I recently cracked open my second bottle of Paula's Choice Resist C15 Super Booster, so I thought it was about time I shared my thoughts. Major spoiler: I like it (as you may have guessed from the fact that I already repurchased it), but I still think the OST/C20 Vitamin C serum is better at providing quick-n-dirty results. There are several ways in which Paula's Choice C15 is superior though, so in addition to reviewing C15 in this post I'll also be doing a bit of comparison between the two so folks who haven't tried either can make an informed decision about which one to get.
"Brown spots don't stand a chance. Add a few drops of this booster to your serum or moisturizer daily, or use it alone. It's the new anti-aging superhero."
Note: This is touted mainly as an anti-aging product, but Vitamin C products can also be effective at lightening post-acne hyperpigmentation. Personally I use it for a combination of anti-aging and acne-healing benefits.
US $48 for 20ml/0.67fl oz or US
Water, Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C/antioxidant), Ethoxydiglycol (slip agent/penetration enhancer), PPG-26 Buteth-26 (emulsifier), PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil (thickener), Tocopherol (vitamin E/antioxidant), Ferulic Acid (antioxidant), Sodium Hyaluronate (skin-repairing ingredient), Acetyl Octapeptide-3 (cell-communicating ingredient), Glycerin (skin-repairing ingredient), Panthenol (skin conditioning agent), Sodium Metabisulfite (stabilizer/antioxidant), Triethanolamine (pH adjuster), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).
The pH level of this product is approximately 3.0. There are a couple of notable things about this formula: One, it is free of alcohol, and two, its use of Ferulic Acid, which has been shown in research to stabilize the formula of and increase photoprotection of the skin in C/E serums made with l-ascorbic acid (source).
Paula's Choice C15 comes in an opaque orange bottle with the dropper packaged separately from the serum, which is a very good idea for the sake of preservation. Most Vitamin C serums will start to oxidize quickly once opened and exposed to air, with an average shelf life of around 2-3 months. The Paula's Choice serum is a very light champagne-y color when first opened, and after a couple of weeks it will start to turn slightly yellow like this:
It's still fine to use when it's light yellow, but once it starts to turn really dark yellow or orange, toss it! Using old Vitamin C serum probably won't cause you major harm, but it loses its potency (so what's the point?) and does have the potential to cause minor skin irritation.
The texture of this serum is light and sort of slippery (probably due to the Sodium Hyaluronate), and only slightly sticky. I'm currently using it as part of my morning routine—here's where it fits in:
- Cleanse and dry face (ahhhh)
- Apply Paula's Choice C15, wait a few minutes
- Apply other moisturizers, sunscreen etc.
- Have a wonderful day!
You can also mix a few drops of C15 with your moisturizer if you find it too harsh or sticky. One random but very important thing that needs to be noted: Paula's Choice C15 doesn't smell very good. Think hot dogs mixed with rotting carnations. Yum! The scent doesn't linger, but it does take a bit of getting used to.
Results: I'm on my second bottle of C15 now, and I think it works well to gradually reduce post-acne scars and keep skin looking supple and bright. So how does it compare to OST/C20? Here are the pros and cons:
Ways in which Paula's Choice C15 is superior to OST C20
- Much gentler on the skin - no stinging for me
- Less sticky
- Better formulation of ingredients (Ferulic Acid/Vitamin E, no alcohol)
- Slightly better packaging (a narrower opening lets in less air)
Ways in which OST C20 is superior to Paula's Choice C15
- C20 is much, much cheaper ($0.50 per ml vs. $2.40 per ml)
- Results are quicker and more dramatic
- More appealing scent. C20 smells kind of like sour oranges, Paula's Choice C15 smells hot-doggy
Bottom line: I think OST C20 is a better choice if you're on a tight budget or want quick/dramatic results, but Paula's Choice C15 is better if you have sensitive skin and/or want to maintain healthy, glowing skin (as opposed to burning the crap out of it for quicker results). I think I would be more likely to re-purchase C15 at this point, as I'm more in "maintenance mode" than "results mode" with my skin at the moment, but I would consider purchasing C20 again too. I actually want to try the new OST C21.5 next, which has a slightly nicer ingredients list than its predecessor. Will it be 1.5% more awesome? Stay tuned!
Save $10 and/or 15% off your Paula's Choice order:
New Paula's Choice customers can get $10 off their first order $15+ by signing up through my referral link. Easy as that. I also found a coupon code (AMGOODSHOPJAN) will get you 15% off any order (for new or existing customers, expires March 31st 2015). New customers can combine one % off coupon code with the referral bonus. They're also offering free shipping on all orders to the US/Canada until March 3rd, 2015, and a free gift on orders $65+. Yay!
What do you think of Paula's Choice Resist C15 Super Booster? Do you have a favorite Vitamin C skincare product?
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