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

by Gio

paula's choice resist intensive wrinkle-repair retinol serum review

It’s no secret that Paula’s Choice is one of my favourite skincare brands.

I love it because I’m lazy. Paula only uses actives proven to work. Avoids irritants like the plague. Packages the whole thing in tubes that’ll keep the goodies stable.

Saves a girl hours deciphering labels trying to find the gem in a sea of duds.

One of the products I swear by is Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum. If you’re new to retinol or would like to up your antiaging serum, this is definitely worth a try. Here’s why:

Key Ingredients in Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum

Retinol, an anti-aging superstar

Retinol is the real deal. One of the very few things that REALLY reduces wrinkles.

You don’t even need a ton of it to do the job. A 2007 study found that a topical 0.4% retinol lotion applied up to 3 times a week for 24 weeks “improves fine wrinkles associated with natural aging“.

Retinol reduces the wrinkles you already have. Plus, it prevents new ones from forming. It does this in three different ways:

  • It has antioxidant properties that fight free radicals
  • It boosts collagen, keeping skin firm
  • It speed up cellular turnover (i.e. the skin’s exfoliating process), fading away both wrinkles and dark spots.

Like that weren’t enough, it is also an effective treatment for acne.

But, retinol isn’t without side effects. If you’re new to retinol or have sensitive skin, retinol can cause peeling, redness and irritations.

That’s why you need to start small. Begin with a small concentration a couple of times a week and build up dose and frequency from there.

FYI, Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum is a great place to start. 😉

Oh, while we’re at it, retinol can make skin more sensitive to the sun (ironic since it helps treat sun damage, isn’t it?). Use it at night only.

Related: The Complete Guide To Retinol

paula's choice resist intensive wrinkle repair retinol serum 02

Retinol is supported by a network of antioxidants

No diva is a solo act. They have all have a team of helpers, coaches and stylists that make them look and perform their best.

Retinol is no exception. It works best when surrounded by other antioxidants. This serum has its fair share. Retinol’s little helpers include:

  • Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate: a stable, oil-soluble form of Vitamin C that easily penetrates the skin and stimulates collagen production.
  • Tocotrienols + tocopherol: forms of Vitamin E that help protect skin from sun damage and prevent the premature signs of aging. A 2001 study has found that “vitamins A [retinol] and E appear complementary in preventing UV-induced deleterious cutaneous and systemic effects”.

Related: Types Of Antioxidants Used In Skincare

It also has soothing properties

Remember when I said retinol can be irritating when you first start to use it?

To minimize the risk of irritation, Paula put plenty of anti-irritants in the serum. They include bisabobol (it’s what gives chamomile its soothing properties), oats and algae extracts.

All together, they soothe irritations and reduce redness.

Related: 9 Soothing Ingredients That Can Fight Irritations

Silicones: misunderstood and non-comedogenic

This serum is silicones-based. There, I said it.

Before you cross it off your list, hear me out. Silicones don’t suffocate skin. They have a particular molecular structure that’s made up of big molecules with big holes between one another.

This means they can create a protective barrier on the skin AND still allow it to perspire. 

But do they cause pimples? Not on their own. Silicones AREN’T comedogenic. But if you’re using a product with comedogenic ingredients before this, they may get trapped underneath the protective barrier they create and cause problems.

But why use silicones in the first place? They can do some cool tricks:

  • They help the serum spread more easily
  • They temporarily fill in fine lines and wrinkles so they look smaller
  • They make skin silky soft to the touch

Related: Are Silicones Bad Or Good For Skin?

paula's choice resist intensive wrinkle repair retinol serum 01

Let’s Put It To The Test: Personal Use & Opinion

Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum has a gel-like consistency that almost reminds me of that of an oil. Like an oil, it’s a little greasy and leaves my skin looking shiny for a couple of minutes. After that, it completely sinks in.

If you have oily skin, this can be a bit too emollient for you. But I can put up with that because I saw the first results within a week. I kid you not.

Let’s be clear here. Topical retinol takes months to work its magic on wrinkles. The serum didn’t reduce them in a week. But I know it will in due time. The science here is solid.

But, it did improve the texture of my skin in only 7 days. My skin looked smoother, plumper, more even-toned and a tad firmer. Even the pores on my oily t-zone look just a tiny bit smaller. 

My skin is used to retinol by now so the serum didn’t irritate my skin. It didn’t make it breakout either.

There’s a reason why it’s a staple in my skincare routine after all. 🙂

Available at: $42.00/£39.00 at Dermstore, Feel Unique, Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice

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Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol (silicone slip agents/suspending agents), Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate (skin-conditioning agent), Dicaprylyl Carbonate (emollient), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (skin-repairing ingredient), Phenyl Trimethicone (silicone slip agent), Squalane (emollient), Bisabolol (anti-irritant), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (stabilized vitamin C/antioxidant), Retinol (cell-communicating ingredient/antioxidant), Tocotrienols (vitamin E-based antioxidant), Tocopherol (vitamin E/antioxidant), Lecithin (cell-communicating ingredient), Laminaria Ochroleuca (Kelp) Extract (anti-irritant), Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Oil (anti-irritant), Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil (skin-repairing ingredient), Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate (licorice-derived anti-irritant), Hexylene Glycol (slip agent), Caprylyl Glycol (emollient), Ethylhexylglycerin (skin-conditioning agent), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

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Ana July 3, 2013 - 5:30 pm

5 out of 5?

I’m impressed!

beautifulwithbrains July 3, 2013 - 8:58 pm

Ana, it’s a wonderful product. It features active ingredients that do what they promise (and the brand doesn’t make exaggerated promises, which is always refreshing) and is packaged in a tube that keeps them stable. I wish more brands did the same.

Irma December 3, 2014 - 12:35 am

Hello, just wondering..what is your skin type? I have oily skin. Does it absorbs or it’ll stay shiny and oily until you wash/clean your face?

Gio December 3, 2014 - 9:09 pm

Irma, I have combination skin. Dry cheeks and oily The serum absorbs quickly on my skin, and doesn’t leave a residue behind.

Trin May 30, 2017 - 2:54 pm

Hi Gio,

Sorry I’m new and don’t always understand everything 🙂 What would the difference be between this product and the SKIN BALANCING Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum With Retinol?



Gio June 3, 2017 - 3:23 pm

Trin, Skin Balancing has a gel-like texture that’s more suitable for oily skin. Apart from that, not much difference.

Helena June 29, 2018 - 8:07 am

Hi Gio. Would I use this serum instead of my current retinol? I have been using the ordinary 2% for about 8 months now. I received a 30ml sample of the from Paula’s choice and would like to give it a go but I don’t want to reduce my retinol dose. How often should I use the serum to avoid that? I am assuming I would still use it at night?
Thank you in advance! X

Gio July 6, 2018 - 8:49 pm

Helena, do you mean Granactiv Retinoid 2%? That doesn’t contain retinol so you won’t be reducing your dose by switching. Still, I don’t recommend you use both in your skincare routine.


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