Skincare is so important not only for maintaining healthy skin but also for future proofing and slowing down the signs of ageing as much as possible. There are so many moisturisers in the market, ranging from £1-100+ and so you might think that you are spoilt for choice. Sadly, when you start looking into ingredients, you’d quickly realise that most of them are very superficial, moisturising or conditioning only the surface and for a short period of time. Your skin might initially feel moisturised but that’s about that all a lot of them do. No skin replenishing or nourishing or even deep moisturisation that lasts. And why should you settle for that?
In my Bonds of Beauty 2018 awards I highly recommended one of my ride-or-die creams, the Paula’s Choice Clinical Ceramide-Enriched Firming moisturiser, so here’s an in-depth look and why it is so great.
Paula’s Choice Clinical Ceramide-Enriched Firming moisturiser comes with very sturdy cardboard outer packaging which looks typical of Paula’s Choice branding. Neither amazing good looking nor bad.
The actual product comes in a bottle with a pump which is is not very common for creams. It is an absolute mega plus though, as this type of packaging not only protects the ingredients from oxidising over time, and therefore stops the cream from becoming as ineffective, but it is also more sanitary as your fingers don’t come in contact with the remaining cream.
This is something that is very important not just because your fingers might be dirty. Our skin, even when clean, naturally contains bacteria which can flourish in cosmetics as they often contain water and other ingredients that can facilitate bacterial growth. Sadly, most cosmetic companies still put creams in jars, perhaps because of the psychological association we have built to believe that expensive and nice looking jars contain good creams. Nevertheless, it is a shame as the packaging can actually ruin a product. Of course there are also products that will not be ruined significantly by jar packaging but those are usually also the ones that don’t contain very interesting ingredients.
However, let’s turn this into a positive. You could use this as quick test to gauge whether a cream or brand will be good. The companies that are truly into ingredients will not package all of their products into jars and those creams that are into jars might not be that great to begin with.
I personally like the simplicity and elegance of this product and the fact that the bottle is purple. It might not be as cute as Too Faced packaging but it is serious skincare and it looks it without being boring.
A 50mL bottle of the Paula’s Choice Clinical Ceramide-Enriched Firming moisturiser retails for £55 but it will last you for 2 months+.
I use it every other day, as I rotate between three creams and it lasts even longer this way.
You can also buy a 1.5mL sample for £0.70 to try it out first.
To get £7.50 off your first Paula’s choice order (minimum £25 order) click here. Alternatively, check out LookFantastic.com which also has discounts running quite often.
This product has a thin but still creamy texture which feels very moisturising to the skin and spreads easily. The texture is great for all skin types and shouldn’t feel drying or too moisturising to any.
It has a pale dirty yellow colour which comes naturally from the ingredients contained.
Paula’s Choice products do not contain fragrance and their smell comes naturally from the ingredients contained. I’m not sure I can fully describe what the scent is like, the closest match would be liquorice but it’s not quite that.
Nevertheless, the scent is neither good or bad and you might even grow to like it. It’s overall not very strong either.
This cream doesn’t offer SPF protection which is why it’s recommended more for night. Additionally, it contains retinol which can cause irritation and is also best avoided during the day.
Other than that, if your skin is fine with it and you use SPF from another product, there is no reason why you couldn’t use this as a day cream as well.
I personally use it in the night because I need mattifying creams during the day, thanks to my oily skin. Check out the articles below for my day cream recommendations:
For alternative options but without SPF check out: Best day creams for oily skin – Estée Lauder Daywear Matte vs Omorovicza Balancing Moisturiser. In Depth Reviews and Ingredient Analyses
This product lasts for 12M and is suitable for all skin types. Paula’s Choice products are not tested on animals.
Here’s what the brand says about this product:
“Our most advanced night cream with 5 ceramides, vitamin C and 0.1% retinol to tackle signs of ageing.
A night moisturiser is the last step in your evening routine.
Apply the moisturiser liberally to your face after cleansing, toning, exfoliating and applying an antioxidant serum or targeted treatment.
Fights signs of ageing
Strengthens skin’s natural barrier
Improves skin tone and texture”
Practicality of use – user experience
This cream is very easy to use thanks to its simple pump. The pump doesn’t require a lot of force and it dispenses a reasonable amount of product.
The cream itself spreads easily and is absorbed by the skin quickly without leaving any residues behind. It overall feels moisturising and nice on the skin.
I’ve seen results fairly quickly, only after a couple of days of using this cream. My skin fees younger, thicker, healthier and more jelly-like. I notice a difference when I forget to use this cream and that doesn’t happen often with cosmetic products.
This cream contains 47 ingredients of which 39 will offer you some skincare benefit (of course some more than others), 1 potential negative and 12 potential irritants.
This cream contains vitamins C, E and A (as well as B3) which are absolute must haves in skincare as well as ceramides. I only wish this cream also contained hyaluronic acid but you can easily include this in your skincare by using a hyaluronic acid serum beforehand. I recommend: Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II Serum – In Depth Review and Ingredient Analysis
Even more importantly though, this cream doesn’t just contain one ceramide just to be able to claim that it contains a ceramide. It contains quite a few of them as well as some ceramide pre-cursors and cholesterol, which is great as our skin doesn’t only need 1 lipid and the balance between the different ceramides can also be very important for our skin. For all the details check out: What are ceramides and do they work in skincare?
To keep this article short, I am only listing the skin nourishing or skin positive/negative ingredients and ignoring the ones that only play formulation purposes. For the full list of these product’s ingredients scroll down to the “full list of ingredients” section.
- Water (Aqua) based formulation.
- Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate – A more stable and water-soluble form of vitamin C. An anti-oxidant that can also brighten the skin. In combination with other compounds, it can help treat acne and even stimulate collagen production. Check out: Vitamins C & E – Do they work in skin care?
- Cetyl Alcohol– Conditions and softens the skin. It is a fatty alcohol and so it is not perceived to be as damaging to the skin as others.
- Ascorbyl Glucoside– Stable form of vitamin C and anti-oxidant. Replenishes skin, makes it smoother, brighter, and younger looking. Can also improve uneven skin tone.
- Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate – Skin conditioner.
- Glyceryl Stearate – A lubricant giving smooth and soft skin appearance.
Easily penetrates skin, slows water from escaping by forming barrier, anti-oxidant.
- PEG-100 Stearate – A moisturiser.
- 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.
- PEG-12 Glyceryl Dimyristate – A skin conditioner and humectant.
- Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2 – A lipid-based synthetic skin conditioner that can bind water and adhere to the skin, creating a glossy finish.
- 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.
- Glyceryl Ascorbate – A vitamin C derivative and therefore, an anti-oxidant that can also help brighten the skin.
- Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate – A stable form of vitamin C. Can increase collagen production keeping the skin healthy and younger looking, reduce melanin production giving a brighter skin appearance and can even repair the effects of UV-exposure. This specific form of Vitamin C even has the ability to stimulate production of moisturising compounds in the skin. A hero compound. Check out: Vitamins C & E – Do they work in skin care?
- Retinol – Also known as vitamin A. A skin restorer, anti-oxidant and skin conditioner. This powerful ingredient is often found in anti-ageing products due to it’s ability to improve the signs of ageing (wrinkles, brown spots etc). This ingredient is air-sensitive and might become ineffective if found in jar packaging. Check out: Vitamin A in skin care – Is it worth it?
- Ceramide NP – One of the naturally occurring lipids in our skin and therefore a skin replenisher compound. This is the most common type of ceramide found in skincare and can moisturise the skin, improve elasticity and even reduce lines and skin irritation. Check out: What are ceramides and do they work in skincare?
- Ceramide NS – One of the naturally occurring lipids in our skin and therefore a skin replenisher compound. Ceramides can moisturise the skin, improve elasticity and even reduce lines and skin irritation. They can also condition hair!
- Ceramide AP – See above.
- Ceramide EOP – See above.
- Ceramide EOS – See above.
- Cholesterol – One of the main lipids in our skin other than ceramides. A good skin conditioner and replenishing compound that can help maintain the skin’s healthy feel and appearance. Our skin naturally contains cholesterol, it works by strengthening the outer structure of the skin and protecting it from dehydration.
- Caprooyl Phytosphingosine – A mixture of fatty acids and ceramide pre-cursor which give similar results as ceramides. Skin is left moisturised, healthier and younger looking as well as smooth. Can act as an anti-flammatory compound and prevent or help fight acne. Can also act as a hair conditioner.
- Caprooyl Sphingosine – A ceramide pre-cursor that can act as a hair and skin conditioner. Gives similar results as ceramides. Skin is left moisturised, healthier and younger looking as well as smooth.
- Squalane – A moisturiser, source of replenishing fatty acids and anti-oxidants. Creates a barrier between the skin and the environment, keeping the moisture in and also conditions the skin.
- Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract – Rich in anti-oxidants (such as vitamin C) reducing sun damage and premature ageing. Can help skin heal faster.
- Pongamia Glabra Seed Oil – A hair and skin conditioner with anti-oxidant properties.
- Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract – Skin conditioner, anti-oxidant, humectant, helps control oil production and can calm and soothe acne-prone skin. Some claim it can also whiten and moisturise.
- Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract – A potent anti-oxidant that can help diminish skin’s environment damage.
- Tocopheryl acetate– A more stable form of vitamin E. A hero anti-oxidant molecule. A skin conditioner that also enhances the ability of sunscreens. Can help with inflammation. Check out: Vitamins C & E – Do they work in skin care?
- Carnosine – Made of amino acids and acts as a skin conditioner, skin soother, anti-oxidant and anti-flammatory agent.
- Panthenol– Form of vitamin B5. A moisturiser and potential acne treatment.
- Sodium PCA – Skin conditioner and naturally occurring humectant.
- Butylene Glycol – Skin conditioner that can also prevent moisture loss from the skin. Sometimes also used as fragrance.
- Sodium Citrate – An anti-oxidant and preservative.
- Polysorbate 20 – Can lubricate and sooth the skin.
- Ethylhexyl Stearate – A skin conditioner.
- Propyl Gallate – An anti-oxidant and preservative.
- Sodium polyacrylate – This ingredient has a lot of formulation roles but can also be a skin conditioner as it can hold as much as 300 times its weight in water.
- Behenic Acid – A soother and moisturiser.
- Caprylyl Glycol – Skin conditioner and anti-microbial agent.
- Propyl Gallate – A controversial ingredient. Although many list it as safe in the concentrations found in cosmetics, 0.1% or less, some linked this to cancer. However, there is not enough evidence to conclude this just yet and the Cosmetic Database and EU only class this as a moderate hazard ingredient, mainly due to the fact that it is an irritant/allergen.
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 this cream have been either proven or claimed by some to be sensitizers, irritants, allergens etc: Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate*, PEG=100 Stearate, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Retinol, Cholesterol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Sodium Hydroxide, Propyl Gallate, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.
*Only an irritant when found in concentrations higher than 5% which is likely not the case here.
Full list of ingredients:
Water (Aqua), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (vitamin C/antioxidant), Cetyl Alcohol (texture enhancer), Ascorbyl Glucoside (vitamin C/antioxidant), Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate (texture enhancer), Potassium Cetyl Phosphate (emulsifier), Glyceryl Stearate (emollient), PEG-100 Stearate (texture enhancer), Glycerin (skin-replenishing), PEG-12 Glyceryl Dimyristate (hydration), Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2 (emollient), Dimethicone (emollient), Glyceryl Ascorbate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (vitamin C/antioxidants), Retinol (vitamin A/skin-restoring), Ceramide NP, Ceramide NS, Ceramide AP, Ceramide EOP, Ceramide EOS, Cholesterol, Caprooyl Phytosphingosine, Caprooyl Sphingosine (skin-replenishing), Squalane (emollient), Punica Granatum Fruit Extract (pomegranate/antioxidant), Pongamia Glabra Seed Oil (non-fragrant plant oil/antioxidant), Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (skin-soothing), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract (antioxidant), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E/antioxidant), Carnosine (skin-restoring), Panthenol (hydration), Sodium PCA (skin-replenishing), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Sodium Citrate (pH adjuster), Ceteareth-25 (texture enhancer), Polysorbate 20 (emulsifier), Ethylhexyl Stearate (emollient), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Trideceth-6 (emulsifier), Propyl Gallate (antioxidant),Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Sodium Polyacrylate (film-forming agents), Behenic Acid (texture enhancer), Disodium EDTA (chelating agent), Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin (preservatives).
This is one of my ride-or-die moisturisers which give my skin a thicker, fuller, healthier and more youthful appearance as well as some very needed nourishment. This cream doesn’t just contain ceramides for the sake of it but rather comes with a couple of different ones and other great ingredients, to give your skin the best skincare can offer.
I highly recommend this cream.
I am not affiliated with any company or brand. These are my views and experiences.
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!
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