Paula's Choice Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer with Retinol

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Paula's Choice Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer with Retinol review; mediocre results. Mini-reviews on Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant,  Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion Exfoliant, Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant. 폴라초이스 리지스트 베리어 리페어 모이스처라이저 위드 레티놀.

I hold Paula Begoun of Paula's Choice in high regard when it comes to skincare advice. Her comprehensive ingredients dictionary* is one of my favorite hangout spots on the internet. I regularly park myself on my couch to waste hours of my life reading through it. I can attribute much of the knowledge I've soaked up on skincare to her team's efforts to find and document research on skincare ingredients.

*Just a quick fyi, she is known to be quite conservative. i.e. opposes natural and synthetic fragrances, alcohol, and the like

Besides being a recognized skincare authority and a prolific writer on the topic, she launched her own skincare line in 1995 called Paula's Choice. Basically, she has a lot of street cred. Naturally, I was inclined to check out her line.

Today I will be reviewing the Paula's Choice RESIST Barrier Repair Moisturizer with Retinol - 1.7 oz. $29.00


Paula's Choice Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer with Retinol review; mediocre results. Mini-reviews on Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant,  Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion Exfoliant, Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant. 폴라초이스 리지스트 베리어 리페어 모이스처라이저 위드 레티놀.
폴라초이스 리지스트 베리어 리페어 모이스처라이저 위드 레티놀


So what is this product and what are its claims?
Well, the ad copy on the site calls it a "a light moisturizer with retinol [that] smooths out skin, reduces fine lines, and leaves skin looking and acting younger."  It is recommended for dry / very dry skin, which I have... and all Paula's Choice products are fragrance-free (though this does not mean they don't smell, and they do smell) and cruelty-free.

Her team posted an official review of this product giving it a full 4 out of 4 stars (biased much?) and stating the following pros and cons. What were they?
Retinol and other anti-aging ingredients increase firmness while hydrating skin.
Contains ingredients proven to improve fine lines, wrinkles, and skin tone.
Feather-light, silky formula ideal for normal to dry skin (but all skin types can use it).
None. (I'm sure they were very impartial...  ┌| ◔ ▃ ◔ |┐)

I didn't give much weight to what they said, the review reads more like ad copy than anything else.


Water, Dicaprylyl Carbonate (emollient), Glycerin (skin-identical ingredient), Ethylhexyl Stearate (thickener), Cocoglycerides (emollient), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter (antioxidant emollient), Squalane (emollient), Sodium Polyacrylate (film-forming agent), Lecithin, Adenosine, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide (cell-communicating ingredients), Ceramide 3 (skin-identical ingredient), Retinol (cell-communicating ingredient), Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidants), Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (anti-irritant), Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrodemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrobisdemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Tocopheryl Acetate (antioxidants), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (anti-irritant), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Oil (antioxidants), Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol (slip agents), Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, (film-forming agent), Xanthan Gum (thickener), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

CosDNA ingredients analysis is clean


First time retinol users or those with sensitive skin may experience redness or stinging in the beginning stages so it is advised to ease into using retinols, using them only 2-3 times a week initially. If these sensations persist, discontinue using the product and visit your dermatologist for an alternative.

Otherwise, use once daily on freshly washed skin immediately after a pH-adjusting toner, or after waiting 10-15 minutes for skin pH to return to baseline after cleansing.

Retinol increases skin's sensitivity to the sun, so you are highly advised to wear sunscreen of at least SPF 15.


My own rating for this product is 2 stars, which means it is average at best for the following reasons...

I like how affordable this product is and I did enjoy using it, but I found that it fell short on a lot of its claims. Retinols are supposed to stimulate collagen production in the skin, but I did not feel that it increased firmness in my skin, nor did this product improve my fine lines, wrinkles, and skin tone. It did do an adequate job of hydrating my skin, though I would never leave that task to just this lotion alone. I know for a fact that on its own, it wouldn't be enough to do the job. And the formula is a nice, creamy lotion consistency (ho-hum? I'm addicted to interesting textures). Another positive aspect to this product is that it comes in an airless pump, which is nice for its stabilizing effect on formulas.

So overall it showed adequate performance as a lotion, and failed to provide any visible anti-aging benefit despite the retinol and and other antioxidants in the formula... namely pomegranate, green tea, licorice root, vitamin e (tocopherols) and shea butter (due to quercetin). After a little Google Fu, I found out that the concentration of retinol in this product was at a very low-level, 0.01% which is probably a lot lower than my previous retinol that I loved, the Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution, which they coincidentally rated only 3/4 stars.


If you are looking for a light-weight moisturizer, that may squeeze in a leetle bit of  anti-aging benefits then sure, this may be worth a BUY rating. Or if you are looking to start using a retinol, but are afraid that it may be too harsh on your skin, this would be a great first one to test out to see how your skin responds before going for something a bit more potent. Research has shown that retinol concentrations as low as 0.01% can result in anti-aging benefits for the skin.

I would SKIP this one if you are someone seeking visible results and are accustomed to using retinols. As for me, I will not repurchase this product. This old fart has graduated to the "big leagues" which in this case just means that I started using the much more potent Retin-A via PocketDerm's anti-aging lotion.


I also had the chance to sample some of her BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) and AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) products and had good experiences with the  Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant 3.3 oz $26.00, Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion Exfoliant 3.3 $26.00, Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant 3.3 oz $26.00. I used them over the course of the past few months whenever I developed spots and they did a good job of clearing them up within 24-48 hours. I don't really ever break out but when I do I will probably keep one of these around to help clear it up. I am planning to repurchase the 8% AHA gel.

Have you tried any products from the Paula's Choice line? Were you a fan?


If you're curious about my policy on press samples, affiliate links, and sponsors, see my disclaimer and policies. 

If you do choose to try Paula's Choice, use this referral link and get $10 off your first order.
Paula's Choice often run sales, so it is worth signing up to their newsletter and checking online coupon sites for the latest codes.

In addition, Paula's Choice is running a 15% discount promotion on all orders at this link.

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