Ingredient Rating

Achillea Millefolium

Plant Extract,  Skin-Soothing,  Astringent,  Anti, 



Plant Extract,  Fragrance,  Astringent,  Anti, 

Extract or oil obtained from the flowering plant Arnica montana. There is research showing that when arnica is taken orally before surgery it soothes sensitivity. However, in high amounts it is a risk for skin sensitivity.


Artemisia Absinthium

Plant Extract, 


Butylene Glycol

Texture Enhancer,  Moisturizer,  Solvent, 

Commonly-used ingredient that has multiple functions in cosmetics, including as a texture enhancer. It’s similar to propylene glycol, but has a lighter texture.


Denatured Alcohol

Sensitizing,  Solvent, 

A drying type of alcoholξthat aggravates and weakens skin. Typically, if denatured alcohol is listed as the fifth ingredient or higher, it is of considerable risk for sensitizing skin.



Fragrance: Synthetic And Fragrant Plant Extract,  Sensitizing,  Fragrance, 

One or a blend of volatile and/or fragrant plant oils (or synthetically derived oils) that impart aroma and odor to products. These are often skin sensitizers because they are composed of hundreds of individual chemical components. Fragrance is a leading source of sensitivity to cosmetics.


Gentiana Lutea (Gentian) Root

Antioxidant,  Plant Extract,  Skin-Soothing,  Anti, 

Part of the gentian plant, constituents of which have skin-soothing and antioxidant benefits.



Skin-Replenishing,  Skin-Restoring,  Moisturizer,  Solvent, 

Also called glycerol or glycerine, glycerin is a humectant thatŠ—Ès present in all natural lipids (fats), whether animal or vegetable. It can be derived from natural substances by hydrolysis of fats and by fermentation of sugars; it also can be synthetically manufactured, which is usually the case with modern-day skincare products.Glycerin is a skin-replenishing and restoring ingredient, meaning it is a substance found naturally in skin, helping to establish normal balance and hydration. ItŠ—Ès one of the many substances in skin that helps maintain a healthy look and feel, defending against dryness and working to maintain skinŠ—Ès moisture level. Essentially, glycerin is a master at hydration, and works best when combined with other replenishing and emollient ingredients.Some people wonder whether using products with glycerin takes too much water from skin when there isnŠ—Èt enough humidity in the air. This can occur with pure glycerin (100% concentrationŠ—”an amount thatŠ—Ès never used in skincare products). Any humectant (including glycerin) used in pure form can increase water loss by attracting water from the lower layers of skin into the surface layers when the climate is too arid (low humidity). For this reason, glycerin and humectants are typically used in concentrations of 5% or less and always combined with other ingredients to soften skin. In fact, glycerin combined with other emollients and/or oils is a fundamental cornerstone of most moisturizers.References for this information:International Journal of Cosmetic Science, August 2016, ePublicationBritish Journal of Dermatology, July 2008, pages 23-34Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, June 2007, pages 75-82Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, June 2003, pages 7,360-7,365


Glycolic Acid

Exfoliant,  Whitening, 

A type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that, like other ingredients in the category, can act as a water-binding agent and, when properly formulated, as an exfoliant. In its capacity as an exfoliant, it can help shed dead skin to renew skinŠ—Ès surface, visibly softening the signs of aging, particularly from sun damage. Glycolic acid is one of the most effective and well-researched forms of AHA.


Lactic Acid

Exfoliant,  Astringent,  Whitening, 

Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) extracted from milk, although most forms used in cosmetics are synthetic because that form is easier to formulate with and stabilize.




Parabens are a group of controversial preservatives that include butylparaben, isobutylparaben, propylparaben, methylparaben, and ethylparaben. All of these were at one time the most widely used group of preservatives used in cosmetics. Parabens were so popular because of their gentle, non-sensitizing, and highly effective profile in comparison to other preservatives but also because they were derived naturally from plants, a rare phenomenon for a preservative. Parabens are found in plants in the form of p-hydroxybenzoic acid (PHBA), a chemical that breaks down to become parabens for a plants own protection. Over the past 10 years parabens have become criticized and condemned for use in cosmetics due to their alleged relation to health concerns affecting women and men. The research about parabens is conflicting and polarizing. Some research indicates they are safe as used in cosmetics and are preferred over other preservatives to keep a formula stable. These studies also showed parabens did not have any effect when compared to natural hormones in the body. However, other research has concluded they are indeed problematic: Some studies determined a 100% concentration of parabens caused skin samples (meaning not intact skin on a person) to break down. However, these studies donŠ—Èt apply to the tiny amount (1% or less) of parabens typically used in cosmetics. In low amounts, parabens were not shown to harm skin; in fact, they offer a benefit due to their ability to thwart the growth of mold, fungi, and harmful pathogens. Other studies casting parabens in a negative light were based on force-feeding them to rats, a practice that is not only cruel but unrelated to what happens when parabens are applied to skin. There are studies indicating absorption of parabens through skin associated with application of skincare products, but those studies did not take into consideration that parabens are still used as food-grade preservatives or found naturally in plants and that could have been the source not the cosmetics. We also looked at studies showing other questionable effects but those were done in vitro meaning in a petri dish or, again, animal studies in species whose biologic makeup does not closely relate to people. We appreciate the concern about parabens and understand if people choose to avoid them. At PaulaŠ—Ès Choice Skincare we choose not to use parabens, but that decision is based on other reasons than the scare tactics rampant on the internet. References for this information: Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, May 2017, 320-325 Annual Review of Food Science Technology, February 2017, pages 371-390 Journal of Applied Toxicology, April 2017, ePublication Environmental Science and Technology, April 2017, page 4009-4017 Dermatitis, November-December 2015, pages 254-259 Toxicology Letters, December 2013, pages 295-305 Skin Therapy Letter, July-August 2013, pages 5-7 Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, June 2008, pages 4631-4636 International Journal of Toxicology, April 2008, pages 1-82 http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/paraben-information



Exfoliant,  Plant Extract,  Moisturizer, 

Plant extract that is the source of the enzyme papain, which theoretically can have exfoliating properties on skin, although the majority of the research was not performed on skin. Papaya can be a skin sensitizer, but itŠ—Ès not as potentially risky as pure papain. Still, itŠ—Ès not an ingredient to apply daily; there are better options for leave-on exfoliants, including glycolic acid and salicylic acid.


PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil

Cleansing Agent,  Emollient,  Plant Extract,  Surfactant, 

The chief function of this ingredient is cleansing agent.


Portulaca Oleracea

Antioxidant,  Plant Extract,  Skin-Soothing, 

Extract of a weed-like succulent plant that may have skin-soothing properties and serve as an antioxidant.


Salicylic Acid

Anti-Acne,  Exfoliant,  Skin-Soothing,  Whitening, 

Also called beta hydroxy acid (BHA), this multifunctional ingredient addresses many of the systemic causes of acne. Its primary benefit is as an exfoliant, helping shed dead skin in a way similar to how skin acts when we are younger. Because it has the ability to penetrate into the pore lining and exfoliate inside the pore as well as on the surface of skin, it is especially effective for reducing breakouts, including blackheads and whiteheads.In addition to these benefits, salicylic acid also has soothing properties to calm aggravated skin, can help minimize the appearance of an uneven skin tone, and has hydrating abilities that can result in smoother skin.References for this information:Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology,ξAugust 2015, pages 455-461Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, November 2010, pages 135-142Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, September 2008, pages 170-176Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, April 2007, pages 651-663International Journal of Cosmetic Science, February 2000, pages 21-52Seminars in Dermatology, December 1990, pages 305-308.



Solvent,  Miscellaneous, 

Most widely used cosmetic ingredient; water is almost always listed first on an ingredient label because it is usually the ingredient with the highest concentration in the formula. Despite claims of skinŠ—Ès need for hydration and claims regarding special types of water, it turns out that water may not be an important ingredient for skin. Only a 10% concentration of water in the outer layer of skin is necessary for softness and pliability in this part of the epidermis. Studies that have compared the water content of dry skin with that of normal or oily skin do not find a statistically significant difference in moisture levels between them.


Sodium Propylparaben


pH-adjusting toner with pH level of 4.3.

Allergic ingredients not found