Paula's Choice


124 reviews

58% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.1

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.1

Price: $$

Not tested on animals


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.

13 out of 19 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.

on 11/6/2012 7:07:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Very Dry, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

I do have a background in beauty, and the teachings that I received matched Paula's quite closely, so I used to trust her opinion a lot. However, now I don't even look at her advice when purchasing product, because I'm an advocate of natural (or rather, plant derived and least processed) ingredients, and it appears she is strongly against any plant extract and aroma essential oils. Also, I happened to have dry skin and she seems to have oily skin. I had to bring up the subject of her personal skin type, because a lot of reviews are geared towards oily skin. She rates poorly any product that is greasy - which can be helpful for dry skin. Any product can be greasy, but it's a matter of moisturizing deeply and being greasy, or being greasy without moisturizing. Having oily skin, I don't think she can tell the difference between the two.

I agree that synthetic fragrances are bad. I have also suffered from heavily fragranced products and I do avoid synthetic fragrances, but I use various aroma essential oils on a daily basis with wonderful results. Some of the products she rated poorly or claimed "full of irritants" happened to work wonderfully for my extremely sensitive and dry skin.

I also think that it is contradictory that she is critiqueing others' products when she has her own product line. There's nothing wrong with having her own product line, but she promotes her own over others by giving lower rates to others products and better ones to her own.

After reading a lot of her reviews, I feel like her focus of choosing product is fragrance free, acid as active ingredient, sunscreen and matte looking makeup. Nothing helpful especially if you have dry skin.

I'd have to acknowledge though, that there were some good points to her reviews, because it helps consumers cut through the illusions and aids them in realizing how overpriced some products can be.

Personally, I have a different guideline that I have set up for myself when choosing product, and I wouldn't refer to her opinion when looking for one.

16 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

on 10/10/2012 7:59:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

I use and faithfully as sources of information about beauty products I'm interested in purchasing. Makeupalley is my primary source of consumer opinion and beautypedia is my primary source of research and comparison data, though I also use skindeep, cosdna, totalbeauty, and other resources. I don't agree with all of Paula's reviews, though I generally find them to be pretty accurate, especially regarding skincare. I appreciate her approach, and I particularly like the listing of ingredients and explanation of the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of each product's "star" ingredients. Yes, she reviews her own line and rates her own products as "Paula's Picks." I have no issue with this because I've tried many of her products and have found them to be well-formulated and effective. In some cases, they are unique within their price range, and I like having the information on these and other products available in one easily-searchable place. The thing that bothers me about beautypedia is that whole lines disappear from there with no explanation. I'm sure Nuxe and Arcona were once listed, because I remember reading her opinions of some of their products. Now they are gone. Sometimes her reviews are a bit self-righteous and strident, and I don't care for her personality. For the most part, though, I read beautypedia for the facts about what ingredients and formulations can and cannot do, and have found the information very useful in helping me avoid costly mistakes and ineffective formulations. I just wish more lines and products were covered.

5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Dry, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I think this is an excellent website for finding out which products are likely to irritate your skin or are highly overrated or overpriced. It should be used as a reference guide for ingredients in cosmetics and how skin may respond to these ingredients. Beautypedia especially is interested in antioxidants to improve skin and harsh ingredients like unneeded fragrance that can actually irritate or harm skin. However, I don't always agree with the reviews of products as to how they work on my face. I do like cosmetic websites that ask for age, type of skin, etc. so that I can make comparisons.

on 9/24/2012 10:11:00 PM

Age: Unknown

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Other, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Other

While some have reviewed PB's "paula's choice" line under this category. I'll stick to reviewing her website Beauytpedia.

I've been using Beautypedia, ( Paid and free), as a tool for looking for specific make up and skin care products. example: If you want to find a foundation for oily skin, that is fragrance free, without sunscreen, and not tested on animals for under 20 dollars. You can quickly find find that out! Then take your choices and check them out here at MUA. You'll end up saving time and money.
Paula Begoun started a personal mission to try to stop cosmetic and skin care companies from screwing over consumers, which is admirable. It's true that her passion could be overbearing, and yes she eventually added her own products and gives them all the highest rating, but that's business and this is a free country.
I've found her ratings of make up and skin care to be for the most part, accurate, but I'm the judge if I like something or not.
Beauytpedia just lets me know if that $60 moisturizer I've been eyeing at Sephora may have an ingredient that may leave me with a red ugly rash on my face...nothing wrong with that!

9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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