Paula's Choice DEFENSE Antioxidant Pore Purifier

Paula's Choice DEFENSE Antioxidant Pore Purifier


11 reviews

36% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.8

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 3.8

Price: $$$

Not tested on animals


Water, Propanediol (solvent/hydration), Butylene Glycol (texture enhancer/hydration), Ethoxydiglycol (solvent), Glycerin (skin-replenishing), Ascorbyl Glucoside (vitamin C/antioxidant), Panthenol (hydration), Salicylic Acid (exfoliant), Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (skin-soothing), Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate (skin-brightening), Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Fruit Extract (antioxidant), Ceramide NP (skin-replenishing/restoring), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract (antioxidants), Niacinamide (skin-restoring), Phytic Acid, Epigallocatechin Gallate (antioxidants), Adenosine (skin-restoring), Ubiquinone (coenzyme Q10/antioxidant), Calendula Officinalis (English Marigold) Extract, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract (skin-soothing agents), Sodium Hyaluronate (skin-replenishing), Lecithin (skin-restoring), Centella Asiatica Extract (antioxidant/skin-soothing), Sucrose Stearate (emulsifier), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract (antioxidant), Hydrogenated Lecithin (skin-restoring), Carbomer (texture enhancer), Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate (chelating agent), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (skin-replenishing), Caprylyl Glycol (emollient), Polysorbate 20, Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate (emulsifiers), Hydroxyethylcellulose (texture enhancer), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol (preservatives).

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Age: 30-35

Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

I am so disappointment that people gave high ratings for a product that they will not repurchase or thought that it didn't work for them or that it was gimmicky.

We should be honest in giving ratings. It seems that these reviewers gave up their power to be slaves to companies for which they will not benefit from unless they're paid.

I will echo many of the negative reviews that this product will not do anything even after prolonged use. All the major ingredients are in tiny amounts.

And if you're already using a BHA treatment, adding some more like with this product will only cause irritation. Many dermatologists don't recommend daily exfoliation, especially strong chemical ones.

Guess who recommends it? People who sell them like Paula's Choice. Paula Begoun is not a dermatologist, she's a business person.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I saw Paula pushing this product on her Instagram page and website and then I saw Wayne Goss do a review on it on his Youtube channel and so I bought it. I like it. It's light and sinks in. I'm surprised about the claims, but one thing about this brand is that I never have to worry about ingredients, or whether or not my skin will be getting what it needs. Since using Paula's Choice my skin went from super dry to just normal. When I finish this serum, however, I will not repurchase. I like her Calm serum a lot better and I like using her Super Oxidant serum at night.

on 10/29/2018 4:23:00 PM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Normal, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

A poorly developed product that doesn't really do anything.

This serum has a light texture but can feel slightly tacky after application. Aside from the negligible moisture, I haven't noticed any changes on my skin after using it for a while.

Paula's Choice has strayed from its core philosophy of providing quality products and they're now focusing on marketing nonsense such as this serum that is supposed to fight pollution and protection against blue light with salicylic acid.

But aren't all their products with antioxidants supposed to fight pollution? And don't they have a ton of salicylic acid products with higher percentage that can fight blue light better? What then is this serum really supposed to do? NOTHING!

Remember that people decades ago liked Paula because her products come in high concentration of actives but now, to optimize profits, they just have a sprinkling of these actives. Look at the ingredients list - they have 0.5% salicylic acid and the rest of the actives comes after that ingredient. That's how much you're getting.

And it's NOT using the real azelaic acid, it's a derivative. Take note that with their 10% Azelaic Acid, it's already debatable whether it's going to work or not compared to prescription ones; but this serum not only has a derivative form, it also comes in a super tiny amount.

People and company do change with time especially when profit becomes the foremost goal and banking on Paula's name that made sense decades ago, they're creating nonsense products now that just aren't on par with other quality products out there but they charge you with a hefty price.

To the people reading reviews, please use your judgement. There are reviewers who gave very high rating on this product BUT said that it didn't really do anything or that they won't be buying them again. Many reviewers have their own agenda when writing a feedback and many are blinded by the hope that the company and founder that they like a long time ago still exists in the present day.

9 of 12 people found this helpful.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Very Dry, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I bought this despite my better judgement. I've been a Paula fan now for years and I don't think any amount of negative reviews on this website will bring her company down. I mean, come on people, her brand was recently bought out by a huge conglomerate and the only place her company is going is up. There have been zero scandals with her company.

Anyway, on to the review. I bought this because there are no silicones in it, even though I think this is a repeat product like a lot of her products. I've strayed from her items before, to use Drunk Elephant, only to regret it. I just thought I'd mention that. Wayne Goss did a video on this item, so I snatched it up. Other than it being silicone free, I will say, I like the resist ultra light serum a lot better. I use that at night and the defense during the day. I haven't seen any dramatic change in my skin, however, i will say that I've been using Paula's products since 2001 and I'm 40 years old. When I tell people ask me how old I am, they are startled and think "I'm a kid". I have no brown spots on my face or body and hardly and wrinkles.

My husband likes this serum way better than Resist Ultra light. He says that it's a lot lighter and he doesn't like to feel like he "slopped sh*t on his face."

I think the "defense" claims are asinine, but that won't deter me from giving this a 5 star review. Her pricing is cheaper than Estee Lauder, DE and other brands and with over 15 years of using her brand, I will say that I am really happy with the results. I always buy when there is a sale and she has sales EVERY DAY now. It's awesome.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

This serum is a refreshing change from the silicone based Paula's Choice antioxidant serums. I'm not against silicone per se, but this feels so much lighter and absorbs completely.

It's similar in texture to the PC Calm Repairing Serum, but has a longer ingredient list of antioxidant ingredients and absorbs a bit better with more slip to the product itself. I do find that my skin is calm, lightly moisturized, and smoother after using this. It has an azelaic acid derivative in it, as well as 0.5% salicylic acid which, for those with rosacea like I do, might be the happy medium if you find the 2% BHA formulations too harsh.

So far, no irritation from this product on my rosacea prone skin. One element I really like is the dropper nose of the tube - it allows you to dispense the product without spilling it everywhere or exposing it to light - it's a very good packaging choice and one that Skinceuticals should look into for its dropper style products.

on 10/7/2018 5:19:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

I'm trying this because every other one of Paula's antioxidant formulas has some kind of silicone in it. Cyclopentasiloxane (or whatever the heck it is that gives all modern foundations and sunscreens such a nice texture) breaks me out in less than a day. So far, this hasn't... although, the ingredients list is pretty long, so I'm just keeping my fingers crossed.

Age: 30-35

Skin: Dry, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Green

I have been a paula's choice fan for a while but the company has changed in the last few years. Lots of redoing the lines, repeat products, poor customer service, & filtering their reviews on their website. I have written reviews that never get posted because they were not 5 star reviews. I get that they want to now target a younger crowd with all the "fancy" packaging.

I decided to post my review here because I submitted my review directly to their website and my review was never approved to be on their website. It is disappointing that for whatever reason, they did not like my review so, here it is!

The reality is that this defense line is gimmicky with the marketing. ALL her products with antioxidants should target smog (really?) or pollution or the fight against oxidants.

my skin: dry normal skin i used this for over 1 month now. I have not noticed any improvements but my skin also did not get worse. I have dry skin and while this is not moisturizing it also is not drying.

This product did not wow me, but i also did not hate it.

It absorbed nicely into my skin and this is a good layering product. It is good for a beginner or someone looking for something that is not too strong. I think this could be a lightweight antioxidant serum. It works very well both in the morning and at night with all other products. It works well under makeup too.

I personally won't buy this again because i prefer the stronger stuff/ boosters but this could maybe be good for someone looking for an all in one type product or trying to keep it simple.

one word about this product: BASIC :P

3 of 5 people found this helpful.

Age: 19-24

Skin: Normal, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

Update: It's interesting that some hard core fans of Paula's Choice can't stand to read negative but truthful reviews about their products. From what I've read, the negative reviews are powerful reflection of Paula's Choice products and strategy in the marketpalce.

A reviewer seems to be getting paranoid and delusional about the reviews and about the status being downgraded. This reviewer haven't wrote a review in a long time but just wrote one to defend this product for whatever agenda that might come with it.

Read the other reviews carefully, it reflects both the product and the company as a whole and both go hand in hand. If you can't stand these negative reviews then you have no place in a forum like this.

Reviews, whether positive or negative, are guides for the general public. This is what MUA is all about.


I'm having a buyer's remorse after a week of using this.

I wish I read the first reviewer (jinbox) before purchasing and I would have not purchased this at all.

While I read the product description multiple times and knowing that it has weak salicylic acid and the derivate azelaic acid might not do anything major, I still went ahead and bought it thinking that Paula's Choice wouldn't make a product that did not produce any results.

After a week of use, it didn't really produce anything remarkable. I could have just continued with BHA, niacinamide and others since they're more potent on their own.

I think jinbox's review made a lot of sense and other reviews mirrored the same sentiment. Why indeed repeat something when you can stick with the more potent versions?

12 of 20 people found this helpful.

Age: 30-35

Skin: Normal, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Coarse

Eyes: Brown

For a while I have been looking for a product to use under sunscreen in the morning that will provide a bit of moisture to prevent my sunscreen from drying my skin out and might also help with my pore issues - I'm clog-prone, and have sebaceous filaments on my nose. I use a cleansing oil and Differin Gel to deal with those issues however felt like I need a little more help and this product works perfectly. It's a viscous, transparent fluid and is slightly moisturizing without adding any weight to my skin. In the two weeks I've been using it I've noticed a slight improvement in the appearance of my pores, but the main change has been in how calm and happy my skin feels. It looks better and more radiant in a hard to pinpoint way. Differin sensitizes my skin about and some stronger BHAs have caused problems for me, but this isn't drying at all.

I have one complaint - the salicylic acid is present at 0.5% according to Beautypedia, meaning everything listed after it is present at 0.5% or less. I think this is fine for the antioxidants given that there are many of them and they can work together, but I am disappointed that it contains 0.5% or less niacinamide. It's usually used at 3-5%, not sure this will provide any of the benefits of niacinamide.

A note about the reviews below - I am annoyed by the consistent price increases and the ever increasing number of small, expensive niche products PC has introduced in the last few years, but I'm not sure what that has to do with this product's MUA reviews. Have the reviewers below even tried it? If so, talk about that in your reviews of...this...product.

Edit: I wanted to point out that there is something interesting going on with the reviews of this product. Minutes after posting my review, one of the reviews below that had nothing to do with the product disappeared. Minutes after that a new review that sounds similar to the removed one appeared from a brand new account. This time the reviewer vaguely refers to using the product. In my opinion it's not a very helpful review, yet it was immediately upvoted several times. Then all of my whopping three reviews were downvoted several times including one I wrote in 2016 that hasn't been rated in ages but is, IMO, pretty darn helpful. It's not hard to see what's going on here. All because I don't share a nebulous ire directed at PB/PC and dared to point out that reviews that mention nothing about the product being reviewed aren't actually reviews. I thought about creating several accounts to agree with my review and upvote myself, but that would be, you know, crazy.

12 of 18 people found this helpful.

Age: 25-29

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I must say that I am a little confused by this new line of Paula's Choice products. My main confusion is where exactly this fits into my skin care routine, as well as some of the marketing of blue light protection. Overall, the new Paula's Choice DEFENSE Antioxidant Pore Purifier is a decent product, but this doesn't really contain enough of each highlighted ingredient to be it's own stand alone product. I couldn't really fit this into my evening routine but eventually I was able to fit this into my morning routine. Although from what I understand about blue light the Paula's Choice DEFENSE Antioxidant Pore Purifier doesn't contain anything specific or different to help with blue light. Overall, this product is okay but in my opinion, isn't a must have if you already have a skincare routine that contains AHA/BHA's, Vitamin C, and niacinamide. The nice thing is that a little goes a long way but it is a little pricey. My video review can be seen here:

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