Paula's Choice


Ingredient Rating

Adenosine Triphosphate

Skin-Restoring,  Skin-Soothing, 

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


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.


Butyrospermum Parkii

Emollient,  Plant Extract,  Skin-Replenishing,  Moisturizer, 


Camellia Oleifera

Antioxidant,  Emollient,  Plant Extract,  Astringent,  Solvent, 


Ceramide Np

Skin-Replenishing,  Moisturizer,  Fragrance, 

One of several types of ceramides, which are naturally occurring, long chains of lipids (fats) that are major components of skinŠ—Ès outer layers. Research shows moisturizers containing ceramide NP can improve the look and feel of dry skin.



Emollient,  Emulsifier,  Texture Enhancer, 

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.


Dicaprylyl Carbonate


According to the Personal Care Product CouncilŠ—Ès Ingredient Infobase, dicaprylyl carbonate functions as a skin-conditioning agent, emollient and solvent. It may be derived from synthetic or animal sources; PaulaŠ—Ès Choice Skincare uses the synthetic form.


Ethylhexyl Stearate

Emollient,  Texture Enhancer,  Thickeners/Emulsifier, 



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 Polymethacrylate

Film-Forming/Holding Agent,  Texture Enhancer,  Thickeners/Emulsifier,  Viscosity Control, 

Blend of glycerin and polymethacrylic acid that functions as a film-forming agent. It has a smooth finish and is used to enhance the texture and application of many skincare products.


Glycine Soja Oil

Antioxidant,  Emollient,  Emulsifier,  Plant Extract,  Moisturizer,  Fragrance,  Solvent, 

Oil derived from wild soybeans; it has emollient properties.


Glycine Soja Seed

Emollient,  Emulsifier,  Plant Extract,  Moisturizer,  Solvent, 


Glycyrrhiza Glabra

Emollient,  Plant Extract,  Skin-Soothing,  Fragrance,  Anti,  Whitening, 


Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1

Skin-Restoring,  Moisturizer, 

One of a number of synthetic peptides, which are chained amino acids that can have restorative benefits for skin. For more on the benefits of peptides, see our article Peptides for Skin.




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.


Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate

Emollient,  Uncategorized,  Viscosity Control, 

Gel-textured ingredient used in many lightweight moisturizers. ItŠ—Ès a mix of propylene glycol and capric acid, a fatty acid derived from plants.



Antioxidant,  Skin-Restoring,  Vitamin, 

Name for the entire vitamin A molecule. Retinol is a powerhouse ingredient that has value for skin on several fronts: ItŠ—Ès a skin-restoring, wrinkle-smoothing, firming ingredient and an antioxidant, allowing it to improve a variety of skin concerns, most related to visible signs of aging.Packaging is a key issue, so any container that lets in air (like jar packaging) or sunlight (clear containers) just wonŠ—Èt cut it. Lots of retinol products come in unacceptable packaging; these should be avoided because the retinol will most likely be (or quickly become) ineffective. Look for opaque, airless, or air-restrictive packaging.Many consumers are concerned about the percentage of retinol in anti-aging products such as serums or moisturizers. Although the percentage can make a difference (especially if itŠ—Ès too low), itŠ—Ès not helpful in understanding how a retinol product will benefit your skin. Far more important is the delivery system, packaging, and the other ingredients present with the retinol.ξUsing a product with a range of anti-aging ingredients plus retinol is far more valuable for skin than using a product with only a supposedly high percentage of retinol. Skin needs far more than any one ingredient can provide, however great that one ingredient may be. See our article on this topic for detailed information.There are several myths about using retinol with other anti-aging ingredients or products, such as those with vitamin C or exfoliants like glycolic acid. See our article on this topic to learn what the research has shown to be true.References for this information:Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, March 2015, pages 271-280Dermatology, May 2014, pages 314-325Dermatoendocrinology, July 2012, issue 3, pages 308-319Toxicological Research, March 2010, pages 61-66Archives of Dermatology, May 2007, pages 606-612The Journal of Pathology, January 2007, issue 2, pages 241-251Clinical Interventions in Aging, December 2006, pages 327-348



Antioxidant,  Emollient,  Hydration,  Skin-Replenishing,  Moisturizer, 

The saturated portion of emollient ingredient squalene, which is a natural component of human skin sebum (oil). It is a wonderfully moisturizing ingredient as well as being a source of replenishing fatty acids and antioxidants.ξNote that because itŠ—Ès highly saturated, squalane is less prone to breaking down in the presence of air than less-saturated squalene.ξReferences for this information:The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, June 2014, pages 25-32 Advances in Food and Nutrition Research, Volume 65, 2012, pages 223-233




A synthetic antioxidant derived from curcumin.



Antioxidant,  Skin-Soothing, 

A synthetic antioxidant that provides the beneficial effects of the antioxidant curcumin but without the deep yellow coloration this plant imparts, which would be cosmetically unacceptable. Known collectively as curcuminoids, these compounds exert an skin-soothing benefit.



Antioxidant,  Skin-Soothing, 

Antioxidant and skin-soothing plant extract.


Tocopheryl Acetate

Antioxidant,  Vitamin,  Moisturizer, 



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.


Punica Granatum Glycerides

Plant Extract,  Fragrance,  Astringent, 

Sodium Polyacrylate Starch

Viscosity Control, 

Soy Lecithin

Antioxidant,  Emollient,  Emulsifier,  Moisturizer, 

Natural Xanthan Gum

Viscosity Control, 

No Match

A remarkable skin-renewing anti-aging moisturizer that nourishes dehydrated skin while promoting a firmer-looking, radiant complexion.
Advanced formula targets all signs of aging
Retinol helps improve the appearance of wrinkles
Hydrating, creamy formula
Use as the last step in your PM skincare routine
SKIN TYPES: Dry/Very Dry Skin
CONCERNS: Wrinkles, Anti-Aging

Allergic ingredients not found