After hearing rave reviews about the Paula’s Choice range of skin care products for what seems like forever – especially from the wonderful Maria – I finally got to test them out for myself when The Boyfriend bought me the Skin Recovery range (adlink) for my birthday back in October. I have never been a person who has fussed a lot with their skin care, and up until then I had been a three steps kind of girl: eye makeup remover, cleanser, moisturizer, done. I have very dry and sensitive skin, and have never been very prone to acne at all except for the occasional breakout around my chin, but I do suffer from dry patches as well as black spots on my nose. However, after hearing so many good things about these products I was ready to try a proper regimen.
What to expect
This is what the brand itself claims to offer: Each Paula’s Choice product is 100% fragrance-free, contains no added dyes, and is clinically proven to be non-irritating. They are dedicated to doing their part to be an environmentally-conscious corporation, and they do not condone the use of animal testing on cosmetics. Sounds good, right? The fragrance-free part sounded especially good to me, seeing as I have countless allergies and will break out in eczema at the drop of a hat if I come in contact with the wrong ingredient. My hopes were high indeed. As previously mentioned I went for the entire Skin Recovery System. I was a bit unsure about whether I should go for the Skin Recovery line or the Moisture boost line, so I sent their costumer service an e-mail in advance where I told them about my skin care needs. They replied within 24 hours and assured me that the Skin Recovery System would be best for my particular needs. Their costumer service is excellent by the way – I have sent them questions a couple of times now and they have always replied quickly and with great answers. Us Norwegians have to order from the US site, but the order still arrived within a week.
The line contains the following products: Skin Recovery Cleanser, Skin Recovery Toner, 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant, Skin Recovery Antioxidant Serum, Skin Recovery Lotion SPF 30, Skin Recovery Moisturizer, and the Skin Recovery Mask (all adlinks). With your order you get a pamphlet that explains in detail how to use each product, and you even get a little sheet of stickers with words like “Day” “Day & Night” “Step 1” “Weekly treatment” and so on that you can stick to the bottles. Very helpful for a novice like myself. In the beginning I was a bit overwhelmed with the sheer amount of products, but once I got into using them it didn’t seem very complicated at all, although it does take a few minutes extra to get ready in the morning. However, it soon became evident that the extra effort was worth it. You see…
It really does work
Two and a half months down the line I can honestly say that my skin has never looked better. My skin tone is more even, and I hardly ever get any breakouts anymore. The acne scars that I had from my misadventures with the oil cleansing method are no longer to be seen, and the black spots on my nose are shrinking every week. It has even had a positive impact on the big red busted blood vessel that I have on the middle of my nose, and that baby has been there for years. My skin feels much less sensitive, and although I still get dry spots they disappear a lot quicker than they did before. We are in the middle of winter after all, and dry and sore skin is almost unavoidable, at least for me. Also, I no longer feel the need to touch up my foundation in the middle of the day because my skin actually looks pretty awesome on its own. I am officially hooked on the Skin Recovery System and I’m afraid there’s no turning back.
Expensive shipping to Norway
Before I leave you though I feel I must list a big old drawback as well: the shipping cost. Now, this is of no importance to you if you live in the UK, the US, or in any EU country. Shop to your heart’s content, you lucky bastards. But if you live in Norway you need to shell out a whopping $61 for shipping, which is a lot to add to a $138 order, especially considering that you have to smack another $50 on top of that for tax and customs (a bill which you will receive from FedEx later on when you forgot all about it). The products themselves are very reasonably priced, so the extortionate shipping costs just completely break my heart. You can forget about buying just one or two products, because it simply won’t be worth it – you have to order a lot of items to justify the cost of shipping. I rue the day when I run out of just a single moisturizer.
Edit: Since January 2017 you can no longer order to Norway from the US Site. Paula’s Choice recommends ordering from Beauty Wonderland or Skin City. You can also buy it from Look Fantastic.
The best I have ever tried
In summary, the products are terrific. I love them, and I can’t really see myself going back to my old routine. My skin type is difficult and temperamental, so when I find something that works this well I just can’t bear to walk away from it. After using the products for 2 1/2 months I have used about 2/3 of the cleanser and toner, so my estimate is that one order will last me about 4 months. I do wish we would get a cheaper shipping option though. I’m definitely vain enough to pay $138 three times a year for quality skincare, but the extra $60 on top kind of .. hurt. A cheaper shipping option (even if it means slower delivery) would definitely tip me over from “happy to endorse” into “obsessive skincare preacher” territory. Seriously, iHerb.com will ship me any package under 4 lbs for $4 and they arrive in 1-2 weeks. What’s the problem, Paula?
14 thoughts on “Review: Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery System”
What a great rave review! So happy to hear it worked out so well for you! You know I love Paula and go to her site before I try any new products or makeup, but for some reason I never really got into her own line. Maybe I should give it another shot, and actually take advantage of that customer service and ask which ones would be best for me rather than random guessing. My skin also seems to be changing so much lately, it’s kind of hard to keep up with it. Weird, I know.
As for shipping, that sounds horrible and honestly, I would never do it if it were that expensive. What about something like MyUS.com which Everlane recommends on their site for international shipping?
I think I might have to bite the bullet eventually and get a MyUS account, as there are plenty of other shops as well that won’t ship to Norway at all. I’m looking at you, Topshop and Sephora!
Edit: Just looked into it and the shipping through myUS is actually pretty much the same as through Paula’s Choice. Jetcarrier.com was a little bit cheaper, but the difference wasn’t big enough to justify making an account there :(
And don’t forget Everlane itself! I just got my first few items from them and am IN LOVE. About to place another mammoth order before I leave the US.
I can totally relate to the feeling of finding exactly what works, and not wanting to change anymore. I’m happy to hear the Paula’s Choice products work so well for you :) Do you know how long the unopened products can be kept before going bad? If you know one bottle makes 4 months, maybe you can buy, say, a year’s worth of products at once – to gather shipping fees as much as possible?
I can relate to the frustration of brands not shipping to my country though – even if in France, we are luckier than Norway for many site – and yes, I am looking at Everlane. They seem to be making fantastic basics and I’m too suspicious to go through sites like myUS…
It seems that an order of the whole Skin Recovery line x 3 only adds up to $100 in shipping (“only”) so that would indeed save me a little bit of money! But to spend $500 on skincare in one go.. Oof!
I regret not trying out Everlane when I was in NY – I passed them all the time in department stores but didn’t need anything at the time. I could still have tried some things on though, just to satisfy my curiosity :)
How wonderful that you liked it so much! That shipping price really is a disaster, though… think we could manage to convince them it would be smart to work on it somehow? I need my bha, dammit!
It seems AHA was my magic exfoliator of choice, and boy do I love it. They don’t run out nearly as quickly as the cleanser and toner though, as I only dare to use it in the evenings :)
I love the gentle exfoliating stuff you get in these products. Just ordered some anti-aging products that got very good reviews. And I live in France, so I don’t have to pay those taxes, hipp hurra! Maybe you could order your stuff and send it to my addresss and I’ll ship it to you once in Norway? ;P
I love PC products. Don’t think I would ever want to be without the 2% bha liquid , 10% aha and vit c … Never looked back since my first order a year ago. I’m now looking for a moisturiser with SPF, I have tried all the samples but the recovery; they all seemed good! I live in Norway too; the shipping cost really is expensive. I wrote Paula’s team an email to ask them to review their shipping charges to Norway!
What is this everlane? I need to look it up!
I was trying to find more information on Paula’s Choice and stumbled upon your blog. Thanks for the great review. Just wondering…do you have a friend in the US who could order for you and then ship it to you in a less costly way? (or perhaps you could order, but have it shipped to a pal in the US then they send it to you?) Also, would a package coming from an individual rather than a company help you avoid the taxes too? Just a thought.
Hi Michele! Having the order shipped to a friend would definitely help the shipping costs – I don’t NEED my skincare delivered by UPS after all – but the taxes would still be the same. The parcel could always be labeled as a gift, but I suspect customs would find a gift of $150 worth of skincare a bit suspicious, so my guess is they’d slap customs fees on top of it anyway :)
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I found your blog via google after searching for reviews on Paula’s Choice, glad I found it! I also found that a norwegian website is now selling it, yey! Check out beautywonderland.no. I am thinking about ordering, so tired of my skin. Great blog!
Now you can purchase Paula’s choice from http://www.lookfantastic.com They sell by the UK prices, which are to some extent higher than the EU prices, and significantly higher than the US prices, but they do offer free shipping worldwide and have often discounts. Here is the link.