Review: Paula’s Choice – C15 Super Booster (Vitamin C Serum)

Where to purchase: Available at Paula’s Choice: LINK / Sephora: LINK / Cult Beauty: LINK

Price: £49

Volume: 20ml

Made in: USA

What is it?: A Vitamin C Serum containing 15% Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid).

What does it do?: Vitamin C helps protect the skin against photo-ageing (damaging rays from the sun), as well as help stimulate collagen production in the skin and lessen the look of skin pigmentation and an uneven tone. The addition of Ferulic Acid + Peptides also helps protect the skin and smooth out the skin.

Aims to: Help with dark spots + protect the skin from photo-ageing.

Supposedly Good for: All Skin Types

What I think: I would agree that even sensitive skins could use this. I do think Oily Skins > Dry Skins (The C-Firma may suit Dry Skins better link).


Vegan?: Yes

Cruelty Free?: Yes

How long does it last after opening?: 3 Months (Paula’s Choice state that this basically fully oxidises at 3 months). This is very short (but understandable due to the packaging). I don’t think I’ll be able to finish this before this product fully oxidises (It’s even darker than these pictures now). Unopened, this product will last 12 months.

pH: 3.0 (This will sting if you have any open wounds on the skin)

Packaging: Ceramic/glass bottle with a dropper. Not the best or most ideal packaging when it comes to vitamin C (Should be airtight).

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As you can see, this already started turning yellow once I opened it.

Directions: Can be used both in the AM and PM after cleansing, toning and exfoliating. Apply 2-3 drops on the skin or add to a moisturiser / serum. (Can be used alone as well). Use under an SPF in the daytime (SPF30> above).

NOTE: This can be applied under the eyes.

How I use it: I use this in the AM and/or PM. I use it after toning as I do want this quite close to the skin. I don’t use this at the same time as exfoliators (I like to keep things separate to avoid any irritation for my sensitive skin). I use 3-4 drops for both the neck and face. It spreads pretty decently so I don’t need to do more than 5 drops to cover the face.

Key Ingredients: Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) at 15% – A good, hefty and effective amount of Vitamin C that should work/ do the trick. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps prevent collagen damage in the skin due to the sun, and also helps rebuild collagen in the skin (helps with fine lines and wrinkles), and also helps lighten the look of dark spots. Ferulic acid – another antioxidant that is used to help promote and stabilise Vitamin C (help it last longer), both work together as a good and effective pair to protect the skin from free radicals. Propyl Gallate – Another antioxidant. Vitamin E is also included (works well with Vitamin C, scavenging free radicals). The Ferulic Acid also helps stabilise Vitamin E too.

Hexanoyl Dipeptide-3 Norleucine Acetate – A peptide that supposedly reduces the signs of ageing and helps improve the skin’s texture (but that is coming from the manufacturer, so more tests should be done). Glycerin + Hyaluronic Acid – Both Hydrating ingredients. Panthenol + Bisabolol – Soothing.

Full Ingredients: Aqua, Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C/antioxidant), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Ethoxydiglycol (hydration), Glycerin (hydration/skin replenishing), PPG-26-Buteth-26 (texture-enhancing), PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil (texture-enhancing), Pentylene Glycol (skin replenishing), Tocopherol (vitamin E/antioxidant), etanorulayH muidoS (hydration/skin replenishing), Hexanoyl Dipeptide-3 Norleucine Acetate (skin-restoring), Lecithin (skin replenishing), Ferulic Acid (antioxidant), Panthenol (skin replenishing), Bisabolol (skin-soothing), Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract (skin-softening), Propyl Gallate (antioxidant), Sodium Gluconate (stabilizer), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Phenoxyethanol (preservative), Ethylhexylglycerin (preservative).

NOTE: The Incidecoder have a full ingredient breakdown HERE

Texture: Relatively lightweight and watery. It almost feels sticky and tacky, but never quite gets there, not like the C-Firma Serum (Review HERE). This is slightly hydrating too.

Greasy/Sticky finish?: This has a slightly oily residue (it’s not totally a watery finish). Almost feels sticky (But doesn’t quite get there).

Does this Ball up?: No.

As you can see, this looks lightweight and will slide down the hand.

  • As you can see, this leaves a slight shine to the skin (slight oiliness, and slight stickiness, but not too much that it’s difficult to wear.

Does this Sting if the Skin has been Irritated / Sensitised by Shaving/Heavy Retinol Use?: Yes (due to the low pH).

Summer or Winter?: Both seasons can work. I do think Dry Skins would enjoy this more in the summer months and Oily skins would prefer this more in the winter months.

Layerable?: Yes.


Video Swatch:

  • Hopefully you can see the watery nature of this product (has a hint of an oily feel to it. Bu tit’s not sticky. ALSO hopefully you can see just how far gone this product is! Oh my goodness it starts to oxidise so quick! I know the lifetime of this is supposed to be 6 months once opened but I’ve had this for 4 and it’s gotten even darker now since the video above. I really don’t like being rushed to finish my vitamin C serums (especially when this is so expensive).

Fragrance?: Fragrance + EO Free (doesn’t smell much, just slightly acidic).

Good Under Makeup?: As long as you don’t apply too much product (the more you apply the stickier it can get).

How long have I been using this? How long will it last?: I’ve been using this for 2-3 months. It already had a slight yellow tint when I opened it and has darkened quite quickly ever since. PC states this is fully oxidised by 3 months, so I’m nearly getting to the end of this product’s use which is difficult as I don’t like to be rushed to use up a product (I’m guessing why this has 20ml > 30 ml, to try and get you to finish this quicker before time runs out). I think I will be able to finish it before this fully oxidises at least.

The Effect?: This does brighten the skin and help with fine lines.

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What I like:

  • Fragrance + EO Free
  • Cruelty-Free
  • Lightweight
  • Not as sticky or tacky as the DE Serum
  • Didn’t irritate my skin, itch or burn (if it wasn’t sensitised)
  • Doesn’t ball up
  • Does work i.e. brightens the skin + helps improve the skin’s condition
  • Can be used on sensitive skins

What I don’t like:

  • Can get sticky/tacky if too much is added (need to use just a few drops), and has a slightly, almost-oily residue once absorbed. It’s not fully like water where it just disappears into the skin (which is what I would have preferred).
  • This oxidises pretty fast. It’s been difficult trying to use this up before being rendered useless. It was already yellowing when I opened it to use! I think it’s a huge waste of a good formula + texture when the product oxidises quite quickly. I wouldn’t have as much of a problem if this wasn’t so pricey.
  • I’m sure the too simplistic (especially for the price) packaging doesn’t help with how quickly this oxidises.

Overall Rating and Conclusion: 3.9/5 – It’s the slight, almost sticky and almost oily finish of this that prevents me from really enjoying this serum, otherwise it would be a 4. In terms of Western Vitamin C Serums, this is probably the best one I’ve tried so far (in terms of a serum that actually contains a good % of L-AA and no alcohol or fragrance). I prefer this over the DE C-Firma as it’s lighter in texture and more wearable. I like the results I’ve achieved with this too, but the poor packaging leads to fast oxidation which isn’t right to me, when it’s a pricey product.

Would I repurchase?: In terms of a Western Vitamin C product, yes I would repurchase this. But in terms of K-Beauty; COSRX have a new Vitamin C Serum I would like to try out (hoping there is no sticky or oily residue).

Dupe?: The only other effective product is the C-Firma serum (that I’ve tried), however you must be fine with stickier finish (but the C-Firma does last slightly longer due to the mixing process and the airtight packaging: Review LINK).

Note: If you would like to see what other Vitamin C products I have reviewed, then check it out HERE.

My Skin Type: I am acne prone and have slightly dehydrated combo skin. My skin is usually tight where the cheeks and eye area is and the outer parts of my face. My T zone is oily. My skin isn’t a fan of thick/heavy formulas so I opt for lightweight formulas to prevent it from clogging up. My skin doesn’t like essential oils either and I try to avoid fragrance when I can.

Disclaimer: I am a skincare enthusiast and not a skin expert. I am not qualified to give out dermatological advice. This type of advice should only be given by a medical practitioner. Upon trying / using any of the reviewed products on the blog, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings and please seek medical advice if needed.

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