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

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

1.8

4 reviews

0% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.0

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 3.0

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 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.


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 Beautypedia.com, 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 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.


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