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Helping People Achieve Clear Skin Since 2007

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Review: Paula’s Choice CLEAR Regular Strength Kit

By Megan Griffith

Reviewed for medical accuracy by Dr. Jaggi Rao,
MD, FRCPC Double board-certified dermatologist

Paula’s Choice is a top-rated skin care brand, and their CLEAR line is designed for acne-prone skin specifically. The Regular Strength Kit is one of our top three acne treatments for several reasons. Each product uses top quality ingredients in responsible concentrations, they combine to create a relatively low-maintenance skin care kit, they come with a reliable product guarantee, and the kit is available at a relatively affordable price of $48 for a 60-day supply. Still, it’s not without its flaws. This review will go over every detail of the Paula’s Choice CLEAR Regular Strength Kit so you can make an informed decision about whether it’s right for your skin.


  • The kit contains several excellent ingredients for fighting acne, including salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and glycerin, and a few not so great ingredients like sodium laureth sulfate and laureth-4.
  • With only three steps, the kit provides a low-maintenance skin care routine.
  • Every Paula’s Choice product comes with a guarantee that allows you to return it for a full refund within 60 days of purchase.
  • Unlike many skin care companies that make claims about their products that can’t possible be proven, Paula’s Choice includes published scientific research with each of their products so you can rest assured that they really work.

A Safe and Effective Formula

The very first thing we look into when reviewing a product is its formula. If the formula is ineffective or unsafe, then none of the other factors could possibly make up for it. Happily, that was not the case with the Regular Strength Kit.

Pore Normalizing Cleanser: The first step in the Regular Strength Kit is the Pore Normalizing Cleanser. Its formula is designed to both cleanse the skin of excess oil or dead skin cells and hydrate and protect the skin. To do this, Paula’s Choice has combined protective ingredients like water, glycerin, and glyceryl cocoate, along with cleansing ingredients like sodium lauroyl sarcosinate and sodium lauryl sulfate. Unfortunately, this last ingredient is often irritating to dry or sensitive skin and is somewhat likely to clog pores. It is an incredibly common ingredient in many face washes, but it’s something we recommend avoiding if you have acne.

Paula's choice kit
Paula’s Choice CLEAR Regular Strength Kit is an affordable way to get acne under control.

Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution: The second step in the Regular Strength Kit is the Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution, which is designed to exfoliate your skin. Its main active ingredient is 2% salicylic acid, a relatively high concentration of a beta-hydroxy acid that chemically exfoliates the skin. However, it also contains several hydrating ingredients to prevent the salicylic acid from drying out the skin too much. The only problem with this product is the fact that it includes laureth-4, a polymer that is extremely likely to clog pores.

Skin Clearing Treatment: The final step is the Skin Clearing Treatment, which is designed to kill the acne-causing bacteria that lead to pimples using benzoyl peroxide, a common over-the-counter ingredient that has been thoroughly studied and proven to successfully kill acne-causing bacteria. Thankfully, the Clearing Treatment only uses a 2.5% concentration, which is exactly what we would recommend. Unfortunately, this product also contains laureth-4, and thus may cause clogged pores.

A Low-Maintenance Routine

woman in mirror
The most important aspect of skin care is that it’s consistent because that’s the best way to prevent acne.

One of the most underrated factors in choosing the best skin care is how much time and energy the routine requires. When you have a serious breakout and you’re determined to do whatever it takes to get clear skin, it can be easy to dedicate yourself to a 14-step program, but once your skin starts to clear up, will you stick with it? The most important aspect of skin care is that it’s consistent because that’s the best way to prevent acne.

If you know you need a relatively low-maintenance routine in order to keep up with consistent skin care, then that’s just one more reason to like the Paula’s Choice CLEAR Regular Strength Kit. With only three steps, the process takes only 5 minutes to complete from start to finish, meaning it fits into nearly everyone’s schedule.

60-Day Product Guarantee

If a company truly believes in their product, they will support it with a product guarantee, and that’s exactly what Paula’s Choice does. All of their products are backed by their Hassle-Free Guarantee, which provides customers with a full refund (including tax) on any product returned within 60 days of purchase. Products returned between 60 days and 180 days will be refunded with store credit, and returns are not accepted after 180 days.

This is a very generous return policy, which is ideal for skin care products. It’s important to test out new products for at least a few weeks, but if it clearly isn’t working for your skin, you really deserve your money back, and Paula’s Choice understands that.

Fair and Transparent Marketing

man looking at files
Paula’s Choice earns your trust by making sure you know everything they know about their products.

One of our favorite things about Paula’s Choice CLEAR product line was how transparent they are with their products. Many skin care companies make outrageous claims that can’t possibly be supported, but Paula’s Choice supported each one of their claims about their products. On each product page, there is a column of research articles that support all of the claims they make about their products. Additionally, their ingredients list is exceedingly transparent as well. After each ingredient, Paula’s Choice has provided a brief explanation of what that ingredient is used for, like “hydration” or “pH adjuster.”

Affordable Cost

Finally, we want to acknowledge the reasonable pricing of the Regular Strength Kit from Paula’s Choice CLEAR. When considering which acne kit to purchase, price is often a major factor. It doesn’t do any good to have the best product on the market and then sell it at prices no one can afford. We’re happy to report that this is not the case for Paula’s Choice. It’s not the cheapest option out there, but if you have some spare change to splurge on your skin care, we definitely think this kit is worth the $48.

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