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

Filtered by skin type : Combination
Paula's Choice Don't go to the cosmetics counter without me 7th edition


19 reviews

31% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.0

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 3.0

Price: $$$

Not tested on animals


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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 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 6:48:00 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.

on 7/26/2008 5:34:00 AM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

This is actually a review of Beautipaedia, which I subscribed to because I am HAVE TO cut down on the cost of cosmetics and skin care, and want to know where the overpriced stuff is. Less than $30 for a year is a lot less than I have thrown away on overpriced products. I know I am influenced by exotic lines in expensive stores, so this is my slap in the face.
First, I read a bit about her philosophy of skin care and beauty products, so I know where she is coming from and where our differences may be.
Second, I think she IS very knowledgeable, degrees or not, and is sincere in her reviews. The idea of having a line and then reviewing it along with the other gazillion products our there is a bit disconcerting, but if it bothers you, just ignore her stuff.
Lastly, the web site itself can use some tuning up for ease of use. And I think one year should be enough for me. We will see.
I think all of us want to believe in magic in a jar or tube. When we pay more for it, we are less inclined to want to admit it wasn't worth it.
Time for me to get some sincere input and admit that alot of what I have purchased was money down the drain. continued >>

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I have to change my once glowing review of this woman. I too used to worship Paula Begoun. If she hated something, I would too. But after a few years of following her advice, I've lost respect for her.

For one, she disses products if they even so much as have one of her much hated irritants. Some things irritate me, and others don't. It's the same way for everybody, regardless of skin type. She fails to see this. What works for me may do the exact opposite for you. It took me some risks and time to learn this. For a long time, I was avoiding anything with even the slightest chance of irritation according to her cosmetics dictionary. But I've found that I can handle peppermint in small to moderate amounts. I can also handle BBW body creams (all have lemon and pine extract) and I could even handle their Cool Citrus Basil shower gel, which has citrus extracts in it. I've also found bodywashes that have dried my skin out even though they have no irritants whatsoever. Again, what works for some may not work for all.

Another thing: My skin gets dry from time to time (probably from heeding her advice), and even the gel cleansers that she would tout as good for dry skin would still dry me out. Even when my skin was oily, a lot of the gel cleansers she'd recommend would dry me out as well. Speaking of skin type, over the last year my skin has always been either dry and tight or an oil slick, regardless of which one of her regimens I choose to follow. I never had problems with this before I read her books.

As far as her recommended skin care program: She complains that other lines have way too many steps, yet hers has five. I've tried her five-step programs with products recommended by her as per my skin type at the given moment, and it seems like it all either dries me out or the stuff just sits on my skin and creates an oilslick. There's just no in-between for me. In addition, to solve problems with combination skin, she recommends a bunch of her different products for oily areas, and others for your dry areas. So much for keeping it simple. Who has time for all those extra steps? Sounds like she's trying to milk a cash cow here.

In addition, she recommends products that totally contradict her beliefs about skincare. This was the last straw for me, IME. For example, she recommended Oxy pads for exfoliating your feet during an appearance on Oprah, yet they contain menthol and ammonium xylenosulfonate, which are two irritants in her book. She also claims in her books that St. Ives Apricot scrubs contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, yet when I looked at the bottles at the store recently, there was no such ingredient listed. In fact, I remember using it a couple years ago, and it wasn't an ingredient used then either. I may sound like I'm being overly critical here, but it just ruins her credibility IMO.

And another thing: Benzoyl Peroxide does absolutely NOTHING for my zits! When it comes to those big ones that won't pop, I NEED tea tree oil (which she claims doesn't work as well as BP) or something with alcohol in it!

Read her stuff if you must, but just understand that she's not the be all, end all of the comsetics world. Like a lot of other MUAer's, I'm also starting to come to my senses about her.
continued >>

23 of 24 people found this helpful.

on 1/30/2009 12:35:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

I stopped reading her after her first book. Why? Because I worked for a few years for the cosmetics industry, and saw great results in my clients from many of the products Paula claims are worthless. I have seen pores tightened, wrinkles greatly diminished, spots lightened, jawlines firmed--all from products Paula claims are just worthless junk. You know, some women buy pricey products for a REASON, and that reason is that they are getting visible results. (Not always, but far more often than Paula would like to admit.) Many products keep their promises or even exceed them, and these are the products women come back for time and again even if they are pricey. Cosmetics companies WANT their products to work so they can keep their customers coming back. Makes sense, right? It's not all just a big scam as Paula would like us to believe.

Also, how can ANYONE take her seriously when she SELLS HER OWN LINE...? Of course she's going to trash talk all the other lines. Furthermore, a lot of the ingredients she claims are worthless/irritating/pore-clogging etc. somehow magically end up in some of her own products! So, what to believe...? The ingredients are bad unless Paula decides to use them...?

Last but not least, a lot of her reviews for products are clearly WAY off-base--as if she's never actually tried them or even felt them. I've seen lightweight gels accused of being heavy and greasy, and positively caustic products praised as being suitable for sensitive skin! Practically fragrance-free, very gentle products are smacked down as "irritating" due to lavender oil listed like twenty ingredients down. Just silly. They say a "little" knowledge can be a dangerous thing--and that phrase certainly rings true in the case of Paula Begoun. I WILL go to the cosmetics counter without her, because frankly, I know most of the products better than she does--and my skin looks better, too. ;)

21 of 27 people found this helpful.

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

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Olive, Cool

Hair: Black, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Green

I never bought this book, so But I did spend some time reading it at the bookstore because I didn't want to pony up the cash. All I really have to say is she gives HER opinions, and really who is she? Would you take just MY opinion about a product and buy it because what I think? No, you wouldn't! We don't need her or her stinkin reviews, we have MUA. MUA gives up COLLECTIVE reviews from many different people. I mean, if 2,000 people have tried something and even 70% like it, isn't there a much better chance of you liking it, then just based on the opinion of Paula. Anyways you know what they say about opinions, but I won't go there!

8 of 14 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 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.

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