What is it?
“A lightweight, radiance-reviving formula that works to combat uneven skin tone and texture.“
This is a watery serum for all skin types that aims to brighten and correct imperfections, such as pigmentation. I picked this up as an option for fading post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation (the red marks that a blemish can leave behind on the skin).
What’s good about it?
The brightening and strengthening ingredients in this product are what interested me: arbutin, acetyl glucosamine, niacinamide, licorice root extract (to promote an even skin tone), ascorbyl glucoside (a stable form of vitamin C), as well as hyaluronic acid and peptides. I have yet to see a product deliver such a mixture of versatile pigmentation-fighting ingredients inside one bottle, in a water-weight, fragrance-free formulation.
The ‘essence’ is oddly named, as for all intensive purposes, this is a serum. I used a full bottle of this in early 2018, after purchasing during a sale to cut down on the quite high cost per ml (£0.75/ml), using 3 drops each morning, before sunscreen. It absorbs instantly without any residue at all and gives a healthy glow to the skin, without greasiness. It is silicone-free and is a shot of morning hydration (with an extra kick) for the skin.
What’s not so good about it?
I noticed absolutely no visible difference to my skin using this product instead of a regular hyaluronic acid or vitamin C serum, which makes me question the efficacy of the quantities of ingredients used in this product. In my opinion, Paula’s Choice can sometimes be seen to throw every popular ingredient into a product, based on what it ‘should’ do, in theory, but in reality, this is not always a guarantee for success. I would be interested in learning if this product contains any of the clinically-proven levels of ingredients to make an impact on the skin, such as niacinamide at 4% and above. The lack of results is not to say that this product is not a fantastic option for lightweight, oil-free, silicone-free hydration for combination/oily skin types, but I think there is more bang for your buck on the market.
My biggest annoyance with this product is the packaging – quite simply, it sucks. The ‘click’ dropper, in my experience, is very poor at picking up the product and the serum cannot be dispensed a drop at a time; instead, the entire dropper-full of liquid shoots out at once, making targeted application difficult (I’m a fan of dropping a dollop of serum on my forehead and one on each cheek, directly from the dropper). To add to my displeasure, when nearing the end of the bottle, it became apparent that the dropper is not big enough to reach the bottom of the bottle, which means that I had to start pouring the product into my hand with each use. As beautiful as the packaging is, it is not functional at all.
The Bottom Line
- Contains a versatile mix of well-studied brightening and uneven skin tone correcting ingredients.
- Fragrance/silicone/oil-free, water-weight formula.
- Packaging is not functional.
- Expensive price per ml and did not deliver visible results.
Rating: 3.5 Star
LookFantastic are my preferred retailer for Paula’s Choice products, as they seem to permanently have a 15% discount code running at any time, in addition to often offering 20% off the brand as a whole.
- The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% (£5.00/30ml)
- The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% (£7.00/30ml)
- Dr. Dennis Gross C+Collagen Vitamin C Serum (£79.00/30ml)
- Paula’s Choice Resist Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum (£35.00/30ml)