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In the wide world of beauty, there are surprisingly few brands that I rock-solid trust. Blame the FDA's fast and loose attitude toward regulating skincare and cosmetics (the gist: you're buying it, so you're responsible for what happens), but all too often, shopping for skincare means either exhaustively researching ingredients' fine print, or taking a trust fall and hoping for the best. One exception? Paula's Choice, a brand that's earned its stripes time and again.
If you haven't dipped your toe in the PC pond, the brand was founded by Paula Begoun, a pioneer in bringing transparency to the skincare industry. Back in 1975, Begoun was fired from her cosmetic counter job for "telling clients the truth about what products could and couldn't do." Since then, she's published multiple books and extensive resources on how to decipher which ingredients are best for your skin.
Which brings us to today, and the brand's Anti-Aging Clear Skin Hydrator. If you're looking at large pores, oily skin, breakouts, and aging skin, yet don't have the time or energy to read up on ingredients, Paula's Choice does the legwork here. It's come up with a formula so popular, it was out of stock for three months — and I know, because I checked almost daily in the process of writing this piece.
Shop now: $33; paulaschoice.com
But with reviews like the following, I can't blame the company for trouble keeping the anti-ager in stock. "It's my honest opinion that this moisturizer helps maintain the suppleness of my skin while combating fine lines. And it doesn't contribute to more comedones," writes one person; one more says that with use, the skin on their neck and under their chin is "much, much firmer." "I am told daily that I don't appear to be even 50," writes another shopper in their 60s, even after a decade of living near the beach and a bout of skin cancer.
A fourth reviewer says flaky skin and dryness vanish thanks to this anti-aging wizardry, and still more people say it's guaranteed the most velvety skin they've ever felt. "I can't tell you how many dollars I've wasted on trying to find the best moisturizer. I finally found it," writes a fan. "This stuff makes my skin feel AMAZING. Plump and the softest it's ever felt. I have the best skin of my life."
Beyond its effect on fine lines and dry skin, people leave glowing praise for the Hydrator's effect on large pores and discoloration, too. "I've only been using this for four days and wow...my pores are so much smaller [and] more refined. My skin looks smoother in general, and my complexion is more even. I've never experienced a product that works this fast and SO dramatically," writes one loyal fan.
Those with oily and combination skin are especially enthralled, thanks to the formula's mix of antioxidants, vitamin C, adenosine, and niacinamide, which has plenty of its own impressive benefits. "I LOVE this stuff. Someone gave me a super expensive facial cream (like $200) and I see/feel no difference between the fancy cream and my Paula's cream. If you're unsure, buy this. It's amazing and your skin will feel smooth and supple."
You heard it here first — unless you're one of the OG fans, like someone who wrote, "This is one of the most effective products I have used. My skin texture has obviously improved. Just wish it was easier to get...I've never seen this situation before. Been waiting for months for the product to come back." So if you're interested, snap up the Hydrator before it disappears.