Paula's Choice RESIST C15 Super Booster

Paula's Choice RESIST C15 Super Booster


117 reviews

60% would repurchase

Package Quality: 4.0

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 4.0

Price: $$$

Not tested on animals


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).

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on 4/22/2018 6:24:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Dry, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

Hands down the best vitamin C serum in its price category (and I have tried the Drunk Elephant C firma and the Skinceuticals CE as well as the cheaper Ordinary versions). Absorbs in 5 seconds and keeps my skin even and clear. Some may argue that it's pricey but the ingredients are almost identical to the Skinceuticals CE serum which is like 3x more expensive.. The only thing I would change is the packaging as I'm worried that the dropper bottle is not best for the stability of the ingredients (although it seems to work even after 2 months of use so they probably have a valid reason to have chosen to put it in a dropper glass). If it came in the same pump bottle as the retinol booster it would be absolutely perfect, but even with this packaging it is way ahead of the other Vitamin C serums.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Age: 19-24

Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Black, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I recently just finished a bottle of the PC C15 Booster. It's pretty pricey for the amount you get, but still more affordable compared to other brands. Even though I have sensitive skin I never had issues with irritation, of course ymmv.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

This has a watery, non-greasy consistency and contains ascorbic acid, the most studied and effective form of vitamin C for skin. It promotes collagen synthesis (to repair damaged skin) and some studies have shown it can also protect the skin from UV damage (NOTE: it is NOT a substitute for sunscreen!)

It also contains vitamin E and ferulic acid which work with vitamin C to increase its stability and provide additional antioxidant benefits. Other ingredients include hyaluronic acid for hydration and a peptide to smooth the skin.

I have used this for years - it brightens my skin and has helped to keep my face (mostly) free of wrinkles. I use 4 drops at night, mixed with 2 drops of The Ordinary's Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3% serum for even more of an antioxidant boost.

The problem is, despite the tinted bottle and addition of stabilizing ingredients, it still oxidizes much too quickly (the color darkens as the vitamin C gradually loses effectiveness). You are instructed to use "2-3 drops" on your face but I don't believe one would be able to use it that slowly and still keep it fresh. It takes me about 3 months to finish one bottle at 4 drops daily, and by then the solution is already a yellowish orange color.

I keep the product tightly sealed and away from sunlight, but my last bottle was already light yellow when I opened to use for the *first* time!

A BETTER ALTERNATIVE: Thankfully I have found a much more affordable and effective product: The Ordinary's 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder.

Review here -

There is some mixing involved (either with water or other liquids such as a hydrating toner or serum) but the result is a fresher and more potent serum. It can be a little tricky to scoop as the powder is very fine, but I like that you can customize the amount of vitamin C to suit your needs: less if your skin is sensitive, and more if your skin can handle it.

You can either mix a fresh batch daily (what I prefer), or you can make enough for a week or so. Either way, you won't have to deal with oxidized vitamin C anymore.

(Last edited April 16/18)

7 of 7 people found this helpful.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Green

Okay, so this is A VERY VERY good vitamin c serum. It's ingredients are on par with the HG uber expensive SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic. The issue with this PC serum is the bottle. The serum comes out looking lightly oxidised, and quickly darkens to oxidised. This reduces the effectiveness of the product, so you're paying a fair bit for something that doesn't stay fresh for very long. Penny pinching me uses the very orange looking serum until it's finished but who knows how much it's truly helping. I saw an excellent comparison review by the youtuber 'Hot and Flashy'. The brand Timeless' version comes off better and is MUCH cheaper. Sadly I live in Australia so getting that brand is difficult and expensive. Anyone in the USA should check it out though. For me, this PC serum is the best in terms of price and potency, but the fast oxidisation really irks me. I'm tempted to pay the shipping fee and get the Timeless one which is guaranteed for 6 months. PC need to change the bottle!

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

Age: 25-29

Skin: Dry, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Curly, Coarse

Eyes: Other

I used to love this serum and swore I would buy it forever, but the last 2 bottles I purchased (and have since used up) were disappointing. The quality has taken a nosedive, and many recent reviews - even the ones on Paula's own website - have verified my suspicions. First, the last 2 bottles I purchased didn't seem to be doing *anything* for my skin (even when they were freshly opened, within a couple of days of being delivered). I've been using vitamin c serums long enough to know when one is doing it's job, and the PC serum was inexplicably NOT doing it's job. I only purchased my PC products directly from the PC website, so there was no chance I bought a counterfeit/old/diluted serum. Second, the last 2 bottles of serum didn't have that strong, characteristic, "metallic vitamin c pill" smell like they should have, and they oxidized very quickly. Within about 2 weeks of opening, the serum started to oxidize to a yellow color, and then to a dark orange color within 4-5 weeks of opening. Once the serum begins to oxidize, it loses its effectiveness (in proportion to the % oxidized) I had maybe 2 weeks per bottle of fully effective serum! I keep my skincare products in a padded makeup bag (i.e., away from light), and I keep the bag in my airconditioned bedroom, so I know it wasn't my storage of the serum that caused the problem. Also, Paula's website specifically states that her serums are meant to be stored at room temperature, not in the refrigerator, soo IDK what else I could have done to slow down the oxidation. It is very clear to me that Paula's Choice has changed something about this product, and it's just. not. working. I'm guessing they tried to neutralize the metallic smell of the vitamin c, and in the process, rendered it ineffective. Or, perhaps they've been cutting corners in the manufacturing process, and exposing the serum to air - thus causing it to begin oxidizing right away?
I've since switched to the Timeless 20% CE Ferulic serum (way cheaper!), but it doesn't have an orifice reducer in the bottle like the Paula's Choice version. I washed + air dried a leftover PC vitamin c bottle and refilled it with the Timeless serum - it worked great! Next time, however, I plan to just keep the Timeless bottle but use an airtight pump-cap from Amazon in place of the dropper. Even with the orifice reducer in place, air can still get into the bottle when you use a dropper cap. I'm trying to avoid buying the ultra expensive SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic serum, which is guaranteed fresh and fully effective for 6 months after opening...

12 of 12 people found this helpful.

on 6/28/2017 12:02:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Dry, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

I've decided I'm NOT crazy.
Just not going to pay $62 for 20ml of 15% Vit C when I can get 30ml of 23% Vit C from Deciem for $9.80 (and that's not a typo. NINE dollars, eighty cents only).

This PC product is difficult to use as a standalone serum (unless you use a ton of it each time) because it has a water-like texture that absorbs immediately and won't spread. It's marketed as a “booster” so I guess it wasn't designed to be used alone, and it benefits from the viscosity of whatever you add it to.

I didn't notice any improvement in pigmentation on my face so have been using it up on the backs of my hands (but even that small area needs 3-4 drops).
I also noticed my hands were orange in the morning (I hope it never looked like that on my face!!!). Probably due to a little oxidation but at this price I'm not throwing it away.

I used to be such a big fan of PC but in the last few years Ms. Begoun’s company is committing many of the same sins she used to hammer everyone else for (particularly the ever-climbing prices). The products are good but they all used to be around $35 or less just 5 years ago (which is what was so great about her company. Really good skin care at reasonable prices).
Now they're all $35 or MORE and she seems to have thrown that long-held gripe out the window.

She also used to berate other companies for having multitudes of the same products, and too many product lines. Now doing the same thing.
Why name and package 2% Salicylic Acid three different ways if not to try to hook unsuspecting customers.

* SKIN PERFECTING BHA Liquid - 2% Salicylic Acid
* CLEAR Regular Strength Exfoliating Solution - 2% Salicylic Acid
* CLEAR Extra Strength Exfoliating Solution - 2% Salicylic Acid
(don't know where the “extra strength” comes in because its NOT from increased Salicylic Acid!!).

And eye creams. For how many years did we hear that eye creams were a completely unnecessary gimmick. Well surprise, surprise. Who’s brought out her own eye cream.

The Beautypedia reviews don't seem so impartial anymore. And even the samples have shrunk. Australia we're paying an extra $15-$30 more per product than our American counterparts. (Why? Things don't take six months to get here by sea anymore. You can't use the “Australia is so far away” argument in 2017 to justify it).

As an example the U.S. website recently said "spend $70 and get a free travel size BHA" while the Australian site said "spend $100 and get a free travel size BHA".

This Vit C Booster - $49 in the U.S. Currently $62 here in Australia.

All of this completely goes against everything she stood for.

I live 10 minutes away from where the Australian PC office USED to be, so would call in and pick up my orders in person and got to know the staff quite well. To say the split was nasty is an understatement. When PC was just first starting out and wanted to come to Australia, the contacts here found an office, had their own Point of Sale and customer database software custom written, and designed, paid for and sent out their own advertising. Once it got big she didn't need them anymore. She demanded they hand over the software with all the clients (which they refused to do) so then she starved them of replacement stock, and with no stock they had to close.
It was really sad. They were such great ladies and single-handedly contributed to her success in Australia. And the thanks they got was a nasty, bitter breakup.

Behind this and all the other hypocrisy (the ever-climbing high prices, the product repetition, the eye cream, the samples) it's obvious money is now the SINGLE DRIVING FORCE. (Why else would Australian buyers be slugged an extra $20-$30 bucks each product if not to make up the differences in the greenback vs the Australian dollar).
But this is exactly what she herself railed against for all those years.

I understand the company has now changed hands a couple of times but she's still on the Board. She has a voice. These hypocritical decisions are being made in HER name.

But it would seem it doesn't matter that her WHOLE LIFE’s PHILOSOPHY is being burned, as long as those big bucks keep rolling in. I'm so disappointed in Paula. I truly thought she was going to be different. I guess bringing in big investment firms means having to continually bring in big profits.

But - you teach people how to treat you. And as long as we all keep coughing up big dollars for skin care, they'll keep charging us big dollars (even fallen and hypocritical self-appointed “crusaders” like Paula).
Sadly it seems the lure of the dollar gets to everybody in the end.

I still have some PC products which I'll continue to use, just to use them up, but I won't repurchase. I can't support a company I don't respect and I'm just so disappointed with the direction they've gone in (compared to what they once were).
They could've taken the world by storm if greed hadn't gotten in the way.
(And this is why The Ordinary has now done exactly that).

28 of 30 people found this helpful.

on 5/22/2017 6:04:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Olive, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Brown

Let me preface this review with the fact that I have not tried very many C serums, yet. Of the four I've tried, Paula's Choice C15 was the only L-AA formulation. It also contains E and Ferulic Acid, putting it on par ingredient-wise with other products such as those offered by Skinceuticals. The PC version is far cheaper than Skinceuticals, but is not as affordable as indie C+E+F serums I've seen discussed on the boards (CSI, Timeless). I found that my skin drank up the C15 very quickly, which is a double edged sword. On one hand, it meant that skin is ready very soon for the next skin care step. On the other, it meant that if I applied as a single product (ie, not as a "booster" to another serum), that I had to apply quite a bit (and quickly) to get full coverage. This detracts from the overall value, since it means I use it up more quickly than I might if the product was a bit more spreadable. However, given that L-AA formulations are prone to oxidation, which makes them less effective, it is probably just as well that I used the product at a good clip.

The literature I've seen recommends 10% or higher concentration of L-Ascorbic Acid in order to benefit skin, and getting 10% is a bit tricky if this serum is mixed into other products. That is why I decided to only use it as a standalone layer in my skin care regimen--I wanted to be sure that I was always meeting the minimum recommended concentration. The "hot dog" or "lunchmeat" smell mentioned by other reviewers is very strong, and doesn't really dissipate. Night time wearing was out of the question for me, because strong smells affect my ability to sleep. I wore C15 during the day under my sunscreen, which I learned later is recommended in order to help prevent free-radical damage. Since the product was so great at absorbing, I never had any issues with delays in my morning routine, and the product did not add any oiliness or shine to my skin. If anything, it helped prep my skin to better absorb my sunscreen, so I was pleased with this skincare combination.

Here is the sad skin is really too sensitive to wear C15 AND continue to use other actives in my routine. I use BHA in the day, and alternating nights with AHA and Retin-A. Adding C15 put me over the top irritation-wise, but because I haven't tried very many C serums, I don't know what ingredient was bothersome, nor do I know if a lower L-AA concentration would help. I ended up using the remainder of the product on the backs of my hands before applying sunscreen. On both face and hands, C15 had a very rapid effect of brightening my skin, and over time I had some fading of dark spots. There is no doubt in my mind that L-AA is a superstar ingredient. Unfortunately, this formulation offered by PC will not work for me, but I do recommend trying it in case it works well for others.

8 of 8 people found this helpful.

Age: 30-35

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Red, Curly, Coarse

Eyes: Hazel

So right off the bat, as nearly every other reviewer has noted, this smells dreadful — like metallic hotdog water. There's no getting around that. Which is why I only use this product before bed, and why I wash my hands after I use it. But I can deal with the odour (with admittedly a certain amount of queasiness — I'm a vegetarian with a hyper-sensitive sense of smell) because this product is decently priced, and so far pretty good.

I've been using it for a couple of months now and I am definitely noticing my skin becoming brighter, clearer and softer. I should mention, though, that during that time, I've also introduced another new product (Mario Badescu Honey Moisturizer) into my regime, so I can't really just put this down to the one thing.

My skin is sensitive, combination, and a bit acne-prone, with a tendency to get angry and irritated at the drop of the hat. When I have a breakout, I also end up with hyperpigmentation (which this does seem to help with). So far, this hasn't made me break out or made my skin go crazy, which is itself quite impressive.

Downsides... I've read that this only has a shelf-life of 3-4 months, after which time it starts to oxidise and becomes unusable. This probably offsets the otherwise fairly reasonable cost. It also comes in a glass bottle, and I'm always worried it's going to fall into the sink and break.

Edit: Er, I might have spoken too soon. I'm fairly sure that this product is actually the cause of the eczema-like, rough, red patches I've been getting episodically since I started using this stuff. Given how sensitive my skin is prone to be, I'm tempted to try a serum with lower vitamin C concentration and see how that goes — this is 15%, whereas a product like Mario Badescu's is only 7.5%.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

on 4/22/2017 6:49:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Olive, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

Ive gone through one bottle. Although I am a fan of some of PCs products, this didn't do anything for me. I also didn't care for the smell, though it's not nearly as bad as a Biological Recherché cream purificant et al that follows the P50 toner regimen. I have some discoloration which PC glycolic 8% is addressing. This serum did nothing for that issue. As for a glow, I can get that from the better priced 2% liquid BHA. I did keep this in the refrigerator, so freshness wasn't a problem.

UPDATE: after reading the reviews I think my bottle might have arrived already oxidized. (I refrigerated it as soon as I got it). So, I am trying another manufacturers Vitamin C serum (cheaper) to see if there are any different results.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

on 4/16/2017 3:00:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I am currently on my third container of this stuff. I really enjoy it, although I was skeptical at first. To give you some history, I have suffered from acne all my life and just recently (over the past year) stopped getting active spots. I do have quite a lot of scarring though, from years of acne. Now, this stuff isn't over-night magic. But, I mix it with the skin brightening treatment and my scarring has become significantly less noticeable. My skin texture has also improved. My little skin bumps have been smoothed out, which was a really nice benefit I wasn't expecting. It has a very light smell which I happen to enjoy but if you hate scents you should keep in mind that this is not odorless.

Overall, I would recommend this to anyone with acne scars or hyper-pigmentation. Mix it with something (directly on skin didn't work as well for me) and use it twice daily. Give it a few weeks before you decide it does not work.

Since it's a bit expensive, here is my 10$ off code:

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