Paula's Choice


131 reviews

58% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.1

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.1

Price: $$

Not tested on animals


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.

5 out of 6 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

10 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

on 5/29/2015 4:11:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Why do all of her products get "BEST CHOICE" but everything else is too expensive or improperly formulated? Some products I love and she gives them bad reviews, but her products contain so many ridiculous ingredients. She has sold out in my view, as her name used to mean something - Quality. She needs to stick to a few good products, instead of making 500 products with all the same basic components. The less you put on your face, the better.

Also, she has completely gone insane with some of her prices. $24 for a lipgloss and $60 for a vitamin C cream that's the size of a travel toothpaste. Then she bashes other companies for having high prices. Doesn't make sense.

16 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

on 5/27/2015 8:13:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Blue

I used to have breakouts and flaky skin, but I started following Beautypedia's advice and using only "best" rated products, and now my skin looks amazing... Even without makeup or moisturizer. And no, the highest rated products on the site are absolutely not only the house brand - they recommend everything from drugstore brands to high end products, so I'm genuinely confused as to how some people on here can say that the site bashes anything expensive. I will say that there is more high end makeup than skincare with great reviews, but that's mainly due to the fancy moisturizers, cleansers, and serums having tons of fragrance just so you feel like they're more luxurious.

I also think it's funny that people give the site bad reviews because Beautypedia gives poor ratings to stuff they like. I mean, I like chocolate cake, but that doesn't mean it's as good for me as a handful of blueberries... and iceberg lettuce may be natural, but it certainly doesn't have as many vitamins as, well, a vitamin. Why get huffy at someone who points stuff like that out? A foundation may look beautiful, but contain so much alcohol that it's bad for your skin in the long term. And you can go totally natural and put only pure vitamin C powder dissolved in deionized water on your face, but you might not get the benefits because you used them in the wrong proportions and had no way to stabilize the vitamin C. I can go on and on.

The other thing I take issue with in the reviews here is people getting upset that the site gives poor reviews to daytime moisturizers without SPF. This is a proven way to prevent aging - I do agree that it's a personal choice, and if you want to look like a strip of beef jerky someday that's your own business, but why stop other people from being properly informed?

I'll add that I have tried one of her BHA serums and her vitamin C/E serum, and both were great. The BHA cleared up a weird rash on my thigh that had been going on for over a year - not even prescription creams had worked on it.

I don't even think of buying stuff not recommended by this site, and I tell all of my friends to use it too. It's truly the best tool for navigating the misleading claims of the beauty industry.

11 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

on 5/13/2015 1:20:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Paula's Choice products have a litany of ingredients. All of her products cause me to have a severe allergic reaction. My allergy doctor could not believe how much crap is in her products. Paula's products are full of synthetic garbage. If you look up most of the ingredients she uses (don't look it up on her site. I mean look up at an actual unbiased site) they are very irritating and almost dangerous. WHO IS POLICING PAULA'S CHOICE?

11 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

on 5/5/2015 7:22:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

Useless website. Informative only if you buy Paula's products.

5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Age: 30-35

Skin: Acne-prone, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

There isn't much I have to say that others have not mentioned.

The biased reviews, while touting her own products, really leave a bad taste in my mouth.

In addition, the site now include numerous USELESS reviews that hardly provide any helpful information. It basically restates what the manufacturer has described of the product. I think these useless reviews are posted for search engine purposes, to link more people to her site. For example, I was looking up Jane Iredale's Handi Brush. Had no interest in Beautypedia whatsoever, but still had to see that site in the search results. Here is the entirety of Beautypedia's review of the Handi Brush:

"The Handi Brush, which is recommended for applying Jane Iredale’s powder bases, is cut straight across and applies the powder much like a sponge would, and may be worth a test to see how you like the results. It definitely provides a heavier coverage and matte finish."

Seriously? What did I learn from that review? Not a damn thing that wasn't already mentioned on Jane Iredale's site. "May be worth a test to see how you like the results". LOL. Like I need you to tell me that?

Another example: I was looking up Shisedo's White Lucent Brightening Softener.

Sephora's rating: 4.2
Amazon's rating: 4.4
Makeupalley's rating: 3.3
Macy's rating: 4.8

Beautypedia's rating: 1 star

I would take Beautypedia's ratings with a grain of salt.

And I wish I would stop seeing it pop up in the search engine every time I look for a product. I already know their review is going to be negative, unless it's a product that Paula's Choice has no stake in, i.e. have a competing product to sell.

12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Age: 19-24

Skin: Dry, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Green

I consider Beautypedia to be just one useful source of many. Of course, because it is written by a staff that is also employed by a skincare/beauty company, take what they say with a grain of salt, but many of the things they do---their ingredient dictionary, for instance---can be really helpful.

I think a lot of people still believe that Beautypedia is actually written by Paula Begoun, but that is not the case anymore. I mention this only because I have noticed a big difference between the old reviews of Beautypedia (when Begoun was still very active in the website and company, which she isn't anymore, it's her professional review team), and the new reviews that they write. Maybe some of you didn't read Beautypedia years back and so don't notice this so much, but I did, and there has been a definite change in focus and tone since her staff took over, in my opinion.

This change in focus/tone has also definitely been for the better, from my view---less annoying personal preferences that people talk about here. Paula used to be really against colour makeup, she preferred all neutrals and mattes, and that preference was REALLY prevalent throughout her old work. She used to be quite snarky about it, in fact, and that was a big turn-off for me, even if I liked some of her other reviews (for example, one of her much older books was even called Blue Eyeshadow Should Be Illegal).

The snarky tone has largely been dropped, and I'm thankful for that. There's also not so much of a vendetta against colour, shimmer, etc, because I think the team---being a diverse group of people, as opposed to one writer---must have a better idea of the fact that preferences vary from person to person. I do agree with them on many points---for instance, the prevalence of things like alcohol and menthol in products is shocking, considering how irritating these things are. As someone with sensitive, rosacea-affected skin as of late, I have found some of that advice invaluable.

Generally, the skincare reviews and advice are better than the makeup ones, but that has pretty much always been the case with this site.

I know that Paula sort of marketed herself as this "objective reviewer", which is probably why people are so irritated by some of what she has said, but I think it's ridiculous to expect any review to be objective, from any source. A review is by definition an opinion of the writer, so don't expect Beautypedia, or any source for that matter, to be objective.

Of course, there's a certain conflict of interest with the fact that Paula's Choice exists. Unfortunately, they don't seem to acknowledge that conflict of interest in general. However, IF you can move past that and judge the reviews alone (and that's a big "if" for some people, which I totally get), that conflict of interest doesn't appear too obviously most of the time. For the record, I have really liked most of the PC products I have tried, but they have become very expensive over the years (the prices jumped pretty dramatically maybe a couple years ago and have kept on increasing ever since, even though her line is supposed to be "affordable"), so you can definitely get cheaper options that are just as good from lines like Neutrogena, Olay, etc.

Bottom line: take it with a grain of salt (in fact, take any review from any source with a grain of salt), take what's useful from it and leave the rest. It's a good resource if you have sensitive skin or specific skin issues. The scientific approach is unique and worth considering. Overall, it's a resource like any other; sometimes, they'll say a product is good and you'll try it, and it won't be your thing, just like on MUA. That's always a risk.

17 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

on 4/18/2015 7:39:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Red, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I have the same criticisms as others, but I still feel the site is worth looking at when considering a new product. I agree that the reviews are sometimes uneven. Sometimes Paula's prejudices are evident. I especially dislike her giving negative reviews to moisturizers without a sunscreen because I prefer that a sunscreen be in my foundation and not in my moisturizer.

I try to glean from reviews and ingredient lists whether the product is likely to work for my dry and sensitive skin. This is is the only site devoted to an "impartial" review of products based on ingredients and packaging, so I try to learn what I can and make up my own mind.

Others have said she gives bad reviews to other brands. This isn't true. She has a section on her site for Best Products (products she's given her highest rating) which cite many different brands.

The one thing about Paula's Choice that really bothers me is the samples. I don't mind paying for a sample, but I think the amount of product in the sample should be more than barely one use.

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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