Paula's Choice


108 reviews

64% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.3

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.3

Price: $$

Not tested on animals


Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Tan, Warm

Hair: Black, Wavy, Coarse

Eyes: Black

At first, I really liked Paula and what she did in reviewing ingredients. One thing I did gain was a knock on the head about my natural phase, and the ability to research my products.

However, Paula's tone of voice is very condescending and arrogant. Some products she recommends are great (cerave for example. Olay ultra moisture is another treasure), but I don't think she realizes the value of less ingredients. Too many ingredients can overwhelm skin. Use a FEW ingredients to achieve desired results. Companies that formulate their products with only as many ingredients as are necessary will have products that are more likely to suit a wider array of skin types. And when you need a product because of the one thing it does, that's very important! That's like saying every medication should have vitamins included in the capsule. (anyone see the flaw in logic there?)

I used her products, for sufficient time periods, and through a wide range. None of them worked particularly well. Her BHA may be the only worthwhile product in the line, but I can't use it, because BHA is too harsh for my skin. (or maybe it's all the extra ingredients!) Funny thing is, her BP doesn't work on me. Other BP's that I've used work quite well, so I really think it is her excessive ingredients!

Examples: La Roche Posay, for example is a good line that she gives bad reviews, because of the fact that it's products focus on doing the only one thing they claim. Especially the Anthelios XL sunscreen. For someone with darker skin, who can't go around wearing Zinc Oxide on their skin everyday, (and lives in the south) a non-physical sunscreen that provides full spectrum UVA protection is indispensable. (On amazon, not much more expensive than neutrogena.) Sunscreen is like medication--it's worth spending money on sunscreen!

She gives Dermablend a bad review too, because it's not "skin-like", but it's very skin like--you just have to use less.

I really think she should aim to make more people check the ingredients label and understand the ingredients and their function. I think her reviews are useless in and of themselves, particularly in terms of makeup. (I don't think she knows how to use makeup properly). I find the reviews on MUA, by gurus, and good old fashioned trial and error more effective.

I also think she should tell people to go to the dermatologist if they have an issue with persistent acne. Try one or two products with SA, BPO, and a good moisturizer and facewash (cerave). If neither of those work, go to the dermatologist before you destroy your skin.

21 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

on 2/26/2012 8:47:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Cool

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Blue

I thought I'd add a review to this site as it's been a while since anyone posted about Beautypedia.

Paula has saved me tons of money and does a great job of informing consumers of what skin care and makeup products can and cannot do. While I frequently don't agree 100% with her reviews, I have found that her ingredient information is accurate and that, in general, her insistence that you don't have to spend a ton of cash to achieve good skin is helpful and encouraging. Cosmetics companies spend billions of dollars annually devising and advertising new ways to separate women from their hard-earned cash. Consumers only have Beautypedia and Makeup Alley to give them unbiased information - hardly a level playing field. Don't even get me started on women's beauty and fashion magazines, possibly some of the most biased information in the world! I use many of Paula's products, and many she has recommended from other brands, and have been very happy with most of them. My son, daughter and mom have all experienced immense improvement in their skin from using Paula's Choice products. I've not been as successful but that's because only Rx drugs have succeeded in making headway against my chronic acne (yay, Differin cream).

As other reviewers have noted, skin care and makeup products are highly personal. Since there are so many to choose from, it's great that Beautypedia provides information to consumers that they cannot find elsewhere. FWIW, I subscribed and paid for two years before the site went free, and I felt the money was well-spent.

13 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

on 2/11/2012 5:33:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

I do check it out time to time but I certainly do not agree with her recommendations. The ratings are inconsistent for products with similar ingredients. Also I happen to love some products which she rates poorly and dislike the ones she favors. Educational for sure but if I really want to try something or enjoy using it her opinion will not influence my decision.

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

on 1/25/2012 10:02:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Blue

I respectfully disagree with the reveiwer who said you should be taking Paula's advice with a grain of salt. Without her guidance I would be flushing lots of money down the toilet and probably compromising my skin in the process. Her reveiws are spot on for colour cosmetics as well. Thank goodness we have her, being the Consumer Reports version for cosmetics consumers. I use some of her skin care - BHA lotion, AHA weekly treatment and Anti-oxidant serum and Hydrating mask and they perform extremely well.

on 1/25/2012 6:28:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Sensitive, Tan, Warm

Hair: Black, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I've seen a positive improvement in my skin ever since I started visiting Paula Begoun's Beautypedia site. She imparts some excellent advice: Expensive products are not better than cheaper products, jars are bad storage containers, you don't need a night cream, and that you should stay away from fragrances and colour. These 4 points alone have helped to me to get rid of some of my most worrying skins concerns. What I don't agree with: That you don't need an eye cream ( I use a retinol and peptide eye cream with a sunscreen which has done wonders for me), and the fact that she believes in medical procedures like botox as a solution to looking youthful. I believe that prevention is better than the cure. I am 29 but look alot younger than most of my friends my age. Sometimes she sounds superior and smug and that annoys me. Also she has a tendency to negatively rate products that work for me. My moisturiser has a similar formulation to one of her own products yet she rates it as "mediocore". I think that's a bit suspect. anyone looking for an overall idea on how to care for your skin should visit her site but please take her reviews with a pinch of salt. Don't fix it if it ain't broke.

4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Olive, Warm

Hair: Black, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

well,I've been doing some research on beautypedia and ingredients and I have a medical background.there are some points that I like to write:

1)I use lierac paris deridium balance and it has horsetaile and alchemila extracts both which paula says are irritating but after using this moisturizer my skin really feels great and glowing not irritation at all and my break outs are going away.

2) As far as I know a mask or toner sometimes should have alcohol to accelarate the chemical components absorbtion into the skin and better cleansing.and of course its not a good idea to add alcohol to a moisturizer in a high level.

3)Clinique foundation for acne prone skins gets a high rate despite the fact that alcohol is listed in the first line ,and a moisturiser from another brand gets a frown because of that.

4)There are lots of ingredients which won't be denaturated even if there are in a jar and of course the skin care experts know about that and if it was the way paula thinks why some serious skin care manufactures still use jars for some of the products?I know that some chemicals like ascorbic acid will denaturate but not all of them.

5)when I use lemon or mint products my zits become smaller!

6) Neutrogena fresh foaming cleanser gets an excellent rate why Nivea cleansing gel for combination skins which have the similar ingredients because of small amount of perfume gets a frown despite the fact that its a rinse off product as paula says.

7) why exuviance evening complex does't get a excellent rate even after its not in a jar but Olay regenerist products mostly get an excellent or higher rates just because of the niacinamid or vit B3?despite the fact that as the ingredients show the exuviance should get a higher mark.
she raves about olay and clinique.
but there some good points too,she is right ,lots of the very high end and expensive products are rubbish really rubbish full of silicons and thickeners like armani,dior,chanel,guinot.... and even l'oreal.

on 6/30/2011 5:50:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Normal, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Although I think this is a great site, I feel that the reviews of the facial products such as moisturizers, eye creams etc. are much more appropriate as they are based on pure scientific data and are very interesting to read, but the reviews on the makeup can be really off as I believe they are very subjective and based on Paula's own personal opinions. She discredits a lot of really wonderful products that I personally love (and I am a product/makeup junkie!!) and recommends a lot that I have tried and don't care for. Her own makeup is pretty bad and she rates it as tops. Her concealer is so awful, yet she rates Bobbi Brown's as not good and I think it's awesome, especially the corrector which she claims is horrible. Use your own judgment regarding makeup products but follow her claims on facial products.

8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

on 5/31/2011 7:12:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Brown

It's free now! Woohoo! This website is so valuable to me. I have sensitive skin that seems to react to everything so I take her advice on products for sensitive skin very seriously. By following her advice and using it as a basis for my own more specific research, I have solved most of my skin reaction problems. I don't mean I think she's always right for everyone, but she provides good, clear information from which I can make my own decisions. Her website taught me to read labels, taught me that I don't have to spend a fortune for a good product, and not all "chemicals" are bad. I don't always agree with her makeup performance reviews, but I do read them to check whether the product may aggravate my skin. Often I fall victim to advertising and pretty bottles and go against her advice, and have been stupid to do so. I bet she gets to say, "I told you so" to a lot of us with sensitive skin!

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

Worth reading and understanding what ingredients are important in skincare. Provides a good set of criteria that help to make your own evaluation of the product. But in my view the following reservations apply:
1.Paula does not comment on theallergic side-effects of sunscreens and does not compare suncreens in this respect. Because of this, her recomendations cost me quite a bit of money when I bought various highly rated creams that my skin reacted to (eg, MAC Strobe Cream, Clinique Superdefence etc)
2. Paula's views on makeup are qwuite subjective. For example, she does not like eye pencils that need sharpening and gives any such pencil a medium rating.
3. Price and her rating often seem to be in inverse proportion, and if she highly rates a drug-store product, in my experience it performs considerably poorer that the more expensive products of the same functionality.

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

on 3/30/2011 11:15:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

I use all the time her cosmetic ingredients list, so, thanks to this, I can judge the products by myself and I'm doing a good job. But sometimes, when I'm not completely sure about a product I like to go there and read the reviews to see what she have to say. Sometimes bothers me that she gives bad reviews to some products only because one ingredient, even if the product is full of good ingredients, and really makes a great job (i.e. Arcona Golden Grain Gommage), but is just not enough for her. Or when a product has a new, special, rare ingredient, if she ignores what is it, is bad. Also, I hate that she gives perfect rating to her products when her products are just ordinary drugstore-like products full of silicones and trash that I don't really like to see in my skin care products. I know that products really need preservatives, especially when are natural, and sometimes detergents are needed on cleansers, but I prefer a balanced skin care routine than a full of chemicals and trash one, like Paula's Choice. Now I know why she's against natural products.
I like when she talks about products' packaging, though, I'm agree with her on this.

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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