I Tried Paula's Choice's Retinol Body Treatment and It Ended My Dry Skin Woes

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Paula's Choice Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment

paula's choice skin-smoothing retinol body treatment

Byrdie / Olivia Hancock

What We Like
  • Silky feel

  • Long-lasting hydration

  • Affordable

  • Doesn't leave a greasy feeling

  • Gives skin a natural glow

What We Don't Like
  • Irritating when used with exfoliants

The Paula’s Choice Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment makes my skin feel like silk and is now a must-have in my body care routine.


Paula's Choice Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment

paula's choice skin-smoothing retinol body treatment

Byrdie / Olivia Hancock

We put Paula’s Choice Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.

After I step out of the shower, my favorite thing to do is lather my limbs in lotion. As someone with perpetually dry skin, I’ve tested and tried countless body lotions over the years. Some have kept every inch of my body soft and supple all day long, while others have missed the mark. And while I have my rotation of favorites, I’m always willing to give other lotions a fair shot. 

Enter: Paula’s Choice Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment. This treatment touts itself as being an advanced moisturizing body lotion that reduces uneven skin tone and produces softer, firmer skin. It even earned the bragging rights of being the best retinol body lotion of 2020, according to Byrdie. Its impressive claims and beauty industry praise were enough to make me want to try it. But, did it live up to the hype? Read on to find out.

Paula’s Choice Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment

Best for: Dry, uneven skin

Uses: Reducing uneven skin tone, boosting skin moisture, and producing softer, firmer skin

Potential Allergens: It's not recommended for people with sensitive skin due to its ability to irritate the skin.

Active Ingredients: 0.1% retinol concentration, natural butters, plant oils

Byrdie Clean?: Yes

Price: $29

About the Brand: Paula’s Choice is known for its smart, safe, and effective skincare products.

About My Skin: Dry, especially during fall and winter

As I mentioned, my skin is chronically dry. This is especially true during the fall and winter months. And for me, the areas that need the most moisture are my elbows and knees—they can feel pretty rough sometimes. Since my skin needs intense levels of moisture, I typically reach for body creams and lotions packed with hydrating butters and oils. 

The Feel: Silky to the touch

Like most lotions, this one is creamy. It feels incredibly silky to the touch and is lightweight on the skin. This body treatment also earns extra brownie points from me for not leaving behind a wet, greasy residue as some body creams do. Instead, it gives me a natural, non-greasy glow. 

Paula's Choice Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment

Byrdie / Olivia Hancock

Ingredients: Retinol cushioned with nourishing butters and oils

The main ingredient that powers this body treatment is pure retinol. In this product’s formulation, the brand uses a mid-strength 0.1% retinol concentration. Using a specialized retinol complex allows the body lotion to reduce the appearance of uneven skin tone, boost skin moisture, and produce softer, firmer skin. To amp up its moisturizing properties, the body treatment is also infused with ultra-nourishing natural butters and plant oils.

Interactions and Sensitivity: Don't mix with other chemical exfoliants

Per our expert-reviewed guide on retinol, it is not recommended that you use this body treatment alongside vitamin C; glycolic acid and other alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs); and astringents, as doing so may irritate your skin. Because this product contains retinol, the brand recommends applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater on top of the lotion if used during daytime.

The Results: Baby smooth skin 

Since I don’t really have uneven pigmentation on my skin, I was more so concerned with the lotion’s ability to moisturize my skin. And I am happy to report that my skin feels just as soft as a baby’s—from head to toe. The best part? My skin felt hydrated all day. I even asked my mother to feel my arms, and she confirmed that my skin felt much softer and smoother. 

I coated my entire body in this lotion once a day. After testing it out, I can confidently say that this body treatment delivers on its promises.

The Value: Worth it

Throughout my trials with body lotions and creams, I’ve learned that it’s worth it to invest in quality moisturizers. And this is a quality moisturizer. For $29, you get 4 ounces of product, and a little bit goes a long way, so you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. 

paula's choice skin-smoothing retinol body treatment

Byrdie / Olivia Hancock

Similar Products: You have options

Chantecaille Retinol Body Treatment ($102): If you want to treat yourself to a luxury body treatment, this body treatment is for you. This high-end cream is formulated with pure retinol encapsulated in botanical microspheres, saccharide isomerate (a hydrator), and edelweiss extract (an antioxidant). Together, this potent ingredient complex works to reveal smoother, firmer skin.

This Works Sleep Plus Dream Body ($35): This retinol body cream goes to work while you sleep. This lightweight cream is made with a skin-loving blend of essential oils and actives such as amino acids and retinol, along with the brand's signature Deep Sleep fragrance. The motion-activated nighttime formula helps mitigate sleep troubles, dryness, creepiness, and sun damage.

Final Verdict

If you want your skin to feel like silk, then you need Paula's Choice Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment in your life. Since I started using this, my skin has been so soft and supple. I’m absolutely going to be singing the praises of this lotion to anyone who will listen from this day on.


  • Product Name Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment
  • Product Brand Paula's Choice
  • Price $29.00
  • Weight 4 oz.
  • Ingredients Water, Cetearyl Alcohol (emollient/texture-enhancing), Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate (emollient/texture-enhancing), Cyclopentasiloxane (hydration), Dimethicone (hydration), Glycerin (hydration/skin replenishing), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Cetyl Palmitate (emollient/texture-enhancing), Butyrospermum Parkii (shea butter/emollient/antioxidant), Glyceryl Stearate (emollient/texture-enhancing), PEG-100 Stearate (texture-enhancing), Oenothera Biennis Oil (evening primrose oil/non-fragrant oil/emollient/antioxidant), Vitis Vinifera Oil (grape seed oil/non-fragrant oil/antioxidant/emollient), Cetyl Alcohol (emollient/texture-enhancing), Retinol (vitamin A/skin-renewing), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (vitamin C/antioxidant), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E/antioxidant), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (emollient/skin replenishing), Panthenol (hydration), Carnosine (skin-soothing/antioxidant), Dimethiconol (emollient/texture-enhancing), Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer (texture-enhancing), Cera Alba (beeswax/texture-enhancing),Magnesium Aluminum Silicate (texture-enhancing), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Xanthan Gum (texture-enhancing), Dicaprylyl Carbonate (emollient), Decylene Glycol (hydration), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Chlorphenesin (preservative), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

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