Paula's Choice


128 reviews

58% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.1

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.1

Price: $$

Not tested on animals


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.

43 out of 56 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.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Blue

The idea, in theory, is a great one. The problem is when you sell a product, I don't know how unbiased your reviews of others' products can be. Their review of Trader Joe's SPF 30 is the perfect example. Here is what is calls that product's "weaknesses" with my comments in parentheses: Limited options (are they reviewing the brand or the product, because if it's the product, this doesn't make sense); body-care formulas contain irritating fragrant oils (this spf IS face/body, BUT there are no fragrant oils in it); Trader Joe's is better for groceries than skin care (is this a weakness of the product? No.)

There are some great things I've learned from visiting her site, though, and against my will,, I'm falling in love with some of her products. :-O

10 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Age: 30-35

Skin: Normal, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Coarse

Eyes: Green

PB is an intriguing figure. In the beauty world, she's something of an anachronism, a holdover from the olden days where people had to pay for "expert" reviews of products because opinions were not easily accessible. Nowadays, in the internet age, product reviews are linked to products on virtually every beauty shopping site, YouTube abounds with video reviews and tutorials, and anyone with a powder brush and an internet connection can start up a beauty blog, making paid reviews an obsolete business model. PB has changed with the times, at long last -- Beautypedia went from being paid subscription only to free-but-a-username-and-password-are-required to being open and accessible to all.

Historically, many of her reviews, particularly of makeup products, have suffered from her personal style bias. In PB's opinion, the right makeup look consists of matte eyeshadow, "neutral" foundation (with no peach undertones), automatic eyeliner, and non-shimmery blush. Any products that deviated from this were automatically (and often unfairly) downgraded. Since then, she has moderated her approach and now simply points out that certain products, such as MUFE's Aqua Cream shadows, tend towards the bold and dramatic, rather than knocking off points for not being her preferred type of color. While her style bias still comes through in the tone of many of her reviews, it's refreshing to see that she has refocused on reviewing the products for what they are rather than how they fit into her preferred style matrix.

She does have some worthwhile insights into the dubiousness of many products' claims of being "natural," and of the questionable value of the exalted "botanicals" touted as miracle panaceas in some skincare products (such as Cindy Crawford's "melon extract," which probably isn't harmful but doesn't have any demonstrable benefits, either).

What I find myself reading most often are her meta-reviews of certain brands. Although some of them are in need of updating, she still provides some very insightful big-picture analyses of brands, including the overall value for the money as well as the product quality.

In all, PB is one of several sources that I consult when researching a product purchase. I certainly don't rely on her opinions alone, but she does have some value to add to the equation with certain products.

13 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

on 11/6/2012 8:13:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I think if you're going to listen to one women's opinion, there's going to be a lot of hit and misses. I bought the book of Paula's a while back, now I just read her reviews on beautypedia online..A lot of her advice is helpful, and I feel I have benefitted. For example, I now avoid products full of denatured alcohol and fragrances, as I genuinelly beleive they are irritants and serve no purpose in skin care whatsoever.However when it comes to her views on exfoliating I totally disagree with her. Paula advises to exfoliate twice a day using a chemical exfoliator.This to me is a nonsense. Exfoliate by all means but twice a day? That will do more harm than good.I've bought products she's recommended and found them excellent. On the other hand, I've wasted money on her recommendations.She has strange views on colour matches, often pointing out this is too yellow, or pink , or peach. For whom?? We are all different.One thing I do agree with her 100%, is sunscreen must be worn 365 days a year, and her sunscreens are excellent.Her line is one of the few that has PURE mineral sunscreens and this is a godsend for me as I can't tolerate chemical sunscreen around eyes. To sum it up I do admire Paula and her work and will continue to seek her advice, I just won't agree with it all.
And I've got to say Paula's antioxidant serums are second too none, absolutely excellent.Also something else I've learnt from Paula, expensive isn't always best , that is oh soooo true.Yes there's a lot of cheap rubbish out there, but worse still , there's a lot of expensive rubbish. It's the formulation that counts NOT the price.

6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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