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 everything in tubes that’ll keep the goodies stable.

Saves a girl hours deciphering ingredient 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 game, this is definitely worth a try. Here’s why:

What’s In Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum?


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


No diva is a solo act. They 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. Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol 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: Is Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate The Best Form Of Vitamin C Used In Skincare?


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 bisabolol (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


Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol 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?

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Gel-like texture with an oily feel. 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.


Like all Paula’s Choice products, it’s fragrance-free.

How To Use It

Two or three nights a week, straight after cleansing (don’t exfoliate on retinol nights!).

paula's choice resist intensive wrinkle repair retinol serum 01

Performance & Personal Opinion

Let’s start with the “bad”: the oilier texture of Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum will put off oily skin. It’s way 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 (no topical product can do that). 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. 🙂

Related: Three Ways To Shrink Large Pores (That Really Work)

Who Is This For?

  • Dry Skin
  • Combination Skin
  • Retinol newbies

Who Is This NOT For?

  • Oily skin
  • Sensitive skin that can’t tolerate retinol at all
  • Pro retinol user (if you’re using 0.5% or higher, this is a step back)
paula's choice resist intensive wrinkle repair retinol serum 02


Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum comes in a dark grey tube with a pump dispenser. It’s hygienic, practical, and keeps the antioxidants inside stable for longer.

Does Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum Live Up To Its Claims?

This advanced anti-aging serum blends pure retinol and potent antioxidants to minimise the appearance of wrinkles, improve firmness and brighten skin. True.
The silky, rich formula leaves skin smooth, hydrated and radiant-looking. It’s not the most hydrating, but it leaves skin brighter and smoother.
Repairs sun damage. Yes. Retinol is proven to help reduce wrinkles and dark spots, but it takes months to see significant results.
Visibly reduces fine lines. Yes. But anything with silicones can do this.
Suitable for rosacea-prone skin. Yes, as long as your skin can tolerate retinol.

Price & Availability

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

Do You Need It?

Yes. If you’re in the market for a gentle retinol serum for beginners, Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum is one of the best options to consider.

Dupes & Alternatives


Cyclopentasiloxane (hydration), Dimethiconol (hydration/texture-enhancing), Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate (emollient), Dicaprylyl Carbonate (emollient), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (hydration/skin replenishing), Phenyl Trimethicone (hydration), Squalane (emollient), Bisabolol (skin-soothing), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (vitamin C/antioxidant), Retinol (skin-restoring/antioxidant), Tocotrienols (vitamin E-based antioxidant), Tocopherol (vitamin E/antioxidant), Lecithin (skin-restoring), Laminaria Ochroleuca (Kelp) Extract (skin-soothing), Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Oil (skin-soothing), Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil (skin replenishing), Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate (skin-soothing), Hexylene Glycol (hydration), Ethylhexylglycerin (preservative), Phenoxyethanol (preservative), Caprylyl Glycol (preservative).