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Updated on June 19, 2024

Overview

What they are

These products are both vegan, cruelty-free, and reef safe . They have a total of 1 ingredients in common

Cool Features

They both contain retinoid

Suited For

They're both likely to be good for fighting acne, anti aging, dry skin, brightening skin, oily skin, reducing pores, scar healing, dark spots and better texture

Free From

They both do not contain any harsh alcohols, common allergens, fragrances, parabens or sulfates

What's Inside

They both contain oils

We independently verify ingredients, and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Spot a product that needs an update? Let us know.

Paula's Choice 1% Retinol Treatment US
Paula's Choice 1% Retinol Treatment
Facial Treatment
American Brand United States
The Ordinary Retinol 1% In Squalane

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and see relevant ingredients

At a glance

Click on any of the items below to learn more

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Ingredients Side-by-side

found in both products
1% Retinol Treatment
Water Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

Dimethicone Emollient, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
1 / 0 Silicon Icon
SiliconSilicon Icon

Dimethicone is a silicone used for making products smooth and silky. It also has the added benefit of sealing in hydration. The amount of dimethicone found in beauty products is considered safe and non-comedogenic, meaning it won't clog pores.

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Glycerin Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
0 / 0 Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
2 Benefits

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Butylene Glycol Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
1 / 0

Butylene Glycol (or BG) is used within cosmetic products for a few different reasons:

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Isononyl Isononanoate Emollient, Skin Conditioning

Isononyl Isononanoate is a synthetic skin-conditioner and texture enhancer. It is created from nonanoic acid, a fatty acid found in cocoa and lavender oil.

Castor Isostearate Succinate Skin Conditioning
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Castor Isostearate Succinate isn't fungal acne safe.

Unknown Full details ->
Glyceryl Stearate Emollient, Emulsifying
1 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Glyceryl Stearate is a mix of glycerin and stearic acid.

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Disliked Full details ->
C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate Antimicrobial, Emollient, Skin Conditioning

C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate is made up of Benzoic Acid and long chain alcohols. It has a low molecular weight.

Disliked Full details ->
Dimethicone Crosspolymer Emulsion Stabilising

Dimethicone Crosspolymer is a silicone created by modifying dimethicone with hydrocarbon side chains. Due to its large size, it does not penetrate skin. It is considered non-occlusive.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Peg-33 Humectant, Solvent

We don't have a description for Peg-33.

Unknown Full details ->
Polysorbate 20 Emulsifying
0 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Polysorbate 20 is made by combining ethoxylation of sorbitan, ethylene oxide, and lauric acid. It is a mild cleansing agent, surfactant, and emulsifier.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Behenyl Alcohol Emollient, Emulsion Stabilising
Fatty Alcohol Icon
Fatty AlcoholFatty Alcohol Icon

A type of fatty alcohol. Fatty Alcohols are most often used as an emollient or to thicken a product. They are usually derived from natural fats and oils and therefore do not have the same drying or irritating effect as traditional alcohols.

Disliked Full details ->
Peg-100 Stearate
0 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Peg-100 Stearate is an emollient and emulsifier. PEGS are a hydrophilic polyether compound . There are 100 ethylene oxide monomers in Peg-100 Stearate. Peg-100 Stearate is polyethylene glycol ester of stearic acid.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate Emollient, Emulsifying
2 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate is derived from isostearic acid. It is an emollient and emulsifier.

2 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Polymethylsilsesquioxane
Silicon Icon
SiliconSilicon Icon

Polymethylsilsesquioxane is a silicone used as a film forming agent.

Disliked Full details ->
Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
Vitamin C IconAntioxidant IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Skin Texture IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconHelps brighten skin Icon
Vitamin CVitamin C Icon AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon 5 Benefits

Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate is a form of Vitamin C.

Retinol Skin Conditioning
Retinoid IconGood for Oily Skin IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne IconHelps brighten skin IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema Icon
RetinoidRetinoid Icon 8 Benefits 3 Concerns

Retinol is a gold-standard ingredient for anti-aging. It is a form of Vitamin A and belongs to the class of retinoids that also includes tretinoin.

Ceramide Ng Skin Conditioning
Ceramide IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconHelps with Anti-Aging Icon
CeramideCeramide Icon 4 Benefits

Ceramide NG is a type of Ceramide. The NG stands for a sphinganine base.

Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 Skin Conditioning
Peptide IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
PeptidePeptide Icon Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 is a peptide. Peptides are building blocks for protein.

Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12 Skin Conditioning
Peptide IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
PeptidePeptide Icon Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12 isn't fungal acne safe and is a peptide.

Sodium Hyaluronate Humectant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0 Hyaluronic Acid Icon
Hyaluronic AcidHyaluronic Acid Icon

Sodium Hyaluronate is hyaluronic acid's salt form. It is commonly derived from the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Helps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconGood for Dark Spots Icon
3 Benefits

Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate comes from licorice root.

Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract Bleaching, Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Good for Dark Spots Icon
Good for Dark SpotsGood for Dark Spots Icon

Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract is an extract of the roots of Licorice. It has been found to have several benefits such as skin hydrating, conditioning, and soothing.

Avena Sativa Kernel Extract Abrasive, Antioxidant, Emollient
Exfoliant IconAntioxidant IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin Icon
ExfoliantExfoliant Icon AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon Helps hydrate Dry SkinHelps hydrate Dry Skin Icon

Avena Sativa Kernel Extract is is derived from colloidal oatmeal. Besides being a healthy breakfast, oats have many benefits in skincare too.

Arctium Lappa Seed Oil Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Oil Icon
OilOil Icon

Arctium Lappa Seed Oil is an oil.

Unknown Full details ->
Salix Alba Extract Skin Conditioning

Salix Alba Extract comes from the white willow tree, which is native to Europe and Central Asia.

Glycine Soja Sterols Emollient, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Glycine Soja Sterols is derived from the soybean plant. Sterols are an organic compound and technically an alcohol.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Lecithin Emollient, Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning

Lecithin is a term for a group of substances found in plants, animals, and humans. They are made up of mixture of fatty acids. These fatty acids usually are a mixture of phosphoric acid's choline ester connected to stearic, oleic, and palmitic acids. Most lecithins are created from plant ingredients scuh as sunflower.

Disliked Full details ->
Allantoin Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Soothing
0 / 0 Helps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconGood for Scar Healing Icon
3 Benefits

Allantoin plays a role in soothing and moisturizing the skin. Because of this, it is often added to products with strong active ingredients.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Tocopheryl Acetate Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0 Vitamin E IconAntioxidant IconHelps brighten skin Icon
Vitamin EVitamin E Icon AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon Helps brighten skinHelps brighten skin Icon

Tocopheryl Acetate is AKA Vitamin E. It is an antioxidant and protects your skin from free radicals. Free radicals damage the skin by breaking down collagen.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Hydrolyzed Soy Protein Humectant, Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Hydrolyzed Soy Protein.

Disliked Full details ->
Sorbitan Laurate Emulsifying
1-2 / 1-2 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Sorbitan Laurate is created from lauric acid and derivatives from sorbitol. It is an emulsifier.

1-2 Com. / 1-2 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester Skin Conditioning
Peptide Icon
PeptidePeptide Icon

Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester is a peptide.

Disodium EDTA

Disodium EDTA plays a role in making products more stable by aiding other preservatives.

Disliked Full details ->
Hydroxyethylcellulose Emulsion Stabilising, Stabilising

Hydroxyethylcellulose is used to improve the texture of products. It is created from a chemical reaction involving ethylene oxide and alkali-cellulose. Cellulose is a sugar found in plant cell walls and help give plants structure.

Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 Skin Conditioning
Peptide IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
PeptidePeptide Icon Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 is a 3-amino acid peptide. Peptides are building blocks for protein.

Sodium Hydroxide Buffering

Sodium Hydroxide is also known as lye or caustic soda. It is used to adjust the pH of products; many ingredients require a specific pH to be effective.

Tribehenin Emollient, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Tribehenin comes from glycerin and behenic acid.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Caprylyl Glycol Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning

Caprylyl Glycol is a humectant and emollient, meaning it attracts and preserves moisture.

Ethylhexylglycerin Skin Conditioning

Ethylhexylglycerin (we can't pronounce this either) is commonly used as a preservative and skin softener. It is derived from glyceryl.

Pentylene Glycol Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Pentylene glycol is typically used within a product to thicken it. It also adds a smooth, soft, and moisturizing feel to the product. It is naturally found in plants such as sugar beets.

Peg-75 Shea Butter Glycerides Emulsifying
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Peg-75 Shea Butter Glycerides isn't fungal acne safe.

Disliked Full details ->
Ppg-12/Smdi Copolymer Emollient, Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Ppg-12/Smdi Copolymer.

Unknown Full details ->
Peg-10 Phytosterol Emulsifying

We don't have a description for Peg-10 Phytosterol.

Unknown Full details ->
Peg-8 Dimethicone Emulsifying
Silicon Icon
SiliconSilicon Icon

Peg-8 Dimethicone is a type of silicone.

Unknown Full details ->
Peg-14 Humectant, Solvent

We don't have a description for Peg-14.

Unknown Full details ->
Magnesium Aluminum Silicate Absorbent
0 / 0

Magnesium Aluminum Silicate is a type of silica. It comes from naturally occuring minerals such as silicate ores and clay.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Disliked Full details ->
Arachidyl Glucoside Emulsifying

We don't have a description for Arachidyl Glucoside.

Disliked Full details ->
Arachidyl Alcohol Emollient, Emulsion Stabilising

Arachidyl Alcohol is a fatty alcohol made from peanut oil. It is an emollient, emulsifier, and thickener.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Sclerotium Gum Emulsion Stabilising, Skin Conditioning

Sclerotium Gum is a polysaccharide gum made by the fungus, Sclerotium rolfssii. It is similar to xanthan gum.

Disliked Full details ->
Carbomer Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming
1 / 0

Carbomer is a polymer of acrylic acid. Its main role is to create gel consistency within products.

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Disliked Full details ->
Phenoxyethanol Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that has germicide, antimicrobial, and aromatic properties. Studies show that phenoxyethanol can prevent germ and microbial growth. By itself, it has a scent that is similar to that of a rose.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Benzoic Acid Masking, Preservative
Preservative IconMay worsen Eczema Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon May worsen EczemaMay worsen Eczema Icon

Benzoic Acid is used to preserve and adjust the pH of products.

Disliked Full details ->
Retinol 1% In Squalane
Squalane Emollient, Skin Conditioning
1 / 0 Helps hydrate Dry Skin Icon
Helps hydrate Dry SkinHelps hydrate Dry Skin Icon

Squalane is an emollient that helps the skin hold onto moisture. It's an oily liquid that occurs naturally in certain types of fish and plant oils.

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride Masking, Skin Conditioning

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride is an emollient, solvent, and texture enhancer. It is considered a skin-softener by helping the skin prevent moisture loss.

Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil Emollient, Skin Conditioning
0-2 / 0 Oil IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
OilOil Icon Helps hydrate Dry SkinHelps hydrate Dry Skin Icon Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

This ingredient is the fixed oil extracted from seeds of the desert shrub Jojoba. It is more commonly known as jojoba oil. The seed oil is liquid wax ester from the plant. It is non-comedogenic.

0-2 Com. / 0 Irr.
Retinol Skin Conditioning
Retinoid IconGood for Oily Skin IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne IconHelps brighten skin IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema Icon
RetinoidRetinoid Icon 8 Benefits 3 Concerns

Retinol is a gold-standard ingredient for anti-aging. It is a form of Vitamin A and belongs to the class of retinoids that also includes tretinoin.

Solanum Lycopersicum Fruit Extract Antioxidant
Antioxidant Icon
AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon

Solanum Lycopersicum Fruit Extract is an antioxidant.

Unknown Full details ->
Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract Antimicrobial, Masking, Skin Conditioning

Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract comes from rosemary. Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean.

Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone Skin Conditioning

Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone is a synthetically created molecule made to mimic ginger extract.

BHT Antioxidant, Masking
Antioxidant Icon
AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon

BHT is a synthetic antioxidant. As an antioxidant, it helps your body fight off free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells.

Very Disliked Full details ->

Ingredients Explained

These ingredients are found in both products.

Ingredients higher up in an ingredient list are typically present in a larger amount.

Skin Conditioning
Loved

Retinol is a gold-standard ingredient for anti-aging. It is a form of Vitamin A and belongs to the class of retinoids that also includes tretinoin.

Why is retinol famous?

It has the most scientific studies backing up its skin benefits out of all the non-prescription ingredients.

Retinol is proven to:

This is why retinol is effective at removing wrinkles, fading dark spots, treating acne, and reducing the appearance of pores.

Studies show retinol is less effective when exposed to UV. Be sure to look for appropriate packaging to keep your retinol potent (similar to Vitamin C).

Using retinol or any retinoids will increase sun-sensitivity in the first few months. Though studies show retinoids increase your skin's natural SPF with continuous use, it is best to always wear sunscreen and sun-protection.

We recommend speaking with a medical professional about using this ingredient during pregnancy.

Retinol may cause irritation in some people, so be sure to patch test. Experts recommend 'ramping up' retinol use: start using this ingredient once a week and work up to using it daily.

Read about Tretinoin

Learn more about Retinol

Ingredient Ratings

Here's what our community thinks of the ingredients in these two products.

1% Retinol Treatment
17
7
22
7
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated
Retinol 1% In Squalane
3
3
1
1
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated

When to use

276 Routines
8% use in am
92% use in pm
67% use every day
When to use See routines that use it ->
1 Routine
0% use in am
100% use in pm

Reviews

Here's what our community thinks

Paula's Choice 1% Retinol Treatment 53 ingredients

4.5 /5
from 4 ratings
Ninamujer's avatar

Nina

7 months ago Β· Sensitive Skin
Review

Love it
My favorite retinol. Been using it for a year and never had any bad reactions (be sure to follow instructions like starting slow). It's a...

Love it
My favorite retinol. Been using it for a year and never had any bad reactions (be sure to follow instructions like starting slow). It's a bit pricey but worth it

The Ordinary Retinol 1% In Squalane 8 ingredients

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