Paula's Choice


126 reviews

58% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.1

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.1

Price: $$

Not tested on animals


Age: 36-43

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

Before she started her own line I found her site and her books more trustworthy. Its hard to take all her opinions at face value when she now has a stake in the business and not just a very informed/educated consumer.

Putting that conflict of interest aside, there is a great deal of good information on her website about ingredients that can prove very useful in your future decisions on buying products. I do not however agree with all of her reviews or take them as gospel.

Moving on to her actual website and products, she started out humble and affordable and now all products are much more pricey than they were initially while still coming in cheapo drugstore containers. Her products are hit or miss and her makeup line is a disaster. She had a great conditioner and completely modified it to include proteins which many people cannot use daily.

The only thing I fully 100% agree with her on and praise her for is having a total commitment to fragrance free products which many people including myself need.

7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

on 3/5/2015 9:34:00 PM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Combination, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Very biased reviews. I went on the website with a positive mindset because I heard some people talking about how her reviews seem very interesting and trustworthy. All I came across was very biased reviews. All of the very high end department skincare was rated poor and every single one of her own skin care items are rated best, yet I have heard no one raving about Paula's Choice skincare products. Her reviews are surely interesting to read and I see why it convinces many people to follow it but I won't do the same myself. The Cetaphil line was apparently rated very well before her own skincare came out and afterwards it was rated poor-average because they said "We have recommended this skincare line for many years but not anymore.", they went on to say it's outdated and the chemical no longer works(you can check the reviews on the website).
I do not trust Paula's Choice skincare reviews at all and her biased opinions on her own skincare line, props to her for making it but I don't respect the fact that she's taking advantage of her loyal readers.

12 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

on 3/2/2015 3:17:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Warm

Hair: Red, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Green

for people who have specific skin concerns or get overwhelmed by the vast array of products available, this is a great resource. however, skin care is a very individual thing & any advice should be taken w/ a grain of salt. this has been a helpful jumping off point for me to build an effective skin care routine, but i don't take BP's reviews as gospel, merely as a way to weed through products & find well-formulated, properly-packaged, budget-friendly ones. i don't really read their reviews of PC products (even though i like PC); they're formulated according to the BP criteria, so of course they're going to be rated well. i find it more helpful at sorting through other brands, & i always cross-reference w/ MUA to see people's actual experiences, not just the science.

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

on 3/2/2015 3:58:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Blue

Pros - You can learn a LOT, and I mean a LOT, from Paula's site. You can look up the vast majority of ingredients you will find in skin care products and see what is good and bad for skin. They list their sources for their information, so you can look at those as well.

I have found several products that I really like from Beautypedia reviews, as well.

Cons - There is a pretty rigid criteria for products, so you may miss out on something that would be good for you because it received a lackluster review from PC.

For example - I use plenty of products that have all the things PC loves - antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and skin repairing ingredients.

However, I don't think every single product you use MUST have these things. In fact, my skin seems to appreciate a "break" from all of that, and reacts well to a night moisturizer that is simple and highly moisturizing - one in which the ingredients are focused on moisture and little else.

I also try not to use products with fragrance, because I agree with PC that it's completely unnecessary and potentially irritating.

However, my skin usually doesn't react to fragrance. So if I find a product that is perfect for me except that it has fragrance, of course I will use it, despite PC's low rating.

The take away - use the site to learn, to find new products, to learn what ingredients you should avoid at all costs (like denatured or SD alcohol). But! Also get to know your own skin, and learn to use the knowledge of what your skin needs to read between the lines of the reviews on the site.

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

on 2/16/2015 10:17:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Fair, Cool

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Green

I only discovered beautypedia in the last year or so, and now, I try to consult it before making any cosmetics or skincare purchase. Do I always agree with their reviews and ratings? Absolutely not. There are products I really like that they don't, and vice versa. Do I always agree with their premises? Definitely not. I don't agree, in my case, that a regular face moisturizer can be used in my eye area. My eye area is VERY dry. I also don't believe fragrance causes "cell death." That just sounds exaggerated to me. I also find their rating their own products BEST is annoying. But, I do find a lot of the information it provides to be extremely helpful.

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

on 2/3/2015 12:00:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Dry, Medium, Warm

Hair: Black, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I think Beautypedia is a helpful resource when searching for a new product. For me, it's certainly not the end-all and be-all (and I don't think any single resource could or should be) but I like seeing the different takes that are out there. Beautypedia does try to bill itself as the absolute best resource out there which gets a bit over-the-top in my opinion, but is easy enough to ignore and doesn't detract from its utility.

I don't go by the ratings and reviews strictly, but I think the pro's and con's breakdown is adequate at explaining why something got a positive or negative rating so I can evaluate the product by my own standards. For example, perhaps one of the dealbreaker con's for Paula might not be that big a deal to me (super inflated claims -- it's okay, I didn't really expect to wake up looking like a supermodel after using a cream) and overall the product may be a good match.

For me, it's most useful function is actually not the reviews or the ratings. The search function pulls up the products and readily displays the price and size. When I'm considering multiple products, it can be tedious to compare the price per oz (searching through various websites to locate the necessary information, sometimes not being able to find it at all especially on large non-beauty focused retailers like Amazon) but Beautypedia is simple and clean. If they added a price per oz column that would be even better however for now I'm fine doing a couple mental calculations. I also appreciate the ingredients lists.

Overall, while I do think there are some drawbacks to Beautypedia, I find it helpful when searching for a new product especially for its easily sorted price and size information.

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

on 2/2/2015 1:44:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Other

Eyes: Blue

At first I was interested to read Paula's reviews because they seemed to tell things that other reviewers/bloggers does not say, even though her comments were a bit too criticizing. Sometimes it really influenced my decision wether to make the purchase or not.

However, after some time I noticed that basically any product that I was interested in had the highest rating of "good". I realized that some of the products that have been working very well or even excellent are rated by "poor" or "average".

My positive opinion crashed completely when:
1)I realized she has her own products that all are rated "best" while she scorns huge majority other skincare brands
2)I read her comment on Caudalie C15 Overnight Detox Oil. She praises the oil ingredients a lot, also the price, BUT, she gives rating "poor" JUST because its name says "Detox" while according to Paula no skincare can do that. Okay, I can understand that, but is it good reason enough to put the lowest rating if everything else (even for picky Paula) is good?

12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

on 1/26/2015 3:59:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Sensitive, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I find the Beautypedia website indispensable. Their articles and reviews alerted me to the ingredients I was having irritation and rashes from--esp Methylwhatever, that long name. That's why products that people generally rave about (eg WnW coverall foundation) destroy my skin. They point out fragrance/formula/etc issues, and are quite generous in recommending all kinds of brands for all budgets. To those reiterating that Paula doesn't have specialized degrees/ experience: she hires a team for this stuff, you can't miss their names on the site. Duh.
People (beauty writers) I used to trust incl my fave (charming writing but full of misinformation) Zoe foster, have all rec'd products and things which MUA generally hates, and I do too. The products Paula's choice recommend I always, or usually, love.
They aren't as quickly updated as MUA when it comes to specific products. They hate Lush, but I have found some gems from there which haven't been reviewed on BP website.
They tend not to review the smaller indie brands, but I can search the ingredients dictionary and antioxidant info to get a sense of the benefits of the smaller skincare lines.
As for their videos/radio shows (you can get the link to hear the recordings as well as read the transcripts), there's good info there too, although I do think they tend to pooh-pooh DIY a tad too much. For instance they dismissed henna as 'drying' because 'the women I saw growing up...' Etc, but properly used, henna can coat your hair shaft, strengthen hair, add gloss just like any good deep conditioner, and mixed with beneficial oils offsets the brittle look that you get from improper use. Also using cassia or indigo blends, you can completely avoid the flaming red collur and get various shades of brown and even strawberry blonde or black. It even adds a bit of a low SPF protection, which Paula is relentlessly obsessed with. Similarly, they dismiss DiY vit C serums because the alcohol used is damaging for skin but most diy vit c serum recipes i see on mua don't contain alchohol. There is an element of snobbish disdain which kind of blinds them to giving a fair overview of the Diy side of things. I feel like they don't delve into researching homemade treatments or indie brands enough, but fair enough, that's not really their aim anyway.
Their articles have helped me pick out effective fproducts for hair, skin, makeup. It is a great resource combined with MUA for a broader range of opinions and experiences. I don't understand the bad reviews at all.... The reviewers always leave a margin for preference, but with makeup it's obvious they prefer a certain aesthetic. So what? It's actually changed over time now they give equally high ratings to shimmer and brights. They always mention products other than their own. If you think they are too biased towards PC items you haven't seen their videos. They sometimes mention PC products not being optimal for them. E.g one of them mentioned that the PC array of sunscreens don't work for him, the finish or feel of them, so he goes for Skinceuticals. There are more examples of this type of honest feedback.

Have not purchased even one PC item and have used Beautypedia as a resource for years.

5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

on 1/24/2015 11:07:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Paula has saved my skin more than once. In the late 90's, I read her book, "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me," and learned why all of the acne products never worked at clearing up my skin. Even worse, they were breaking me out even more. So basically, I was paying money for more acne. I started using the cleansers she recommended, then purchased her BHA 2% Gel when she first came out with it in the late 90's. This has kept my skin clear for more than 15 years. Yes, I'm 55 and I still break out.
Now, I have new issues. I've suddenly developed very sensitive skin. Everything she has said about fragrance, plant and chemical, has proven true for me. It breaks me out horribly around my eyes. I can't even use it in my shampoos and conditioners. The Ingredient Dictionary on her website has been a skin lifesaver for me. On a side note, my skin and hair have never looked better using completely fragrance free products.
I've also found her reviews on makeup to be accurate about 90% of the time. I'll buy a product some You Tuber recommends, then find it doesn't work for me. I'll look it up on Beautypedia, and will discover a poor or average review. I don't always agree with her reviews on her own makeup products. I think that's an area where that still needs some work.
I also like the company's honesty over how much their products can do for you. If you watch their Q&A You Tube videos, they admit the limits, and that it's not Botox in a jar.
Do I consider them infallible or completely unbiased? No. However, no one on the planet is infallible or unbiased. I appreciate what Paula has done for the skincare industry, and I think we've all benefitted, whether you use her products or not.

10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

on 1/24/2015 10:11:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

While I find some of Paula's reviews to be over the top with the warnings about fragrance and natural oils, I do regard Beautypedia as a fantastic resource for sensitive skin care products.

I have purchased many products based on the "Best" rating and found them to be very effective. I do hesitate to purchase any product that she has given a poor rating to, and I really appreciate the ingredients list. Several products I used to wear were loaded with alcohol, and I had no idea until I read the review on Beautypedia.

My skin has improved since switching to alcohol-free products (less dry patches and sensitivity) and I am much more aware of the ingredients to avoid now.

My only issue with the website is that makeup reviews only give the perspective from one person, and makeup is such a YMMV item that you do need several reviews to get a feel for a product, hence my love for MUA.

So MUA and Beautypedia together give me a wide range of viewpoints plus a comprehensive ingredients list and products to avoid. I do check Beautypedia daily for new product reviews, and I am so glad that this website exists.

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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