Paula's Choice


113 reviews

63% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.2

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.2

Price: $$

Not tested on animals


Age: 44-55

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

*updated 1/2015; I swear by Paula Begoun's products and think they have done more for my skin, than most money I have wasted on other skincare products. I have used her entire skincare line protocol for over 10 years with great love and success.I think you need to remember that her opinion is a GUIDE for recommendations not that her opinion is the only one to listen to. Listen to yourself, if you like it and can afford it..more power to you. I do think it deserves to be said that more average consumers need to read her books and read the reviews about the products you use though. I think her view on open jar containers, following a regimen of cleanse, tone, moisturize, and protect, and that you don't need a separate night cream or eye cream are worth every bit of hype she gives them. Those simple rules of basic skincare are fact based and fundamentally sound. Her own line of makeup is not my favorite, but like I said earlier, follow your own intuition. Who else spends millions on rating other people's products, and yet has their own lines as well. {No one else.} You owe it to yourself if you are reading this, to go to beautypedia to check it out. Your skin will thank you later.

4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

on 7/5/2012 10:28:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Tan, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Paula started off as a consumer advocate, but now with the growth of her own products, the line of independence on her behalf, is starting to blur. Of course she's going to review her products favourably or point you to one of her own as an alternative to a product she doesn't review well, but I've just taken that as the cost of providing an excellent and FREE service to savvy shoppers.

I discovered her reviews via her original books and was shocked to learn the level of deceit and plain out lying that happens when marketing beauty and makeup products and how blatantly companies get away with making such absurd claims! Even my most skeptical and logical friends, often with science backgrounds, have a hard time not buying into the hype simply because it's so seductive and surely 'the product says it does this so it must do this'. Sigh. So for that reason I am SO HAPPY beautypedia exists.

The site isn't perfect nor is the app, and she does recommend her own line of products a lot, but come on, it's a small price to pay for a FREE service that has saved me probably THOUSANDS of dollars on unnecesary beauty buys over the years. There are a few gaps in the site in so far as providing reviews for *every* brand of skincare/makeup but they're often quite niche brands and I think the variety of content is very extensive and robust overall.

I hate that people are saying her reviews are 'psuedo science' - if you read a review, you'll notice she always provides links and references to scientific journals/publications SCIENTIFICALLY PROVING statements where she needs to. Since when do other companies do this? I have yet to find one that backs up their research definitively and with as much thoroughness as beautypedia/paula's choice when making claims or giving information.

The only downsides for me are the fact that a few brands are missing and sometimes I find her reviews a little scathing, but given the amount of deceit companies will go to in order to basically steal our money through thinly disguised LIES, she has every right to be as scathing as she wants! In the end, she remains a consumer advocate and I applaud her for giving people such important and thorough information so we can go off and make an informed decision about our beauty buys.

8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Medium, Neutral

Hair: Black, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Brown

when i first discovered this iPhone app i was so excited! then suddenly horrified! i became so paranoid about all of my products and trashed a few that i really liked! now when i go to the store i get really nervous about buying something if i don't check the app first. yesterday i went to buy a toner but i couldn't get a signal and i wanted to double check the app (even though i had already decided what to buy after researching it first) so because i didn't have a signal for the app i left the store. now i don't have a toner. i think that made me realize that i was too dependent on the pseudo-scientific explanations she provided. that and the fact that i read the product reviews on her website concerning the dissatisfaction of her customers. wow! i really needed that kick in the face! literally in the face! i think i know what my skin needs, and i will check with the app from time to time but i find that MUA helps me so much more! thank you all at MUA who take the time to write reviews and guide those of us who need it!

8 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

on 6/19/2012 3:55:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Cool

Hair: Grey, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Blue

I used to refer to the Beautypedia pretty regularly, but lately it seems like it's gotten less broad in the number and types of products it reviews. I have to think that it's part of Paula's marketing not to review any products less expensive than hers -- that's what it seems like. Still, it's a good resource for looking up mainstream product ingredients and high-end stuff.

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

on 6/16/2012 11:52:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

as much as I adore and use her products, I just can not like her, or her website!
The basic thing that annoys me is this: She mixes up "science" with "marketing". If a moisturiser is hailed as "a miracle that will transform your skin" she berates it, despite maybe having OK ingredients. If something is just a bit basic, she will berate it as well. In my opinion there is nothing wrong for example with the emollient properties of plain moisturisers. They don't need to have all the antioxidants in the world. Or be protected from the sun if they are a plain mineral oil based product. Yet she berates all of these mercilessly.
She goes as far as also berating colours in eyeshadows and foundations "too orange" "too pink" question is...for who? I've seen her make up tutorials and she looks dire and mask-like.As much as her beautypedia ingredient list is something I go back to again and again, and as much as I read reviews for certain products, I would never take her advice on make up!

14 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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.

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