anti-irritant), Lamium Album (White Nettle) Flower Extract (antioxidant), Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Ulmus Fulva (Slippery Elm) Bark Extract (anti-irritants), Glycerin (skin-identical ingredient), Allantoin (anti-irritant) Propylene Glycol (solvent), Tetrasodium EDTA (chelating agent), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

Packaging: Due to the different texture of the weekly treatment, the opening is similar to most toners- there is no pump, just a little top you can pour some of the liquid out of. As with the daily treatment, the packaging is very mature and boring. I haven't experienced any problems with leaking or anything, it's just a basic and sensible bottle with a basic and sensible opening that does a decent job.

Scent: Unlike the daily lotion, this product has a much more unpleasant scent. It's just very chemical-y, almost plastic-y, and a bit stronger. It dissipates quickly but still reminds you that you're applying acid to your face in a way that the milder daily treatment doesn't.

Swatch: Much more 'toner' like than the daily treatment, the weekly treatment would be hard to distinguish from water if not for the smell and instant tingle. It's runny (obviously) and I find that it's easiest to apply using a cotton pad. I always washed my hands after applying it, because sometimes it would run down my fingers and get a bit sticky/tingly there.

Results: I could usually tell an improvement in PIH the day after using this- not a huge improvement, but noticeable to me. Continued use of this definitely helped my skin. Given that this has a significantly lower pH than the daily lotion, there was a lot more tingling when I used it. Even with the lower pH, it wasn't a harsh treatment. It was non-drying and left my skin feeling soft and slightly sensitive, but that feeling would be gone the next day.

However, I feel that you can get a much more effective peel for a similar price. 10% glycolic acid isn't that strong, and if you wanted to invest in a weekly treatment it seems kind of pointless to just do 10% when you could do 30% for much better results. I currently am making my way through a sample size of 40% lactic acid, and it's had an even bigger improvement on my skin that using these two products every day. I think that the 5% Daily smoothing treatment is worth investing in if it fits into your routine and you need a daily AHA exfoliant, but you might as well buy a stronger and more effective weekly treatment instead of the Weekly Resurfacing peel. It's not as 'extraordinary' as it claims to be.

Conclusion: Final score 4/5

  • effective
  • non-irritating
  • gross smell
  • watery, can be hard to apply
  • there are more effective weekly treatments out there
Last but not least, remember to always use sunscreen if you're using AHAs!


  1. Wow, your review is so detailed! Your results are really great, like the difference is huge. I'll look into the lotion, since my skin tone is a little uneven now, and I've been looking for a good product that's fragrance-free (break outs and whatnot u_u). I find that fragranced products irritate my skin sometimes :<.

    Also, I've nominated your blog for the liebster award if you're interested in doing the tag ^^! (

    1. If you end up buying it, let me know how it works for you! I'm always curious to see how other people's results compare to mine. C:

  2. Wow your review is so thorough! I've never used any Paulas Choice products but I do have a sample lying around somewhere. This product has really evened out your skin and I like how it looks.

    Vanity Corner // Giveaway

    1. Yea, I think for the most part Paula's Choice products are really great- they're also a very good resource for finding out more about the science behind skincare, so I've spent a lot of time browsing their site for that. Thanks for the comment!

  3. It looks awesome! :o thanks for the review!! ^^

  4. Great review! Your skin looks incredible.

  5. This is great, I love the review. I hope I can get my hands on something like that.

  6. ahh im always on the look for skin treatment products :D

    Please follow my blog 'Heylinni' at:
    I will gladly follow you back!!! Us bloggers need to support each other

  7. i'm looking for products to lighten my acne marks n cystic acne. will these help? i'm thinking of doing chemical peel.. but im afraid to try it.. =[


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