Paula's Choice


128 reviews

58% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.1

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.1

Price: $$

Not tested on animals


on 8/22/2015 5:15:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Green

Beautypedia is a fair resource for those who are investigating the products that they are using. I find the reviews of the brands and products to be helpful, provided you use a critical eye when reading reviews.

Paula's team does a pretty good job of researching the company and its products, but there is a bias on the part of the site towards any products containing fragrance. She has sensitive skin with a special skin condition and she uses that a basis for discounting products with fragrance. While I understand that fragrance may be irritating, that should not be the major reason for knocking down the scores of products that are effective.

I like the scientific references that Paula includes in her reviews, which provides an objective basis against which you can judge the product. They do provide a lot of background information to be able to make good decisions, but the conclusions drawn by Paula's team seem somewhat skewed towards promoting Paula's products. The team rates all of her products as the "best" products (on a scale of POOR, AVERAGE, GOOD, BEST), but that seems like shameless self-promotion, especially considering that I have tried a few of her products and found them to be too silicone-laden and not that impressive.

I think it would be an improvement to have a panel of people who actually test out the products and then review the products, in conjunction with an analysis of the ingredients list. It appears that Paula's team primarily checks out the ingredients list, and writes up a report on that. While it certainly is important to analyze the ingredients, I think it is equally important to put the product into use!

In conclusion, this is a helpful resources, but proceed with caution. Check out reviews from those who have actually used the products and use a variety of sources to compile your data before making a final decision.

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

on 8/20/2015 12:58:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Dry, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Other

Eyes: Green

I love looking up reviews online. I use MakeupAlley frequently, and I love reading blog posts from people who have tried products.

I am sick and tired of this woman putting down solid products and companies that don't deserve it.

Firstly, she uses her own sensitive skin as a reference for every. single. product. Not everyone has sensitive skin! I do, but I use plenty of the products that she bashes for not being okay for sensitive skin. And when a product is actually okay for the skin type it is meant for, she criticises it for not being suitable for skin types it is not meant for! Case in point: I love the Body Shop Moisture Foundation for a good, well-priced moisturiser for my dry skin, which it is clearly meant for. She criticises it for being bad for oily skin. What?! Of course it's not for oily skin! That's why they have other products FOR OILY SKIN.

The woman finds flaws in everything. She criticises The Body Shop for using synthetic alternatives to natural products in some of their items, so that they can offer products that have a good shelf life, and are still animal friendly. I'd say that their millions of customers are pretty happy with that.

Secondly, she overrates her own products. Clearly, you are supposed to believe that she has formulated them with her extensive knowledge, which is why they are the best on the market. What makes her knowledge any better than Dermalogica? Or Trilogy? Or any of the hundreds of brands with loyal followers with great skin to show for it? She is a saleswoman.

She quotes scientific journals, so people think she must be right, and other people can't possibly be wrong. Newsflash: you can find just about ANY scientific journal/book/trial/whatever to back up your point of view. Especially on something like cosmetics, where ingredients are constantly being created and investigated.

She doesn't allow for the fact that everyone has different skin, and people respond to different products differently based on how they use them (frequency, etc), their conditions/environment, and a whole host of other factors. I'll be doing my best to avoid ever reading one of her reviews again, but for most people that's a bit dramatic - so at least take what she says with a grain of salt, and cross-reference with other resources. If she says it sucks, and there are hundreds of people on here saying it's great, it's probably great and she just wants you to buy her own products. Rant over! :P

9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

on 8/3/2015 10:00:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Oily, Medium, Neutral

Hair: Red, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

I have flipflopped on Paula Begoun at first I loved her, highlighted her books, then I started to dislike her because of the conflict of interest when she started to sell her own products. Despite this I was still using a combination of beautipedia and makeup alley to advise me on products. I recently fell back in love, when I found her youtube videos of Q&A livechats.

Between her and her research team it feels like they give more spontaneous answers then their website. Nathan revias and bryan are my favorite. I feel more informed then when I read her articles or even her tip videos because they are live and you can tell they are very excited about the research and knowledge they have accumulated. I will say that one of their correspondents Desiree reminds me of some of the controversy about the company because she seems less knowledgeable about the research and more excited about products.

Every three years I adjust my skincare routine, and I started adjusting mine based on their recommendations. I was using mostly mauc/Makeup artists choice, alpha hydrox products before including peels, AHA, BHA, and reitinol. I started adding more antioxidants, vitamin c, nicamidcide to my regime and got rid of something I had used forever the diy aspirin mask. Its made a pretty big difference over three months. After having pretty severe acne growing up I started using Paula Begoun to fix many of those problems 10 years ago. I always get compliments on my skin but now it's just a whole new level.

I have used her products and trust them. Do I think they are miraculously better than other companies, no, but I can tell you that she is one of the few out there that accurately describe what you are getting and I appreciate that. I balance her products by price point. For example, she recommends products in the alpha hydrox line, and they are cheaper. So after experimenting with Paula's products I went back to them for my AHA.

I keep in mind a couple of things.

- Although they review quite a bit of products I would like them to review more competitive products. Products they consider equal or better than their own.
-I have oily skin, she has a great line for this, but their general spot treatments are very silicone or emollient based and are just difficult for me to use. An example is her 9-bha product which works but feels like I just slathered oil on a pimple.
-Futurederm has an interesting discussion on alcohol based products and paula begoun's point of view that they are damaging. I still haven't decided where I fall on this.
-Mandelic acid is one of my favorite products. When I use it I get compliments every time but beautypedia rates it average. I've listened to the reasoning but its hard for me to dispute my own observations with this product.
-Because Paula likes to have research to back up her products, rightfully so, sometimes I feel like I want to experiment with other brands for the innovation. The "next bit thing" can be a pit fall but it can also lead to some truly unique products. I also feel like she doesn't take risks with products which is her strength but is consistently the reason why I start to wander.
-sometimes she is so research driven she underestimates the luxury factor. Man what I wouldn't do for an awesome fragrance
-I'm really interested in her opinion of olaplex.

You have to give Paula Begoun credit she raised the bar in the industry and her products are solid. I think that in the age of youtubers who get free products and suddenly find every product life changing, and amazon reviews with suspicious ratings, she is much needed. I see the average ratings here but think she deserves a second look.

7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

on 7/7/2015 12:51:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Coarse

Eyes: Brown

I remember way back when she didn't sell her own line of skincare. I referenced her site and Skin Deep a lot. While her information might be helpful, it's a giant conflict of interest. She is no longer an unbiased consultant, she is a salesperson.
Folks who are fully vested in her reviews need to remember that she wants to make money. In the end, it's all down to dollars.
Yeah, I've read that she keeps Beautypedia and her skincare line separate, employs different groups of people, etc. Which is great. But I no longer believe her purity of intention.

I like her articles that teach about ingredients and skincare protocols. Don't get me wrong.
But I scoff at her reviews of competitor products. And any company that isn't Paula's Choice is now her competitor.

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

on 6/28/2015 12:37:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

This is surely a joke! HOW has she been able to discredit so many other great skincare lines like this? She is a crook! Her products are not anything great. Clearly she knows this, which is why she has to stoop to demeaning other lines in order to try to boost hers!

on 6/26/2015 2:14:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

The majority of the reviews on this website are mediocre to negative, even for products and brands that are massively popular and hailed by respected beauty journalists and make-up artists throughout the industry. Liz Earle for example, who ethically focus on plant formulations, get a bad rap even though her products have literally transformed my skin!

I can only assume that the purpose of this site is to discredit other products so that people buy Paul's own line of cosmetics, the tab for which is right next to the Beautypedia one! Don't be fooled by it! Paula is not a scientist and the majority of the information is conjecture. Paula's conflicting business model is seriously flawed, she should focus on one or the other.

The site is slightly useful for ingredients lists but even they aren't always there. If you want real honest product reviews, stick to MakeupAlley!

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

on 6/21/2015 4:20:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Dry, Olive, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I was excited when I found the Beautypedia website. I needed some things and thought I would pull it up on my iPhone while shopping at Ulta, to use as a resource. I knew I didn't want any drugstore things that day. I ended up wasting over 2 hours in the store and getting beyond frustrated. Every single last thing I was interested in only got 1 star. I tried to find something that she approved of that wasn't a drugstore brand and it was almost impossible. That was when I figured out something wasn't right. So much time wasted. I felt tricked. I felt I couldn't be the only one who felt fooled this way. So I researched and found a lot of complaints about her. So frustrating!!! Couldn't believe it.

I did try her a Resist line last year because a friend said she'd been a fan of hers for years. So, on a whim I shelled out for her entire Resist line. I used the entire, totally boring Resist line for 6 months. It just dried out my skin even more and made it look dull. I kept waiting for results, which never happened.

The items I used were: Resist Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser, Resist Cellular Day Moisturizer with spf 25, Resist Non-Greasy Moisturizer, Resist Wrinkle Repair Retinol serum (super greasy/never absorbed), Skin Perfecting 2% BHA, Resist c15 super booster (smells awful), Resist Toner, Resist Foundation(terrible), Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment 5% AHA, Resist Weekly Resurfacing Treatment 10% AHA. With all of this, I not only saw no results, my skin looked worse. I like to enjoy my skincare. That is huge for me. These products bored me. I ended up throwing what wasn't used up in the garbage.

5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

on 6/19/2015 2:55:00 PM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Coarse

Eyes: Blue

i only use it for ingredient list these days.
they give good review to things with irritants and destroy thing that work just because of a brand that they don.t like made it, or it.s to expensive. i just don.t trust her opinion given that just about everything that she sells gives me acne or just doesn.t do anything. i.ll give her one thing she makes the best spf for winter maybe one day she will put out a water resistant mineral spf 50 and she will be the best for summer.

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Normal, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Blue

Oh, Beautypedia. What would I do without you? I admit it, I’m curious enough to check out the reviews of new products whenever new ones show up. Sure, there’s lots of good info (it's most helpful taken as a guide for what ingredients to *look for*), but there’s also a lot of stuff that doesn’t make sense.

Complaint du jour (of the day):

They have a beef with certain types of alcohols. Some are fine, apparently (the fatty, moisturizing ones and yes, good that they make the distinction — because they are very different ingredients), but heaven forfend a product contain the other sorts (rubbing alcohol is a good catch all proxy so think of that when you think of the kind that they ding).

The thing is, alcohol as an ingredient is actually pretty useful in skincare/beauty products. It can, for example, thin out a formula enough to make the good stuff penetrate through the skin barrier more effectively but also evaporates quickly as soon as it has a chance to do so.

Within a strictly black and white POV, yes, rubbing alcohol is dehydrating (if applied in pure-ish form directly to skin, it’ll dissolve skin oils and such). But, when it allows for other ingredients that are moisturizing or otherwise beneficial to penetrate your skin barrier by temporarily thinning out the formula just long enough for them to go deep/penetrate, on the balance, you will end up more hydrated/treated than not. Depends on the formula of course, but you get the idea. I hope! If I see alcohol in the ingredients and the product works well, GREAT. It probably helped achieve the intended effect.

The studies that are cited by Beautypedia re: alcohol mostly seem to be in vitro (“petri dish”) studies, not in vivo ones (living skin cells with all of the inherent associated complexities). Cells in petri dishes on their own are fragile things and pretty much flop over dead unless bathed in luxurious nutrient baths; anything else and they will crap out and whatever they were doused in gets unfairly dinged as “cytotoxic”. Living cells are very much hardier and have “systems” in place that protect them.

You could dump a bunch of cells in a dish of water and they’d probably die. Is water cytotoxic? Not usually, no. Not in real life. I mean, of course, if you drink a shit ton of the stuff, yes, it’s possible you could die (it’s a thing and people have). Anything is toxic in the right amounts and circumstances.

But, seriously, think about the nature of rubbing alcohol (proxy for so-called “bad” alcohols). How does it usually behave? It evaporates pretty damn quickly, right? RIGHT!!! Especially once exposed to air or otherwise given a chance to evaporate.

Is it really going to be on/in your skin long enough to cause the kind of damage that Beautypedia scaremongers about? Highly unlikely. Chances are, it’ll glance upon your skin for a little bit and then flutter away into the ether. No harm, no foul. Very much different from the studies where cells are bathed in the stuff (even in low concentrations) for far longer than they would be in practical application and covered so as not to allow evaporation.

Blargh :/.

12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

on 6/8/2015 2:37:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Black

This is such a disappointment. I've tried following her "top rated" products and they are either in a weird consistency or they break me out. But what's most upsetting is the way her reviews trashes other companies. I mean, even if the product is bad would you really go out in public and call them "useless" and other rude comments followed by a sarcastic tone?

I know Paula's not doing the reviews anymore but whoever she hired needs to stop having such an arrogant and rude tone. Maybe learn your manners before rating and reviewing yourself as the "top rated" brand

9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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