paula's choice super light daily wrinkle defense spf 30

Is Paula’s Choice Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 a moisturiser or a sunscreen? As long as you’re applying the recommended amount to get the SPF stated on the bottle (1/3 of a teaspoon for the face and neck), it’s a sunscreen. And it’s freaking phenomenal. I rarely praise a skincare product to the skies, but this is holy grail material. I lost count of how many tubes I went through. I just can’t imagine being without it. If Paula ever discontinues it, I’m screwed. Here’s what makes it so special:

Key Ingredients In Paula’s Choice Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30: What Makes It Work?


Zinc oxide is my fave UV filter. A white mineral, it protects – ON ITS OWN – from the entire UV range. Compare that to synthetic UV filters that protect from either UVA or UVB rays. No wonder you need 3+ to get the sun protection job done. Zinc oxide is super gentle, too. Unlike synthetic UV filters, it doesn’t irritate sensitive skin. Heck, it’s so skin-friendly, even six months old babies can use it!

The catch? It tends to be thick and leave a white cast behind. I don’t know how they did it, but Paula’s Choice Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 has none of these issues. It has the most lightweight texture I’ve ever come across in a product with zinc oxide. Plus, a sheer beige tint that neutralises the white cast. I’m blown away.

Related: 3 Reasons Why Mineral Sunscreen Is Better For Sensitive Skin


Don’t hate. Silicones aren’t the devils they’re made out to be. For starters, it’s not true they suffocate your skin. You can’t suffocate something that doesn’t breathe (your skin doesn’t have lungs!).

Silicones create a protective barrier on the skin. But this barrier isn’t impenetrable. Due to their particular molecular structure, silicones leave gaps in between each molecule. This means your skin can still perspire, and active ingredients penetrate skin, through these gaps. Phew!

So, what are silicones doing in Paula’s Choice Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30? They give slip to the texture and make sure it glides oh-so-smoothly on your skin. Super important when you’re trying to layer foundation evenly.

Related: Are Silicones In Skincare Bad?


It wouldn’t be a Paula’s Choice’s product if it weren’t loaded with antioxidants to keep premature wrinkles at bay. Here are the highlights:

Related: Is Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate The Best Form Of Vitamin C?

Is your sunscreen up to the job? Download your FREE “Sunscreen Audit” to find out if your sunscreen is both safe AND effective:

The Rest Of The Formula & Ingredients

NOTE: The colours indicate the effectiveness of an ingredient. It is ILLEGAL to put toxic and harmful ingredients in skincare products.

  • Green: It’s effective, proven to work, and helps the product do the best possible job for your skin.
  • Yellow: There’s not much proof it works (at least, yet).
  • Red: What is this doing here?!
  • Water (Aqua): The main solvent in the product, it helps to dissolve other ingredients.
  • Lauroyl Lysine: A skin conditioning agent that imparts a silky feel to skincare products.
  • Sodium Chloride: A.k.a. common table salt, it thickens the texture of skincare products.
  • Trihydroxystearin: Another thickener.
  • Quercetin: A powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals and soothes inflammation.
  • Tocopheryl Acetate: A form of Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that prevents wrinkles. It hydrates skin, too.
  • Adenosine: Derived from yeast, it has wrinkle-fighting and soothing properties.
  • Bisabolol: The chemical compound that gives chamomile its soothing properties. Chamomile also contains fragrant components that can irritate skin. By using Bisabolol alone, you get all the soothing benefits without the side effects.
  • Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract: Also known as willow bark, some brands use it as a natural alternative to exfoliant Salicylic acid. But its exfoliating properties are really mild. Instead, Paula’s Choice uses it for it soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract: Another antioxidant that helps prevent wrinkles.
  • Haematococcus Pluvialis Extract: This algae is a rich source of Astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant that prevents premature wrinkles.
  • Hydrolyzed Corn Starch: It helps the oily and watery parts of a formula to blend together, so they don’t separate into a gooey mess.
  • Polysorbate 80: It’s an emulsifier that prevents the oily and watery parts of a formula from separating.
  • Hydrated Silica: It enhances the thickness, opacity, and absorbency of skincare products.
  • Triethoxycaprylylsilane: It coats pigments in skincare products, so they can spread easily onto your skin – a key feature for a sunscreen.
  • C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate: An emollient that also enhances the texture of skincare products.
  • Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate: It coats titanium dioxide nanoparticles to keep them evenly suspended in sunscreens, so they work better.
  • Caprylyl Glycol: A humectant that draws water from the air into your skin, helping to keep it hydrated for longer.
  • Hexylene Glycol: It makes skincare products easier to spread on the skin.
  • Ethylhexylglycerin: It hydrates skin and has preservative-like properties that help skincare products last longer.
  • Iron Oxide (CI77491, CI 77492, CI 77499): They add pigments (and colour) to skincare products while protecting skin from UV light.
  • Phenoxyethanol: A preservative that prevents bacteria and fungi from growing in your skincare products and spoiling them.


I’m surprised how lightweight this is for a sunscreen with zinc oxide. Granted, it’s not runny as a lot of chemical sunscreens are. But it’s pleasant light, feels silky to the touch, and layers easily without feeling greasy.


Like all Paula’s Choice’s products, it’s fragrance-free. Paula Begoun, the founder of the brand, was one of the first to denounce the irritating potential of fragrance in skincare. So, when she started her own brand, she was clear she didn’t want a drop of it in any of her products. And nope, the sunscreen doesn’t smell bad without fragrance. In fact, it doesn’t have much of a scent at all. You may find it boring. But I’ll take boring over irritating any day.

How To Use It

Like all sunscreens, it’s the last step of your morning skincare routine. Apply it generously on all exposed areas of skin and reapply as needed during the day. I know the tube, but don’t skimp on this!


The sunscreen comes in light blue tube. I like the look of it, plus it’s practical too. It releases just the right amount of cream you need. I just wish it were bigger. You need a lot of sunscreen each day and the tube will run out faster than you’d like.

Performance & Personal Opinion

You know all the reasons you avoid mineral sunscreens like the plague? They’re thick, greasy, leave a white cast behind that make you look like a corpse… Paula’s Choice Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 is proof you can formulate a mineral sunscreen that has none of these drawbacks.

Its texture is so incredibly lightweight, you won’t believe there’s any drop of zinc oxide here, let alone 13%! It’s not as runny as that of Asian chemical sunscreens, I’ll give you that. It’s more a very lightweight, non-greasy, silky lotion that spreads like a dream and dries to a matte finish.

The catch? This isn’t moisturising. I don’t know why Paula’s Choice calls it a moisturiser with SPF, when it barely provides any hydration even to oily skin! If you’re oily, you can indeed just use this as 2-in-1 moisturiser and sunscreen in the AM and call it a day. Everyone else, layer your moisturiser and/or hyaluronic acid serum underneath.

What about the white cast? Paula’s Choice Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 has a sheer beige tint that works with most skin tones. It doesn’t provide any coverage at all, so you’ll need foundation afterwards. But it does neutralise the white cast. If you don’t like to wear makeup, you can just use this without looking like you’ve just met a ghost!

The icing on the cake? It’s loaded with antioxidants that enhance sun protection and help keep wrinkles at bay for years to come. You see now why I can’t live without it? If only all mineral sunscreens were so pleasant to use…

paula's choice super-light daily wrinkle defense spf 30 review

How Does Paula’s Choice Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 Compare To The Other Paula’s Choice Sunscreens?

Paula’s Choice makes a lot of sunscreens (or moisturisers with SPF, as she confusingly loves to call them). Which one is right for you? Let’s find out.

  • Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief SPF 30 Mineral Moisturizer for Normal to Dry Skin ($37.00): A rich sunscreen for sensitive skin that’s on the dry side. The mineral sunscreens protect from UV rays, hyaluronic acid hydrates, ceramide banish dryness, and soothing agents reduce inflammation and redness. Available at Paula’s Choice.
  • Paula’s Choice Redness Relief SPF 30 Mineral Moisturizer for Normal to Oily Skin ($37.00): A lightweight, silicone-based mineral sunscreen infused with every anti-inflammatory ingredient to protect and soothe sensitive skin that’s on the oily side. Available at Paula’s Choice.
  • Paula’s Choice Clear Ultra-Light Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 30+ ($38.00): A lightweight, oil-free chemical sunscreen that provides hydration, protects skin from UV rays, and prevents wrinkles. Best suitable for oily and acne-prone skin. Available at Cult Beauty, Paula’s Choice, Sephora, and SpaceNK.
  • Paula’s Choice Defence Essential Glow Moisturizer SPF 30 ($35.00): A lightweight mineral sunscreen with 12 antioxidants to protect skin from UV rays and pollution. Best suitable for combination skin. Available at Cult Beauty, Dermstore, Net-A-Porter, Paula’s Choice, and SpaceNK.
  • Paula’s Choice Healthy Glow Invisible Sunscreen Oil SPF 30 ($29.00): I’m not a huge fan of this sunscreen. It only contains two UV filters: Avobenzone to protect skin from UVA rays and Octinoxate to protect skin from UVB rays. But you need more than just one UVB filter to provide adequate sun protection. *sighs*
  • Paula’s Choice PC4Men Daytime Protect ($38.00): This chemical sunscreen absorbs excess oil, protects skin from UVA rays, prevents wrinkles and soothes irritation. Even though it’s for men, everyone can use it. Available at Paula’s Choice.
  • Paula’s Choice Resist Skin Restoring Moisturizer with SPF 50 ($38.00): A chemical sunscreen with shea butter and niacinamide to moisturise skin while protecting it from UV rays. It’s also loaded with antioxidants to prevent premature aging. Plus, it’s smooth and non-greasy. Suitable for dry skin. Available at Cult Beauty, Net-A-Porter, Paula’s Choice, Sephora, and SpaceNK.
  • Paula’s Choice Resist Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 50 ($38.00): A lightweight, chemical sunscreen for oily and acne-prone skin. It’s loaded with antioxidants to prevent premature wrinkles. Available at Cult Beauty, Dermstore, Paula’s Choice, Sephora, and SpaceNK.
  • Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($35.00): A very lightweight chemical sunscreen for oily skin. It protects, soothes, and fight wrinkles – and absorbs excess oil. Available at Paula’s Choice.
  • Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30 ($35.00): A thick and rich mineral sunscreen for dry skin. It’s also loaded with soothing agents and antioxidants to prevent UV-induced damage. Available at Paula’s Choice.

What I Like About Paula’s Choice Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30

  • Lightweight texture, doesn’t leave a greasy residue behind.
  • Tinted, doesn’t make you look like a ghost.
  • Protects skin from UV rays.
  • Antioxidants-rich, prevents wrinkles.
  • Fragrance-free.

What I DON’T Like About Paula’s Choice Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30

  • Small tube, will run out fast.
  • Not hydrating.

Who Should Use This?

Anyone can use it, but it’s best suitable for oily and combination skin. Anyone will have to use a separate moisturiser with this.

Does Paula’s Choice Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 Live Up To Its Claims?

A lightly tinted mineral-based formula that protects skin from sun damage and fortifies it with state-of-the-art antioxidants. True.
Prevents premature aging of skin. True.
Boost skin’s environmental defenses. True.
Silky texture leaves a soft matte finish. True.

Price & Availability

$38.00/£33.00 at Cult Beauty, Dermstore and Paula’s Choice.

The Verdict: Should You Buy It?

Yes! If you’re looking for a zinc oxide sunscreen that doesn’t leave a thick, white mess on your skin, this is a must try – and I don’t use the word “must” lightly.

Dupes & Alternatives

Seriously, just try this sunscreen. I haven’t another mineral sunscreen I’d like to use more yet.


Zinc Oxide 13%,Water (Aqua), Cyclopentasiloxane, PEG-12 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Lauroyl Lysine, Sodium Chloride, Trihydroxystearin, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Resveratrol, Quercetin, Epigallocatechin Gallate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Adenosine, Bisabolol, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Haematococcus Pluvialis Extract, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Polysorbate 80, Hydrated Silica, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Iron Oxide (CI77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Phenoxyethanol.