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Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel Ingredients Explained

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Published on July 13, 2020

Overview

What it is

General moisturizer with 28 ingredients that contains exfoliants, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, Vitamin C and Vitamin E

Cool Features

It is cruelty-free and reef safe

Suited For

It has ingredients that are good for fighting acne, anti aging, dry skin, brightening skin, sensitive skin, oily skin, reducing pores, dark spots and better texture

Free From

It doesn't contain any harsh alcohols, common allergens, fragrances, parabens or sulfates

Fun facts

Paula's Choice is from United States. This product is used in 33 routines created by our community.

We independently verify ingredients and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Does this product need an update? Let us know.

You should know

Here's our breakdown of the notable ingredients, benefits, and concerns we determined from the ingredients in this product. Click any item to learn more.

Notable Ingredients

Vitamin C
Vitamin E
Exfoliators
Niacinamide
Hyaluronic Acid

Benefits

Hydrating (2)
Good For Oily Skin
Redness Reducing (3)
Reduces Irritation (2)
Skin Texture
Reduces Large Pores
Anti-Aging
Dark Spots (3)
Acne Fighting
Brightening (3)

Concerns

May Worsen Oily Skin (2)
Acne Trigger

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and view relevant ingredients.
alcohol-free
silicon-free
fragrance-free
sulfate-free
paraben-free
oil-free
fungal-acne safe
reef-safe
eu-allergen-free
vegan
cruelty-free

Ingredients Overview

Here's our quick-to-read summary of the ingredients in this product. Keep scrolling if you'd like to learn more about what each ingredient does!
Ingredient
Features
1
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
2
Emollient, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Silicon Icon
3
Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
1 / 0
4
Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Solvent
0 / 0
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
5
Silicon Icon
6
Smoothing
Niacinamide IconGood for Oily Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Dark Spots IconHelps fight Acne IconHelps brighten skin Icon
7
Skin Protecting
8
Abrasive, Antioxidant, Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Exfoliant IconAntioxidant IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin Icon
9
Astringent, Skin Conditioning
10
Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Skin Protecting, UV Absorber
Antioxidant Icon
11
Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Oil IconMay worsen Oily Skin IconBad for Acne Prone Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
12
Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0
Vitamin E IconAntioxidant IconHelps brighten skin Icon
13
Skin Conditioning
Silicon Icon
14
Emollient, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
1 / 0
Silicon Icon
15
Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Helps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconGood for Dark Spots Icon
16
Antioxidant, Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Vitamin C IconAntioxidant IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Skin Texture IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
17
Humectant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0
Hyaluronic Acid Icon
18
Skin Conditioning
19
Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
Antioxidant Icon
20
Emollient, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
21
Skin Conditioning
0 / 0
Helps reduce irritation Icon
22
Emulsifying
23
Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming
24
Skin Conditioning
25
Emulsifying
0 / 0
May worsen Oily Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
26
Emulsion Stabilising, Stabilising
27
Skin Conditioning
28
Preservative
Preservative Icon

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 28 ingredients. Click on any ingredient to learn more about it
1
What it does: Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: Loved

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.

So why is it so popular? Water most often acts as a solvent - this means that it helps dissolve other ingredients into the formulation.

You'll also recognize water as that liquid we all need to stay alive. Talk about multi-purpose! If you see this, drink a glass of water. Stay hydrated!

Learn more about Water
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What it does: Emollient, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: Disliked

Cyclopentasiloxane is a silicone used to improve texture and trap moisture. An easier name for this is D5.

D5 is considered lightweight and volatile. Volatile means it evaporates quickly after application. Once evaporated, D5 leaves a thin barrier that helps keep skin hydrated.

D5 is an emollient. Emollients help soften the skin and prevent water loss. Silicones create a silky texture in products. D5 helps other ingredients become more spreadable.

Studies show D5 is safe to use in skincare products. We recommend speaking with a skincare professional if you have concerns.

Learn more about Cyclopentasiloxane
3
What it does: Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: Mixed

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

  • It is a solvent, meaning that it helps to dissolve other ingredients. This also enhances the absorption of the product into one's skin.
  • It is a humectant, which means that it helps attract moisture into the skin.
  • It helps improve product application.

Overall, Butylene Glycol is a safe and well-rounded ingredient. It is unlikely to irritate skin, and works well with pretty much all other ingredients.

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What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Solvent
Community Rating: Loved

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

A study from 2016 found glycerin to be more effective as a humectant than AHAs and hyaluronic acid.

As a humectant, it helps the skin stay hydrated by pulling moisture to your skin. The low molecular weight of glycerin allows it to pull moisture into the deeper layers of your skin.

Hydrated skin improves your skin barrier; Your skin barrier helps protect against irritants and bacteria.

Glycerin has also been found to have antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Due to these properties, glycerin is often used in wound and burn treatments.

In cosmetics, glycerin is usually derived from plants such as soybean or palm. However, it can also be sourced from animals, such as tallow or animal fat.

This ingredient is organic, colorless, odorless, and non-toxic.

Glycerin is the name for this ingredient in American English. British English uses Glycerol/Glycerine.

Learn more about Glycerin

Bis-Phenylpropyl Dimethicone is a type of silicone.

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What it does: Smoothing
Community Rating: Loved

Niacinamide has emerged as an all-star ingredient due to its many benefits.

It is known to treat acne by reducing inflammation. It also helps fade dark-spots and strengthen the skin by promoting the growth of the ceramide barrier.

Other benefits include smoothing wrinkles and minimizing redness.

The cherry on top? Niacinamide can also help build keratin, a protein that keeps skin firm.

When incorporating niacinamide into your routine, look out for concentration amounts. Typically, 5% niacinamide provides benefits such as fading dark spots. However, if you have sensitive skin, it is better to begin with a smaller concentration.

Niacinamide can be mixed with other ingredients to boost benefits. For instance, it has shown to be effective when used with copper, folic acid, and zinc to treat acne.

Learn more about Niacinamide
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What it does: Skin Protecting
Community Rating: Disliked

We don't have a description for Laminaria Saccharina Extract.

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What it does: Abrasive, Antioxidant, Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Avena Sativa Kernel Extract is is derived from colloidal oatmeal. It is formed from grounded oatmeal and a liquid base.

Besides being a healthy breakfast, oats have many benefits in skincare too.

This ingredient helps sooth, hydrate, and protect the skin. The starches in colloidal oatmeal are able to bind water, keeping the skin hydrated.

The cellulose and fiber in colloidal oatmeal help reduce inflammation. This can also help the skin feel softer.

Colloidal Oatmeal is also an antioxidant. Antioxidants help stabilize free-radical molecules. These molecules may damage skin cells.

Avenacins found in colloidal oatmeal have anti-fungal properties. The saponins have a cleaning affect.

Overall, colloidal oatmeal is great at providing the skin with moisture and help sooth irritation. It also protects the skin in various ways.

Learn more about Avena Sativa Kernel Extract
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What it does: Astringent, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract is the extract of the leaves of Camellia Oleifera, Theaceae.

Camellia Oleifera Leaf is a green tea plant native to China. It is closely related to Camellia sinensis. Both plants have very similar properties.

Camellia Oleifera Leaf is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help fight free-radical molecules. Free-radical molecules are capable of damaging our cells and other genetic material. Antioxidants help stabilize free-radicals. Antioxidants may help reduce the signs of aging.

Camellia Oleifera Leaf also has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.

Learn more about Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract
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What it does: Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Skin Protecting, UV Absorber
Community Rating: Loved

Vitis Vinifera Seed Extract comes from the grape vine. Grape seeds are a byproduct of creating grape juice or wine.

The components of grape seeds have many skin benefits. Research has found it to be antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. It also contains many potent antioxidants such as Vitamin E , Vitamin C, proanthocyanidins, polyphenols, flavonoids, and anthocyanins. Proanthocyanidin has been shown to help even out skin tone.

Antioxidants help fight free-radical molecules. Free-radical molecules are capable of damaging our cells and other genetic material. Antioxidants help stabilize free-radicals by donating extra electrons. Grape seed extract may help reduce the signs of aging.

The antimicrobial properties of grape seed may help treat acne. However, more research is needed to support this claim.

Grape seed has also been found to help absorb UV rays. Grape seed extract should not replace your sunscreen.

Learn more about Vitis Vinifera Seed Extract
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What it does: Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Wheatgerm oil is a yellow/reddish oil derived from germs on the common wheat. It is rich in Vitamin E, an ingredient with many skin benefits.

About 80% of the oil is made up of fatty acids. The majority of these include linoleic acid and linolenic acid.

Studies show this oil can aid in wound healing and soothing inflammation.

This ingredient may not be acne or fungal-acne safe.

Sometimes, the Vitamin E derived from wheat germ can contain gluten. However, most plant derived oil is processed to remove all proteins.

Learn more about Triticum Vulgare Germ Oil
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What it does: Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

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.

One study found using Tocopheryl Acetate with Vitamin C decreased the number of sunburned cells.

Tocopheryl Acetate is commonly found in both skincare and dietary supplements.

Learn more about Tocopheryl Acetate
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What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Disliked

Phenyl Trimethicone is a silicon-based polymer. It is derived from silica.

Phenyl Trimethicone is used as an emollient and prevents products from foaming.

As an emollient, it helps trap moisture in the skin. It is considered an occlusive.

Learn more about Phenyl Trimethicone
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What it does: Emollient, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
Community Rating: Very Disliked

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.

Dimethicone has been found increase absorption in skin, boosting the benefits of other ingredients. While there is concern for the safety of dimethicone, the levels used in skincare are safe for use.

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What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate comes from licorice root.

Extracts of licorice have demonstrated to have antibacterial, anti‐inflammatory, antiviral, antioxidant properties.

One component, glabridin, has extra potent antioxidant and soothing properties. It has also been found to block pigmentation from UVB rays in guinea pigs.

Licorice Root also contains a flavonoid. Flavonoids are a natural substance from in plants. Flavonoids also have antioxidant properties.

Another component, glycyrrhizin, has been found to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits. This may make licorice root extract effective at treating acne. However, more research is needed to support this.

Liquiritin is one of the flavone compounds found in licorice. It has been found to help lighten skin by preventing tyrosinase from reacting with tyrosine. When the two react, protein is converted to melanin. Melanin is the substance in your body that gives your features pigmentation.

Licorice root is native to Southern Europe and Asia. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to help with respiratory issues.

Learn more about Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate
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What it does: Antioxidant, Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate is a version of ascorbic acid, or pure Vitamin C.

Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate has many benefits including reducing wrinkles, skin soothing, dark spot fading, and fighting against free radicals.

Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate interferes with the process of skin darkening, helping to reduce hyperpigmentation. It also encourages the skin to produce more collagen.

As an antioxidant, it helps fight free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells.

One study found Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate to degrade in sunlight, but is stabilized when conbined with acetyl zingerone.

Learn more about Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate
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What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

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

Like hyaluronic acid, it is great at holding water and acts as a humectant. This makes it a great skin hydrating ingredient.

Sodium Hyaluronate is naturally occurring in our bodies and is mostly found in eye fluid and joints.

These are some other common types of Hyaluronic Acid:

Learn more about Sodium Hyaluronate
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What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Phospholipids are naturally found in our skin as they are the main component of cell membranes. Phospholipids have humectant, emollient, antioxidant properties.

The phospholipids in our skin can be naturally depleted. Replenishing the phospholipids in our skin can help hydrate your skin. Due to their hygroscopic nature, they act as humectants and emollients. Humectants draw moisture from the air to your skin, while emollients help trap moisture in. This ingredient is non-occlusive.

Studies show phospholipids display antioxidant activity and may help with reducing the signs of aging.

Phospholipids are complex lipids that contain glycerin, two fatty acids, and a phosphate group. Some foods that contain phospholipids include soybeans and milk. The phospholipids found in soy come from Lecithin. This ingredient can also be synthetically created.

Some types of phospholipids:

Learn more about Phospholipids
19
What it does: Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Superoxide Dismutase is found in all living cells. This ingredient is AKA as 'SOD'.

SOD is a strong antioxidant. It protects living cells against oxidative damage by breaking down radical molecules into regular oxygen and hydrogen peroxide.

Antioxidants help fight free-radical molecules that may damage your skin's DNA. This may help with the signs of aging. Due to its antioxidant property, it is used to help treat chronic inflammation.

In cosmetics, SOD is usually obtained from marine phytoplankton, bovine liver, horseradish, cantaloupe, and certain bacteria.

The three major families of SOD include: Copper/Zinc, Iron/Manganese, and Nickel.

When eating SOD-rich foods, our bodies break it down into amino acids before absorption. Foods that contain SOD include: melons, citrus, spinach, broccoli, kale, almonds, sunflower seeds, and blue-green algae.

Learn more about Superoxide Dismutase
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What it does: Emollient, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: Mixed

Isohexadecane is added to enhance texture, emulsify, and to help cleanse. It is an isoparrafin. It is a component of petrolatum.

Due to its large size, Isohexadecane is not absorbed by the skin. Instead, it sits on top and acts as an emollient. Emollients help keep your skin soft and smooth by trapping moisture within.

Isohexadecane is often used in products designed to help oily skin. It is lightweight and non-greasy while helping to moisturize. When mixed with silicones, it gives a product a silky feel.

Learn more about Isohexadecane
21
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Panthenol (also referred to as pro-vitamin B5) is a common ingredient that helps hydrate and soothe the skin.

lt is a humectant, meaning that it helps the skin attract and retain moisture.

Another benefit is the anti-inflammatory abilities. This means that it's great for sensitive, irritation-prone skin.

Once oxidized, panthenol converts to pantothenic acid. Panthothenic acid is found in all living cells.

Learn more about Panthenol
22
What it does: Emulsifying

We don't have a description for Sodium Caprylate.

23
What it does: Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming

Sodium Carbomer is used to thicken products and create a gel-like consistency.

It is synthetically created from carbomer and sodium salt.

24
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer is a silicone used to improve the texture of products and absorb oil. It does not get absorbed into the skin.

Like other silicones, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer helps condition the skin by creating a barrier. In this sense, it can act as an emollient and trap moisture in.

25
What it does: Emulsifying
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Polysorbate 80 is a surfactant and emulsifier. It is used to keep ingredients together, and prevent oils and waters from separating.

It is made from polyethoxylated sorbitan and oleic acid. This ingredient can be found in cosmetics, foods, and medicine. It is water-soluble.

Polysorbate 80 may not be fungal acne safe.

Learn more about Polysorbate 80
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What it does: Emulsion Stabilising, Stabilising
Community Rating: Mixed

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.

Hydroxyethylcellulose helps stabilize products by preventing ingredients from separating. It can also help thicken the texture of a product.

This ingredient can also be found in pill medicines to help our bodies digest other ingredients.

Learn more about Hydroxyethylcellulose
27
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Mixed

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

You might see Ethylhexylglycerin often paired with other preservatives such as phenoxyethanol. Ethylhexylglycerin has been found to increase the effectiveness of these other preservatives.

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What it does: Preservative
Community Rating: Very Disliked

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.

It's often used in formulations along with Caprylyl Glycol to preserve the shelf life of products.

Embed Ingredients

Here's what our community thinks of the 28 ingredients in this product ✨

46% are loved or liked
14% have mixed ratings
29% are disliked or very disliked
11% have no rating yet

When to use

We've created a guide with info on when you should use Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel. We've also included some recommended products to use it with, as well as some routine inspiration!

Read our guide on when to use Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel ->
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