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


Start your review

on 1/19/2008 6:39:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Oily, Fair-Medium, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Green

This is Paulas newst book. I have read her past books, and also having the 6th edition so I just had to order this. The overall review is that this one is better then the past. The idea is the same, also the ratings and the criterias. Whats new in this version is that se gives a "At-a-Glaze" about every brand features in the book, she writes strenghts and weaknesses, and that gives a better balance. In the past version she was a bit hard, but this makes it more reader friendly. Reviews has also changed, on the basis of new better products, new research or companies has changed the product. Some new brands are featured and some are gone.
The best of summary at the end is also shorter, and eatch category is split in half, like fore example products under $15 or product with/without spf. At the end of the Best of list she features a list of the companies with most Paulas pick. Clinique has the most, M.A.C. second, Estee Lauder, Neutrogena, Presciptives... That means that 4 of 5 companies are Estee Lauder companies, that means that Estee Lauder is a top choice for buying top cosmetica!

5 of 6 people found this helpful.

on 1/25/2008 3:58:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

There is a lot of useful information in this book. I looked up all the products I love and she did give them high ratings. The problem I have with this book is there is a degree of information overload (which I guess isnít really a bad thing considering how thorough it is). Luckily there is a best products summary which can help to narrow your options a little bit. The glossary is also quite useful. My advise, check this out at your local library as needed or photocopy the best product summary from the back of the book and use the rest as a reference. No reason to buy one yourself unless you plan on spending the next year of your life reading about makeup you will probably never use. It was fun to look up the products I like but even if she would have given them a poor rating I would still use them since they work well for me. It was also good to know about the ingredients in the products but you should be looking into that yourself for the products you use often. If you are in the market for a new product to try, use the best product summary because you will never get through the rest of the book. You are never going to know how a product works for you until you try it so keep that in mind when reading her ratings. What works for you may not work for everyone else.

2 of 3 people found this helpful.

on 2/11/2008 4:35:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Normal, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

Excellent update ... but what's with all the typos and proofreading mistakes? Some days can be really slow at work, and I almost read this thing cover to cover, and I was shocked and how many goofs there were in the text! It seemed a little low budget if you know what I mean. However, Paula's come up with another great edition of her standout text, although it seems to be lacking quite a few brands ... Guerlain, Bonne Bell, DHC, etc. I guess that's why she launched ... for those of you who haven't tried the site (membership is half off if you buy the book, or search for the coupon online), it's pretty much her text in a searchable format. Though it is at times nicely laid out, there is an awkwardness about navigating the site which can be very frustrating. Hopefully, these are just problems that will get sorted out once the site is on its feet. All in all, Paula adds a lot to the consumer community, and places like MUA wouldn't be around if it weren't for her pioneering efforts!

4 of 5 people found this helpful.

on 3/27/2008 3:34:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Curly, Coarse

Eyes: Grey

I own and read the 6th edition and was really excited to hear that a 7th was on the way. I went out and bought it and have waited a long time to review since I wanted to really give it a fair chance. I was very disappointed in this edition, it seemed very biased and so many products were left out, and I know it wasn't because the product wasn't available or was previously reviewed because she did re-reviewed many of the products from the 6th edition and left many very well reviewed products (especially from aveeno and at least one from olay) completely out of the book.
Like another reviewer stated the typos were pretty bad and I really would have liked a comprehensive list of just antioxidants, just cell communicating ingredients. She mentions what these things do but does not list of them. There is a list of ingredients in the back so I suppose I could look through that list and compile my own "list of ingredients to look for" from that but I wish I didn't have to.

All in all this book isn't useless or anything, but I can't take the reviews that seriously. I find things that look interesting in the book then check here to see what people that have my skin type actually thought when it was used. I think it would have been an ok buy if I have paid less money for it (I paid $30).
If there is an 8th edition I'll wait to buy in from the bargain bin.
EDIT: It's sunscreen season here, which means I need something more than SPF 15 (more like a 45). I hadn't noticed it before but where did all the sunscreen reviews go??? Vichy is completely missing (lots of nice sunscreens there) as are the sunscreens by Neostrata. La Roche Posay was there but only one sunscreen reviewed and there was some missing from Shiseido as well and she made a comment about L'oreal not using proper UVA protection (in the review for Feel naturale compact makeup) but then ignored their ombrelle sunscreens which all have UVA/UVB protection. I had to go back to her last edition just to get some info on some of these lines. Sorry about that rant but I just wanted some help with a sunscreen and was frustrated when I only had a short list to choose from when I see so many options (that have been around long enough to be in that book) at the drugstore. Thank goodness for MUA, the best purchases I have made have been based on the reviews here.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

on 5/26/2008 6:41:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Warm

Hair: Brown, Curly, Fine

Eyes: Brown

This review is actually for, which is the text of Paula Begoun's book in online, searchable form. As I'm writing this review the web site text essentially corresponds to the 7th edition of "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me," though I understand the web site is updated periodically. After spending hours with the text and reading reviews for every category of skin care and makeup products, I have mixed feelings.

I'll start with the good: Many of Paula's reviews give an excellent description of the product and recommendations for users who would like or benefit from the product most. I like that products that differ markedly in their characteristics can all receive "Paula's Pick" ratings and that there is not one strict set of criteria applied to all (with a few exceptions, see the "bad" below). If you have a good idea of your own preferences and needs in cosmetics, then reading the reviews should help you determine whether a particular product might be worth a try. Even when Paula is less than enthused about a product, she is often quick to point out some of its positive attributes. For example, although Paula awarded a neutral rating to MAC Studio Fix Fluid because of its suboptimal UV protection, she described its benefits and explained that users could choose to wear a sunscreen underneath to overcome that limitation. I was able to locate products from a huge number of brands and I loved that I could find reviews on products that were released very recently. Most of the reviews appear to have been updated quite recently. I wish that Paula would keep reviews of discontinued products available on the site, or archive them somewhere, but I realize this is a buying guide for NEW cosmetics, so that's not a big problem for me. Finally, Paula does not seem to discriminate between low- and high-end products; she seems to judge the product rather than the price tag, though she will tell you when she thinks the price is too high in relation to the quality of the product (which in itself is helpful information). Occasionally in her reviews Paula will suggest a less expensive comparable product, which is always helpful.

Now the bad: (1) Although Paula claims to have a systematic process of reviewing products, some of her reviews are surprisingly short and flip. (2) Her database, though extensive, is missing several nationally distributed cosmetic brands. Just to name a few off the top of my head, some of the brands missing from her reviews are Cargo, Milani, Givenchy, Kevin Aucoin, Too Faced, Pout, and Boscia. (3) Paula has clearly taken the easy way out of reviewing mineral makeup products and has lumped many of them into the same category, which is ridiculous given the market for these products and consumers' understandable desire for more information on online-only brands. She implies, for instance, that all mineral foundations contain bismuth, which is obviously false. (4) Paula is a little too absolute about certain rules, such as recommending against skin care products containing essential oils. In some reviews she states that a product has some plant extract or oil, but not "enough" to worry about. The reader is left in the dark about how Paula is drawing the line, and I get the sense that this might just be arbitrary. (5) Last but certainly not least, the biggest complaint I have is the obvious conflict of interest. Paula actually has the nerve to rate all of her own products as "picks," which is both unhelpful (what, were you going to recommend against your own line, Paula??) and poses legitimate questions about her trustworthiness as a reviewer of other brands. I found myself wondering whether other brands or products weren't represented because of their competitiveness with the Paula's Choice line, or if certain criteria were weighted more heavily in the reviews simply to give an advantage to Paula's line. Well, it doesn't take an ethicist to tell you that there is an unavoidable conflict of interest here, and in the end the reader can only speculate about the extent of Paula's "objectivity."

33 of 33 people found this helpful.

on 5/27/2008 6:26:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Oily, Fair, Warm

Hair: Blond, Other, Fine

Eyes: Blue

I am a subscriber of Beautypedia and for the most part agree with Annie B's review below. I use the website to get an idea about a product- that is for which skin type a particular foundation or moisturizer is best for; and knowing about ingredients which may cause breakouts for blemish-prone skin or if a powder is best for oily or dry skin, etc. Using this site AND the MUA site has helped me to save money and be much happier with the products I purchase. I, too, don't like that Paula rates her own products. I do think it is questionable as far as her ability to be objective is concerned. After all, she does use peer-reviewed scientific articles and data in her research about effective skin care. Though, obviously she isn't a scientist, I have and do rely on her ability to relate this info. to me as a consumer and that does mean trying one's best to be objective. It is why Consumer Reports magazine does not accept advertising. Anyway, despite this, I find that it is really worth the money to learn which sunscreens and foundations have both UVA and UVB protection b/c I cannot always read through all of the ingredients on the bottles. I will say that I have learned not to believe the hype of what a product says it can do. I can use Paula's info. so that I can have realistic expectations about products. This is a big money and time saver! I do sometime return makeup but mostly it is b/c of wrong color choice and not due to poor product performance.
Like the reviewer below, I am annoyed at P's lack of reviews for Tarte, NYX, and other lines that have been around for a while now.
I will say, the Beauypedia site has helped me find lower priced substitutes for some of Paula's own products! (Though I do stick with a couple of her skin care products.)

6 of 8 people found this helpful.

on 5/27/2008 6:48:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I'm sorry, but I just can't take this book too seriously. While Paula makes a good point of talking smack (and at times rightly so) about cosmetic lines, she also blatantly touts her own high and mighty products. There's no possible way this woman can be objective.

I also doubt this woman's breadth of knowledge. Maybe she's a chemist? Or did she go to med school? Wait a minute, no. Yet she goes on and on about the science of the skin and then sets up a somewhat arbitrary evaluation system for products, mainly based on how gentle the product ingredients are. And she's telling the lay public what is and is not good on the basis of that and her own biased opinion. Gee, what a big surprise that she loves most Paula's Choice products...hmmmmmmm...It's not that Paula only promotes her products. Don't get me wrong, she lauds the qualities of other product lines. I just don't like the tone that Paula uses in her book, and I think she does little to back up her arguments against the skincare and cosmetics industry when she constructs a mostly arbitrary product evaluation system. One under which Paula's Choice products miraculously pass with flying colors...

I read this book for research purposes (I'm a physician who performs aesthetic treatments). What it left me with was a mild disgust for a woman who seems to want to toot her own horn while blasting the majority of the skincare and cosmetics industry. I do give her credit for working the industry in her favor though...

Many sections in Paula's book are like big advertisements for Beautypedia and the Paula's Choice line. It's not hard to see that. I know she's a businesswoman but come on! This is just another avenue for her to promote her line. So let's just say this book is not one I will turn to again. It will collect dust on my bookshelf...all in the name of research!

23 of 31 people found this helpful.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Acne-prone, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Black

Disappointing compared to her earlier books. Although her opinions on ingredients have changed over the years, this latest book seems a bit abridged compared to the 6th edition. I was a bit surprised that she omitted so many lines this time around, and, as far as I saw, didn't include many new ones.
I was also surprised she rated her own products this time around (could she possibly think any of her own products were less than wonderful?) and preferred the earlier version where she described her products but left them unrated.
Overall, this felt like more of an advertisement of her Beautypedia website, which has many more lines reviewed.

I have been reading these since the first was published in 1990 (1989/1991?), and, pre-internet days, they were extremely useful, but I think the wealth of information and opinions on the web has made them somewhat obsolete.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Age: 30-35

Skin: Normal, Olive, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

This is an indispensable source of product information. I'm so glad to have this latest edition as the previous one became outdated with the plethora of new products/formulations since its release.

Paula has clearly done exhaustive research to back up her conclusions on the ingredients found in cosmetics products. I don't always agree with her on what works and what doesn't work (e.g., hydrogen peroxide is a miracle cure for my occasional blemishes but Paula says never to use it).

But still the reviews are extremely helpful because they provide me with facts and fairly unbiased background info on products before I purchase them. I'm also very appreciative to Paula for including a list of companies that test on animals. (I plan on avoiding them!)

on 6/29/2008 4:12:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Warm

Hair: Brown, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

The Seventh Edition is just as packed with information as the original edition that I first discovered years ago. She presents fair, unbiased and factual evidence for her opinions and reviews. Whether you use her products or not, and I happen to use several quite successfully, you can benefit from reading this book. You can save a lot of money by avoiding products that can ruin your skin and flatten your wallet. Reading her various editions of this book helped me learn about what was good for my skin and helped me navigate the myriad of choices for skincare and makeup and make as little purchasing mistakes as possible. Highly recommend!

Back to Top