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Skin Balancing Essential Kit

This 4-product kit includes the core products to balance normal to oily or combination skin, minimize pores, fight blackheads and reduce wrinkles.
Item #: 409
  • Blackheads, Enlarged Pores
  • Normal to Oily Skin; Combination Skin
  • 4 Products: cleanser, daily exfoliant, day moisturizer with SPF, night moisturizer

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Skin Balancing Essential Kit

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This kit is for those with normal to oily or combination skin seeking the core products essential for any daytime and nighttime skincare routine.

Products in the Skin Balancing Essential Kit include:

Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser:
Normal to Oily/Combination Skin
Refresh your normal to oily or combination skin with this light, cushiony cleanser that effectively removes excess oil and makeup without stripping skin.

Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant:
Normal to Oily/Combination Skin
Rapidly exfoliate both the skin’s surface and inside the pore for radiant skin with this lightweight, non-occlusive formula.

Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30:
Normal to Oily/Combination Skin
Rejuvenate your skin and restore healthy cell function with this weightless, mattifying moisturizer with sunscreen.

Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel:
Normal to Oily/Combination Skin
This weightless gel contains antioxidants and niacinamide, in a shine-free gel that generates healthy, younger skin cells.

NOTE: Those allergic to aspirin (acetylsalicylate) should not use products containing salicylic acid (beta hydroxy acid).

Sources to support the claims made for Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser

Biochemistry and Pharmacology, June 2007, pages 1,786-1,795; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2007, pages 124-135; Contact Dermatitis, June 2006, pages 303-312; Skin Research and Technology, February 2005, pages 53–60; Dermatologic Therapy, January 2004, pages 16–25; Cutis, December 2001, Supplemental, pages 12–19; Skin Research and Technology, July 2001, pages 49–55; and Contact Dermatitis, June 1999, pages 310–315.

Sources to support the claims made for SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid exfoliant

International Immunopharmacology, August 2009, pages 1,126–1,130; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2007, pages 124-135; The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, February 2006, pages 416–421; Journal of Cosmetic Science, November-December 2004, pages 519-531; Archives of Internal Medicine, July 2002, pages 1531–1532; Annals of Dermatology and Venereology, January 2002, pages 137–142; Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, volume 175, issue 1, pages 76–82; Preservatives for Cosmetics, 2006, by David Steinberg, Allured Publishing, pages 39-40; Pain, January 1996, pages 71–82; and Seminars in Dermatology, December 1990, pages 305–308.

Sources to support the claims made for Skin Balancing Daily Defense SPF 30

Archives of Dermatological Research, March 2010, pages 71–83; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, September 2009, pages 299–304; Skin Research and Technology, August 2009, pages 338–345; Dermatologic Surgery, July 2009, pages 1,057–1,065; Experimental Dermatology, June 2009, pages 522–526; Clinics in Dermatology, November-December 2008, pages 614–626; Skin Therapy Letter, September 2008, pages 5–9; Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, July 2008, pages S7–S12; Food and Chemical Toxicology, April 2008, pages 1,298–1,307; Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Volume 72, pages 796–806; Future Oncology, December 2008, pages 841–856; Journal of Pathology, January 2007, 241–251; International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology, July-September 2005, pages 497-502; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, January 2002, pages 117–125; Clinical Experimental Dermatology, October 2001, pages 573–577; and Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, September 1999, pages 661–665.

Sources to support the claims made for Skin Balancing INVISIBLE FINISH Moisture Gel

Clinics in Dermatology, November-December 2008, pages 614–626; British Journal of Dermatology, July 2008, pages 23-34; Journal of Radiation; Journal of Molecular Medicine, February 2008, pages 221-231; British Journal of Dermatology, August 2007, pages 295–300; Experimental Dermatology, July 2005, pages 498–508; International Journal of Dermatology, March 2005, pages 197–202; Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, February 2005, pages 287–295; Journal of Dermatological Science, volume 31, 2003, pages 193–201; and Cosmetic Dermatology, December 2001, pages 37–40.

Product Ingredients:

Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser:
Water (Aqua), Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (gentle cleansing agents), Sodium Lauroamphoacetate (gentle cleansing agents), Stearic Acid (fatty acid thickener), Glycerin (skin-repairing ingredient), Glycol Distearate (skin-conditioning/opacifying agent), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil (non-fragrant plant oil), Acrylates Copolymer (film-forming agent), Cetearyl Alcohol (thickener), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract (water-binding agent), Sodium Chloride (stabilizer and pH-adjusting agents), Sodium Hydroxide (stabilizer and pH-adjusting agents), Xanthan Gum (thickener), Caprylyl Glycol (preservatives), Hexylene Glycol (preservatives), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant:
Water (Aqua), Methylpropanediol (slip agents/penetration enhancers), Butylene Glycol (slip agents/penetration enhancers), Salicylic Acid (beta hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Polysorbate 20 (solubilizing agent), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (anti-irritant/antioxidant), Sodium Hydroxide (pH balancer), Tetrasodium EDTA (chelating agent)

Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30:
Active Ingredients: Oxybenzone 4%; Avobenzone 3%; Homosalate 7%; and Octocrylene 2%; (sunscreen agents).
Other Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Butylene Glycol (slip agent), Silica (absorbent), Cetyl Dimethicone (silicone-based emollient), Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate (absorbent/thickener), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder (water-binding agent), Ascorbyl Palmitate (vitamin C/antioxidant), Phospholipids (cell-communicating ingredient), Superoxide Dismutase (antioxidant enzyme), Adenosine (cell-communicating ingredient), Tocopherol (vitamin E/antioxidant), Bisabolol (anti-irritant), Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract (antioxidant/anti-irritant plant extract), Colloidal Oatmeal (plant-based anti-irritant), Panthenol (skin-conditioning agent), Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract (anti-irritant), Acrylate/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer (film-forming agent), Titanium Dioxide (opacifying agent), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Steareth-21, Steareth-2, Polysorbate 20 (emulsifiers), Disodium EDTA (chelating agent), Phenoxyethanol (preservative), Sorbic Acid (preservative).

Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel:
Water (Aqua), Cyclopentasiloxane (silicone slip agent), Butylene Glycol (slip agent), Glycerin (skin-identical ingredient), Bis-Phenylpropyl Dimethicone (silicone slip agent), Niacinamide (vitamin B3/cell communicating ingredient), Laminaria Saccharina (Algae) Extract (water-binding agent), Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract (anti-irritant), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract (antioxidant), Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil (emollient plant oil/lubricant), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E/antioxidant), Phenyl Trimethicone (silicone slip agent), Dimethicone (silicone slip agent), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (anti-irritant), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C/antioxidant), Sodium Hyaluronate (skin identical ingredient), Phospholipids (cell-communicating ingredient), Superoxide Dismutase (antioxidant), Isohexadecane (emulsifier), Panthenol (Vitamin B5/water-binding agent), Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer (film-forming/ water-binding agent), Sodium Carbomer (gel-based thickener), Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer (silicone film-forming agent), Polysorbate 80 (thickener), Hydroxyethylcellulose (gel-based thickener), Ethylhexylglycerin (preservative), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser:
DIRECTIONS: Wet face and apply a small amount of cleanser to your face and eye area with vigorous, yet gentle, circular motions. Rinse well. To remove heavy makeup, repeat or use with a clean, wet washcloth.

Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant:
DIRECTIONS: Apply once or twice daily after cleansing and toning. Lightly soak a cotton pad and apply over the entire face, including the eye area (avoid the lower lash line and eyelids). Do not rinse. For daytime, follow with a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 25 or greater.

Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30:
DIRECTIONS: Apply liberally before sun exposure as the last step in your morning skin-care routine. Allow a moment to dry before applying makeup. For extra sun protection and to create a flawless finish, follow with a Paula’s Choice foundation and pressed powder with sunscreen.

Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel:
DIRECTIONS: Ideal for softening and smoothing the face, neck and eye area. At night, use as the last step in your skincare routine. For daytime, follow with a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 25 or greater.

Detailed instructions on how/when to apply your Paula's Choice products can be found in our How to Put Together Your Own Skin-Care Routine article.

Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser:

How is Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser different from the One Step Face Cleansers?

Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser cleanses skin every bit as well as both Hydralight and Moisture Boost One Step Face Cleansers, but uses a different ingredient composition to do so. The One Step cleansers do not foam or lather, but Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser does, albeit mildly. Many customers prefer this type of lathering cleanser, even though the lather itself has no effect on cleansing ability.

I have oily skin. Which cleanser should I use?

Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser would be great, or, if you prefer a gel texture, Hydralight One Step Face Cleanser is the way to go. If you have oily skin and breakouts, go for CLEAR Pore Normalzing Cleanser.

Will Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser leave my skin feeling dry & taut?

No. Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser was carefully formulated to cleanse the skin thoroughly and remove makeup plus excess oil without stripping or drying the skin.

Do I still need to use an eye makeup remover?

Only if you are wearing waterproof mascara, waterproof makeup, or long-wearing lip color or stains. Otherwise, this cleanser is effective at gently removing all other types of face and eye makeup.

Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant:

What's the difference between AHA and BHA exfoliants? Do I need both?

When properly formulated, both AHAs and BHA are brilliant options for exfoliating the surface of skin. Both AHA and BHA work to reduce wrinkles, stimulate collagen, and firm skin but each has its special qualities you'll want to consider when deciding which one to use:
  • AHAs are preferred for sun-damaged and dry skin because they exfoliate on the surface of skin and have the added benefit of also improving moisture content.
  • BHA is preferred for oily, acne-prone skin and for treating blackheads and white bumps because BHA can get through the oil that's clogging your pores, normalizing the lining of the misshapen pore that contributes to acne.
  • BHA has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial action. Those are two more reasons to use a BHA exfoliant if you have acne or sensitive, reddened skin.
  • BHA is preferred for those struggling with rosacea. Not everyone with rosacea can tolerate an exfoliant, but it is wise to experiment with a BHA product to see how your rosacea responds.

If your skin is sun-damaged and you're also struggling with acne or clogged pores, add a BHA product to your routine.

If you'd like to use an AHA and BHA at the same time, that is an option, though not really necessary. Some people find they work well when they're applied at the same time, but if you want to give this a try it is best to apply them separately, one during the day and one in the evening.

How do I use an AHA or BHA exfoliant?

  • You can apply an AHA or BHA product once or twice a day.
  • You can also apply either of these around the eye area but not on the eyelid or directly under the eye.
  • Apply the AHA or BHA product after your face is cleansed and after your toner has dried.
  • Once the AHA or BHA has been absorbed, you can apply any other product in your routine, such as moisturizer, serum, eye cream, sunscreen, and/or foundation.
  • If you're using a topical prescription product such as Renova, other retinoids, or any of the topical prescription products for rosacea, apply the BHA or AHA first.

Your AHA (glycolic acid) products have a higher percentage than your BHA (salicylic acid) products. Does this mean AHA is a stronger exfoliant?

AHA products are most effective at a 5% to 10% concentration and BHA at 1% to 2% concentration. Think about it like making bread, the amount of yeast you need is tiny in comparison to the amount of flour you use but equally important to get the results you want. The percentage of effectiveness varies depending on the ingredient. Rest assured that the BHA products are not any less effective due to lower concentrations of the exfoliant.

The Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant feels sticky and kind of greasy on my face! Why is that?

If the BHA is feeling sticky, you are probably using too much product. The average amount necessary for facial application of the 2% BHA is less than the size of a dime. The product is best applied in a thin layer, and has great spreading properties. The "greasy" feel can be attributed to the high levels of glycol in this product (glycol helps the BHA penetrate the surface layers of skin and also works as a water-binding agent). If you live in a humid, moist climate, this effect will be more pronounced and, if too much product is used, can create a "greasy" feel on the skin. Many customers have remarked how silky-soft their skin is as a result of using the 2% BHA Liquid, and that is the result of the humectants working with the BHA to exfoliate and hydrate the skin.

At what point after my laser and/or peel procedure can I begin using my BHA exfoliant again?

First, we urge you to follow the post-procedure instructions your doctor or nurse provided. If nothing was mentioned about when to resume use of a BHA exfoliant, please contact the doctor's office where you had the procedure done. Otherwise, our general advice is to begin using your BHA again as soon as possible. Or, if your skin seems extra-sensitive, you may want to wait and apply the BHA exfoliant a few days post-procedure. Salicylic acid is an excellent anti-inflammatory ingredient that can enhance skin's natural healing process as it works to reduce post-procedure redness.

Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30:

Should I reapply Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense during the day?

As with any SPF-rated product, you'll need to reapply every 2 hours if you've been perspiring or have engaged in activities that may cause the sunscreen to become diluted or wear off, such as going for a swim. For casual, limited sun exposure on a daily basis when you're not perspiring, reapplication isn't necessary. For long days outdoors, most experts recommend reapplying at regular intervals, as well as seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and limiting your time in direct sunlight during peak hours (typically between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.).

How does Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense SPF 30 differ from your former Skin Balancing Daily Mattifying Lotion SPF 15?

The major difference is the significant increase in SPF ratings. Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense also contains a higher amount of avobenzone and no longer contains octinoxate as an active ingredient, as some people find that sensitizing when used around the eyes, and we wanted to avoid that potential issue.

One other difference is that Skin Balancing Daily Mattifying Lotion SPF 15 contained the cell-communicating ingredient niacinamide, whereas the updated Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense SPF 30 does not. Instead, the current formula contains a different mix of cell-communicating ingredients. Also, the latest version contains a broader range of antioxidants, including stabilized vitamin C and pure vitamin E—both known to boost skin's environmental defenses and help prevent collagen breakdown.

Is Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense SPF 30 suitable for breakout-prone skin?

Yes. Its lightweight, fluid texture and soft matte finish are ideal for breakout-prone skin. This daytime moisturizer with sunscreen also works beautifully under makeup or applied over any Paula's Choice serum.

Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel:

Should I consider this product if I currently use Paula's Choice Hydralight Moisture-Infusing Lotion?

This is a matter of preference. If you prefer your moisturizer to feel weightless while keeping skin smooth and soft, then Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel is for you. Either formula will take care of dry (but not very dry) skin without feeling heavy or occlusive, and both leave skin matte.

Should I consider this moisturizer or RESIST Anti-Aging Clear Skin Hydrator if my concerns are wrinkles and breakouts?

Either moisturizer contains anti-aging ingredients that help your skin look and act younger. RESIST Anti-Aging Clear Skin Hydrator was specially formulated for those struggling with wrinkles and breakouts, particularly if your breakouts leave red marks that you'd like to fade. If that describes your skin, go for the RESIST option. If not, enjoy the weightless smoothing and anti-aging benefits provided by Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel. Or, you can alternate between the two, applying one in the morning (under your SPF-rated product) and the other at night.

My skin is normal, without any really oily or dry areas. Do I need a moisturizer?

Your skin needs the beneficial ingredients found in our formulations. Our state-of-the-art toners can suffice if you don't want to use moisturizer every day. Our Skin Balancing Moisture Gel and Hydralight Moisture-Infusing Lotion are weightless moisturizers that can make you feel like you aren't wearing anything on your face at all, but your skin is improving from the state-of-the-art ingredients these products supply.

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