Paula's Choice


Ingredient Rating


Skin-Restoring,  Skin-Soothing, 

Yeast-derived ingredient that functions as a good soothing and skin-restoring agent. Adenosine has proven anti-wrinkle benefits due to its ability to energize skinŠ—Ès surface so it looks smoother and younger. Naturally present throughout the body, adenosine is a beneficial ingredient all skin types can use.


Adenosine Triphosphate

Skin-Restoring,  Skin-Soothing, 

Organic compound from adenosine, which is formed by the hydrolysis of yeast nucleic acids.


Boerhavia Diffusa

Antioxidant,  Plant Extract,  Skin-Soothing, 

Extract from a flowering plant. Studies on animals have shown that this plant has strong skin-soothing activity. Like all plant extracts, Boerhavia diffusa also has antioxidant ability.


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.



Emulsifier,  Texture Enhancer,  Surfactant, 

Fatty alcohol that is used to thicken cosmetics and keep ingredients mixed together and stable.


Cetearyl Alcohol

Emollient,  Emulsifier,  Texture Enhancer,  Viscosity Control,  Surfactant, 

Fatty alcohol that is a mixture of gentle cetyl and stearyl alcohols. ItŠ—Ès used as an emollient, texture enhancer, foam stabilizer, and carrying agent for other ingredients. Can be derived naturally, as in coconut fatty alcohol, or made synthetically. It is almost always combined with similar-feeling ingredients to create a productŠ—Ès texture and influence its slip when applied to skin.Cosmetic products labeled "alcohol free" are allowed to contain cetearyl alcohol, whose effects are quite different from skin-aggravating forms of alcohol. We repeat: fatty alcohols like cetearyl alcohol do not pose a risk of sensitizing skin.Reference for this information:FDA Labeling Claims, 2014


Cetyl Alcohol

Emollient,  Thickeners/Emulsifier,  Viscosity Control,  Surfactant, 

Fatty alcohol used as an emollient, emulsifier, thickener, and carrying agent for other ingredients. Can be derived naturally, as in coconut fatty alcohol, or made synthetically. It is not an irritant and is not related to SD alcohol, denatured alcohol, or ethyl alcohol. Cetyl alcohol is considered safe for use in cosmetics.


Citric Acid

Uncategorized,  Ph Adjusters, 

Extract derived from citrus fruits and used primarily in small amounts to adjust the pH of products to prevent them from being too alkaline.



Emollient,  Solvent, 

Lightweight silicone with a silky, slippery feel that functions as a skin/hair conditioning agent.Reference for this information:International Journal of Toxicology, December 2011, pages 149-227.


Decyl Glucoside

Cleansing Agent,  Surfactant, 

Sugar-derived ingredient used as a gentle detergent cleansing agent.



Emollient,  Silicone, 

A type of silicone, dimethicone is one of the most frequently used emollient ingredients in moisturizers due to its gentleness and effectiveness. Dimethicone is considered a synthetic ingredient, even though itŠ—Ès derived from natural silicon.


Epigallocatechin Gallate

Antioxidant,  Plant Extract,  Skin-Soothing, 

One of the active constituents of green tea believed to be responsible for its many health and appearance benefits, both orally and topically. The chief benefit of epigallocatechin-3-gallate is skin-soothing and antioxidant.



Skin-Replenishing,  Moisturizer, 

Monosaccharide (simple sugar) that has water-binding properties for skin.


Glucose Oxidase

Preservative,  Miscellaneous, 

Glucose oxidase is a synthetic enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of the sugar glucose to gluconic acid. It functions as a skin-conditioning agent.



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


Glyceryl Stearate

Cleansing Agent,  Emollient,  Emulsifier,  Thickeners/Emulsifier, 

A mixture of portions of glycerin and stearic acid used as an emollient, surfactant, and emulsifier. May be animal-derived or synthetic.




Enzyme derived from milk that has unique properties to restore skin's surface flora as well as in the pore.



Antioxidant,  Skin-Restoring,  Skin-Soothing,  Vitamin, 

Also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinic acid, niacinamide is a very effective skin-restoring ingredient that offers multiple benefits for aging skin. Among these benefits is the ability to visibly improve the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines, dullness, and a weakened skin surface. Niacinamide can also mitigate the damage environmental attack can cause, and is stable in the presence of heat and light.What about using vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and niacinamide in the same product or applied at the same time in separate products?ξYou might have read or heard that niacinamide and vitamin C shouldnŠ—Èt be used at the same time, whether found together in the same product or applied separately one after the other. Rest assured, this combination is fine and is in fact quite beneficial!ξThe research this misconception is based on was conducted in the 1960s; the forms of niacinamide and vitamin C used in this study were not stabilizedŠ—”although niacinamide itself is very stable. The base of the formula used in this study was also far different than todayŠ—Ès sophisticated skincare formulas. ξToday, cosmetic chemists know how to combine niacinamide and vitamin C in the ideal base formulas that enhance their compatibility.ξThe other common concern weŠ—Ève seen about combining these two ingredients has to do with the pH range. The concern is that the acidic environment ascorbic acid needs to be most effective will cause niacinamide will convert to nicotinic acid, a form that can be sensitizing, possibly inducing redness. Good news: This conversion process would only happen under conditions of the formula being exposed to very high heat for a long period of time. This would not apply to layering skincare products or to heat conditions that occur during manufacturing, transport, and storage of cosmetic products that contain niacinamide and ascorbic acid.


Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate

Emollient,  Skin-Softening, 

Skin-softening agent and emollient.


PEG-100 Stearate

Cleansing Agent,  Emollient,  Surfactant, 


PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate

Cleansing Agent,  Emollient,  Moisturizer, 




Common cosmetics preservative thatŠ—Ès considered one of the least sensitizing for use in formulations. It does not release formaldehyde. Phenoxyethanol is approved worldwide (including in Japan and in the EU) for use in all types of water-based cosmetics, up to a 1% concentration.


Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate

Antioxidant,  Skin-Soothing,  Vitamin,  Whitening, 

Stable, water-soluble form of vitamin C that functions as an antioxidant and is potentially effective for brightening an uneven skin tone.ξ


Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer

Silicone,  Texture Enhancer,  Thickener,  Viscosity Control, 

Blend of silicone polymers that functions as a thickening agent and texture enhancer.



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.


Xanthan Gum

Texture Enhancer,  Thickeners/Emulsifier,  Viscosity Control, 

Natural ingredient used as a thickening agent, texture enhancer, and to stabilize emulsions, which is a general term for mixtures of unlike substances such as oil and water.


Glyceryl Stearate & PEG-100 Stearate

Emulsifier,  Viscosity Control,  Solvent, 

Cetyl Stearyl Alcohol

Emulsifier,  Viscosity Control,  Surfactant, 

Natural Xanthan Gum

Viscosity Control, 

No Match

SKIN TYPES: All Skin Types
CONCERNS: Wrinkles, Anti-Aging, Enlarged Pores

Allergic ingredients not found