Paula's Choice


143 reviews

59% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.1

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.1

Price: $$

Not tested on animals



Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Blue

I really like Beautypedia as a source of information about which ingredients are present in skincare and makeup products and what they are for. I have been using the reviews in conjunction with MakeupAlley, Temptalia, other websites, and my own experience to improve my skincare regimen.

The descriptions of which ingredients are present and beneficial in products seem sensible. I find that for many products the pros and cons are laid out clearly and the reason for the rating is obvious. There are a couple of products I have started using less after reading beautypedia's reviews and corroborating the information there with other sources, and my skin is better for it. There are also a couple of really well reviewed products on the site that just don't work for me.

In general I find that beautypedia helps me make informed decision about the products I purchase, and will keep reading reviews.

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.


Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Dry, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I've been using Paula's Choice products on and off for several years. The products are good (3 stars) to excellent (4 stars) in terms of how they feel and how my skin responds to them.

There are several other products out there that I've tried that are also good to excellent in terms of how they feel and how my skin responds. Millions of other women must agree since there never seems to be a shortage of Sephora stores popping up all over the world.

However, with regards to Paula's Choice and Beautipedia, I've noticed shortcomings in the past few years:

1. Paula's Choice products are not innovative. New products are introduced long after they appear in Sephora and higher end department stores. This is no doubt in an effort to keep up with the industry (e.g., 1% Clinical Retinol, Oil Booster, Resists Anti-Aging Eye Cream and most recently, Resist Skin Firming Line Minimizer).**
2. These new products come with a heftier price tag. Paula's Choice is no longer an easily affordable choice.
3. Her products are all rated 4 stars; very few other competing products are rated 4 stars. This makes me very suspicious of her interests which were once to keep consumers aware of what's going into cosmetics. Now she seems more interested in marketing her own products which is why I'll think twice before buying another one.
4. From time to time I have written to Paula's Choice to comment on a product. If my comment is negative, I didn't get an answer. One comment was a review on another product. They actually edited my comment and eliminated words they obviously didn't like.

Jar Packaging is one of Paula's pet peeves. In her opinion, nothing should be packaged in a jar according to Guidelines on Stability of Cosmetic Products (March 2004), published by the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association (CTFA) which Paula often sites.

This document also states:

"Because of the wide variety of cosmetic products and their inherent complexity,
“standard” stability tests cannot be prescribed. Manufacturers, who have an intimate
knowledge of their products and packages, require the flexibility to modify testing
protocols and to build a sound scientific basis for assessing product stability. Thus,
specific tests may be developed in order to predict possible evolutions of the product,
to address new/ unusual technologies, or to be adapted to products having extended
shelf lives."

So in other words, each formula needs to be tested in it's unique package, jar or otherwise.

What irks me is that Paula rates a perfectly good product much lower if it is packaged in a jar regardless of the unique formula.

Most of her products are packaged in tubes which also get air exposure. When product is squeezed out of a tube, air is forced back into the tube. No matter how small the tube opening is, air is constantly entering the tube with each use. Add to that the fact that the product is kneaded as you manipulate it out of the tube; this causes air to be constantly mixed with the product.

Enough said on that. We would need scientific experiments to conclude how much deterioration is going on in any type of package under all circumstances. For instance, one shipment I received was in the winter; the products were frozen solid and took hours to thaw. Did that affect the formulas in any way? Who knows. And what if they sat in 90 degree weather at the airport for hours. Does that affect the formulas? So many factors, so many possibilities.

Bottom line: Paula should make a choice to manufacture skin care or review products manufactured by others. There clearly is a conflict of interest which is making me lose interest in her products and reviews.

Regarding Beautipedia's review of L'Oreal Revitalift Volume Filler Serum:

"The marketing behind this serum from L'Oreal is all about smoothing wrinkles—the product's packaging even looks like a syringe, suggesting that this can do the work of injectable fillers".

Paula's Choice just introduced (October 2015) Resist Skin Firming Line Minimizer in a package that eerily resembles L'Oreal's "syringe". Hmmmmm, just sayin'.

14 out of 18 people found this review helpful.


Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

This used to be an excellent resource for not only reviews but also used to have an extensive ingredient glossary. I first used it years ad years ago when it was a paid site, $25 for a year, and it really was such a unique and unbiased source for information. Then as her own product line expanded the site became less and less useful and now a downright shame. It became a free site and down it went. It's simply a place for her to shill her own products now. She has every right to sell her own products and give herself excellent reviewsI have every right to be disappointed in her site's integrity.

She used to loudly say for years that eye creams were not needed, that they were just the same product for face in a smaller bottle for twice the price. She used to be very clear about good products that were overpriced and had a specific section for overpriced items. She used to say how fancy packaging and expensive ads were a waste and that the only added cost to the product. Now she sells an over priced eye cream and her own products, even old products without any improvement, have gone up in price some as much as 30% over 2 or 3 years.

The search functions used to be great so you could cross reference products by your needs, especially by skin type or by the formula of a product like liquid vs. creme foundation or long wearing vs. normal products. All those filters are now gone.

And she only posts positive reviews of her own products and filters negative ones so all of her products come out with high marks. She will reject a review, an honest review, on the basis that it doesn't meet her review standards.

And she is very inconsistent with her reviews. For example she will give a great foundation very low marks because it doesn't have sunscreen and then go on and on about the lack of SPF. Well I myself am allergic to most sunscreens and can only wear a few so I have to buy my cosmetics without any and I only wear foundation at night anyway so she will whine about SPF for a product that we all have choices on, namely a make up product with or without SPF.

It's disappointing such a great resource was stripped of its usefulness. I get that it's free now but I was happy to pay $25 a year for integrity. At least Make Up Alley is still here for us all :)

23 out of 26 people found this review helpful.


Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

The first time i found beauty pedia, i was very happy.. but lately i just feel uneasy because of her team's review about some product i looking for. (almost all of them, fyi.. all those product has a great review.. for example tata harper.. beauty pedia said that it's irritates your skin, blalala and they still insist they opinion on user's review), I trust Caroline Hirons more..


Age: 25-29

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Red, Curly, Coarse

Eyes: Grey

So I get the hate and that people are sceptical about her reviews because she really likes her own products.
But her reviews about skincare and foundations are really good. I like the fact that she points out the possible irritants, type of spf used and if the claims are legit our just commercial blah blah.
I only can use zinc our titanium SPF's and no avobenzone, which is used in every European SPF.
Plus my skin hates menthol,lavender, rose and campher and nearly every tiny bit of perfume in skincare. I have to know beforehand if a product that I want to buy contains that stuff.
Before I buy anything skincare wise I first check beautypedia and this way I can figure Out if a product is save for my skin.

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.


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.

9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.


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

22 out of 25 people found this review helpful.


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.

12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.


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.

10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.


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!

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