Paula's Choice Calm Redness Relief Repairing Serum review

EDIT 02/12/2020: The packaging has changed, but the formula inside (and my opinion of the product) is still the same.

Got redness?

It doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with acne, rosacea, a sunburn or an irritation, redness is always a sign of inflammation.

One of my fave ways to bring inflammation down faster is Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Repairing Serum.

Its secret? It’s packed to the brim with every soothing ingredients you can think of (and them some more). Here are the highlights:

What’s In Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Repairing Serum?


Let’s start with my fave soothing ingredient: licorice. It’s loaded with glycyrrhizate, a group of substances that has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It can soothe contact dermatitis, psoriasis, irritations… You name it.

It works by reducing hyaluronidase, one of the MMP enzymes that break down healthy tissue when your skin is inflamed. The best part? Licorice also doubles up as an antioxidant to help you fight wrinkles.

Licorice doesn’t play solo. It’s joined by beta-glucan, sea whip extract, and feverfew extract (to name a few), all ingredients with soothing properties that calm inflammation and bring the redness down a notch or two.

Related: 3 Reasons You Should Use Licorice Extract For Younger-Looking Skin


Skin doesn’t get inflamed for no reason. Often, it means your skin’s protective barrier is damaged.

A broken protective barrier lets moisture out (hello, dry skin!) and germs in. Both can lead to inflammation.

Enter ceramides. These waxes are like plasters for your skin’s protective barrier. They patch up the cracks in the barrier, nursing it back to health.

Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Repairing Serum contains three types of ceramides (plus cholesterol – it does the same thing) to repair your broken protective barrier so your skin can heal faster.

Related: Are Ceramides The Key To Healthy Skin?


The thing I love the most about Paula’s Choice? They always go the extra mile.

Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Repairing Serum doesn’t just soothe inflammation and reduce redness. It hydrates skin to boot.

How? Hyaluronic acid. It’s a moisture magnet (scientists like to call it “humectant”) that draws moisture from the air into your skin. It’s so powerful, it can bind up to 1000 times its weight in water!

All that moisture makes your skin very happy: it plumps it up so your fine lines and wrinkles look smaller; it makes its texture softer to the touch; and it gives your complexion a youthful glow.

P.S. Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Repairing Serum has TWO forms of hyaluronic acid, so you’re getting double the benefits.  I wasn’t joking when I said they always go the extra mile. 😉

Related: Why You Should Add Hyaluronic Acid To Your Skincare Routine

Struggling to find skincare products that don’t irritate your sensitive skin? Download your FREE “Skincare Ingredients To Avoid” cheatsheet to find out what the most common culprits are and cut them out of your skincare routine:


It has a lightweight watery, gel-like texture that sinks in quickly.


It’s fragrance-free.

How To Use It

Morning and/or night, right after cleansing.

Performance & Personal Opinion

I’m blessed I don’t have acne, rosacea or anything like that. But my skin is on the dry side and, if I’m not careful, my cheeks can get a little red (especially in winter).

I always keep a bottle of Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Repairing Serum in my cabinet for days like that.

I wish I could tell you that it makes the redness disappear after just one swipe but skincare doesn’t work like that. Inflammation is a complex process that takes its time to subside.

But, already after the first use, you will see a little reduction in redness. Use it everyday, and one morning you’ll wake up to redness-free skin.

I use this serum only when my skin needs it but if you have rosacea, acne or perennially red skin, make it a part of your daily skincare routine. Your skin is more prone to inflammation and needs all the help it can get to soothe it.

Did I mention it works well under most moisturisers and makeup, too?

paula's choice calm redness relief repairing serum

Who Is This For?

  • Anyone dealing with redness.
  • Sensitive skin.

Who Is This NOT For?

If you’re not experiencing redness/irritation, you don’t need this.


The new bottle is all white, with a pump applicator.

Does Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Repairing Serum Live Up To Its Claims?

This antioxidant-enriched, silky-soft serum soothes and calms the appearance of redness with a lightweight yet hydrating anti-aging formula. True.
Smooths fine lines and wrinkles. True.
Hydrating complex moisturizes and eases redness. True.

Price & Availability

$36.00 at Paula’s Choice

Do You Need It?

If you have sensitive skin, or experiencing any form of redness and irritation, this is a great product to have in your stash.

Dupes & Alternatives


Water, Glycerin (skin replenishing), Hyaluronic Acid (hydration/skin replenishing), Beta-Glucan (skin-soothing/antioxidant), Sea Whip Extract (skin-soothing), Sodium Hyaluronate (hydration/skin replenishing), Ceramide NP (hydration/skin replenishing), Ceramide AP (hydration/skin replenishing), Ceramide EOP (hydration/skin replenishing), Cholesterol (skin replenishing), Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract (licorice extract/skin-soothing), Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract (willow herb/skin-soothing), Phytosphingosine (skin-renewing), Sodium Cocoyl Amino Acids (skin replenishing), Chrysanthemum Parthenium Flower Extract (feverfew extracts/antioxidant/skin-soothing), Glycine Soja Seed Extract (soybean extract/skin-soothing), Ubiquinone (antioxidant), Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate (texture-enhancing), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (skin replenishing/emollient), Magnesium Aspartate (emollient), Potassium Aspartate (emollient), Sarcosine (emollient), Xanthan Gum (texture-enhancing), Carbomer (texture-enhancing), Polysorbate 20 (texture-enhancing), PEG/PPG-14/4 Dimethicone (texture-enhancing), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Ethylhexylglycerin (preservative), Phenoxyethanol (preservative)