paula's choice retinol products guide

The worst mistake you can make with retinol is not to use it (once you’re 25+).

The second worst mistake you can make is thinking you’re special and can skip to the highest concentrations without irritating your skin. Hint: you’re NOT special.

Retinol is a double-edged sword. Yes, it makes your skin smoother, brightens it up and kicks wrinkles away from your face. But when you use too much too soon, it’s gonna make your skin all red and flaky.

The trick is to start with the smallest concentration you can find and work your way up. I’ve written a post on how to do this here.

FYI, I recommend Paula’s Choice retinol products for this. The brand has more than half a dozen, all with different concentrations, making it easy for you to up your retinol game when you’re ready.

(P.S. If you prefer The Ordinary, I’ve got a guide to their retinoid products, too. Check it out here.)

Here’s a quick guide to Paula’s Choice retinol products to help you choose which one to begin with and which one to upgrade to when the time comes:

Beginner Retinol Products

Paula’s Choice Resist Barrier Repair Moisturiser With Retinol ($33.00)

How much retinol is here?: 0.01%.

What is it good for?: It also has ceramides to strengthens your skin’s protective barrier and antioxidants to prevent wrinkles.

What’s the texture like?: Lightweight, creamy lotion.

Who is it best for?: Beginner retinol user with dry, sensitive skin.

Where to buy it: Dermstore, Feel Unique, Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice

Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Repair Cream ($33.00)

How much retinol is here?: 0.01%.

What is it good for?: It has oils to deeply moisturise skin and antioxidants to prevent wrinkles.

What’s the texture like?: A rich cream.

Who is it best for?: Very dry skin.

Where to buy it: Feel Unique and Paula’s Choice

Paula’s Choice Clinical Ceramide-Enriched Firming Eye Cream ($48.00)

How much retinol is here?: 0.01%.

What is it good for?: If your eye area needs a smaller concentration of retinol than the rest of your face, this is a good option. It’s also enriched with ceramides to moisturise skin and soothing ingredients to calm down irritations.

What’s the texture like?: Rich, creamy lotion.

Who is it best for?: Dry skin.

Where to buy it: Cult Beauty, Feel Unique, Net-A-Porter, Paula’s Choice, and SpaceNK

Related: Do You Really Need An Eye Cream?

Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum With Retinol ($34.00)

How much retinol is here?: 0.01%.

What is it good for?: It has antioxidants to prevent wrinkles, oils to moisturise and soothing ingredients to reduce irritations.

What’s the texture like?: Silky serum.

Who is it best for?: Beginner retinol users with dry skin.

Where to buy it:  Look Fantastic and Paula’s Choice

Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate With Retinol ($34.00)

How much retinol is here?: 0.03%.

What is it good for:? It’s loaded with antioxidant to prevent premature wrinkles; the silicones base smooths imperfection and makes pores look smaller.

What’s the texture like?: A lightweight gel.

Who is it best for?: Beginner retinol users with oily skin.

Where to buy it: Paula’s Choice

Paula’s Choice Clinical 0.3% Retinol + 2% Bakuchiol Treatment ($54.00)

How much retinol is here?: 0.3%.

What is it good for?: It also has 2% bakuchiol, a natural (if less powerful) alternative to retinol that also boosts collagen and fights antioxidants. Plus, a huge dollop of antioxidants to prevent wrinkles.

What’s the texture like?: Fast-absorbing light lotion.

Who is it best for?: Anyone who wants to try bakuchiol but is not ready to ditch retinol yet.

Where to buy it: Paula’s Choice and SpaceNK

Related: Is Bakuchiol Better Than Retinol?


Struggling to put together an anti-aging skincare routine that really reduces the look of wrinkles and gives your skin a youthful glow? Download your FREE “Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine” to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):


Intermediate Retinol Products

Paula’s Choice Clinical Ceramide-Enriched Firming Moisturiser ($58.00)

How much retinol is here?: 0.1%

What is it good for?: It has plenty of antioxidants to prevent aging.

What’s the texture like?: Creamy lotion.

Who is it best for?: Intermediate retinol users looking for an antiaging moisturiser.

Where to buy it: Dermstore and Paula’s Choice

Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum ($42.00)

How much retinol is here?: 0.1%

What is it good for?: It has antioxidants to prevent wrinkles.

What’s the texture like?: Silky serum.

Who is it best for?: Intermediate retinol users concerned with anti aging.

Where to buy it: Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice

Related: Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum Full Review

Paula’s Choice Resist Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment ($27.00)

How much retinol is here?: 0.1%.

What is it good for?: It has natural butters to moisturise skin and antioxidants to prevent wrinkles.

What’s the texture like?: Rich, but non-greasy.

Who is it best for?: Anyone (bar sensitive skin) who wants to keep the body young, too.

Where to buy it: Dermstore and Paula’s Choice

Advanced Retinol Products

Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol Booster ($52.00)

How much retinol is here?: 1%.

What is it good for?: It has antioxidants to prevent wrinkles and skin soothing ingredients to reduce the risk of irritation.

What’s the texture like?: A fluid lotion.

Who is it best for?: Advanced retinol users who want the freedom to mix retinol with their fave serums and moisturisers.

Where to buy it: Feel Unique and Paula’s Choice

Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment ($56.00)

How much retinol is here?: 1%.

What is it good for?: Emollients to moisturise skin, antioxidants to prevent wrinkles and soothing ingredients to reduce irritations.

What’s the texture like?: Light lotion.

Who is it best for?: Advanced retinol users who are serious about antiaging.

Where to buy it: Dermstore, Feel Unique, Paula’s Choice and Selfridges

I hope this quick guide to Paula’s Choice retinol products has helped you find the right serum or moisturiser for your current stage in your retinol journey.