Paula's Choice


131 reviews

58% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.1

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.1

Price: $$

Not tested on animals


on 6/13/2013 9:44:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Totally unimpressed by her reviews. I find her reviews very bias. I have tried so many products that I absolutely love that she did not give positive reviews. I prefer looking at reviews from the larger makeup sites like Sephora, Ulta, etc. that sometimes have hundreds of people weighing in on a product. For me that is more helpful, and usually more accurate, than what Paula says. Plus she sells her own products. Sorry but a review from someone like that I can't take seriously. She seems so outdated to me.

14 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

on 5/16/2013 4:00:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Dry, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Hazel

I have dry, somewhat sensitive, rosacea prone skin. When i hit 60 i thought maybe i should do more for my skin that just wash it and occasionally use sunscreen. I bought a lot of expensive products at sephora (that was fun). But i wanted to know what ingredients and products actually worked.

Then i discovered Paula's Beautypedia. I trust her skin care product reviews because, even though she has her own line of products, she does not hesitate to give high ratings to a wide range of other products, from inexpensive drug store brands to higher end (although it's amazing how many insanely expensive products are nuthin' special). And there definitely can be a certain amount of objectivity when it comes to analysing skin care ingredients - some are well known to be irritating or helpful - it isn't just a matter of personal preference. I can now opt for products with larger amounts of beneficial ingredients and avoid products that promise the moon and have few or no remarkable ingredients, or are actually irritating to the skin.

Paula doesn't slam natural ingredients. She just points out which ones have good research to indicate whether they are harmful or helpful to the skin. I was rather surprised to read scientific studies (she has links to them) showing that lavender is skin damaging. Paula also links to studies about the benefits of a number of natural ingredients in skin care products, such as tea and caffeine, just to pick two random examples.

However, i am less enamoured of the cosmetics reviews. I do look over those for foundations, since that item covers a lot of skin. But her personal taste intervenes in the reviews of product colors and finishes, something not based on the effect of their ingredients on the skin. This is especially true in relation to eye and lip makeup, and to a lesser extent cheek products. Paula prefers neutral colors and matte finishes and is highly critical of brightly colored eye makeup and shimmery finishes. Me, even at my age and with my crepey eyes, i look better with shimmery eye shadows - i tried neutral matte eyeshadows and looked like a recently exhumed mummy. And i LOVE bright colors on lips and eyes, when used judiciously, of course. So naturally i still come to makeupalley to check out cosmetics.

I think that makeup colors and finishes are more a matter of personal taste and thus subjective. Skin care ingredients really can be treated objectively, based on whether the ingredients actually do anything beneficial or are irritating. I'm still giving the Beautypedia a 5 rating because of the vast number of well thought out skin care reviews. Just "caveat" when reading the makeup reviews.

11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

on 4/27/2013 12:23:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Oily, Olive, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I understand everybody has there own opinions, but she's completely biased. Everybody's face is different & half the products she said were "poor" worked really well for some people. Next.

Age: 25-29

Skin: Normal, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I think Beautypedia can be useful... to an extent. However, I don't trust everything that is said on that site. For example, it talks about how sodium hyaluronate (the salt equivalent of hyaluronic acid) is a good ingredient in skincare, but that hyaluronic acid is better. However, when you look at all the research, it shows that the hyaluronic acid molecule is too big to be absorbed into the skin, whereas sodium hyaluronate is a smaller molecule that can be absorbed. So... what's the point of rating hyaluronic acid as a better ingredient if it cannot be absorbed? This makes me skeptical as to the scientific basis of Beautypedia. I think it's far from infallible.

10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

on 2/7/2013 7:35:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Very Oily, Dark, Warm

Hair: Black, Kinky, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I have to add my 2 cents here. I have used Paula's Choice and always referenced Beautypedia before I made a purchase. But now, I'm not so sure she's any more of an "expert" than anyone else who knows how to read. All she does is read the ingredient list and makes a judgement solely based on that. For instance, if something contains essential oil, even if it's diluted, she'll give it a poor review. She says it's a "potential" irritant. Well, so is BHA if it isn't diluted properly. I use essential oils all the time and know they are safe when properly diluted. Which brings me to this point. Paula has always been against products based on natural plant ingredients. Well, can somebody please tell me why she created a natural, plant based line of products? MmmHmm, right. She'll put down other companies for making natural products, but turn around and do the same thing.

Her products are not the creme de la creme. Believe me, I drank the Paula's Choice kool-aid and used her products for nearly a year. I didn't get any results. I tried sample packets of her cleansers and they all irritated my skin. I decided not to buy the full size. I bought the full sized BHA, Skin Balancing and Resist Toners, Resist Weekly Resurfacing Treatment, and resist serum. I bought 3 or 4 bottles throughout the year. The BHA liquid was okay, but didn't give me the ultra smooth skin I was looking for. I use Mandelic Acid now and it works much better. The Skin Balancing and Resist toners irritated my skin. The Weekly Resurfacing Treatment is really nice. I like it. The serums didn't irritate my skin, but I didn't get any results from them. I went through 4 tubes of the Resist serum with no results. I tried sample packets of the moisture mask, and it's irritating. I tried samples of her retinol serum and it was gross. It was like putting baby oil on my face. Moral of the story is, if you decide to buy her products, get samples first. You might be disappointed. As much trash as she talks about other companies, you'd think her products would be superior but they aren't.

She doesn't test her finished products in a lab. She'll use research of various ingredients that do work, like vitamin c for example, but it's not her actual product that's being tested. There's no way of knowing if the vehicle in which the ingredients are suspended will work. Yes, her serums are full of antioxidants, but did they work for me? No. Something about the way her serums are made, make them ineffective. I've always gotten that "glowy" skin from antioxidant serums such as SkinMedica, SkinCeuticals, and Jan Marini. These companies test their finished product in the lab and have results to prove their products' effectiveness. They have controlled studies using real people, with real skin issues. Their products may not have 50 different antioxidants in them, but at least they work. Paula's choice doesn't.

Bottom line: take her reviews with a HUGE grain of salt. She is totally biased and not any more of an expert than you are. Don't stop using a product you like just because she says so.

44 out of 57 people found this review helpful.

on 1/7/2013 6:56:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I try to use beautipedia every time I need to buy makeup or skin care. Some of her choises did not work for me as ,for example, some of Neutrogena skin care. However I do rely on her site when it comes to ingredients, amount of antioxidant and other skin beneficial staff and UVA protection.
When it comes to the feeling of the skin or skin reaction I prefer to choose myself, because as, i said earlier, some of her choises are really not for my skin, despite the best ingredients they contain.

on 1/7/2013 3:52:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Fair, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

I have been using the beautypedia website for as long as it has been around and prior to that I bought Paula's books and subscribed to her beauty bulletin. I have found her to be a trusted source of information especially regarding skin care. To be sure, there are times that I disagree with her, particularly on makeup (her mascara picks suck!). Makeup is a pretty subjective area and at the end of the day it's a personal choice. I do like that I can check her site to ensure that a foundation or tinted moisturizer boasting certain SPF actually has uva and uvb covered! I have used some of her products. Love her exfolients, esp BHA. The blushes and eyeshadows she used to carry were amazing. The lipstick she still carres is pretty good. So the site is another tool but certainly not the only one I use in choosing skin care and make up.

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

on 1/4/2013 4:31:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Curly, Other

Eyes: Brown

I think Paula should get credit for being one of the first people to tell the lies of the beauty industry, some of which I have suspected for years. For example: most products consist only of a blend of silicones, water and tons of fragrance, and they have no beneficial ingredients whatsoever. Companies wanna make you believe their products have extraordinary ingredients, but the fact is that most brands only add 2 or 3 beneficial ingredients at the end of the formula, that is, after the fragrances and the preservatives. In other words, the amount is so tiny they mostly are not gonna have any impact on your skin. And still they ask you an arm and a leg for each product! Another lie is that some companies claim to have a patented "miracle" ingredient that is gonna change your life for better. Truth is, there is no miracle ingredient, and if the cream works is mostly because of the formula as a whole.

Sure, I don't always agree with her views on some products, but I have to admit I have learnt a lot from her. Thanks to Beautypedia, now I avoid harsh products that contain alcohol or menthol, or that are overly fragranced, so I don't irritate my skin. I also learnt that you don't need a night cream or an eye cream, since eye creams formulas are basically the same as face creams, but the industry is not gonna tell you that, of course. And thanks to her, I could confirm one of the things I have always suspected: most high end brands are not better than drugstore brands. There's some exceptions, of course, but if you take into account that some drugstore brands own some high-end brands, you start to understand how the industry works. For example, L'oréal owns Lancome, therefore some of their formulas are practically the same... but Lancome is aimed at people with more purchasing power. And those people are practically getting the same as if they bought something from L'oréal. They just don't know and they think they are getting something "better" than a drugstore product. If only they knew...

One of the things I don't like about Beautypedia is that she never comments on how potentially comedogenic a product is based on its ingredients. I usually have to figure out myself (thanks cosdna!) so I don't end up buying products that are gonna break me out. I know she had to battle with acne, so it would be nice if she commented which ingredients are mostly gonna clog your pores if you are acne-prone. That's why I took off a lippie.

Overall, Beautypedia is a page I like to reach when I want to read the review of a particular skincare product. Usually she gives me a general idea of how that product is gonna work, but I don't decide if I'm gonna buy a product just based on her review. I like reading reviews on MUA to see how the product worked for other people and see if it is safe for my skin type and everything. And I don't trust a lot her makeup reviews since I think makeup is a bit more personal and that you can't judge makeup based on ingredients: in fact, you have to wear a product to see its overall performance.

And finally, I don't really mind she has her own line. And of course she gives her products a high rating and a Paula's Pick... it would be fool if she didn't promote her own line! Business is business after all. But she doesn't hesitate to praise and recommend other products if she feels they're great. So that's why I respect her.

10 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Red, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Green

I wanted to weigh in on reviewing Paula's website. I found out about it from this site. I thought it would be good to check out her reviews about skincare and makeup products. I must say that I was quite surprised to see some of my favorite skincare products receive very poor reviews. She basically trashes whole skincare lines, like Lancome, La Mer, Chanel and too many others.

I do have concerns about bias since she is also promoting her own product line. I think it's naive to think that she can be totally objective. Of course she is going to rate her products very highly. I am not saying that she can't do it, however I am saying that it gives me reason to question her overall objectivity. I will say that she does a good job of pointing out potentially harmful products in skincare that can cause allergic reactions. I have dry, sensitive skin with mild rosacea and have had more than my share of bad reactions. In that regard, she is providing a valuable service. I must say that I was shocked to realize that Lancome's Genifique line contains a large amount of alcohol. I have used the serum and eye cream in the past. I never got a reaction, but when I found about about the alcohol content I decided not to buy these products anymore.

Fragrance is another source of concern for me. Sometimes I can tolerate a certain amount in a product. I check out the ingredient list to see which ones come first. I have learned that the ingredients are listed in descending order according to which are contained in the largest number. I do think she debunks some of the myths that cosmetic companies use to sell their products. But I also believe that the consumer is smart enough to see through many of these claims. The bottom line is that if a product gives results and makes your skin look and feel better with no adverse reactions, that is what is important.

I make the ultimate decision as to what I will buy and what works for me. Suffice to say that I strongly disagree with her reviews on many skincare lines. With makeup I find her reviews somewhat more reasonable. When all is said and done, she is one source. I can read her reviews and then check out this site and other sources, youtube videos and comments on other sites. Then I can hopefully make an informed decision. I think it's good to have this kind of site, but I don't take her comments as gospel. It's good to get more opinions and then rely on your own good judgment as to the reliability and performance of products.

14 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I discovered Beautypedia about 5 years ago. I use it weekly, taking into account that whoever reviews anything does so with a bias - that is life.. I am grateful that someone has taken the time to develop a free knowledge base that, if used with common sense, helps intruct, educate and empower consumers. My skin is better today than it ever was because I make informed choices and I have Beauytpedia to thank for that.

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