I only discovered beautypedia in the last year or so, and now, I try to consult it before making any cosmetics or skincare purchase. Do I always agree with their reviews and ratings? Absolutely not. There are products I really like that they don't, and vice versa. Do I always agree with their premises? Definitely not. I don't agree, in my case, that a regular face moisturizer can be used in my eye area. My eye area is VERY dry. I also don't believe fragrance causes "cell death." That just sounds exaggerated to me. I also find their rating their own products BEST is annoying. But, I do find a lot of the information it provides to be extremely helpful.
I think Beautypedia is a helpful resource when searching for a new product. For me, it's certainly not the end-all and be-all (and I don't think any single resource could or should be) but I like seeing the different takes that are out there. Beautypedia does try to bill itself as the absolute best resource out there which gets a bit over-the-top in my opinion, but is easy enough to ignore and doesn't detract from its utility.
I don't go by the ratings and reviews strictly, but I think the pro's and con's breakdown is adequate at explaining why something got a positive or negative rating so I can evaluate the product by my own standards. For example, perhaps one of the dealbreaker con's for Paula might not be that big a deal to me (super inflated claims -- it's okay, I didn't really expect to wake up looking like a supermodel after using a cream) and overall the product may be a good match.
For me, it's most useful function is actually not the reviews or the ratings. The search function pulls up the products and readily displays the price and size. When I'm considering multiple products, it can be tedious to compare the price per oz (searching through various websites to locate the necessary information, sometimes not being able to find it at all especially on large non-beauty focused retailers like Amazon) but Beautypedia is simple and clean. If they added a price per oz column that would be even better however for now I'm fine doing a couple mental calculations. I also appreciate the ingredients lists.
Overall, while I do think there are some drawbacks to Beautypedia, I find it helpful when searching for a new product especially for its easily sorted price and size information.
At first I was interested to read Paula's reviews because they seemed to tell things that other reviewers/bloggers does not say, even though her comments were a bit too criticizing. Sometimes it really influenced my decision wether to make the purchase or not.
However, after some time I noticed that basically any product that I was interested in had the highest rating of "good". I realized that some of the products that have been working very well or even excellent are rated by "poor" or "average".
My positive opinion crashed completely when:
1)I realized she has her own products that all are rated "best" while she scorns huge majority other skincare brands
2)I read her comment on Caudalie C15 Overnight Detox Oil. She praises the oil ingredients a lot, also the price, BUT, she gives rating "poor" JUST because its name says "Detox" while according to Paula no skincare can do that. Okay, I can understand that, but is it good reason enough to put the lowest rating if everything else (even for picky Paula) is good?
I find the Beautypedia website indispensable. Their articles and reviews alerted me to the ingredients I was having irritation and rashes from--esp Methylwhatever, that long name. That's why products that people generally rave about (eg WnW coverall foundation) destroy my skin. They point out fragrance/formula/etc issues, and are quite generous in recommending all kinds of brands for all budgets. To those reiterating that Paula doesn't have specialized degrees/ experience: she hires a team for this stuff, you can't miss their names on the site. Duh.
People (beauty writers) I used to trust incl my fave (charming writing but full of misinformation) Zoe foster, have all rec'd products and things which MUA generally hates, and I do too. The products Paula's choice recommend I always, or usually, love.
They aren't as quickly updated as MUA when it comes to specific products. They hate Lush, but I have found some gems from there which haven't been reviewed on BP website.
They tend not to review the smaller indie brands, but I can search the ingredients dictionary and antioxidant info to get a sense of the benefits of the smaller skincare lines.
As for their videos/radio shows (you can get the link to hear the recordings as well as read the transcripts), there's good info there too, although I do think they tend to pooh-pooh DIY a tad too much. For instance they dismissed henna as 'drying' because 'the women I saw growing up...' Etc, but properly used, henna can coat your hair shaft, strengthen hair, add gloss just like any good deep conditioner, and mixed with beneficial oils offsets the brittle look that you get from improper use. Also using cassia or indigo blends, you can completely avoid the flaming red collur and get various shades of brown and even strawberry blonde or black. It even adds a bit of a low SPF protection, which Paula is relentlessly obsessed with. Similarly, they dismiss DiY vit C serums because the alcohol used is damaging for skin but most diy vit c serum recipes i see on mua don't contain alchohol. There is an element of snobbish disdain which kind of blinds them to giving a fair overview of the Diy side of things. I feel like they don't delve into researching homemade treatments or indie brands enough, but fair enough, that's not really their aim anyway.
Their articles have helped me pick out effective fproducts for hair, skin, makeup. It is a great resource combined with MUA for a broader range of opinions and experiences. I don't understand the bad reviews at all.... The reviewers always leave a margin for preference, but with makeup it's obvious they prefer a certain aesthetic. So what? It's actually changed over time now they give equally high ratings to shimmer and brights. They always mention products other than their own. If you think they are too biased towards PC items you haven't seen their videos. They sometimes mention PC products not being optimal for them. E.g one of them mentioned that the PC array of sunscreens don't work for him, the finish or feel of them, so he goes for Skinceuticals. There are more examples of this type of honest feedback.
Have not purchased even one PC item and have used Beautypedia as a resource for years.
Paula has saved my skin more than once. In the late 90's, I read her book, "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me," and learned why all of the acne products never worked at clearing up my skin. Even worse, they were breaking me out even more. So basically, I was paying money for more acne. I started using the cleansers she recommended, then purchased her BHA 2% Gel when she first came out with it in the late 90's. This has kept my skin clear for more than 15 years. Yes, I'm 55 and I still break out.
Now, I have new issues. I've suddenly developed very sensitive skin. Everything she has said about fragrance, plant and chemical, has proven true for me. It breaks me out horribly around my eyes. I can't even use it in my shampoos and conditioners. The Ingredient Dictionary on her website has been a skin lifesaver for me. On a side note, my skin and hair have never looked better using completely fragrance free products.
I've also found her reviews on makeup to be accurate about 90% of the time. I'll buy a product some You Tuber recommends, then find it doesn't work for me. I'll look it up on Beautypedia, and will discover a poor or average review. I don't always agree with her reviews on her own makeup products. I think that's an area where that still needs some work.
I also like the company's honesty over how much their products can do for you. If you watch their Q&A You Tube videos, they admit the limits, and that it's not Botox in a jar.
Do I consider them infallible or completely unbiased? No. However, no one on the planet is infallible or unbiased. I appreciate what Paula has done for the skincare industry, and I think we've all benefitted, whether you use her products or not.
While I find some of Paula's reviews to be over the top with the warnings about fragrance and natural oils, I do regard Beautypedia as a fantastic resource for sensitive skin care products.
I have purchased many products based on the "Best" rating and found them to be very effective. I do hesitate to purchase any product that she has given a poor rating to, and I really appreciate the ingredients list. Several products I used to wear were loaded with alcohol, and I had no idea until I read the review on Beautypedia.
My skin has improved since switching to alcohol-free products (less dry patches and sensitivity) and I am much more aware of the ingredients to avoid now.
My only issue with the website is that makeup reviews only give the perspective from one person, and makeup is such a YMMV item that you do need several reviews to get a feel for a product, hence my love for MUA.
So MUA and Beautypedia together give me a wide range of viewpoints plus a comprehensive ingredients list and products to avoid. I do check Beautypedia daily for new product reviews, and I am so glad that this website exists.
I really like Paula's reviews. I have very sensitive combination skin so her reviews have been of great use to me with finding products that will work for me. Many of her reviews also helped me to understand why previous products that I was using were causing irritation to my skin (looking at you, Lush's Celestial moisturizer and Philosophy's Purity face wash).
She is indeed very biased towards her own products but I would expect that from someone who made their own products. She does however give credit to other brands when they create something truly exceptional, and because of that I have found products that ended up working for me because of Paula (Kiss My Face sunscreen, Olay sensitive face wash, Eucerin daily replenishing lotion, the list goes on).
If Paula and MUA both have good reviews about a product, then it helps me to feel more comfortable about purchasing the product.
Honestly, I'm at a loss why people are bashing Paula Begoun so much. Before I learned of Beautypedia, I primarily read reviews of beauty products by consumers, which yes, many times was helpful, especially with makeup, but after trying countless popular skin- care products, my face was still a red, flaky, pimply mess. It made perfect sense to go to Beautypedia, because, after all, everyone wants what is best for their skin, and Paula's reviews are backed by science- what ingredients have proven to irritate skin and what ingredients help it function more normally. Not every one of her recommendations has worked miracles for me, but in general, her research is solid, and my skin is nowhere near as bad as it used to be. If you take her reviews with a grain of salt like you should with everything, this website will prove very handy for you.
So when you go shopping for a product, do you step into the stores of certain brands and ask them to rate the products of other companies? I didn't think so. Why would you do it with Paula?
Having a scientist or research papers to quote does not a reliable source make, nor does it mean the conclusion is correct. Bottom line is that any personailty, guru or otherwise, has a stake in making money. I would suggest EWG website over Paula's after having a look through. http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/