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

Filtered by eye Color : Brown
Paula's Choice Don't go to the cosmetics counter without me 7th edition


18 reviews

27% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.0

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 3.0

Price: $$$

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on 6/30/2013 4:14:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I bought the first edition and enjoyed it because it was really helpful to have someone point out the BS in a majority of the cosmetics/beauty products' marketing & packaging. I now check on what her staff says about products I hear about or try for the first time -- it's really to get one of many opinions that I do while researching a product and to compare with my own experience. I totally don't agree most of the time. I think the knee-jerk reactions and giving of low ratings just because of the presence of a tiny amount of some ingredient (for example, alcohol) is a bit crazy. Some of the low ratings are just arbitrary. Foundations without sunscreen could get a great rating because it's in the no-spf category, but a great, beautiful foundation with a spf of 4 would get a horrible rating because it's in the 'foundations with spf' category and she thinks all foundations should have a minimum of spf 15. That's just dumb.

Now that she's selling her own line of beauty products, I think there is a HUGE incentive to say overly negative things about okay or decent products because they are ALL her competition. I don't understand how people can overlook this. You can't have the "cosmetics cop" profitting from selling cosmetics! This is a clear and blatant conflict of interest.

I do like the fact that I can at least get a list of ingredients for a product if I can't find it anywhere else. I just wish she didn't sell her own line of products. Then we could actually regard her as a sort of consumer watchdog for us trying not to get ripped off by cosmetics companies, but for now, I really regard her reviews with a lot of skepticism.

11 of 15 people found this helpful.

on 2/27/2010 5:08:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Olive, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I must say i do reference back to this book often, mostly curious to see the comments she makes regarding products, she definitely helped me to pick better bha options for my sometimes zitty skin. but it's funny how all her paula's choise products are all top rated... and some of the sunscreens that she says are great for oily sking are so greasy , who is testing all these products and what kind of skin do they have???? ......

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

on 8/15/2009 7:53:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Cool

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Other

Eyes: Brown

First off, let me say I've never been on the Paula hate-train. For those of us here who remember life before the internet, her books were an essential resource in wading through the hype and hypocrisy of the world of cosmetics. However, I do take her advice with a grain of salt. And then another. Okay, maybe a full tablespoon. Through her books, I've found many good skin care products from BHA lotions (saved my skin) to broad spectrum sunscreens without irritating chemicals, and for that I am grateful. However, her makeup advice leaves a lot to be desired. She always seems to be about a decade behind the trends. To her credit, in the latest edition, she seems to have acknowledged that people do come in shades of pink, peach, rose, ash or mahogany. (I'm one of them.) Or, at least, she's not pushing yellow-toned foundation as heavily as she once did.

7 of 8 people found this helpful.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Normal, Other, Warm

Hair: Black, Other, Coarse

Eyes: Brown

I bought this book after hearing so much hype about it so I ordered it from and zealously began reading the 7th edition of this book. Let me preface this review by saying, yes, there was some good information in the book regarding irritants in products, what to look for in the ingredients list, and being introduced to brands that were unknown to me, so this was a good read on that account. However, was this book something I needed to have in book collection, no; would I recommend this book to someone else, no; do I regret buying the book, no, but I wish I hadn't done so for I didn't get my money's worth.

My recommendation is if you are curious about this book, rent it from a library, try to borrow it from a friend, or buy a used haggard older edition of the book, but don't go out and buy latest edition of this book for it's not worth the $30 investment. You can find most (if not all) of the information in this book on the internet if you have: 1) the inclination & desire to know more about makeup and skin care; and 2) have access to a computer.

Enough said and that's the end of my review.

4 of 5 people found this helpful.

on 5/16/2009 2:13:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Dry, Medium, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Kinky, Coarse

Eyes: Brown

This is OK as an intro to beauty items but the key is to take everything PB says with a grain of salt. I like to use this as a quick filter for certain types of products where I know her views and mine agree. For example, finding out which AHA/BHA products have the right ph level and sunscreen info.

She's quite biased in her opinions and doesn't give manufacturers a fair chance of defending themselves as in her opinion, she cannot be argued with since she's always right. I don't think she manages to convince that what she says is fact merely because she's able to quote a scientific paper. Her opinions are quite subjective so you'll find that a lot of HG products don't agree with her. Each person is different and if I had to rely on anyone's opinion, I'd prefer to come to MUA.

She loses all impartiality and credibility in giving every single one of her products a Paula's Pick rating, which is the highest rating you can get. In her favour, she does well to educate on BHAs, AHAs and sunscreens. I have the 6th and 7th editions and won't be repurchasing if another edition comes out. The 7th edition has less information than the 6th and the opinions in it are more self-righteous.

6 of 11 people found this helpful.

on 4/20/2009 7:01:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Oily, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I can understand why Paula and her books aren't taken very seriously but I found this book really helpful. I live in Australia and had heard nothing about her before buying this book and I still don't know much about her so her reputation doesn't have an impact on my review.

The book introduced me to AHA/BHA which has completely changed my skin. I have also learnt about antioxidants and skin-identical ingredients and what to check for in ingredient lists. And if I am thinking of buying a product, I'll have a look at how she rates it and then I jump onto Makeupalley to make up my mind.

I think it's important to take her opinions at face value. Everyone's skin is different and different products will have different results. I've tried a few items she has rated highly and they didn't work for me but I still find the book very useful.

I took a lippie off because I'm undecided about her reviewing her own products in the book. It's a good marketing tactic no doubt, especially for someone who as far as I know, isn't known by everyone. But it is annoying nontheless because of course she is going to rate her products highly.

Decide for yourself. Borrow it or read it at the book store and see how you like it.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Other, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

Pros: this book is ok as a general survey of what products are out there in the marketplace (keeping in mind that this is continually changing). The author has a reasonable amount of of knowledge involving makeup artistry and gives some decent recommendations in that area.
Cons: beware of Ms. Begoun's pretense of expertise in interpreting research studies. She doesn't have the background to decide whether a study is credible or not. Also, I find that her reports on products are inconsistent (poor eval in one edition, great one in the next-same exact product) and have numerous errors.

Bottom line: This book is frequently misleading. You can get better (and more accurate and current) advice from Allure mag and Makeupalley.

on 4/3/2009 6:35:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I was lost in the vast amounts of skin care products that are available, and didn't know what to use, or what would be most effective for my combination (mild to moderate acne) skin. Then I came across this book one day and it provided me with guidance.

I found Paula's advice on how to tackle acne very valuable and I started a skin-care routine following it, and it is working well so far..Now, i get acne only occasionally and my skin looks great, much better than it did before. I totally agree with her on the necessity of sun protection and regular exfoliation. I usually check beautypedia (her web version of the book) before buying a new product, or at least check the ingredients list so I can make sure there are no irritating ingredients, like alcohol, menthol, etc.

However, not everything she writes can be perfect...for example she cites that avobenzone is a completely stable ingredient that protects from UVA rays. While it does protect from UVA, some websites mention that is not very stable, and starts to deteriorate within an hour of sun exposure. They say other ingredients have to be there to support it like "octocrylene", which can be found in Neutrogena's helioplex and some other products..

Her reviews on make-up are good too, and I wouldn't buy anything she rates as poor..but make-up tends to depend more on your skin and your preferences, and she cannot possibly capture all that.

In the end, I would say that Paula is a very informative source about skin care, and I have her to thank for letting me know how to create an effective skin-care routine.

2 of 2 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.

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.

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