Finding the ideal sunscreen is like looking for a specific ant in a massive forest. The market is massive, confusing and oversaturated. Finding “the one” can feel like a quest. Take, for example, the Paula’s Choice Clear Ultra-Hydrating Daily Fluid (with SPF 30+) – I bought this product thinking it was one thing and it turned to be something completely different. Admittedly, this was 100% my fault; I will tell you more about that later on!
I don’t think that I have ever used a perfect sunscreen. I either gain a blue/purple ashy pallor (mineral SPFs), they can leave you oily as heck (including the mattifying types), or it otherwise feels heavy on the skin. Reading the description rather briefly of Paula’s Choice Clear Ultra-Hydrating Daily Fluid in the Clear range seemed to be made for me!
I’ve always been interested in the products offered by Paula’s Choice; it’s what I consider a mid-priced brand, but they seem to cater to everyone. The website is user friendly and helps you make an informed purchasing decision. Each product range caters for specific skin types or issues, which means you can easily buy a skincare routine with little thought.
Paula’s Choice Clear Ultra-Hydrating Daily Fluid product claims and ingredients
The product is aimed for those with oily to combination skin types and should help mattify. Mattify and hydrate are not necessarily two words you usually see in the same sentence, but glycerin and silicone are in the formula, which should help with this claim. This product claims to be a non-greasy formula.
This moisturiser has broad-spectrum sun protection, so protects against UVA and UVB, and the SPF is rated at 30+.
As the product has been formulated for oily to combination skin types, this should not block pores, therefore not lead to new spots. The formula also has gentle plant extract antioxidants which Paula’s Choice claims to help calm the skin and fade marks. As there is sunscreen added, it should help prevent existing hyperpigmentation from getting worse and therefore, play a part in getting rid of it!
The generic claim for products such as this is that it helps prevent sun-related ageing of the skin. Let’s be honest sunscreen is one of the few clinically tested items that help prevent ageing, by avoiding sun damage.
There are a number of ingredients in the Paula’s Choice Clear Ultra-Hydrating Daily Fluid, including:
- There are four chemical sunscreen, Octinoxate, Avobenzone, Octisalate and Octocrylene. This is not a ‘reef-safe’ formula, as there are two of the chemical sunscreens present which are not considered safe for reefs.
- Green tea extract – Possess potent antioxidant and skin-soothing properties.
- Vitamin E – another antioxidant which helps defend the skin from stresses caused by UV light exposure.
- Glycerin – appears to be the main hydrator in this formula.
- There is also a range of natural extracts – which all serve as antioxidants.
How I used Paula’s Choice Clear Ultra-Hydrating Daily Fluid
As the product contains sunscreen, it will come as no surprise that this was very much a morning product!
At the time I was using this, I had the most straightforward morning routine ever, which consisted of:
Inkey List Salicylic Acid Cleanser > Timeless 20% Vitamin C + E + Ferulic Acid Serum > Paula’s Choice Clear Ultra-Hydrating Daily Fluid.
Typically with chemical sunscreens, it is good to leave it for 15-20 minutes before heading out into the sun. This time gives the product time to form an even level and dry.
My final thoughts
As stated in the introduction, I was stupidly confused about the purpose of this product. Instead of taking the time to read the full product description, I ordered very quickly as my work train was pulling into its final stop. Not the best strategy for getting the best products and hardly a considered purchase!
I thought that the Paula’s Choice Clear Ultra-Hydrating Daily Fluid was a hydrating sunscreen, nope turns out that this was a moisturiser with sunscreen added. Two very different products, based on the amount you have to apply.
Typically with a sunscreen, you apply far less, than a moisturiser with a sunscreen to get the same level of protection. You use more product as the active SPF ingredients are far more diluted in the formula. I try to limit how many products I use, as my combination skin tends to go into overdrive after about 4 hours after application.
To the left of the image is the product applied from the tube. On the right-hand side of the image is the product rubbed in.
When I first started to use Paula’s Choice Clear Ultra-Hydrating Daily Fluid, I put my usual moisturiser on and then applied the product in question. Within 4 hours of application, my face was an oily mess. After a few times of this happening with precisely the same results, I decided to review the product description and ingredient deck thoroughly; it was then that I realised my mistake!
When applied as a moisturiser, this works well. However, you do need to work up the layers – better two thin layers than one thick—the extra time to absorb leaves a sheen but not an oily looking face. Oil production through the day is about average, but nothing a bit of blotting will not sort out!
Paula’s Choice Clear Ultra-Hydrating Daily Fluid does a decent job, hydrating but does not seem to kick those sebaceous glands into overdrive. I am assuming it is the glycerin in the product we can thank for this. The silicone used in this product feels nice and does not give that ‘overly smoothed’ appearance or feel.
There are no two ways about it – when they say fluid; they mean it. Even after a fair shake, this product is thin as hell; however, other than a slightly tricky application it makes for an even application, which is what you want in a sunscreen.
As a sunscreen, this works pretty well. However, I started using the product when lockdown in the UK just hit, so my exposure to the outside was limited somewhat! As it has a relatively light texture reapplication is a breeze, and remains relatively undetectable on the skin.
For me, after some time in the sun, I notice a fair amount of tanning – so I would probably use this during Spring and Autumn rather than summer.
I noted that Paula’s Choice Clear Ultra-Hydrating Daily Fluid was relatively easy to rub off, but a double cleanse is needed to get it all off as it does seem to have some water resistance properties.
I personally still prefer a mineral sunscreen over a chemical one. As a mineral SPF provides a physical barrier; however, the trade-off is you are likely to be left ashy or with a blue/purple hue; especially with darker skin tones. Whereas with chemical sunscreen, there is an element of heat on the skin as the chemical sunscreen converts the sun’s rays. Heat can sometimes make hyperpigmentation worse, which is something I try to avoid at all times.
Two quick notes about the packaging, you will notice that my pictures have a compressed bottle. This compression is because the nozzle (packaging) does not allow air back into the product; I assume to keep the product fresh and to avoid contamination. The screw-on lid is not the easiest to apply on, especially just after handling the product – it doesn’t always ‘catch’ on the first try.
While using the Clear Ultra-Hydrating Daily Fluid, I didn’t notice my pores clogging up or any more than usual spots making an appearance. I honestly didn’t see any change in the appearance of my pores; however, I have a pretty good exfoliation regime; but as it doesn’t clog them, it didn’t make them more prominent.
Overall, I think this is a great spring or autumn moisturiser and sunscreen; this seems ideally suited (as claimed) for those with blemish-prone skin. As a person with combination skin, this works pretty well; however, those with an oily skin type might find this product too hydrating. As this is a 2-in-1 product, I would be more inclined to use the product when the sun is not particularly intense, for those days you cannot beat a dedicated sunscreen for the reasons I mentioned above.
I was impressed with the Clear Ultra-Hydrating Daily Fluid, so I will certainly be checking out more of Paula’s Choice range.
At the time of writing, you can purchase a 60ml tube of Paula’s Choice Clear Ultra-Hydrating Daily Fluid for £34.00 from Paula’s Choice.
The Clear Ultra-Hydrating Daily Fluid is a good for my preferences suited to warm but not overly hot weather. It is the first two-in-one product that didn’t have me wanting to run for the hills.
I think that if this formula had a higher SPF rating, I would probably use this all day all year round. Since it does not, I would keep it in mind for the forthcoming autumn.
Have you used this product or something like it? Tell me about your experiences in the comments section below.
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