Paula’s Choice is one of my favourite brands as it stands for similar concepts as me, the two major ones being that “the ingredients are the truth” and not the marketing words on cosmetic packaging, and they base the ingredients’ claims on scientific, peer-reviewed studies.
I have many of the skincare products from this brand and I love them, some of their products are ride or die for me and make a huge difference on my skin. So I though it was time to see if their makup section is any good! Buying from the UK meant that I was limited to what I could get from them (they don’t offer all of their makeup items on their UK website) and my only makeup option was literally a foundation, but why not!
So let’s find out! Is the Paula’s Choice Skincare Resist Anti-Aging Serum Foundation any good? Is it as amazing as their skin care range? And most importantly is it worth your time and money?
To get £7.50 off your first Paula’s choice order (minimum £25 order) click here.
Here’s my chemist’s verdict:
The foundation comes with outer packaging which looks nice. It has a silver shiny border and a grey matter background with the Paula’s Choice branding. It looks expensive and professional. The cardboard is reinforced with another layer inside so it is also very durable and it provides good protection to the actual product bottle. The inside of the cardboard packaging has a “Paula’s Choice Skincare” print, which adds a nice profesional dimension to it. Almost like a nice pattern lining in an expensive coat.
The actual foundation bottle itself is plastic which admitedly I thought was a little strange. Theoretically it is better, as you won’t run the risk of breaking it as easily and loosing all your foundation, but in practice it just gives the product a cheaper feeling. The lid is also made of plastic and although it is thick and durable it also gives the product a slightly cheaper feel.
Generally, the outer packaging looks a little nicer and more expensive than the foundation bottle.
The foundation bottle comes with a silver plastic pump which works well and adds ease to the product usage.
Coverage and Finish:
This foundation is said to have a “medium buildable coverage” which is true. It is fairly think and it needs 2 layers to give a good coverage, which I still wouldn’t describe as full coverage, but definetely a medium+.
The finish is matte but it is not smooth. If you look closely to your skin it is very obvious that you are wearing a foundation, even though it is a very light one. This foundation doesn’t appear homogenious on the skin, it looks patchy and as if it accumulates more in some areas than others, no matter how much blending effort you put it. It’s a bit spotty!
This foundation has a thin, watery like texture that runs down your hand. It reminded me a little of the Urban Decay Naked Skin foundation, in terms of ingredients and coverage but the latter works well for perfect skin whereas this one I’m not sure about.
Maybe this foundation would work on perfect skin but it is marketed for combination and oily skin which often come with imperfections, pores and texture.
Even though it is a matte foundation, it covers most skin imperfections and doesn’t add texture (other than the patchyness) or emphasise pores which is great. A lot of matte foundations have the problem of emphasising pores due to the harsh matte finish but this one didn’t.
I’m not sure if it hides lines well as the overall uneven finish made it hard to judge.
A 30mL bottle retails for £33 but the brand has been running discounts on this item even up to 80%, so you can get it for much cheaper. The 80% discount is a good sign, for me, that the brand is trying to get rid of this product and not many people are buying!
Although this product contains some ingredients that could have some UV absorption, there is no stated SPF protection. As a result, you will need to wear an SPF product when using this foundation.
It’s quite rare for a foundation to not contain any SPF at all, but since this foundation has gone down the “anti-ageing serum” type of product, it’s ok. You can not formulate everything together in one bottle all the time. Sometimes you have to chooose one or the other.
To be honest even if you are using a foundation with SPF you should probably be adding a higher SPF product in your routine anyway, since most foundations contain SPF of 10-15.
For one of my ride or die products that gives an amazing protection of SPF50 and contains good moisturising and anti-ageing ingredients check out: Paula’s Choice Resist Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 50 – In Depth Review and Ingredient Analysis
Don’t get me wrong, not containing SPF is a negative but the good anti-ageing ingredients balance it out. See ingredients’ section.
This foundation comes in a very limited range of colours, 8 to be exact. It’s a poor colour range for sure.
For those who are interested in colour matching, I am an Estee Lauder Double Wear 1N2 Ecru and I used the Level 1 fair ivory with a neutral undertone colour for this foundation. It did match but I felt it was a little bit on the lighter side, so if I was to use this foundation on a daily basis I would consider mixing it with the Level 2.
The foundation spreads around easily with both a brush and a sponge. However, you might find yourself blending it for a long time, not because it is not easily blendable but because the finish is not even. It might appear like some parts of your face have more foundation that others and it is not due to your lack of blending effort!
The foundation did control my oils well, I was matte all day long, I think. There were parts of my face that didn’t have much foundation anymore so it’s hard to tell if they were matte or not. See the longevity category below.
This foundation was bad. It didn’t last long at all. It never fully dried out and so every time I accidentally touched my face, kissed someone or somehow touched my clothes or pillows, it came off. It was embarassing to see foundation on my partner’s face, I’m still hoping he didn’t see it as I delicately brushed it off with a hug. It was coming off everywhere and the worst thing is that it was obvious from which part of the face it came off, as I would then have lines and patterns on my face too.
It was bad, I should have read the reviews before I bought this. This foundation has a 2.5/5 rating on Paula’s Choice website. No wonder why they are selling them off at 80% sale.
This foundation lasts for 12M.
Transfer proof tests:
This foundation transfered everywhere, see longevity above. It never really dried out and it just made a mess with everything that came in contact.
Practicality of use – user experience:
The foundation bottle with pump are very easy to use but that’s about it. The rest of the user experience was just bad. The foundation is fairly thin which means you loose a fair bit on your sponge but also you need to use a fair bit to create good coverage.
A thin foundation is usually easy to blend and although this was easy to work into the skin too, the results looked like I didn’t blend very well. It was patchy, spotty and it came off with every contact.
I wouldn’t never go out of the house wearing this and it really breaks my heart!
This foundation doesn’t smell of much and I love that the brand avoids adding unnessesary fragrance. You don’t need your foundation to smell something, added fragrance would only add more chance for skin sensitisation.
If you do smell it very closely, it has a natural cream-foundation type of smell but it is very subtle and you will likely not smell it at all.
The foundation did not oxidise at all, it was the same colour from begining to end.
Other than oxidation, foundations tend to go slightly darker when they dry but since this one never really dried fully it didn’t change much.
Well the fact that it comes off with touch is not a good sign for anything more demanding like waterproofness.
It survives a splash of water but if you then rub it or try to dry it out it will all come off. In fact you can remove it all and clean your face with just water.
I’m not sure if that’s a product feature or just a failure, but for me, I’d like my foundation to be a little more adhesive than that.
Here’s what the brand says about this foundation:
“A good matte foundation gives a shine-free finish.
Paula’s Choice never tests on animals.
This foundation contains 38 ingredients and some “may contain” ones.
There is a vast amount of ingredient positives, 28 to be exact, and 0 ingredient negatives which is amazing for a product of 38 ingredients. Additionally, despite the long list of ingredients, this product has a very low number of ingredient irritants or potential sensitisers, just 5.
The ingredients of this foundation are undeniably good but if the product doesn’t work to begin with, then it doesn’t matter. It’s a shame because this foundation looks good on paper but doesn’t work in practice. Perhaps adding ingredients that cause the foundation to “stick to the skin”, like Trimethylsiloxysilicate, might save it.
The formulation roles of these ingredients are ignored to keep this post shorter.
- Hydrogenated Polydecene – Skin conditioner and softener. A research study suggests it might be able to reduce wrinkles.
- Tricaprylin – Skin conditioner.
- Nylon-12 – Reduces shine and mattifies.
- Butylene Glycol – Skin conditioner that can also prevent moisture loss from the skin. Sometimes also used as fragrance.
- Dimethicone – Creates a barrier and can therefore protect the skin. Also acts as a skin conditioner. It leaves a silky feeling and can even fill in lines temporarily.
- Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone – Skin conditioner.
- Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate – Skin conditioner, good for sensitive skin.
- Magnesium Sulfate – An absorber that also has anti-flammatory properties.
- Resveratrol – A potent polyphenolic antioxidant that can also calm the skin and minimize redness.
- Glycyrrhetinic Acid – A conditioner, skin soother and anti-oxidant.
- Retinyl Palmitate – A less irritating pre-version of vitamin A, our bodies convert this to retinol. A skin conditioner and anti-oxidant.
- Adenosine – Skin restoring and soothing ingredient. Can improve the skin’s smoothess and has anti-ageing benefits.
- Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract – This ingredient has multiple benefits including: anti-oxidant, fragrance, skin conditioner, UV light absorber, anti-microbial, astringent, skin protecting, tonic and possibly helping the appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin.
- Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12 – A skin restoring ingredient that could potentially make the skin look and act younger.
- Tribehenin – Skin conditioner and softener.
- Ceramide NG – A skin conditioner and replenisher.
- Tremella Fuciformis Sporocarp Extract – An anti-oxidant, humectant and skin conditioner with such a good ability of retaining water that it is compared, and even considered superior by some, to hyalyuronic acid. A source of vitamin D that can also lighten spots and heal the epidermal layer of the skin. A hero ingredient.
- Allantoin – Skin conditioner.
- Montmorillonite – An absorbent.
- Boron Nitride – An absorbent that can create a soft focus effect due to light scattering.
- Dimethicone Crosspolymer-3 – Skin conditioner.
- Betaine – A humectant, skin conditioner and anti-irritant.
- Glycerin – Found naturally in the skin so can be seen as a skin replenishing ingredient. A skin conditioner that helps improve and smooth the appearance of skin. A good moisturiser that is almost always present in moisturising products.
- Glycereth-12 – Skin conditioner and humectant.
- Glyceryl Cocoate – Skin conditioner.
- Xanthan Gum – A skin conditioner that can hold water and also improve the shelf life of a product.
- C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate – A skin conditioner and anti-microbial preserving agent.
- Caprylyl Glycol – A skin conditioner and anti-microbial preservative.
Ingredients that can cause irritation to some:
This is actually really case specific, as different people have different sensitivities and allergies. Just because a compound has been reported by some to cause sensitivity, it doesn’t mean you will have an issue. “Sensitizer” compounds being present is not a negative in my opinion, as this is the case with pretty much everything out there and funnily enough I’ve seen products that are targeted specifically for sensitive skin, containing some compounds that have been reported by some, or are known to be, sensitizers.
If you have sensitive skin or you are prone to skin sensitisation and unwanted reactions, try a little bit of this at the back of your hand first and consult a medical doctor if you are concerned.
The following compounds present in the Paula’s Choice Skincare Resist Anti-Aging Serum Foundation have been either proven or claimed by some to be sensitizers, irritants, allergens etc: Butylene Glycol, Retinyl Palmitate, Glyceryl Cocoate, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol.
Full lists of ingredients:
Isododecane (texture enhancer), Water (Aqua), Hydrogenated Polydecene (emollient), Tricaprylin (texture enhancer), Nylon-12, Quaternium-90 Bentonite (absorbents), Butylene Glycol (texture enhancer/hydration), Dimethicone (texture enhancer), Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone (skin softening), Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate (emollient), Magnesium Sulfate (thickener) , Resveratrol (grape-derived antioxidant), Glycyrrhetinic Acid (skin soothing), Retinyl Palmitate (vitamin A/antioxidant), Adenosine (skin-restoring ingredient), Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12 (skin-restoring, skin-replenishing ingredient), Tribehenin, Ceramide NG (skin-replenishing ingredients), Tremella Fuciformis Sporocarp Extract (antioxidant), Allantoin (skin soothing), Montmorillonite (absorbent), Propylene Carbonate, Boron Nitride (texture enhancers), Dimethicone Crosspolymer-3 (film-forming agent), Betaine (hydration), Glycerin (skin-replenishing ingredient), Glycereth-12 (hydration), Glyceryl Cocoate (emulsifier), Triethoxycaprylylsilane (texture enhancer), Citric Acid (pH adjuster), Xanthan Gum (thickener), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate (emollient), PEG-10 Phytosterol (skin-softening), Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Benzoate (preservatives). May Contain: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499).
It is with a heavy heart that I have to say this foundation was a huge dissapointment and I cannot recommend it. It goes to show you that even if you are an excellent skin care brand, doing both skin care and makeup is not easy.
I got carried away by my love of their skincare products and didn’t even read the many bad reviews on this product. Don’t buy products without reading some reviews first!
This foundation just didn’t work. It came off in every contact and the texture was patchy from the start. The ingredients are good but if the product doesn’t work it doesn’t matter. I don’t recommend this product, even at 80% off, it’s a waste of money.
To get £7.50 off your first Paula’s choice order (minimum £25 order) click here.
Beauty is a very personal thing, we all have different skin, requirements and biological build which can influence things. What worked for me might not work for you and vice versa. Have you ever tried these products? Did they work for you? Let me know your experiences below!
I am not affiliated with any company or brand. These are my views and experiences.
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