Paula's Choice


143 reviews

59% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.1

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.1

Price: $$

Not tested on animals


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.

19 out of 20 people found this review helpful.


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 contain 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.

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.


Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

She touts herself as an unbiased expert. Yet she sells her own cosmetics line swimming in silicones. She is inconsistent in her reviews, an ingredient is bad in one product but ok in another. I have no faith in her reviews

11 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Age: 30-35

Skin: Dry, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Blue

I have issues with this site for several reasons.

1. She is reviewing her products along side competitors. Her reviews, therefore, are inherently biased.
2. Claiming essential oils are simply irritating fragrances, without serving a purpose
3. Claiming percentages of potential irritants are too high without specifically stating what those percentage numbers are.
4. Criticizing some products for having too many preservatives while arguing with others that there is nothing wrong with synthetic ingredients.
5. Ripping on any day product that doesn't have a SPF. I personally don't need to layer on SPF in my skincare, nor do I think it's fair to knock a product on something is DOESN'T have.
6. Several "old faithful" products that I love and live by are trashed on her site. Other products that I have been less than pleased with were top rated.

It's helpful that she gives the backstory on companies, but that doesn't matter much to me. I don't care if a product was born on the moon- as long as it lives up to it's claims of efficacy and is safe.

17 out of 24 people found this review helpful.


Age: 36-43

Skin: Normal, Tan, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

I have never cared much for Paula Begoun honestly and I find that I feel the same about her site. I want to apologize up front for my lengthy rant... er, I mean review.
Her site is something that has irked me for awhile and I just found this area to review it, so Im unloading!!! HAHAHA!!! ( meant to be a villanous evil laugh :)

Okay, so the only thing I do like and have to, grugdingly, give credit for is the fact that ingredients to all products being reviewed are listed. Most reviews will also contain descriptions of all ingredients along with benefits and usages, etc. I do find it somewhat informative, so I guess thats deserving of the one star you have to give to leave a review.

As far as the ratings given to each product and her review as to the effectiveness or quality of said product.... I give absolutely no credence to her reccomendations . I find it impossible to put any faith in her reviews for a few reasons:

1. As other reviewers here have mentioned there is a very obvious pattern on her reviews...... she bashes just about all high end products in an ongoing effort of convincing everyone that her products are superior but less expensive.

2. I frequently find products on her site with very bad ratings that I either own myself and know personally work well and/or products that seem to get very good ratings here and elsewhere.

3. She knitpicks little things that are just out right silly.

4. She relies way too much on her own opinion/preferences, verses sticking to the facts, formulations and how the product actually performs. For instance, any day time product not containing a sunscreen automatically gets a lower rating and bashing from her. I have read reviews where she even states that the product is well formulated and packaged, but due to the lack of a spf she cannot give a favorable rating.

I find this to be unacceptable considering that this to me is a preference. Not everyone is looking for an added sunscreen. Some people like using their own fave spf, some people may be sensative to spf ingredients, and some, like myself, just prefer not to have an spf in their products. I do not like the white cast they leave and they are horrible for photos, so I prefer to add one seperate when I choose.

Ditto for products containing fragrances. Again, I feel this is preference. There are many people whom do prefer fragrance free products. That said, there are also many whom do not mind or even prefer a fragrance. I actually find the wonderful fragrances of most highend products to be pleasing and that it adds to the feeling of luxury. The overall experience of using highend products is why I prefer them.

I just find these to be ridiculous reasons to give an otherwise well performing product a low rating. She should perhaps add a system for flagging these products, or using symbols. That way people with skin sensativities and/or those looking for an added spf will be aware, without needlessly underminding a good product.

5. Her reviews and ratings often do not correspond with her own comments and statements, she contradicts herself. Example, on every review there is a section for brand info, a brief description of the company owner, what their ideals are, type of products they manufacture, etc.
She will give praise to a brand, for things like producing mostly good products, great packaging, no harmful addictives, etc. But yet, if you go and look at the product reviews for said brand you will find all if not most reviews and ratings to be bad or low.

Its seems as though she feels it ok to product bash, but when it comes down to it, she doesnt want to bad mouth brands for fear she will be black balled or shunned in the industry. Two faced much?? If she truly feels that a brand produces mostly awful,non consumer friendly products that deserve such low ratings, why not call them on it? How can she possibly feel positive about a brand that produces such non quality products?

6. Next, and perhaps the most off putting for me, is the fact that she actually has her own brand listed, and not only reviews them, but they all include a buy now option.. Seriously?

How tacky is it to review your own products?! Of course all of her products get a 5 star rating and include no cons under her pros and cons section. She even goes so far as to reccomend buying her products as alternatives to the low rating or expensive products.

If you must review your own products and dont find the act itself to be in poor taste, then at least be non biased.

7. Last, her products. She is the cosmetic cop, so knowledgeable in cosmetics and skincare that she sits upon her throne and critiques the products of others. You must past the Beautypedia inspection to have a quality product. She has given herself this title, so grand is she in the world of beauty. Then why the hell cant she produce a decent product??!!
You would think her products would be spectacler, but most of her product line is subpar. The reviews here speak volumes. She has a few stand out products that get great ratings, mostly her AHA and BHA products. Otherwise her products leave much to be desired.
They are dollarstore quality products with drugstore - mid end product prices. Perhaps she should spend more time on the development of her own products and less picking apart everyone elses.

For all of these reasons, she doesnt and will never have any credibility in my eyes.

I am always so shocked to see how may adoring fans she has, how many women whom will not even purchase a product without consulting her site. Really, I cannot be the only person whom sees so clearly through her tacky sales and marketing ploys.

As a business owner myself, I simply have no respect for her or her brand. I find her, her site and product line, to be in poor taste :(

If youve read this far, Id like to thank you for taking the time to read my rant to its entirety. :)

37 out of 45 people found this review helpful.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Normal, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Blue

I trust Beautypedia 100 per cent when it comes to evaluation of sun protection (SPF) in products. Paula is a sun protection evangelist and for that alone Beautypedia is a gift. I also appreciate her no-nonsense reviews of very expensive serums and products from high-price companies - she basically dumps on all very pricey products and that has changed my life for the better - I know I can look great without spending a fortune. She's very upfront about what topicals can and cannot do and she debunks advertising like nobody's business. I never buy a product without consulting Beautypedia first, just to see what Paula's team thinks of it. Doesn't mean I always agree, but the Beautypedia commentary is always welcomed and informative in my book.


Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Black, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I always refer to her beautypedia for rating of products but I skip parts where she exalts her own products. I hate it, hard-selling.

I know what I like in her products and that are the bha and aha line. That's it.
I have my own oils, retin a and vitamin c serum, other moisturizers, so I'm not tempted to buy anymore of her products.

If only, they sell hydroquinone in Australia, then that'd be perfect.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

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.

8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.


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 18 people found this review helpful.


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.

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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