Paula's Choice Don't go to the cosmetics counter without me 7th edition

Paula's Choice Don't go to the cosmetics counter without me 7th edition


46 reviews

36% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.7

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 3.7

Price: $$$

Not tested on animals


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on 6/16/2009 11:28:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Blue

I am amazed at the number of people who reviewed this book, yet have never even read it, much less purchased it. I have purchased, read, re-read and continue to reference her books before making a new make-up or skin care purchase. Does it mean I take her word as Gospel? No. However, before Paula came on the market with her reviews, keep in mind there were very few (if any) broad-spectrum sunscreens, very few (if any) products for sensitive skin, and very few (if any) products that contained anti-oxidants in stable packaging. Before she came on the scene, menthol, alcohol, heavy fragrance and other irritants were staples in many skin care products. Before she came on the scene, we would judge the quality of a product by the price, the name, and the advertising, thinking it would work miracles simply because it was an expensive product from an expensive department store. Now, largely due to the pressure her reviews have put on these companies, more and more high-quality products are there for reasonable prices. In short, she holds these companies accountable in a market where false advertising largely goes unchecked. The ingredient glossary alone is worth the price of the book. Yes, sometimes I do not agree with her: some picks for her are not picks for me, and vice versa. By and large, however, she is dead on target, if not at least in the ballpark. Since I am over 40, my skin care needs change with the tides it seems, and what I use in the fall/winter, will not be the same things I use in the spring/summer. I take into account the reviews from make-up alley, my esthetician, my hair stylist, my sisters, my dear husband...but I will not make a purchase without consulting this book. She has been in this business for many, many years. As far as recommending her own products is concerned, I would expect her to do that. I would expect that all of the knowledge she has gained over the years would translate into state-of-the-art products with her name on them. Look at the ingredient list and price of her Super Antioxidant Concentrate, for example...then, look at the ingredient list and price of another well-known company's "anti-aging" serum. Her formula will most likely be superior; it will most definitely be cheaper. To not give her any credit for objectivity is narrow-minded and unfair. To not at least read this book cover to cover before forming an opinion is uneducated and ignorant. But's your money and your skin.

27 of 38 people found this helpful.

Age: Unknown

Skin: Other, Other, Neutral

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

I learned a lot while reading this book.
And it really helped me buy better products for my skin.
I can't wait for an 8th edition.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

on 5/16/2009 2:13:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Dry, Medium, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Kinky, Coarse

Eyes: Brown

This is OK as an intro to beauty items but the key is to take everything PB says with a grain of salt. I like to use this as a quick filter for certain types of products where I know her views and mine agree. For example, finding out which AHA/BHA products have the right ph level and sunscreen info.

She's quite biased in her opinions and doesn't give manufacturers a fair chance of defending themselves as in her opinion, she cannot be argued with since she's always right. I don't think she manages to convince that what she says is fact merely because she's able to quote a scientific paper. Her opinions are quite subjective so you'll find that a lot of HG products don't agree with her. Each person is different and if I had to rely on anyone's opinion, I'd prefer to come to MUA.

She loses all impartiality and credibility in giving every single one of her products a Paula's Pick rating, which is the highest rating you can get. In her favour, she does well to educate on BHAs, AHAs and sunscreens. I have the 6th and 7th editions and won't be repurchasing if another edition comes out. The 7th edition has less information than the 6th and the opinions in it are more self-righteous.

6 of 11 people found this helpful.

on 4/20/2009 7:01:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Oily, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I can understand why Paula and her books aren't taken very seriously but I found this book really helpful. I live in Australia and had heard nothing about her before buying this book and I still don't know much about her so her reputation doesn't have an impact on my review.

The book introduced me to AHA/BHA which has completely changed my skin. I have also learnt about antioxidants and skin-identical ingredients and what to check for in ingredient lists. And if I am thinking of buying a product, I'll have a look at how she rates it and then I jump onto Makeupalley to make up my mind.

I think it's important to take her opinions at face value. Everyone's skin is different and different products will have different results. I've tried a few items she has rated highly and they didn't work for me but I still find the book very useful.

I took a lippie off because I'm undecided about her reviewing her own products in the book. It's a good marketing tactic no doubt, especially for someone who as far as I know, isn't known by everyone. But it is annoying nontheless because of course she is going to rate her products highly.

Decide for yourself. Borrow it or read it at the book store and see how you like it.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Other, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

Pros: this book is ok as a general survey of what products are out there in the marketplace (keeping in mind that this is continually changing). The author has a reasonable amount of of knowledge involving makeup artistry and gives some decent recommendations in that area.
Cons: beware of Ms. Begoun's pretense of expertise in interpreting research studies. She doesn't have the background to decide whether a study is credible or not. Also, I find that her reports on products are inconsistent (poor eval in one edition, great one in the next-same exact product) and have numerous errors.

Bottom line: This book is frequently misleading. You can get better (and more accurate and current) advice from Allure mag and Makeupalley.

on 4/3/2009 6:35:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I was lost in the vast amounts of skin care products that are available, and didn't know what to use, or what would be most effective for my combination (mild to moderate acne) skin. Then I came across this book one day and it provided me with guidance.

I found Paula's advice on how to tackle acne very valuable and I started a skin-care routine following it, and it is working well so far..Now, i get acne only occasionally and my skin looks great, much better than it did before. I totally agree with her on the necessity of sun protection and regular exfoliation. I usually check beautypedia (her web version of the book) before buying a new product, or at least check the ingredients list so I can make sure there are no irritating ingredients, like alcohol, menthol, etc.

However, not everything she writes can be perfect...for example she cites that avobenzone is a completely stable ingredient that protects from UVA rays. While it does protect from UVA, some websites mention that is not very stable, and starts to deteriorate within an hour of sun exposure. They say other ingredients have to be there to support it like "octocrylene", which can be found in Neutrogena's helioplex and some other products..

Her reviews on make-up are good too, and I wouldn't buy anything she rates as poor..but make-up tends to depend more on your skin and your preferences, and she cannot possibly capture all that.

In the end, I would say that Paula is a very informative source about skin care, and I have her to thank for letting me know how to create an effective skin-care routine.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

on 3/30/2009 2:12:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Cool

Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Blue

I loved Paula's books growing up! I even subscribed to her newsletter. When I was just starting to wear make-up and think about skin care her books made me a more educated consumer. She is the person who inspired me to start reading ingredient lists and forever changed my conception of expensive=quality.

2 of 3 people found this helpful.

on 3/30/2009 1:33:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Dry, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

This has been on my desk at virtually every job I've had, starting with the 2nd version. (I'm a beauty copywriter.) The glossary is invaluable...a listing of gazillions of cosmetic ingredients...what they are, what they do, good, bad or indifferent. I'm a big fan of the reviews as well - and like most people here - do not agree with all of them. The fact that I may hate products she touts, or love products that get a frownie-face does not make Paula Begoun a moron or liar, which seems to be the conclusion drawn by a few reviewers. These are simply her opinions...and opinions can differ wildly as evidenced by our own MakeUpAlley reviews! Common sense tells you different people will have different results with a certain foundation or cleanser. She has gushed over a few mascaras that I've loathed. But there have been far more hits than misses with her reviews, at least for me. I use this book as a guide...not a Bible. I'm sorry there will be no 8th edition, although at this point it would probably be too heavy to lift, lol.

10 of 14 people found this helpful.

Age: 25-29

Skin: Oily, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue


Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I found paula's book very its not the catch all to end all and this website and personal experience are also very valuable tools.

In her book and on her website she mentions that if something works for you and gets a bad rating then great keep using it and go for it...she says these are her personal opinions from her research and testing. She has lots of people who work for her testing products so its not just her.

Everyones skin is different. Some tolerate things that others dont. I have used products i thought were amazing and read paulas review that was bad...if this product works for me im not gonna stop using it. However on some products that ive considered that paula found harmful im not going to try bc my skin is so sensitive id rather stay away.

Its just a reference. Not all references agree. You can find research to support mineral oil is good and mineral oil is bad. It has to be up to you in the end.

All and all this is a good reference to learn about skincare and makeup. She DOES preach the necessity of sunscreen over and over and over! in fact she rates alot of Revlon Colorstay neutral because its a good makeup but she doesnt like the fact that it has low suncreen!

As for her product line ive been using it for a few weeks and i love it! the redness of my skin has gone down alot!!!!

4 of 6 people found this helpful.

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