How Paula’s Choice Advanced Skincare Routines Work



An advanced skincare routine for the face goes beyond the usual cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing, and sun protection steps to care for your skin. It addresses complex skin concerns and the appearance of:

  • Wrinkles • Loss of Firmness • Enlarged Pores • Extra Dry Skin
  • Breakouts • Damage from Unprotected Sun Exposure

Paula’s Choice Essential vs. Advanced Skincare

Both routines take skin type into account, with different formulas for normal, oily, combination, dry, or extra sensitive skin. Our Essential Skincare Routines for the face feature the basics you need to take care of your skin. Our Advanced Skincare Routines include a broader combination of products to address more complex needs effectively.

How Many Products Do I Really Need?

It’s okay to start with the basics, and perhaps one of our Essential Skincare Routines is the answer for you, but the more skin concerns you want to address, the more advanced your routine will need to be. Luckily, it doesn’t have to take long (five minutes, tops) to deliver beautiful results.


Removes makeup, oil, and other debris to give skin a clean start so the rest of your routine can work as effectively as possible.


Replenishes skin with an effective blend of beneficial, powerhouse ingredients after cleansing and removes the last traces of makeup.


Improves the appearance of dull, rough, flaky skin, uneven tone, clogged pores, and signs of ageing. Paves the way for dramatic results with your next steps


A concentrated blend of antioxidants, soothing replenishing ingredients, and skin-restoring ingredients to give skin a visibly healthier appearance.


Provides broad-spectrum sun protection targeted to your skin type, critical for preventing premature skin ageing.


Delivers nourishing hydration and key nutrients that improve skin over the long haul.

Which Paula’s Choice Essential or Advanced Skincare Kit is Right for You?


RESIST Advanced Kit for Wrinkles + Sun Damage

For | Normal to Dry Skin

This skincare range refines skin’s appearance for a dramatically radiant, firmer, more even-toned, less-wrinkled, and younger-looking complexion.

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RESIST Advanced Kit for Wrinkles + Breakouts

For | Normal to Oily Skin

This skincare kit works to improve the appearance of wrinkles, pore size, skin texture, and hydration for an even-toned, smoother complexion.

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CLEAR Advanced Kit

For | Acne-prone skin

This skincare kit works to lessen excess oil, unclog and shrink enlarged pores, & help control stubborn acne breakouts.

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For | Normal to Dry Skin

This skincare series hydrates skin, creating a smoother, visibly younger-looking complexion.

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For Normal to Oily Skin

This skincare series hydrates while diminishing shine and pore size to create a healthier-looking complexion.

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CALM Advanced Kit

For | Normal to Dry Skin

This skincare series visibly soothes redness and combats signs of ageing with comforting moisture-rich formulas.

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CALM Advanced Kit

For | Normal to Oily, Combination Skin

This skincare series works synergistically to visibly calm redness and combat signs of ageing with refreshing hydrating formulas.

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What About Additional Skin Concerns?

Now that you’ve picked out the Essential or Advanced Routine that’s just right for you, products can easily be added if you want to address a specific concern. All of our products are designed to work synergistically within a routine. For example:


Hyaluronic Acid Booster

For | All Skin Types

Combine with your moisturizer for plumper-looking skin.

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1% Retinol Booster

For | All Skin Types

Layer with your moisturizer to supercharge the fight against wrinkles.

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Dive Deeper

If your skincare needs to go beyond the basics of cleansing, exfoliating, sun protection, and moisturizing, then you will absolutely want to consider one of our Advanced Skincare Routines! At Paula’s Choice Skincare, we have several carefully developed Advanced Skincare Routines.

What is an Advanced Skincare Routine?

Most of our Advanced Skincare Routines consist of a cleanser, toner, exfoliant, serum, daytime moisturizer, and nighttime moisturizer. Some routines also include a more potent, leave-on exfoliant you can use on your face at least once per week for enhanced results.

These routines help get and keep your skin looking beautiful, radiant and renewed by solving multiple skincare concerns with effective, skillfully formulated products assembled in an easy-to-apply routine.

Unique to Paula’s Choice Skincare is that each product in our Advanced Skincare Routines is carefully formulated to ensure they’re appropriate for your skin type. For example, the products in our RESIST series for Normal to Oily Skin provide serious anti-aging action from products that feel amazingly light and refreshing. That’s why this collection is perfect for those struggling with wrinkles, clogged, enlarged pores and oily or combination skin—you don’t have to use thick, rich creams to see impressive anti-aging benefits, and your skin won’t be dried out, either!

How an Advanced Skincare Routine Differs from an Essential Skincare Routine

Our Advanced Skincare Routines go beyond the Essential Skincare Routines to include a broader combination of products for more comprehensive results when you have more complex skincare needs. Our Essential Skincare Routines are extremely effective for those who want to use the least number of products to take care of their skin. These pared-down routines still achieve nourishing protection while solving simple skincare concerns.

Keep in mind that you can start with an Essential Skincare Routine and see how your skin responds before deciding if an Advanced Routine will better serve your needs. You’ll know you need to move on to the Advanced Skincare Routine if the Essential Skincare Routine isn’t giving you the results you want, particularly for multiple skincare concerns so many of us have.

Whether you begin with an Essential or Advanced Routine, you can always add a targeted solution product as needed. For example, applying our Moisture Renewal Oil Booster may help combat seasonal dryness of the face, or our 10% Niacinamide Booster to address large pores and improve uneven skin tone. Our Hyaluronic Acid Booster provides ultimate hydration but has a weightless finish.

You can also consider adding one of our brightening products to help visibly improve a stubborn uneven skin tone.

Summing up, think of the Essential Skincare Routine as the main course and the Advanced Skincare Routine being that, plus an appetiser and dessert for an all-inclusive "meal" when your skin "hungers" for more!

Your Advanced Routine Step-by-Step

OK, so you’ve determined an Advanced Skincare Routine is right for you. Here’s how each step works:

Step 1: Cleanser

A gentle, fragrance-free water-soluble cleanser is essential for all skin types and is the important start of your AM and PM skincare routine. Those with normal to oily or combination skin will want to use lightweight foaming or gel cleanser; those with normal to dry or very dry skin will want to use a more emollient, creamy cleanser.

Paula’s Choice cleansers are offered in these textures, and they won’t leave skin feeling stripped, dry, or tight—just smooth and clean!

Step 2: Toner

Lots of people avoid using toners, and we understand why: because most are either lacklustre formulas or contain skin-aggravating ingredients. Paula’s Choice toners are nothing like that. Each toner is formulated to be gentle yet overflowing with good-for-skin ingredients that help replenish, revive, and restore a healthier, younger-looking appearance. Learn more about how a toner can help your skin here.

Step 3: A Leave-On AHA or BHA Exfoliant

This step is so important and pivotal to having great skin it needs a bit more explanation—especially if you’re accustomed to thinking of exfoliants as scrubs or stiff-bristled cleansing brushes.

An AHA or BHA exfoliant has multiple benefits for skin that goes beyond what any scrub or cleansing brush can offer. Most scrubs and rough cleansing brushes cause micro-tears in the skin, and that ongoing damage is not healthy for the skin.

Well-formulated AHA and BHA leave-on exfoliants help skin gently, imperceptibly, and naturally shed skin just like it did when we were younger. These types of exfoliants help remove the build-up of dead surface skin, which contributes to dull, rough, flaky skin, uneven skin tone, clogged pores, and signs of aging. AHA or BHA exfoliants are truly multi-tasking skincare heroes that are the game-changing part of your Advanced Skincare Routine.

In terms of how often to apply your exfoliant, many find that the best results come from applying it twice daily, morning and night, while others find once a day at night is all they need. Experiment to determine the frequency of application that works best for you.

Wondering if you should choose an AHA or BHA exfoliant? Paula’s Choice Skincare breaks it down for you here.

Step 4: Serum

All Paula’s Choice serums contain sophisticated, research-supported blends of ingredients shown to visibly improve multiple signs of aging and help thwart signs of environmental damage, such as pollution. We use a concentrated assortment of antioxidants, skin-replenishing ingredients, and skin-restoring ingredients to bring about a dramatic change in the skin’s appearance. Regardless of your skin type, we offer a formula that will meet your needs.

Step 5: The Daytime (AM) or Nighttime (PM) Moisturizer

For daytime, your moisturizer must contain a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater, something your nighttime formula doesn’t need. However, both face moisturizers should contain a comprehensive mix of antioxidants, skin-replenishing ingredients, and skin-restoring ingredients that take care of the skin in various ways.

These fundamental critical ingredients found in every Paula’s Choice moisturizer work to intervene and help interrupt environmental damage, improve the appearance of signs of aging and uneven skin tone, soften and alleviate dry skin, calm redness, and enhance your skin’s radiance and feeling of firmness.

Choose your daytime and nighttime moisturizer based on your skin type and concerns, such as redness or enlarged pores plus wrinkles. Think texture: If you have normal to oily or combination skin, select from our lighter, weightless gel, sheer lotion, or fluid-textured products; if you have normal to dry or very dry skin, one of our enriched lotions or creams would be best. Combination skin may also do well to layer a serum and moisturizer over the dry areas while relying on the toner and serum to hydrate the oily areas, where applying a moisturizer is unnecessary.

Step 6: The Weekly AHA or BHA Exfoliant

Our Essential Skincare Routines include one daily-use AHA or BHA exfoliant, but most of our Advanced Routines include two. Why? It’s because those with more complicated skin types and concerns need a stronger formula to use once or twice a week for a more dramatic improvement.

Use these advanced, specialised exfoliants at least once per week, either in place of or with your regular exfoliant, and watch your skin reach the next level of smoothness, radiance, evenness, and youthfulness, seemingly overnight!

What about eye cream? Our preselected routines do not include eye creams because each kit’s serums and face moisturizers are also designed to be applied around the eyes. However, we know many of you like applying a product labelled "eye cream", so we formulated a special one to care for your eyes. Its balm-like cream texture feels unlike any other eye cream you may have tried—with line-smoothing, hydrating results lasting well into the next day.

Find out more about products like face masks and acne treatments, and how you can fit them into your skincare routine on our skincare advice page.

Do You Really Need This Many Products?

We understand that the Advanced Skincare Routines can seem overwhelming. If you’re wondering whether your face really needs all these products, the answer depends on the skin concerns you want to address.

The more advanced problems you face, the more advanced the skincare routine you will need to care for and turn your skin around. Once you become used to this more detailed routine, you’ll find that applying these products really doesn’t take that long (five minutes, tops and Paula says it takes her less than that). We’re confident the results it provides will make you more confident because you’ll love what you see in the mirror. Not only that, you’ll love what you feel whenever you touch your radiant, smooth, hydrated skin!

Shop these Paula’s Choice products today to build a robust skincare routine. For more information on how to incorporate Paula’s Choice Skincare products into your personal routine, you can get recommendations from our Client Services representatives here.

References for this information

Science, February 2015, pages 842-847
Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy, February 2013, pages 1-7
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, July 2006, pages 1-19 and June 2005, pages 959-962
Journal of Investigative Dermatology, December 2010, pages 2719-2726
Clinical Cosmetic Investigational Dermatology, November 2010, pages 135-142
Journal of Dermatological Science, May 2010, pages 85-90
Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2009, pages 495-501

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