Paula's Choice


Ingredient Rating

Acetyl Octapeptide-3


Synthetic peptide that is based around octapeptide-3, a peptide complex composed of the amino acids aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glutamine, and methionine. Also known as SNAP-8, this peptide is said to improve the look of signs of aging formed from repetitive facial expressions, though thereŠ—Ès no independent research supporting this claim. Even if there were independent research, the concentrations used in the company-sponsored testing to support the improvement of signs of aging was 3Š—–10%, which is far greater than whatŠ—Ès typically present in skincare products. Like all peptides it has water-binding properties and theoretical skin-restoring ability. It may play a role in helping skin look younger, and can help hydrate and smooth skin.



Antioxidant,  Vitamin, 

Antioxidant that's considered the most effective form of vitamin E.


Ferulic Acid

Antioxidant,  Plant Extract, 

Plant-based, phenolic antioxidant that is found in bran, among other plants.



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


PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil

Emollient,  Emulsifier,  Plant Extract,  Texture Enhancer,  Surfactant, 

Emollient ingredient that is a mixture of synthetic polyethylene glycol (PEG) with natural castor oil. ItŠ—Ès considered safe for use in cosmetics. The weight and size of this ingredient is too large to penetrate beyond skinŠ—Ès surface, but thatŠ—Ès fineŠ—”this type of emollient is needed on the surface to stop moisture loss and keep skin feeling soft.




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.



Cleansing Agent,  Emulsifier,  Antistatic, 

PPG stands for polypropylene glycol, and this ingredient combines PPG with an ether of a fatty alcohol known as buty alcohol. It has multiple functions in cosmetic products, ranging from hair conditioning agent to surfactant (cleansing agent), and emulsifier. This ingredient is always synthetic.


Sodium Hyaluronate

Antioxidant,  Skin-Replenishing,  Skin-Restoring,  Moisturizer, 

Salt form of skin-replenishing ingredient hyaluronic acid; considered more effective for skin than pure hyaluronic acid due to its greater compatibility. References for this information:


Sodium Metabisulfite

Antioxidant,  Preservative,  Sensitizing, 

Reducing agent that alters the structure of hair. It can also be used as a preservative in formulations, and can be a skin sensitizer. However, it can also be an antioxidant.



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.



Moisturizer,  Antistatic, 

3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid

Antioxidant,  Whitening, 

This concentrated booster with 15% pure vitamin C dramatically brightens uneven skin while improving the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
- Reveals a more radiant complexion
- Vitamin C visibly brightens skin
- Feather-light, liquid formula absorbs quickly
Use alone or add to your moisturizer or serum
SKIN TYPES: All Skin Types
CONCERNS: Wrinkles, Anti-Aging

Allergic ingredients not found