Paula's Choice


109 reviews

64% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.2

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.2

Price: $$

Not tested on animals


on 6/26/2014 11:22:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Green

I've used both Paula Begoun's books and Beautypedia for years. Despite what people think, she's not completely biased towards her own line. This is proven by the many good reviews she gives other products from various other companies. Beautypedia is just another resource for making decisions before purchasing beauty products, and I'm sure it's saved me money over the years just like MUA has. Does that mean I always take her advice? Of course not! At some point you have to use your own good judgement before making a purchase. Beautypedia is just a tool to help you do that.

13 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

on 6/24/2014 8:51:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Olive, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Brown

This eh hem...woman is not a dermatologist, just a makeup artist turned capitist harpie.
Any recommendations I've taken from her website and books have been a disaster. I think she craps on popular brands at the same price point as her own to market her line of skin care. I'll add Paula's choice stuff is awful.

on 4/28/2014 6:47:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

After finding products based on their website, i realized that Paulas Choice has their own brand of products... how can they rate all the other brands without bias?! They can't. I've tried numerous products from their line and from other that they rated horribly and time after time, i have found that their products are just overpriced drug store quality. They do the job mostly, but it's just not worth what they charge. Nothing stood out and the website is just decieving.

13 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

on 3/26/2014 12:04:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Black, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

Regardless of whether her website is useful, I really appreciate what she does. Paula's book was my introduction to the whole idea of basing your purchase decision on the ingredients of a product, not what the marketing messages say or how pretty the packaging looks. I find her website useful in two ways. First, she gives a list of potentially irritating ingredients that you should seek to avoid when buying products. Second, she teaches you the basics about taking care of your skin, such as always putting on a sunscreen no matter what the weather or season is.

That said, my attitude towards her reviews has changed--I don't rely on her reviews as much as I used to, because I've found many products that are bashed in her review but are loved by many people on Makeupalley, including myself. There were also many instances where I (and may other people) didn't like the highly rated products on her website, including some products from her own line.

I guess a part of the answer to this paradox lies in the nature of scientific research. Paula's reviews are based on scientific studies, which are probably the most credible sources available to evaluate a skincare ingredient. But one needs to understand that many things could mess up the validity of a study--it is not uncommon in scientific research that you could find a certain result with one sample and not finding it with another. This is especially the case when you are studying something as the skin's reactions to a certain ingredient, which is highly susceptible to the influence of individual differences. I'm not advocating that we shouldn't trust the results of scientific research. I'm simply saying that scientific research has its own drawbacks despite that it's the best available tool for us to systematically find out about how things work.

Next, consider the information that Paula use to evaluate a product, which in most cases is no more than the ingredient label of a product. I'm not a skincare expert, but I think one would need more information to give a comprehensive and unbiased review of a product than what's listed on the label, such as the percentage of the ingredients. That said, her reviews are helpful in the sense that they help you to identify the ingredients that are widely established to be harmful and are absolutely not supposed to be present in your products.

So here's how I make use of the information on Beautypedia: if I'm interested in a product, I'll first check whether there's any deadly hurting ingredients in it from Paula's website. As long as the rating there is not "poor" (she normally give products with harmful ingredients a "poor"), I'll proceed to websites like Makeuplley and see what other users have said about the product, and then make up my mind about whether to purchase it or not.

Having said all of the above, I firmly believe that the ultimate criteria to evaluate a beauty product is your own experience. You know the best whether your skin is happy with a product or not. If it works, it works.These review websites are just supposed to give you information that helps you to narrow down your choices, not to give an absolute verdict of how good or bad a certain product is.

25 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

on 2/28/2014 11:52:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair, Warm

Hair: Brown, Curly, Fine

Eyes: Brown

Why are you guys copying the same information over and over again?

I find beautypedia and her cosmetic ingredient dictionary very helpful when making decisions about what products I buy. However, everyone has and will have an opinion based on their own experiences and beliefs. This is when, if you're interested in the issue, need to do your research and look up other sources of information. Preferably those that have a scientific backup. I'm an Environmental Scientist and I can even say that the EWG is even more biased than the beautypedia and overall an unreliable source of information. They just create alarm and confusion, it drives me nuts their use of "toxic" and "chemical".

But this is about the beautypedia. I like how they cover so many brands, from drugstore to high end and include the ingredient list (which some brand's website don't, hello?). Paula believes that alchol and essential oils are bad and irritant, and in some cases, they are. If a product contains a rather high amount of those ingredients, she's likely going to rate them as "poor" but if they're in lower concentrations she might give them an "average". Of course, this is when you need to have your own mind and knowledge because the fact that there's one not so nice ingredient doesn't mean the whole formulation is bad.
She's also against the use of jar packaging, which is somewhat true, but not a whole reason to completely dismiss a product.
One thing though, that I think is a bit absurd is that she includes her own brand. Of couse everthing is going to have the greatest rating, you developed it!

Also, I've read one review here saying that Paula isn't a dermatologist so she can't know her stuff. Seriously? She's been working in the industry for many years, doctors aren't superior creatures from heaven, all knowledgeable. In fact, the average dermatologist will know about the diseases and drugs they have to prescribe, but they don't really know much about cosmetics formulations (of course, there are some who especialize on it or have an interest in the subject, but I'm talking about the average dermatologist).

Overall, a very good website but not as the one and only source. You need to keep reading, contrast the information and make up your own mind.

31 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

on 2/28/2014 11:19:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Fair, Warm

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Green

Love this site. It is extremely helpful in finding products that will work for my skin type. It is THE ONLY site that posts recommendations for other brands in addition to their own which i find refreshingly honest.

on 2/18/2014 2:02:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Cool

Hair: Blond, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Green

I research and review everything I buy. From lip balm to electronic equipment, it takes weeks sometimes to make a decision for me to spend money on a product. Enter Beautypedia. It's a fantastic source, and I have learned volumes. I use it, MUA, Amazon reviews as well as, Ulta and Sephora to make decisions on cosmetic and skin care purchases. I love to read about other people's experiences with products. I am not a dermatologist, but I am tired of being a sheep in the flock...blindly pirchasing a product based simply based on the company's claims that it can do for you what no other can. Using all of these different sources, I have found a skincare regime which has (at 47) given me the type of skin which regularly gets complimented! Yes, I use a ton of PC products now and here is why. I like Paula herself. Yes, she has a line of products she wants me to buy. BUT, if I don't like a product I send it back and recieve an immediate refund, no questions asked. Shipping is low, there are many, many different products to choose from so I can mix and match, and her products are chock full of ingredients I would pay triple for if created by a different brand. If you watch her videos, you'll see that she, herself uses and praises plenty of products besides her own. I am extremely happy to have found her site and products. My skin looks better now than when I was 25.

16 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

on 2/17/2014 11:12:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

Most of her products are wonderful but I cannot trust her reviews because many times if my friends or I posted a negative review on any of her products, she does not post them. Her reviews are cherry picked to look legit and to make sure the ratings of her products remain high. I will only repurchase the products that I have already tried and like because now that I know she doesn't post all her reviews, I am hesitant about trying new ones.

14 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

on 1/18/2014 5:10:00 AM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Acne-prone, Medium Brown, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I would say she used to annoy me because she seems quite biased with her products but I thought which competitor in the beauty market isn't? Clinique, Chanel would never say their products are bad either and the comment on here are quote condescending on here - so what if she isn't a dermatologist? That doesn't necessarily mean she doesn't know how to read ingredients and see which benefit your skin, she studied science at university and has shown a real interest in beauty products' ingredients... I'm currently using her BHA 2% liquid and I haven't used anything else of her but seriously people! Give her a break!

9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

on 10/30/2013 2:30:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Oily, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Black

This woman just annoys me to the bone. She's a business woman who suffered from acne and eczema from childhood, studies science at college and later on worked with a group of people to create her own skincare line. I don't see any of her credential as being a trained dermatologist, only being an makeup artist/esthetician, which in no way makes her a professional skincare expert or critics.

Basically her opinion is very simple - Everything packaged in a jar is cardinal sin, anything that comes with essential oil will cause skin irration, and beware brand name skincare houses because Paula hates you! She will solely attack on all the big name skincare products with high price tags, just for the price itself without offering any sciense or research based opinions.

To me this is beyond ridiculous. Everybody reacts differently to skincare products, being it all natual, organic, or even chemical loaded. As long as they work for me I don't go out there and broadcast about how bad chemical based products will do to your skin. You make your own judgements and your own choice when it comes to your face. I have been using organics products for a couple years, and later on switching back to all the department store brands, and my skin is happy as ever. Doesn't mean I have to do one way or the other to have good skin. It's all about how your skin reacts to different ingredients. And as long as they work, nobody can tell me why they should be so bad, even if they are packaged in a jar, or loaded with alcohol.

I don't want to make this a personal attack, but I really don't feel comfortable with someone having her own skincare line and go out preaching around town, badmouthing other brands because they simply don't live up to her own standard, which is next to nothing.

26 out of 50 people found this review helpful.

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