DISCLAIMER: At the time this blog post was written, Paula’s Choice was owned by TA Associates, a private equity firm. Unilever, which is not cruelty-free, announced on June 14, 2021, that it would be acquiring Paula’s Choice. Since I do not support cruelty-free companies owned by parent companies that are not cruelty-free, I will no longer purchase or review Paula’s Choice products. I am not removing this review since I know many of my readers will still want to support Paula’s Choice.
Paula’s Choice has been one of my favorite skincare brands for about a year now. It is also one of the brands I trust most because it is well established (founded in 1995), and all products are formulated based on extensive research. If you’ve ever seen an ad for Paula’s Choice, you’ve probably heard the phrase “backed by science.” This is a company that doesn’t follow trends, but instead seeks to create the highest quality products for consumer needs.
While I trust all Paula’s Choice products to be safe and effective, I definitely don’t associate the word “natural” with the brand. A lot of natural skincare products contain irritating ingredients like essential oils. However, skincare can be natural without being irritating. Paula’s Choice proves that with the Earth Sourced collection which includes four products formulated with 95-98% natural ingredients.
For some reason, I overlooked the Earth Sourced collection for a long time. I was recently online looking for a new toner and ordered the Paula’s Choice Earth Sourced Purely Natural Refreshing Toner. It’s 98% natural with an impressive list of ingredients, so I couldn’t pass it up!
Paula’s Choice Earth Sourced Purely Natural Refreshing Toner product claims directly from PaulasChoice.com
Earth Sourced Purely Natural Refreshing Toner is a state-of-the-art formula whose natural ingredients were chosen for their skin-smoothing and -nourishing benefits—all without the risk of aggravating skin with the fragrant or sensitizing ingredients often found in “natural” skincare products. Antioxidants shield & renew the surface of skin. Liquid-gel formula soothes skin.
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Other product details
- Price: $24.00
- Net weight: 4 oz. | 118 ml
- Made in the USA
- 98% natural ingredients
- Appropriate for all skin types
- 100% recyclable packaging
- Shelf life: 12 months
- Where to buy: PaulasChoice.com and Amazon.com
- Available through Paula’s Choice in 20+ countries/regions (each has its own website; they can all be found here)
- Amazon.com ships internationally to over 100 countries, but not all items will ship to every country. Update your default shipping address to see items that will ship to your location.
- Overall rating: 9.8/10
- Packaging/ease of application: 10/10
- Hydration: 10/10
- Team player: 10/10
- Ingredients: 10/10
- Price: 9/10
Please note that I am not a skincare professional. I am simply an individual that enjoys learning about and using skincare products. Speak to your dermatologist or esthetician if you have any concerns.
Packaging/ease of application
Paula’s Choice Earth Sourced Purely Natural Refreshing Toner comes in the same type of packaging as the other Paula’s Choice toners. It’s a cute lime green plastic bottle with a twist-off cap. Instead of the bottle having a wide opening, there is a piece of plastic over the opening with a small hole to dispense the product. This prevents too much from coming out at once.
I previously tried the Paula’s Choice Resist Weightless Advanced Repairing Toner. That one was a bit difficult for me to dispense without making a small mess because it had the consistency of water. The Earth Sourced Purely Natural Refreshing Toner, thankfully, has more of a lightweight gel consistency, so it doesn’t come out so quickly.
The thicker texture of this toner also makes it easier to apply to the face. I think most people prefer to apply toners with cotton pads or other types of applicators, but I use my hands to avoid wasting any of the product. This toner is very easy to spread between my palms and press into my skin. If you prefer to use a cotton pad or something else to apply toner, it would apply just fine that way as well.
It’s difficult to describe the hydration factor of this toner. It doesn’t feel like most toners I’ve used in the past. As I mentioned previously, the Paula’s Choice Earth Sourced Purely Natural Refreshing Toner has a lightweight gel texture, rather than a typical liquid toner. That slightly heavier texture makes this toner feel especially hydrating.
When I apply this toner to my skin, it almost feels like aloe vera gel (it actually doesn’t contain any aloe, but I’ll dive into the ingredients later). By that, I mean that it feels like there’s a coating of moisture all over my face. There’s also a tackiness that I’m not used to feeling from my skincare products. Most of that tackiness does fade, however. Once I’ve had this toner on my skin for a minute or so, it absorbs and leaves my skin feeling hydrated and happy.
I feel like this toner provides the perfect hydrated base for the rest of my skincare and makeup. There are a lot of hydrating ingredients in this product, so it’s no surprise that it feels so wonderfully hydrating on the skin.
Toner is the first leave-on skincare product applied in a typical skincare routine, so it’s important for it to layer well under other products. The most basic skincare routine may consist of only face wash, toner, and moisturizer. In those cases, it’s not as likely that any products won’t “get along.” However, some of us have more extensive skincare regimens. As more products are added, it’s more likely that there will be problems with layering.
While this toner is heavier than most and feels tacky when first applied, it somehow performs beautifully under all other skincare products I’ve paired it with. After this toner, I usually apply a lightweight serum, a treatment cream, eye cream, moisturizer, sunscreen, and it depends on the day whether I’ll wear makeup or not. I’ve never had any problems with this Paula’s Choice toner when I apply those other products on top.
You might expect Paula’s Choice Earth Sourced Purely Natural Refreshing Toner to have a short list of ingredients since it’s a natural skincare product. I know I was quite surprised to find that it contains 37 ingredients! Don’t worry though, because most of those are really good for the skin. Here is a full list of all ingredients (please note that this list is from the product’s packaging, not the website; Paula’s Choice must’ve reformulated this toner at some point):
Water, Glycerin, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Xanthan Gum, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Avena Sativa (Oat) Bran Extract, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Lycium Barbarum (Goji Berry) Fruit Extract, Peucedanum Graveolens (Dill) Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Sambucus Nigra (Elderberry) Fruit Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium PCA, Sodium Lactate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Seed Oil, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Tocopherol, PCA, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol
Do you ever read through an ingredients list and try to pronounce them all? I do that with ingredients I’ve never seen before. Some of these ingredient names (at least the scientific names) are quite interesting! Their functions are pretty interesting, too.
The ingredients in this toner are a combination of what I label “good” and “neutral.” Good ingredients have special skincare benefits, while neutral ingredients support the formula without doing anything extra for the skin. It’s common for there to be more “neutral” ingredients than “good,” but that’s not the case with this product. There are only five “neutral” ingredients which are safe solvents, thickeners, and preservatives. The remaining 32 ingredients are very good, providing many benefits to the skin! I’ll provide brief descriptions of those ingredients (please note that my primary resources for ingredient information are INCI Decoder and Paula’s Choice Ingredient Dictionary):
- Natural moisturizer
- Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil
- Improves damaged or irritated skin barrier
- Good for all skin types
- Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil
- Moisturizes and nourishes skin
- Contains antioxidants
- Avena Sativa (Oat) Bran Extract
- Has antioxidant and soothing properties
- Camellia Oleifera & Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extracts
- Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract
- Potent skin-soothing property
- Lycium Barbarum (Goji Berry) Fruit Extract
- Peucedanum Graveolens (Dill) Extract
- Improves skin’s resiliency
- Calms sensitive skin
- Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract
- Sambucus Nigra (Elderberry) Fruit Extract
- Potent antioxidant
- Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract
- Potent antioxidant
- Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil
- Loaded with nourishing fatty acids
- Contains vitamin E
- Smooths, softens, and moisturizes
- Sodium Hyaluronate
- Sodium PCA
- Hydrates and replenishes skin
- Sodium Lactate
- Skin moisturizer
- pH regulator
- Hydrogenated Lecithin
- Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil
- Potent antioxidant
- Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Seed Oil
- Strengthens and calms skin
- Tocopherol (vitamin E)
- Strengthens skin barrier
- Derived from amino acids
- Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, & Phenylalanine
- These are all amino acids that hydrate the skin
- Isoleucine also works to repair the skin barrier
Hats off to you if you made it through all those ingredients! I know that’s a lot, especially if you’re not a skincare enthusiast like me. 🙂
The takeaway here is that Paula’s Choice Earth Sourced Purely Natural Refreshing Toner is packed full of antioxidants and hydrators. Those types of ingredients are essential for every skin type. Hydration is key for keeping skin looking youthful and healthy, while antioxidants protect the skin from environmental damage.
Honestly, the only way I could be more impressed by this toner’s ingredients list is if all the top five ingredients were in that “good” category. Fortunately, two of the top five ingredients are really good (glycerin and sunflower seed oil). I’m really just happy that the majority of the remaining ingredients consist of the goodies listed above!
Paula’s Choice products aren’t high-end, but many are quite a bit more expensive than similar drugstore products. As I’ve reviewed more and more skincare products, though, I’m seeing more drugstore skincare creeping up in price. So it might be safest to say that Paula’s Choice prices are right in the middle between drugstore and high-end.
Paula’s Choice Earth Sourced Purely Natural Refreshing Toner is $24.00, or $6.00/ounce. That is definitely more than I’ve paid for most toners I’ve used. Fortunately, I think it’s well worth that price. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen so many antioxidants and hydrators in a single product. This is really a special toner in so many ways and worth the price tag if it’s within your budget…especially if you’ve been looking for a good natural toner!
Paula’s Choice Earth Sourced Purely Natural Refreshing Toner is one of those skincare products that I’m even more impressed by now that I’ve written a full review on it. It’s really difficult to find any fault with it! This toner is so easy to use, feels amazing on the skin, works nicely with all other skincare products, and of course the ingredients knocked my socks off!
Paula’s Choice claims this toner can be used by all skin types, and I agree completely. That’s unusual! Most skincare products are too lightweight or drying for dry skin, or too heavy/greasy for oily skin, but this one is just right for everyone. I think it would even be a good pick for people with sensitive skin since there are three ingredients with soothing properties and it has an overall non-irritating formula.
Have you tried Paula’s Choice Earth Sourced Purely Natural Refreshing Toner or any other products from the Earth Sourced collection? They all look interesting! Please leave me a comment below. 🙂