Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel–Lightweight Moisturizer for Oily Skin

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.

For those of us with combination or oily skin types, it can sometimes be tempting to skip moisturizer altogether to keep from getting too oily. It doesn’t help that there is a common misconception that oily skin does not require a moisturizer. That is a myth! If oily skin does not get sufficient hydration, it will overcompensate by producing even more oil.

The best type of moisturizer for oilier skin types, especially during the day, is a lightweight moisturizer that absorbs into the skin without making it feel greasy. I have a combination skin type and during the day I don’t want anything that is too heavy or will make me look greasy. This is especially important on days that I’m planning to wear makeup. This may be true for a lot of people with a normal skin type as well.

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My current daytime moisturizer is Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel, which is formulated specifically for combination and oily skin types. I have always enjoyed gel moisturizers, but this is one of the best I’ve ever tried!

Product claims directly from PaulasChoice.com

Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture GelA moisturizer that provides essential hydration, helps minimize the appearance of pores, and provides antioxidants to help defend against environmental assault.

Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel delivers visibly smoother, softer, and younger-looking skin with a weightless skin-refreshing feel. It’s the ideal ultra-light moisturizer for oily skin that needs hydration and protection from environmental assault. It is a stunningly advanced formula with a brilliant array of antioxidants and skin-restoring ingredients.

Other product details

  • Price: $29.00
  • Net weight: 2 oz.
  • Made in the USA
  • Cruelty-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-irritating
  • Shelf life: 12 months
  • Where to buy: PaulasChoice.com and Amazon.com
  • Overall rating: 8.6/10
    • Ease of application: 10/10
    • Hydration: 10/10
    • “Team player”: 10/10
    • Ingredients: 7/10
    • Price: 6/10

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.

Ease of application

This moisturizer is packaged in a squeeze tube which makes it very easy to get just the right amount of product. Other gel moisturizers I’ve used have been packaged in jars and it’s easy to get too much product when you have to dip your finger directly into the product. A squeeze tube is also more sanitary and protects the active ingredients in the product.

The texture of this moisturizer is a lightweight gel. It is so easy to blend into the skin. I prefer this texture to creams, which sometimes require more effort to work into the skin completely. These two things together make this a very easy-to-apply product! 

Hydration

To look at this gel moisturizer, you would not expect it to be very hydrating. On the contrary, it actually provides the perfect amount of hydration for combination or oily skin!  

For a gel, it is a bit on the thicker side and you can really feel the hydration sinking into your skin as the product is blended in. After applying this moisturizer, my skin always feels very hydrated, soft, and smooth, without looking greasy. 

“Team player”

I normally use three or four other leave-on skincare products each morning before I apply my moisturizer, so I need a moisturizer that layers well. Additionally, as I mentioned in my previous product review about Paula’s Choice Resist Weightless Advanced Repairing Toner, I do not like to wait very long between steps in my skincare routine. Since I am so stubborn about this, I always look for a daytime moisturizer that will be lightweight enough to smooth easily over my other skincare products without pilling. 

I also want my moisturizer to leave a non-greasy finish so my sunscreen and makeup will apply easily on top. Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel delivers perfectly! This product is a great skincare “team player” in my routine.

Ingredients

Water (Aqua), Cyclopentasiloxane (hydration), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Glycerin (hydration/skin replenishing), Bis-Phenylpropyl Dimethicone (hydration), Niacinamide (vitamin B3/skin-restoring), Laminaria Saccharina (Algae) Extract (hydration), Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract (hydration/skin-soothing), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract (antioxidant), Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil (non-fragrant oil/emollient/antioxidant), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E/antioxidant), Phenyl Trimethicone (hydration), Dimethicone (hydration), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (skin-soothing), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (vitamin c/antioxidant), Sodium Hyaluronate (hydration/skin replenishing), Superoxide Dismutase (antioxidant), Isohexadecane (texture-enhancing), Panthenol (skin replenishing), Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer (texture-enhancing, Sodium Carbomer (texture-enhancing), Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer (texture-enhancing), Polysorbate 80 (texture-enhancing), Hydroxyethylcellulose (texture-enhancing), Ethylhexylglycerin (preservative), Phenoxyethanol (preservative), Potassium Sorbate

I have mixed feelings about the ingredients list for this moisturizer. I’ll start with the good stuff.

This moisturizer contains several ingredients that provide a variety of benefits to the skin. There are 13 ingredients that I would classify as “good” or “skin-loving” actives. I’ll provide some details on the ones that stand out most:

  • Niacinamide is one of my favorite skincare ingredients and is especially beneficial for combination or oily skin types
    • Improves appearance of enlarged pores
    • Regulates oil production
    • Evens skin tone
    • Softens fine lines
  • Oat kernel extract
    • Soothing antioxidant
    • Great for dry or itchy skin
  • Green tea leaf extract
    • Antioxidant
    • UV protectant
    • Anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial
  • Grape seed extract
    • Potent antioxidant
    • UV protection
    • Anti-carcinogenic
  • Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate
    • Soothing
    • Anti-inflammatory
    • Regulates oil production
  • Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate
    • Stable form of Vitamin C
    • Antioxidant
    • Evens out skin tone

sliced oranges and lemons

These are all great ingredients and I’m happy to see them included in this moisturizer’s formula. One thing that’s holding me back from being completely pleased is the fact that 15 of the 28 ingredients are what I would call “neutral,” like texture-enhancers and preservatives that don’t actually do anything special for the skin. Fortunately, the other 13 ingredients are all good actives! There is not a single bad ingredient in this formula.

Strike two against this ingredients list is that there is only one “good” ingredient in the top five and that is glycerin. While glycerin is definitely a good ingredient, I expect to see more than one good ingredient in the top five. This is important to note because ingredients are listed by concentration; the ingredients with the highest concentration are listed first. To be fair, the next five ingredients on the list are all good. It would be nice to see a couple of those closer to the top of the list. 

I also want to point out that there are FIVE silicone ingredients in this product. Many people avoid silicones in their skincare products. I am not sure why there are so many silicones in this moisturizer, but they do not bother me. There is a myth that silicones clog pores, but that has been debunked by Paula’s Choice. You can read an interesting article about silicones in skincare here.

Price

I enjoy this moisturizer, but I think it is a little overpriced at $29.00. If I am going to pay that much for a skincare product, I expect it to have more active ingredients at the top of the list. I also feel that I will use up this moisturizer relatively quickly because I use a little bit more of this gel type moisturizer than I would with a thicker formula. I am not bothered by needing to use a little extra, but I think they should’ve provided more product, given the price.


I enjoy using Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel in my everyday morning skincare routine. I think it is a great choice for combination or oily skin types!

On the other hand, I am not certain that I will repurchase this product in the future since I think it is slightly overpriced.

Have you tried this Paula’s Choice moisturizer? If so, do you agree with my thoughts on the ingredients and price? I’d love to hear some other opinions! 🙂

Lauren

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4 thoughts on “Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel–Lightweight Moisturizer for Oily Skin

  1. Thank you so much, Lauren. I know of this brand but I have never tried any of their products. This one sounds like a winner for my oily T-zone/combination skin. Some moisturizers clog my pores, and after reading your review, I wonder if it’s the silicones in the product. But after reading that Paula’s Choice debunks that theory, it makes me want to take a second look! I think the price is fair for a non-drug store moisturizer. I have paid more for prestige skin care moisturizers that have only made my skin worse, so this sounds like a possibility for me and for my needs. The other thing is that if it works, the price is totally worth it. Thank you again for such a great honest review!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this review! This moisturizer is amazing for combination skin, but you already know my thoughts on it. 😉 I have never felt like it clogs my pores. It does feel very smooth, which is probably at least partially from the silicones, but there don’t seem to be any negative effects from the silicone ingredients. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the price point! Most of the skincare products I’ve owned are either drugstore or drugstore-priced, and some of the more expensive products I’ve tried do not seem superior to me. I think there are good options at every price point and in my opinion, Paula’s Choice falls solidly in the middle (for price). I hope you’ll let me know if you decide to try this moisturizer!

      Lauren

  2. Thank You Lauren for the reviews on Paula’s Choice products, I’ve been on the fence of late trying to decide whether to try this brand of skincare as I’ve heard so many mixed reviews of it, as for the price of it $29 USD I think is pretty reasonable for a good quality skincare, anything under $50 USD I think is a reasonable price to pay, especially compared to many other companies out there that really all your paying for is the name of the brand….I personally like a thicker Moisturizer since I’ve gotten older, the gel Moisturizers for me personally don’t seem to do anything and I don’t mind paying the extra for something as long as it works for me.
    Thank You for another Great Review.
    Cheers Janelle 😊
    just on a side note, it would be great if you could review some brands that are sold here in Australia 🇦🇺, it makes it very difficult to want to try something but the only way to purchase it is through online shopping and then the cost becomes high end anyhows, just a thought from an Australian who’s also into skincare products. Maybe google cruelty free brands that are available here in Australia 🇦🇺 at our drugstore/chemist.

    • Hi Janelle! This gel moisturizer wouldn’t be a good fit if you prefer something heavier, but Paula’s Choice has plenty of options! They have something for everyone. If you go to the PaulasChoice.com.au and go under moisturizers, you can filter the results by skin concern, skin type, or collection. I hope that helps!

      I would love to review brands that are more accessible to you, but I’m not sure what is carried in Australian stores. I did a Google search and didn’t find any good results. Please send me a message if there are any specific products you’d like me to review!

      Lauren

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