The biggest downer for me with Beautypedia is that it's obvious Paula Begoun no longer writes her reviews. The people she pays to "research" and write about products try to sound like her, but most of the time instead of sounding amusing and ironic, they sound snotty and condescending. One thing I always appreciated about Paula was that she explained for my geeky brain why things did not/could not work, etc. but now the reviews simply say, "This can't do that..." This makes me suspicious of their content. I know cosmetics companies pay incomprehensible amounts of money to cosmetics chemists for formulating products in order to impress customers, in one of the most competitive markets on the planet. I don't want to miss out on worthwhile ingredients because some Beautypedia reviewer may not have access to proprietorial information, or is unable to keep up with every bit of continual new research. Even though I don't get a paycheck for it, I research circles around the people who write Beautypedia reviews. (To begin with, anybody can look up ingredients on FDA websites.) If Beautypedia is ever going to be a beneficial resource again, it is vital to have input from people who are actual cosmetics chemists, dermatologists, makeup artists, and scientists. Gone are the days when anybody believed that harassing some poor SA at a counter in a department store would teach some random celebrity that the benefits of facials with potatoes and urine are greatly exaggerated.
When I read Blue Eyeshadow Should Be Illegal in 1987 it really was "life-changing" (so to speak) for me. I was working two jobs, and going to Graduate school, and stress and lifestyle combined caused painful cystic acne on my face. During High School, like everybody else, I slathered on Oxy 10 wash and Bonne Bell 10-0-6 Lotion and Sea Breeze, and the occasional prescription for benzoyl peroxide...but it was obvious those products could irritate the heck out of my skin. My mother had insisted I use Clinique products, because to the best of any of our knowledge, these were the only cosmetics approved by "Doctors". I would go to the makeup counter in Bloomingdale's, and very nice ladies wearing lab coats would diagnose me as a "Number 4" or something and proceed to instruct me on how to burn off my own skin. (Still didn't get rid of the cysts.)
One of my jobs was working evenings at a bookstore in a mall. The Blue Eyeshadow book was quite a seller so I couldn't help but be curious about it. I borrowed it overnight, and wound up purchasing it (employee discount, yay). Paula wrote with enjoyable, wry humor, and her obvious extreme intelligence gave her a lot of credibility in my eyes. I really liked her very much. She wasn't Paulina Porizkova, she was a "real" woman, like me, who battled with her frizzy hair and her zits. I knew I would always be grateful to this woman, who taught me that the talc in Chanel powders was the same damn talc used in Maybelline. Talc is talc. "Paula" has been in my life longer than most of the people I know; including my kids.
While Beautypedia is no longer a special resource for me, it's obvious Paula is refocusing her enthusiasm and love of product formulations to build the Paula's Choice brand. The products are no longer just for people with sensitive skin and/or frugal mindsets. Paula's Choice products are truly competing with the big guns...and they continue to be reasonably priced. Skin care/cosmetics lines come and go, either to be bought-up by someone bigger, or to go out of business. Paula's Choice is one of the very few "independent" companies left to us customers, and I hope to see Paula Begoun's name go down in history alongside Estee Lauder, Elizabeth Arden, and Mary Kay Ash, for her groundbreaking contributions to the cosmetics industry.
Why are you guys copying the same information over and over again?
I find beautypedia and her cosmetic ingredient dictionary very helpful when making decisions about what products I buy. However, everyone has and will have an opinion based on their own experiences and beliefs. This is when, if you're interested in the issue, need to do your research and look up other sources of information. Preferably those that have a scientific backup. I'm an Environmental Scientist and I can even say that the EWG is even more biased than the beautypedia and overall an unreliable source of information. They just create alarm and confusion, it drives me nuts their use of "toxic" and "chemical".
But this is about the beautypedia. I like how they cover so many brands, from drugstore to high end and include the ingredient list (which some brand's website don't, hello?). Paula believes that alchol and essential oils are bad and irritant, and in some cases, they are. If a product contains a rather high amount of those ingredients, she's likely going to rate them as "poor" but if they're in lower concentrations she might give them an "average". Of course, this is when you need to have your own mind and knowledge because the fact that there's one not so nice ingredient doesn't mean the whole formulation is bad.
She's also against the use of jar packaging, which is somewhat true, but not a whole reason to completely dismiss a product.
One thing though, that I think is a bit absurd is that she includes her own brand. Of couse everthing is going to have the greatest rating, you developed it!
Also, I've read one review here saying that Paula isn't a dermatologist so she can't know her stuff. Seriously? She's been working in the industry for many years, doctors aren't superior creatures from heaven, all knowledgeable. In fact, the average dermatologist will know about the diseases and drugs they have to prescribe, but they don't really know much about cosmetics formulations (of course, there are some who especialize on it or have an interest in the subject, but I'm talking about the average dermatologist).
Overall, a very good website but not as the one and only source. You need to keep reading, contrast the information and make up your own mind.
Love this site. It is extremely helpful in finding products that will work for my skin type. It is THE ONLY site that posts recommendations for other brands in addition to their own which i find refreshingly honest.
I research and review everything I buy. From lip balm to electronic equipment, it takes weeks sometimes to make a decision for me to spend money on a product. Enter Beautypedia. It's a fantastic source, and I have learned volumes. I use it, MUA, Amazon reviews as well as Drugstore.com, Ulta and Sephora to make decisions on cosmetic and skin care purchases. I love to read about other people's experiences with products. I am not a dermatologist, but I am tired of being a sheep in the flock...blindly pirchasing a product based simply based on the company's claims that it can do for you what no other can. Using all of these different sources, I have found a skincare regime which has (at 47) given me the type of skin which regularly gets complimented! Yes, I use a ton of PC products now and here is why. I like Paula herself. Yes, she has a line of products she wants me to buy. BUT, if I don't like a product I send it back and recieve an immediate refund, no questions asked. Shipping is low, there are many, many different products to choose from so I can mix and match, and her products are chock full of ingredients I would pay triple for if created by a different brand. If you watch her videos, you'll see that she, herself uses and praises plenty of products besides her own. I am extremely happy to have found her site and products. My skin looks better now than when I was 25.
Most of her products are wonderful but I cannot trust her reviews because many times if my friends or I posted a negative review on any of her products, she does not post them. Her reviews are cherry picked to look legit and to make sure the ratings of her products remain high. I will only repurchase the products that I have already tried and like because now that I know she doesn't post all her reviews, I am hesitant about trying new ones.
I would say she used to annoy me because she seems quite biased with her products but I thought which competitor in the beauty market isn't? Clinique, Chanel would never say their products are bad either and the comment on here are quote condescending on here - so what if she isn't a dermatologist? That doesn't necessarily mean she doesn't know how to read ingredients and see which benefit your skin, she studied science at university and has shown a real interest in beauty products' ingredients... I'm currently using her BHA 2% liquid and I haven't used anything else of her but seriously people! Give her a break!
This woman just annoys me to the bone. She's a business woman who suffered from acne and eczema from childhood, studies science at college and later on worked with a group of people to create her own skincare line. I don't see any of her credential as being a trained dermatologist, only being an makeup artist/esthetician, which in no way makes her a professional skincare expert or critics.
Basically her opinion is very simple - Everything packaged in a jar is cardinal sin, anything that comes with essential oil will cause skin irration, and beware brand name skincare houses because Paula hates you! She will solely attack on all the big name skincare products with high price tags, just for the price itself without offering any sciense or research based opinions.
To me this is beyond ridiculous. Everybody reacts differently to skincare products, being it all natual, organic, or even chemical loaded. As long as they work for me I don't go out there and broadcast about how bad chemical based products will do to your skin. You make your own judgements and your own choice when it comes to your face. I have been using organics products for a couple years, and later on switching back to all the department store brands, and my skin is happy as ever. Doesn't mean I have to do one way or the other to have good skin. It's all about how your skin reacts to different ingredients. And as long as they work, nobody can tell me why they should be so bad, even if they are packaged in a jar, or loaded with alcohol.
I don't want to make this a personal attack, but I really don't feel comfortable with someone having her own skincare line and go out preaching around town, badmouthing other brands because they simply don't live up to her own standard, which is next to nothing.
Yes, Paula sells her own line and as a creator of these products, of course she thinks their great! If you created something, you'd love it too. The difference is ( and it becomes Crystal clear if you watch her YouTube video on how she conducts product reviews), she gives credit where credit is due for other great products and while I bet she'd be happy if people only bought her products, she recognizes that you can't be all things to all people. She acknowledges in her brand overview for Paula's Choice that the biggest weakness of her line is that it doesn't offer anywhere close to a full range of makeup products. When was the last time you heard Estee Lauder, Clinique, Bobbi Brown, Lancome, Maybelline, or any other brand criticize its own product line? Or recommend a product from a competitor when they could sell you one of their own. Of course not. From a simplistic business strategy viewpoint, you NEVER want your potential customer to know there are other (and often better and cheaper) options out there. This is a reason most marketing claims are exaggerated and over the top; they don't want you to question too deeply or think about it too long or you might walk away from the sale. Paula isn't afraid of this. She tells you what the best products put there are, using real science and scientific research, PERIOD. The fact that when you look at a review there is a recommendation at the bottom of the page for one of her products is just what it is; a recommendation no different from what any website retailer does. She offers something you might like, but she doesn't pressure you to buy it instead and she doesn't lie about the competition. The truth is, she exposes the lies all these brands are telling us. If you watch any YouTube video she does on general topics such as beauty myths busted and great, inexpensive beauty bargains (especially the ones where she appears on a show such as Oprah or Dr Oz), she has some of her products out on display but she NEVER leads with them, nor does she put down the other products in comparison to hers. She simply gives them as one option among many. Bottom line is, we learn to trust people whose actions match their words. Paula's do, more than any other company out there. She's certainly earned my trust in her advice.
I feel you don't have to be a mad scientist to review what ingredients go into skin care and test makeup. I've followed Paula's reviews for years and im not 100% addicted and preaching hail Paula but I am definitely more educated and informed.
It's kind of funny that so many people are attacking Paula's credentials simply because she is not a doctor or chemist. First off, you don't need to be either of those to be able to do some research on ingredients. But the matter of concern is WHETHER you or other companies will do it. And quite frankly, very few of them do, and not to mention, they slap on a "dermatologist recommended" label onto it without a dermatologist actually recommending it. Secondly, being a dermatologist of chemist doesn't mean anything if you aren't committed and passionate about your work. I've met many dermatologists and heard of even more horror stories about how a lot of them are just there for the money and prescribe whatever they're paid to prescribe. You have to show your dedication and I can't think of anyone else in the skincare world, other than Paula, who has been able to do this so effectively and transparently.
Essential oils are bad. Get over it. The only purpose of essential oils is to make your skincare smell good. If you're over the age of 20 and you still need your skincare to smell "pretty" you really need to grow up. Skincare is meant to heal injuries, to prevent imperfections, and to enhance the beauty of your skin, NOT to make it smell good. You can use perfume for that. Take up any natural medicine textbook off any shelf of any library and it will tell you that nearly all essential oils are bad for the skin. Sure, you can say skincare dilutes it to a miniscule amount but why would I want a little poison when I can make sure I have none of it. There is no other benefit of essential oils, in most cases, other than to make your nostrils happy.
Skin is vast and it is different. Paula and her authors know this and have made the disclaimer countless times: use Beautypedia as a guide, not as a rule. Everyone's skin type is different, so how can any one source account for every individual in this world. That is apparent with the variety of reviews on the same product found on MUA. I don't know why people are hounding on Paula about not covering each and every single skin type on this planet. Even a person's diet is personalized to their body's needs, and skincare is no different.
Overall, Beautypedia is one of a kind. It is not perfect, nor do I expect it to be, nor do I expect all of Paula's Choice products to be perfect. It is your skin, so you know what is best for it. Read Beautypedia for some suggestions, supplement it with the reviews on MUA, then consider the needs of your skin and decide FOR YOURSELF, if a product is worth your money or not.