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

3.2

46 reviews

36% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.7

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 3.7

Price: $$$

Not tested on animals

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on 3/30/2009 8:15:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Warm

Hair: Red, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Green

This is a review of Paula and her CosmeticCop garbage. She is not a scientist. I am a scientist. She can cite as many articles as she wants but there are personal experiences of people who can say without reservation that the ingredients she says are great are HORRIBLE and ingredients she says are bad are EXCELLENT. My two examples are Mineral Oil and Lavender Oil.

Mineral Oil is what is left in the sand particles after an oil spill and can't be removed without an infusion of Rapeseed oil to dissolve it. It makes a barrier on the skin that prevents the skin from breathing - expelling toxins through sweat (water). This may not cause an instant reaction for everyone, just the very sensitive like me, but WILL CAUSE LONG-TERM DAMAGE TO EVERYONE. Mineral Oil does not soak into skin. I can cite peer reviewed papers on attempts to force Mineral Oil into skin and it would not go. It is a crude oil distillate and Paula - I'm going to have to judge this as voluntarily airheaded - says that it's just as natural as any other oil because it used to be organic matter before it was buried in the ground. Okay, from the perspective of evolution, it was buried away from human reach and humans evolved long after this stuff was buried far from where a human couldn't get to it without a high powered drill! So, come on, that is truly the most idiotic logic. I eliminated petroleum products from my life when I was 15. I'm 39 now and I look 26 (I can provide photos and numerous testimonials from 23 year old guys who thought I was their age when they hit on me). That is the result of skin that has been allowed to breathe and eliminate toxins. The American Academy of Dermatology, although they do not know what causes Perioral Dermatitis advises to avoid petroleum products (paraffin, petrolatum). The AAD doesn't know everything but they will report what they have recognised as triggers to skin disorders. Unlike Paula they can admit they don't know everything.

Lavender hydrosol is in my Holy Grail cleansing milk and moisturiser and in small amounts Lavender Oil. What does she have against Lavender? This is just a case of a little bit of knowledge is more dangerous than being just flat-out ignorant.

I'm not even going to address her slamming other products whilst touting her own. The woman makes me ill. She offends me as a scientist.



on 3/30/2009 7:13:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Like so many other MUA'ers, I have become very disillusioned with Paula, and have found, over and over, that she slams products I have found to be very effective (she seems to have a positively fanatical dislike for Erno Laszlo, for example, who actually makes some good products) and praises to the skies things that, when i buy them on her recommendation, I find to be worse than useless, in fact downright harmful to my skin or, in the case of makeup, something that highlights every imperfection and goes on so thick it makes me look like Tammy Fay Bakker (for those old enough to remember who she is).

I too find it distasteful that she pushes her own products so relentlessly -- it's ridiculous for her to "review" them as though she could be objective -- especially when some of them are actually far from wonderful.

In the end, the book is better for entertainment than it is for any useful advice. It's like reading the Beauty section of twenty women's magazines at once.

8 of 11 people found this helpful.


on 3/17/2009 1:04:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

ive always taken paula's advice with a grain of salt and this book was no exception. i typically follow her reviews for information about what the main ingredients are in products, before ive had a chance to take a look at them myself, and then make my own decision about whether or not they seem suitable to my skin. i respect her dedication to what she does but shes only human and, as such, she is biased. and she doesnt know everything. its important to keep that in mind!


my biggest gripe about this book, and her reviews in general, is that she doesnt give a lot of thought to acne prone skin issues. her attitude seems to be, "just throw some bp and bha at it." im 24 years old and ive matured a bit past plain ol' acne creams. now i need to know what moisturizers, antioxident serums and sunscreens are safe for me. she will sometimes advice against "oily" types to use something but she doesnt take into account a skin type that may be acne-prone AND prone to dryness. a lot of her paulas picks contain oils which are a big no-no for me. she also heavily favors avo sunscreens and doesnt make much of an effort to seek out as many physical ss's which are often better for sensitive and acne prone individuals. and of course, like everyone else, i have my own little disagreements with some of her advice. she repeatedly emphasizes that acne-prone skin will repond better to bha's than aha's, which is absolutely not true for me.


i disregard her makeup reviews completely. makeup, especially when youre getting into colors, is too subjective a topic to be able to advice millions of people about. and this is an area where her biases become very evident. also, again, she rarely gets into comodegenic ingredients in blushes or foundations which would be much more valuable to me than, say, what eyeshadows are too shimmery.


as far as her own line goes, i dont have a problem with it. she is obviously passionate about skincare and makeup so it kindof makes sense to me that she would branch out into something like that. as long as she still stays current on other brand reviews and doesnt start magically giving horrible ratings to all products besides her own, it doesnt seem hypocritical to me. as someone else mentioned, i dont see it as being that different from all the dermatologist lines available. this book contains more than a thousand pages, 99% of them discussing other lines so i dont think she is unfairly highlighting her own stuff.


overall, its an interesting read and a good way to build up some basic knowledge about ingredients and different brands. if you are already familiar with your own skin and its general likes and dislikes, its a good way to get info on products so that you can choose what you think would benefit you. id recommend checking it out from the library which is what i did. honestly though, MUA is a much better resource!

3 of 4 people found this helpful.


on 2/24/2009 8:35:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

oh well, this is my first skincare book that I have. It is quite expensive in singapore, I got it off a japanese bookstore.

Before reading this book, i had really bad skin. But after reading up and understanding how our skin works, its a 360 degree change. I now have skin that I am very proud of ! :D Basically, I feel that she backs herself up with proofs (and they are proofs that are reliable). The only thing she shouldn't do in her books is to give full marks for all of her own products. How possible can her whole range of products be perfect? I think she could have just left her products out of her ratings. We would have approached her products if we are interested in them.

Anyway, its a good book for beginners in skincare!
Understand your skin type, know your problems and deal with it accordingly.
Everyone deserves good skin. (:

1 of 1 people found this helpful.


on 2/15/2009 1:09:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Very Dry, Fair, Warm

Hair: Brown, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

I am giving this a 3/5 because its not necessarily a horribly book for someone exploring cosmetics, but PLEASE do NOT rely on this as your cosmetics bible because she is NOT a scientist of any sort and I think she might be confused when translating research for some ingredients... Be meticulous in reading labels and knowing what your skin works with best, read reviews, etc.


For example, anything with lavender oil she will give a "sad face" and not recommend, claiming that lavender oil will damage the skin. While this might be true, no one is putting that high of a concentrate on their skin, and these test only show skin damage in vitro, no on a living, walking human skin organ. That being said, lavender oil in small amounts can act as a antibacterial agent. (She rates Philosophy's Shelter poorly because of the lavender, though the antioxidants and UVA/UVB protection she says is superb. The lavender is in a small amount that may also shelter from bacterial breakouts aka acne!)



She says similar negative things about several other natural oils that CAN be an irritant, and if you know you are allergic, don't use them. But, a lot of these oils have natural antibacterial properties, are antioxidants, and are in such small amounts. continued >>

3 of 5 people found this helpful.


Age: 44-55

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Hazel

I just saw Paula B on TV and I have to say, as I have always said, she does not look great. Her skin always looked sallow to me, and this time around, she looked shiney and out of date. Her makeup was not nice either - really old frankly. I used to like her a long time ago and thought she was onto something and regularly consulted her books and website. But when she came out with her own product line, it turned me off completely. How can she be expected to be objective when she has her own line??? So to me, her criticism to be is too prone to be suspected of self-servicing motives, and hence, I simply ignore her now. But I will say this - I have tried a lot of products that she slams or praises, and I cannot agree with a good number of her thoughts. I do believe that a lot of the expensive creams she claims do nothing actually work, because when I stop using them, my face gets the dehydration lines back and frankly, I just don't look as good. I don't for one minute believe that the expensive lines are all out there to scam us, but she is our saviour. I don't like false prophets, and we are being inundated with them right now. I have said it before and I will say it again: Paula, if you want to be taken seriously as a critic, then drop your line and just be a critic. Then maybe I would be enticed to buy your book again.


Age: 36-43

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Red, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

I've purchased just about all of Paula's Choice books & used to live by them even when most, more than most, of her recommendations left me disappointed after trying/purchasing the one's she "deemed" worthy beyond a doubt. I have since been "educated," and no longer read, refer, use, nor recommend these books (personal preference/experience). I'm sure many have benefited from Paula's books & reviews, and if it works for the individual (which is in my experience exactly what it's all about anyway), then great! Just didn't turn out that way for me personally. I've saved so much TIME and MONEY since joining this site that I don't feel the need to purchase anymore books like these. I've had more success using this site when trying/purchasing products than any book I've ever read. Glad I found this site! And my "wallet" is a "happy-camper," too! ;-))

8 of 10 people found this helpful.


on 2/1/2009 2:25:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Very Dry, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Other

Eyes: Green

This book is saving me a fortune...I'll explain. I'm an over 40 woman with very dry skin, who woke up one morning and realized I was spending a fortune using 3 HE moisturizers twice a day and STILL had dry skin, so I gave Paula's ratings a try. After reviewing several product lines, I have found a new routine with lots less products and my dry skin is 1000 times improved! So yes, now I am consulting her book religiously and plan to subscribe to Beautypedia. Also, her reviews have influenced me to shop a highly accessible and reasonably priced line and I am tickled pink with the results.
As for the bad reviews of this book and Paula in general, consider these facts : 1) So what if she sells her own line? She still reviews other lines and gives her recommendations in all price levels, and if reviews of her line offend you simply bypass them for the others.
2) Her expertise comes from years in the industry, developing her own products and researching those sold by others so I do consider her an expert and unbiased. 3) Many leading and highly respected dermatologists also have their own line, as do makeup artists and others who are considered "experts." Her opinion is just as valid as theirs if not more so. 4) Even with this experience, her opinion is just that, an opinion. If she gives a product a negative review and it works for you, why wouldn't you keep using it? Likewise, if she gives a product a positive review and it doesn't work for you, just stop using it. That doesn't make all her reviews invalid. I'm no expert, but I do know everyone's skin is different. I check this book, Allure Best of Beauty AND Makeup Alley for opinions. And I save $ that way...
In summation, I found these reviews to be informative, helpful, unbiased, and well researched, and would recommend it to anyone who wants to get the most value for their $$ while looking their best.

5 of 8 people found this helpful.


on 1/30/2009 7:45:00 AM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Dry, Fair, Cool

Hair: Grey, Curly, Fine

Eyes: Blue

I gave up on her years ago but did leaf through this at the library. I found too many products she praised that I just hated and vice versa. I also think she ruins her credibility by praising her own products, which I found average at best and worthless at their very worst. MUA is by far more reliable.

7 of 11 people found this helpful.


Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

not impressed! she says products are worthless, when alot of people have had good results from these products. She also seems to recommend alot of products with silicone in, which i have found is a TERRIBLE irritant and causes spots and blocked pores!

6 of 10 people found this helpful.


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