Paula's Choice

Paula's Choice


150 reviews

58% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.0

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.0

Price: $$

Not tested on animals


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on 5/14/2017 1:04:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Oily, Olive, Warm

Hair: Red, Curly, Coarse

Eyes: Green

Paula Begoun no longer writes for Beautypedia. There is a staff that writes "expert" reviews, but it's unclear as to what makes them experts. They aren't cosmetics chemists, manufacturers, dermatologists, estheticians, or nurses. They ARE marketers for Paula's Choice cosmetics. Paula Begoun sold her private Paula's Choice company to Bertram Capital a few years ago. At that time Marketing got Beautypedia, and Paula became the "face" of the brand. The products have risen a great deal in price since then, but they are more widely sold. Paula Begoun is one of the most brilliant cosmetics marketers of the 20th and 21st century. Her powerful inverse marketing has caused legions of fans, who have absolutely no idea what they're talking about, to quote Paula's "reviews" as if they are White Papers. Paula Begoun is a marketing genius: first advancing her beauty "bibles", then her privately owned brands for private label cosmetics. By contrasting her label with ubiquitous brands like Murad and Perricone, people believed her less expensive products were better because they contained ingredients Paula praised in her reviews. I love the fact that Paula Begoun taught women how to research ingredients, how to look out for what might be personally harmful, and not to believe expensive means great.

Beautypedia has begun allowing users to write reviews, which may be an attempt to get people to use the site again.(Which, in turn, directs them to Paula's Choice, of course.) Many, many of the reviewers disagree with the "expert" reviews, which proves the entirely subjective nature of cosmetics usage, regardless of whether or not evil cosmetics fiends package face creams in jars, or put drops of lavender oil in their concoctions.

Beautypedia's references should be taken with a grain of salt; they often cite in vitro tests, tests on cell cultures (not skin), tests done from product consumption not use on skin, etc.

However, if you have any skin diseases, disorders, sensitivities, allergies...this is definitely the place to go before you buy something that may hurt you. It's easy for people like me, with resistant, genetically strong skin, to think some of the reviews are ridiculous. Without having experienced the constant worry of skin damage and/or irritation, I can say something like "I love Noxzema", and "witch hazel is one of my favorite skin care ingredients." Many people could damage their skin if they think my reviews apply to everyone, so Beautypedia a safe resource for those with sensitive skin.

Like the previous reviewer, I am a huge fan of! :-)

14 of 17 people found this helpful.

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Coarse

Eyes: Brown

While Beautypedia is a massive resource, I do not have 100% faith in their reviews due to their obvious conflict of interest. Even though Beautypedia claims it's no longer affiliated with Paula's Choice, it's very suspicious that all the Paula's Choice products are rated 4 stars or higher. Especially when several of these products have received less than stellar reviews both here and elsewhere on the internet.

I'll stick with CosDNA for ingredient analysis, and MakeupAlley for honest reviews.

14 of 14 people found this helpful.

on 5/10/2017 2:36:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Normal, Fair, Warm

Hair: Red, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

Paula uses outdated science which has been proven false. She makes statements about the "harm" some ingredients may cause, that are debatable at best. If you would like it broken down for you, just google "Robert Tisserand" and "lavender oil", he breaks it down while still citing references to every claim. Take all information from Beautypedia with a large grain of salt.

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Grey

get $10 off your Paula's Choice order!!

beautypedia is pretty helpful if you're willing to look past some of the bias and overly-critical comments Paula makes in favor of her own products. while i do happen to really like a lot of paula's choice products, there are plenty of other great products at the department/drug store that perform similarly. Paula seems to be very reluctant to give some products that seem just fine a satisfactory review due to one little ingredient or formulation defect that really doesn't effect its integrity (which i find annoying) she can be pretty helpful though in pointing out really irritating ingredients in certain products

3 of 4 people found this helpful.

on 4/15/2016 10:46:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Silver, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Grey

The review by Babs81 just shows that it isn't advisable to trust ANYONE over your own experience. I have extremely picky, sensitive skin. I've used Paula's products for years; some are HG for me (the Skin Recovery Replenishing Moisturizer saved my eyes), some are meh, some my skin won't tolerate...though that's my goofy skin, not necessarily the product. I've been having issues with some seb derm patches the last couple of years, apparently related to menopause (and perhaps overenthusiastic chin plucking). With that, I've had to seek out and use alternative products; when it's irritated and peeling, I must use very bland products; most of Paula's contain too many actives during those periods. Note that despite having great local access, I must order most of these products online (after hours of research and MANY that don't work).

I do get annoyed with some of Paula's hobbyhorses, especially the whole sunscreen thing; I'm violently allergic to all chemical sunscreen, and if I used physical sunscreen daily, I'd be broken out all the time (fortunately, I live in Seattle). But I appreciate her attitude about fragrance in products; I can't even use perfume, so...

So, this is just to say, if your skin isn't doing well, maybe change it up. I know how hard it can be to figure out what's working and what isn't; let's just say, if your eyes swelled shut when you made an error about cosmetics, wouldn't you be cautious?

I learned my lesson early, from allowing people to mess with my face (makeup), and having violent allergic reactions that would then mess up my skin for weeks if not months. I will say, I do love Makeup Alley, spend way too much time here, but it's time well spent! And though it's encouraged my makeup addiction, it's also saved me a lot of money not buying things that sound better than they are.

14 of 14 people found this helpful.

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Red, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Paulas choice uses science to create Their products . I buy the. Acne toner from her line bc it's the only one on the market that does not contain alcohol or witch hazel, birth known to be not god for your skin. I like that fragrance is always mentioned to be a problem. These companies put fragrance in their products to mask chemical odour and to make the products more appealing. Yes hert products are expensive if you live in Canada but that's only bc of the exchange rate. Years ago it would have been the other way around. Arbonne is rated as bad for the most part, well sure those products are jam packed with irritants. As an example the genius pads. Primarily all alcohol and at that price ??? It's bc the company keeps. Giving Mercedes Benz"'s away so they need to charge a big premium for their products . They do have a few products I do like though ffrom their makeup line, calm moisturizer and eye cream . I've tried their protein shakes but again way overpriced.

on 3/30/2016 1:57:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Dry, Fair, Cool

Hair: Black, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Green

Interesting notes on her site, I used to read her religiously. After trying a few of her recommendations, ie. olay, loreal, garnier creams, recently milani eyeshadow that they rave face itched and burned. Once I became more informed on ingredients, I found alot of her recommendations are highly synthetic or biased based on one ingredient. I get the feeling she might get kickbacks from alot of these companies, of course I have no proof, but a girl is allowed her thoughts. I think her 'team experts' aren't really experts, just regular joes working a job.

And the one stuff is great......I tried several of her products as well, and promptly returned them because they caused itching and burning. She poopoos alot of products that have worked wonders for my skin, basing her opinion on one ingredient. ie. Sunday Riley luna oil is bad, I have great alternative retinols, blah blah....granted it's expensive, but it works for me, just not because of the retinols but because of all the other oils in it.

I'm pretty sick of seeing her everywhere, that's why I come here. :) although I don't post often.

13 of 18 people found this helpful.

Age: 30-35

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Cool

Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

I no longer look to Paula's Choice for unbiased reviews after several products she rated poorly performed very well for me. If she didn't try to push her own product line within a separate product review, I might be able to trust her more. Her team has been wrong about products being discontinued on several occasions and I have corrected them via Twitter. They were kind enough to thank me, but if a consumer can reach out to s brand via social media for accurate information why can't her team keep with database up to date with their direct.connectuons?! I also feel they do not moderate comments fairly. Sometimes they respond with critical rehtoric and other times they ignore symptoms of active ingredients.

A specific example involves Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair. Her team tears it apart claiming that the amount of retinol is ineffective but after only three days of use my skin is red, tender and flakey - all side effects of retinol! Some one in the comment section claims they experience flaking and the Paula's Choice team commented that this could be a side effect of the retinol and/or the fragrance. Flaking is a side effect of prescription stregth Retin A which is fragrance free. It appears her team refuses to credit a product with effect ingredients and instead points out its additives. Her own retinol products also cause flaking, that what retinol does and that's a sign that it's working!

In order to minimize the negative side effects wait 15 minutes after washing your face before applying a retinoid and apply an additional moisturizer on top afterwards. If you are still sensitive apply an additional layer of moisturizer before applying a retinoid and then apply moisturizer afterwards. These steps are designed to minimize the amount of retinoids absorbed by the skin. Alternate applications or start with only one or two applications a week until you work your way up to every night.

For fair and unbiased reviews on antiaging products check out Angie at Hot and Flashy. Paula can't be trusted.

5 of 9 people found this helpful.

on 4/15/2016 10:20:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

Sigh...where do I start? Ive put off reviewing this for a long time because I didn't want my bitterness to cloud my judgement...its still painful-lol. I discovered one of Paulas "Don't go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me" books and also her Beauty Bible a few years ago. Which quickly led to of course Beautypedia. I was OBSESSED and became a skin care fanatic....started following all her rules to the letter...threw out all my products that didn't receive a GOOD or BEST rating from her-which were almost all of them and as a product hoarder that was a lot of loot wasted. I stopped buying creams in jars. I avoided anything with alcohol in it. I avoided anything without sunscreen included-even make up. I stopped using anything with lavender or even lavender scented even though its one of my favourite smells in the world. I stopped using anything with fragrance even bodywash...which didn't even make sense since I was still wearing perfume on my skin which has fragrance and alcohol (perhaps even lavender lol). Yikes. Anyway...
I started making lists of all the things she approved of...which didn't leave me with much to choose from...especially since I live in a very small town with limited places to shop (I pretty much have Shoppers and Walmart). The products she recommended were either her own, expensive or hard to find brands, or maybe a couple Olay products. So I tried Olay...unbeknownst to me at the time-Im allergic to niacinamide which is in all Olay products and most of Paulas. So my skin broke out in a rash which I mistook for pimples. Even more frustrated with my skin care, and out of any other options since she vetoed most products by Neutrogena, Aveeno, Marcelle-my regular brands which actually do work for me-I caved and started ordering her stuff. I spent A LOT of money...especially to have it shipped to Canada and having it converted into US dollars. Her products did not agree with me-at all! Probably due to the niacinamide-I was using her Hydralight face developed hard, painful bumps under the skin, welts you might say, and very hideous redness! May I add this is the summer I got married? With completely ruined skin!
Anyhow so perfectly good products thrown out, money wasted on her products, wrecked skin and redness which lasted about a year...this is what I received for my faithful following...
However. Why give her site a 3 instead of a one? Because I did learn some very useful information from her site. I learned how to read ingredients lists and what most ingredients actually are, I learned to avoid menthol or menthyl lactate like the damn plague because my skin is allergic to that also but I never made the connection until I read about it being an irritant from her advice. That in itself was priceless, so many face washes contain it and I would always break out in a rash and think it was acne up to that point.
So anyway, I check her site from time to time now, mostly out of curiosity...even though I find theyre getting slower and slower adding product reviews-by the time theyre finally reviewed Ive already had the product for months. I went back to using whatever the hell I want, jar packaging, fragrance, lavender, some alcohol...but I always keep her advice in the back of my mind. And now I prefer reading reviews on THIS lovely site!!!

13 of 14 people found this helpful.

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

Let me just start off by saying most of the bad reviews Beautypedia gets are because the reviewers don't really know what they are talking about. Here are the things I keep reading that make me feel that way.
1. "Beautypedia always gives Paulas Choice products the highest ratings"
--Um hello, why would they make any product that wouldn't live up to their 5 star standards?

2. "They always push their own products"
--This is mostly true but what company wouldn't do that. Its just business 101. Just because they suggest one of their products over another that is very similar doesn't mean you have to buy it.

3. "They give products I love / work great for me low ratings so they obviously don't know what they are talking about"
--Just because your skin looks plump and smooth overnight (for example) doesn't mean there aren't harmful ingredients in there that aren't harming your skin in other ways long-term.

4: "They give products I love low ratings because of skin irritants / fragrances when they don't irritate my skin"
--A lot of times when they are saying an ingredient is known to be a skin irritant (such as fragrance, essential oils, etc.) it means it causes oxidation. They make your skin cells decay which you cannot see unless you look under a microscope.

5. "Companies must pay them to give their products high ratings"
--If you actually read the reviews and researched the reasons why they gave it a low score you would quickly see that isn't true.

6. "They knock products down just because of their high price"
--All they are doing is saying hey there are other products that do the exact same thing for less or that there isn't anything in the product that justifies the high price. All they are doing is trying to save you money.

With all of that being said, if you absolutely love a product that they gave a low score its perfectly fine to keep using it. Just don't knock them down because I have a feeling they know what they are talking about more than the majority of us :)

19 of 36 people found this helpful.

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