paula begoun

Paula’s Choice is a skincare line that was started by Paula Begoun. According to their website, Paula’s Choice Skincare was created with both a commitment to customer advocacy and education in mind. They also state that both of these aspects remain core elements in their product development and philosophy today.

Paula Begoun is not only a globally-recognized expert in the skincare and cosmetics industry, but she is also a radio host and an internationally known author with 18 titles to her name.

Paula Begoun is most known for her critiques of other skincare lines and products that are currently on the market. Her website, Beautypedia, reviews and critiques beauty products from many favorite skincare lines and even compares them to the Paula’s Choice brand products. They claim that their reviews are based on published scientific research and not their personal thoughts after using the products.

“No one needs to use a product to find out that it’s bad for their skin, the same way you don’t need to smoke a cigarette to find out that it’s bad for you. The research is there to inform us, and when it comes to skincare, it’s the research that matters most.”

While some consumers believe Beautypedia is biased towards the Paula’s Choice brand, Paula and her team say they are committed to the highest standards of “fact, excellence, and honesty.”

Paula’s Choice Clear for Acne

Paula’s Choice Clear for Acne is a three-step routine that helps to get mild to moderate acne under control without causing dryness, flaking, redness or discomfort. The kit includes the following products:

CLEAR Pore Normalizing Cleanser (177ml/6 fl. oz.)

​CLEAR Pore Normalizing Cleanser

CLEAR Regular Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution with 2% Salicylic Acid (118ml/4 fl. oz.)

clear anti redness exfoliating solution 2 percent bha regular strength 6200L

​CLEAR Regular Strength Daily Skin Clearing Treatment with 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide (67 ml/2.25 fl. oz.)

CLEAR Regular Strength Daily Skin Clearing Treatment with 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide

The lightweight formulas are said to be both gentle and tough on breakouts. These three products work together to provide pore-clearing and hydrating benefits, and when used daily, it successfully maintains the user’s results.

When used together, all three products work together to lessen excess oil, unclog and shrink enlarged pores, dislodge blackheads and help to control mild to moderate acne breakouts.

What’s in Paula’s Choice Clear for Acne?

The Paula’s Choice Clear for Acne kit comes with three different products. Listed below are each of the products, what they do for the skin and what ingredients are in them.

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  • ​The CLEAR Pore Normalizing Cleanser is said to be completely non-irritating and won’t cause dryness or flaking. This cleansing gel has a silky feel that works quickly to remove excess oil and debris that can clog up pores, leading to breakouts.This cleansing gel works to prevent breakouts on both the face and body by gently removing dirt and excess oil, all while fighting acne with salicylic acid, leaving skin feeling refreshed and clean.
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    Ingredients List
    Salicylic Acid 0.5%, Water (Aqua), Sodium Lauroyl, Sarcosinate, Acrylates/Steareth-20 Methacrylate Copolymer, Glycerin, PEG-200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Arginine, Butylene Glycol, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Panthenol, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Citrate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin

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  • ​This non-irritating, leave-on exfoliant works to help reduce blackheads, white bumps, and acne by unclogging pores and calming redness. With no harsh ingredients to cause further irritation to the user’s skin, this product is appropriate even for skin prone to cystic acne.The CLEAR Regular Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution with 2% Salicylic Acid immediately goes to work fighting both mild to moderate acne. The lightweight texture feels as if there is nothing on the skin and yet, it delivers powerful anti-acne benefits.
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    Ingredients List
    Salicylic Acid 2%, Water (Aqua), Dipropylene Glycol (hydration), Pentylene Glycol (hydration), Polysorbate 20 (stabilizer), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Glycerin (skin replenishing), Sodium Hyaluronate (hydration/skin replenishing), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (skin-soothing), Allantoin (skin-soothing), Panthenol (hydration), PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer (texture-enhancing), Methyl Gluceth-20 (hydration), Glycereth-26 (texture-enhancing), Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane (hydration), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Tetrasodium EDTA (stabilizer), Sodium Metabisulfite (stabilizer)

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  • This oil-free, ultra-light lotion helps in fighting both existing and future acne breakouts on both the face and body. It helps to control not only excess oil but also sooth skin and visibly calm redness while its hydrating properties help to minimize dryness and peeling.The CLEAR Regular Strength Daily Skin-Clearing Treatment with 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide is said to work on contact to help disrupt the causes of acne. This acne solution is designed to be used twice a day. The super-light lotion texture sets to an invisible matte finish and can even be worn under makeup.
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    Ingredients List
    ​Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5% (anti-acne), Water (Aqua), Propylene Glycol (hydration/penetration enhancer), Bisabolol (skin-soothing), Allantoin (skin-soothing), Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer (texture-enhancing), Hydroxyethylcellulose (texture-enhancing), Sodium Citrate (pH adjuster), Laureth-4 (stabilizer), Caprylyl Glycol (preservatives), Hexylene Glycol (preservatives), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Phenoxyethanol (preservative)

​How Does Paula’s Choice Clear Stand Up to Its Competitors?

Paula’s Choice has some tough competition when it comes to acne kits. While Paula’s Choice may be a popular name, it has to compete with the likes of Proactive, Clinique and even Neutrogena.

In order to see where Paula’s Choice Clear for Acne treatment, let's take a few minutes to look at what these other brands have to offer consumers.

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  • ​Neutrogena claims that their Complete Acne Therapy System has the power to control acne while also being gentle on the user’s skin. By using the two leading over-the-counter acne medicines, this kit contains three acne skin care products that are clinically shown to significantly reduce many signs of acne in just four days, including breakouts and blackheads.
  • Price: $23.00
  • Consumer Rating: 3.9/5

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  • ​The Clinique Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Kit is a three-piece set that produces clearer skin. This kit is powered by Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel, the treatment that’s allegedly as good as a leading topical prescription in clearing acne.The mild medicated cleanser helps to clear and prevent acne by removing dirt and excess oil while the ultrapowerful daily treatment gel is enriched with salicylic acid to start clearing blemishes immediately. The lightweight, oil-free hydrator then delivers essential moisture without causing added congestion.
  • Price: $28.00
  • Consumer Rating: 4.1/5

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  • ​Proactiv claims to be the first of it’s kind when it comes to a combination therapy system, one that started a skincare revolution. It was designed specifically for acne-prone skin and delivers finely milled benzoyl peroxide deep into pores to help stop acne-causing bacteria and prevent new breakouts from forming.
  • Price: $29.95
  • Consumer Rating: 3.8/5

Where Does Paula’s Choice Clear Stand Price-Wise?

This three-piece system is priced at $46.00, around $20.00 more than the products mentioned above.

One noticeable difference is the amount of product users get with each product. Just take a look for yourself.

Paula’s Choice:

paulas choice clear

Cleanser – 6 oz. Exfoliant – 4 oz. Blemish Treatment 2.25 oz.


proactiv solution

Cleanser – 6 oz. Exfoliant – 4 oz. Blemish Treatment 2.25 oz.



​Cleanser – 5.1 oz. Acne Control Lotion – 1.4 oz. Moisturizer with Sunscreen – 1.7 oz.



​Cleanser – 1.7 oz. Clarifying Lotion – 3.4 oz. Treatment – 1 oz.

Paula’s Choice Clear for Acne provides more product to customers, so the fact that the price is higher really isn’t surprising. So, for $46.00, users are getting more for their money, and Paula’s Choice does offer a 60-day money back guarantee. This allows users to receive either a full refund or a credit for products returned within 60 days of purchase.

What Are Consumers Saying About Paula’s Choice Clear?

Based on what reviewers have said on the Paula’s Choice website, users have rated this three-piece product at a 4.3 out of 5 stars. This puts Paula’s Choice Clear for Acne above Proactiv, Neutrogena, and Clinique.

So, what is it that makes Paula’s Choice better then it’s competition? Below, we have compiled both a pro and con list based on what users have had to say about the product. Because, let’s be honest, as a consumer, you want to know what other consumers had to say.

Pros and Cons 

For many users, this three-step system was a total hit. They found that this system was not only easy to use but that it treated some of their worst acne while also helping to reduce the look of old acne scars. Even during their acne-prone hormonal cycles, many women saw a drastic change after using the product for a few months.

One major aspect that consumers enjoyed was the fact that the cleanser left their skin soft and smooth, even those who suffer from oily and even sensitive skin. The fact that this product is so gentle has many users through the roof.

With every product, there is a good side and a bad side. Moreover, for every good review, there is almost always a negative review. That being said, those that tried the product and disliked it all seemed to agree that the system was either ineffective, or it dried the skin out.

One issue that some consumers ran into was the product irritating their skin so much that it actually burned their faces. Some experienced drying that was severe enough to cause not only redness but also peeling of the skin in areas that they used the product.


  • ​Lightweight
  • ​Non-greasy
  • ​Softens Skin
  • ​Soothes Skin
  • ​Moisturizes


  • ​Irritates Skin
  • ​Not Effective
  • ​Dries Skin

Is Paula’s Choice Clear a Clear Winner?

Is Paula’s Choice Clear the clear winner when it comes to acne systems? Based on customer reviews it seems as if Paula’s Choice Clear for Acne is a top contender.

Yes, it does cost more than many three-piece systems currently on the market, but it also does what consumers expect it to do.

Consumers also get the advantage of getting more product to use. When it comes to oz in a product, especially a cleanser, a little can go a long way. So by offering more product plus a money back guarantee, Paula’s Choice is allowing their consumers to really get to use the product with less stress of “wasting” their money.

Will every facial cleaning system work for everyone? No. While most products, including Clear for Acne, state that their product can work for any skin type, everyone has variations that prevent them from being able to use certain products. Just because it says for sensitive skin, it doesn’t mean it is ideal for severely sensitive skin. Users should always remember to test the product on the skin in a small patch before applying to their entire face to avoid any major negative side effects.

With that being said, what do we think of Paula’s Choice Clear for Acne? Overall, this product scores a 4.3 out of 5 stars. Why? Because it provides users with more product for their money, the fact that consumers ranked it higher than many top acne systems currently on the market, and because Paula’s Choice allows consumers a 60-day money back guarantee.

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