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Paula Begoun, The "Cosmetics Cop"

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

What does everyone think of Paula Begoun, the "Cosmetics Cop"? She's definitely a holdover from the olden days where reviews of beauty products (or any consumer product, for that matter) were not in abundance and had to be purchased from "expert sources." Now that reviews are everywhere, from blogs to shopping web sites to Facebook and Twitter, the need to pay for reviews of anything has all but vanished. Paula obviously figured this out recently, as her Beautypedia site went from being a pay site to a free-but-you-need-a-username-and-password to a completely open source and free site.

 

I do think that she has some great insights and a refreshingly skeptical perspective on some of the outlandish claims made by skin care and cosmetics manufacturers. On the other hand, her harshness towards anything with jar packaging, so-called "irritating ingredients" or anything with glitter or shimmer gets oppressive after a while. She clearly has her own image of what constitutes a good makeup look -- including "neutral foundation" and matte eyeshadow. In years past, she would downgrade any products that didn't jive with her perfect look, although recently, she has softened up and now merely points out that certain colors are shimmery or "loud."

 

What do you think of her? And have any of you tried anything from her Paula's Choice line?

post #2 of 31

I have used many skin care products in her line, not the makeup though, it seems too boring. I really do like her approach, analyzing ingredients based on effectiveness (clinical studies) and skin irritants, as well as cost. Having said that, I do take her critiques with a grain of salt. Sometimes I find a product that I like and when I check her site, I find out its ineffective and full of irritants. Its very disappointing that so many products have ingredients not good for skin, but not all ingredients are irritating to all people. Just because some people are sensitive to X doesn't mean I'll be sensitive to it. Anyhow, I think she has sound opinions but I don't take her reviews to be the final word on a product. I think its good to use as a guideline for choosing skin care.

 

As far as her line of products go, I think its a good basic line, but its hard to get excited about it. People like change and trying new things. I used her products off and on. I can't say that I noticed a big difference using her products over others, but its affordable and has well researched ingredients.

post #3 of 31

I got one of her books as a present a couple years ago and my personal experience really clashed with some of her statements so I also take her advice with a grain of salt. One particular topic I found very conflicting with my opinion is the peptides. She always downplays their role, but literally every single product I've tried that contained them worked wonders for me and everyone else I recommended it to.

post #4 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueRoses2525 View Post

What does everyone think of Paula Begoun, the "Cosmetics Cop"? She's definitely a holdover from the olden days where reviews of beauty products (or any consumer product, for that matter) were not in abundance and had to be purchased from "expert sources." Now that reviews are everywhere, from blogs to shopping web sites to Facebook and Twitter, the need to pay for reviews of anything has all but vanished. Paula obviously figured this out recently, as her Beautypedia site went from being a pay site to a free-but-you-need-a-username-and-password to a completely open source and free site.

 

I do think that she has some great insights and a refreshingly skeptical perspective on some of the outlandish claims made by skin care and cosmetics manufacturers. On the other hand, her harshness towards anything with jar packaging, so-called "irritating ingredients" or anything with glitter or shimmer gets oppressive after a while. She clearly has her own image of what constitutes a good makeup look -- including "neutral foundation" and matte eyeshadow. In years past, she would downgrade any products that didn't jive with her perfect look, although recently, she has softened up and now merely points out that certain colors are shimmery or "loud."

 

What do you think of her? And have any of you tried anything from her Paula's Choice line?

I've never heard of her but I'm gonna go look her up now

post #5 of 31

Her opinion is also subjective and should be taken with a grain of salt as the ladies above stated. I'll always tell people what works for me may not work for you and what works for you may not work for me. Everyone is different and even one's own skin changes over time so what worked a few years ago may not work for you a few year from now.

 

Since there are no laws governing cosmetics other than the FDA's regulations on what's allowed and not allowed I think there should be "cosmetic cops" to point that out when a cosmetic company is doing stuff they shouldn't be doing - like when Two Cosmetics was selling Lady Burd Paint Wheels as eye shadows despite Lady Burd stating not for use around the eyes. But who is she to tell anyone that a shimmery shadow is "loud"? That's just being rude since not everyone has the same tastes in cosmetics and colors.

post #6 of 31

I do check Beautypedia for advice before I purchase most skin care products, but I usually ignore her makeup reviews.  I have found that products containing skin-irritating ingredients (especially anything that causes a cooling sensation) really do bother my skin and lips.  So, I check her reviews and see what she has to say and go from there.  She also lists the PH of salicylic products, which is really important for me and hard to find elsewhere.  Her makeup reviews though seem more like her opinion and I don't agree with her on most of it.  I've only tried a few of the Paula's Choice products and those are ones that I've gotten for free from her beta-testing program - which I have no idea how I became a part of.  The products that I have tried haven't wowwed me and I wouldn't purchase again as I have found better ones from other companies.  I haven't bought any of her products as I've found cheaper "Paula's Picks" and so I've gone with those instead of purchasing her product line.  I am intrigued by her new BHA9, but I think $35 for .3 oz is a tad bit ridiculous, so I haven't bought it...yet.  That may be one that I actually fork over the money for eventually. 

post #7 of 31

I love Paula's website and the way her reviews are always based on published research on specific ingredients rather than anecdotal evidence.  Also, since i have very sensitive skin that gets red and rashy at the drop of the hat, I'm very glad when she points out specific ingredients in products that have potential to cause irritation.  Since educating myself on skincare ingredients based on what I learned from her site, and switching out some of the products I was using that were causing irritation without my knowing it, my skin has become so much stronger, more resilient, and much less dry than it used to be.

 

I do agree that she tends to be very subjective when it comes to makeup (I believe she mentioned this herself somewhere on her site) so I usually don't bother much with her makeup reviews and just focus on the skincare stuff.

 

The anti-jar-packaging rants do bother me a bit also, mostly because she never tells you how long it takes for ingredients to break down.  If it's 6 months or a year, then maybe jar packaging is just fine.

 

As for her products, I do use some from her acne line.  The rest look interesting and I'd like to work in an antioxidant serum into my routine someday, but unlike Paula I am a believer of choosing skincare products based on potent concentrations of specific ingredients.  She tends to formulate products with a smattering of everything.  You won't find 15% Vitamin C in her line anywhere, for example.

post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 

Some of her reviews used to be really snarky and arrogant. She dismisses Too Faced as only being the brand for you "...if 'maximum glitter' is on your list of makeup must-haves," and says it's no better than Jane or Maybelline. Maybelline is on her list of Brands That Can Do No Wrong, hence the comparison.

post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueRoses2525 View Post

Some of her reviews used to be really snarky and arrogant. She dismisses Too Faced as only being the brand for you "...if 'maximum glitter' is on your list of makeup must-haves," and says it's no better than Jane or Maybelline. Maybelline is on her list of Brands That Can Do No Wrong, hence the comparison.

 

THAT is absolutely rude on her part!

post #10 of 31
Thread Starter 

She once published a book called Blue Eyeshadow Should Be Illegal. That should tell you everything you need to know about Paula Begoun. icon_eek.gif

post #11 of 31
Thread Starter 

In her review of Kat Von D's Beethoven palette, she complained that it contained a royal blue shade, "which should be illegal." DERP!

post #12 of 31

Well yeah, clearly she isn't up on modern makeup trends.  Then again, makeup reviews are always going to be subjective.  Here's the blurb on her site:

 

"Makeup products are evaluated in person and more subjectively than skin-care products"

 

Which is completely different from how she reviews skincare products:

 

"Our criteria is primarily based on published medical and scientific research to help ensure you find the best products for your skin whether it's our Paula's Choice products or someone else's."

post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by nishino View Post

Well yeah, clearly she isn't up on modern makeup trends.  Then again, makeup reviews are always going to be subjective.  Here's the blurb on her site:

 

"Makeup products are evaluated in person and more subjectively than skin-care products"

 

Which is completely different from how she reviews skincare products:

 

"Our criteria is primarily based on published medical and scientific research to help ensure you find the best products for your skin whether it's our Paula's Choice products or someone else's."

 

Basically she should be evaluating the formula not the colors.

post #14 of 31

Well, here's the full blurb, where for some reason they did include shades as criteria (which I agree is kind of weird):

 

 

Makeup products are evaluated in person and more subjectively than skin-care products with regard to the following traits:

  • Application
  • Texture and finish
  • Color selection (range of shades and their suitability for various skin tones)
  • How the product compares to similar products from other lines
  • Formulation is also a consideration for makeup products, such as foundations with sunscreen
  • How accessible the products are in store, such as testers and sensible color organization
post #15 of 31

I check her sight often for information about formulas and ingredients.  It helps me balance out the purely subjective opinions on other sites.

 

I ignore the parts of the reviews which are just her personal opinion.  She did write "Blue Eyeshadow Should be Illegal" afterall biggrin.gif

post #16 of 31

LOL That cover should be made illegal along with all 1980s permed hairstyles. LOL

 

post #17 of 31

Wow, is that the actual title of her books?!  Oh, I see that's what freemia was referring to.  It must be a reference to the blue eyeshadow of the 80s....

 

like this:

 

 

post #18 of 31

Well let's face it, the 1980s blue shadows should be illegal since those blues were weird shades of blue. The blues on the market today are gorgeous - bright, vibrant and pigmented.

post #19 of 31

yeah, the one in the middle looks ok, but man those powder-blue ones on either side... whew!

post #20 of 31

LOL Well they didn't do much blending back in the 80s. LOL Look at Paula's blush - very bold with little blending. Come to think of it shadows were applied with sponge applicators and not brushes. Brushes are relatively a newer thing among the everyday person and prior to that brushes were used mostly by pros only. The more I remember the 80s the more I remember that it was more about frosts and one color (sometimes two). I remember the greens from back then and those were ugly greens as well.

post #21 of 31
Like others have already mentioned, she's definitely a hold over from way back in the day.
post #22 of 31

I'm very glad that she's still keeping her reviews up to date.  I'd be lost otherwise.

 

I'd hate to rely on beauty and fashion publications for information.  They often feature products that don't do what the claim.  It's as if they don't test the products or even do any research regarding the ingredients before they publish recommendations.

post #23 of 31
Thread Starter 

I also ignore beauty publications like Allure because they are beholden to their advertisers. They love EVERYTHING that Cover Girl, Maybelline, and Revlon put out -- 'cuz Cover Girl, Maybelline and Revlon pay for at least 1/3 of the advertising space that keeps their publication up and running.

post #24 of 31

^ feel the same way. I got a free subscription to allure and it's just a waste of paper--I care more about user reviews than what a product-placement publication recommends. at least with fashion magazines like harper's bazaar, the ads contribute aesthetic and style. it's less trying to sell you specific products, and more selling you an image that you resonate with.

 

I wonder if instant access to reviews has forced companies to focus more on product quality than they did back in the day. I'd hate walking into a drugstore pre-internet and literally having no idea what's good and what isn't.

post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wida View Post

  I am intrigued by her new BHA9, but I think $35 for .3 oz is a tad bit ridiculous, so I haven't bought it...yet.  That may be one that I actually fork over the money for eventually. 

I've tried the Resist9 - and it does work to shed thick-skinned areas. It's super pricey, yes, but you can order the trial sizes for $3 I think...which is what I ordered....ounce for ounce the trial sizes are the same as the full sized. The trial size was the size a of a small perfume sample vial. It's this oily concoction. The $3 vial lasted me about week using it as spot treatments. 

 

for me it turned over the skin (shedding) to clean up healed blemishes. It's not a must have, but I haven't run into a similar product anywhere else. 

post #26 of 31

I've bought stuff from her brand, but never visited her content site. I bought her, "Don't go to the cosmetics counter with me" book, and liked how she researched various ingredients yes/no irritating ... what ingredient purposes are....it's made me feel more confident about reading cosmetic ingredient labels and also making my own toners, masks and peels. 

 

That said, I see her make-up advise as being a little too conservative and '1950's mom' for my taste - but those are her style opinions, and she entitled to them. Her cosmetics ingredient 'lectures' are grounded in fact with cited academic research articles...which I do appreciate. 

post #27 of 31

Everybody personal likes and dislikes affect their reviews since it is all just opinion.

In the 80's one color to 15 colors were the way to go, since the rule was if you think you have enough use more.

post #28 of 31

I thought the sample size was just a packet (a lot of her samples are), which is why I haven't bothered purchasing it as I don't care for packets.  Thanks for letting me know otherwise!  I have sebaceous hyperplasia - which is essentially oil glands that are overactive and get too large and pop out of the pore - and one of the claims of the BHA9 is that it will shrink the bumps.  I have a feeling that it may be too good to be true as my derm told me the only way to get rid of them is by having them burned or lasered off, but I would still like to try it.  I haven't seen a similar product anywhere else either.  My sis in law is an aesthetician and she told me that she could get me the salicylic chemical peel solution and that should have the same effect, but I'm afraid of burning my skin with a peel. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tgooberbutt View Post

I've tried the Resist9 - and it does work to shed thick-skinned areas. It's super pricey, yes, but you can order the trial sizes for $3 I think...which is what I ordered....ounce for ounce the trial sizes are the same as the full sized. The trial size was the size a of a small perfume sample vial. It's this oily concoction. The $3 vial lasted me about week using it as spot treatments. 

 

for me it turned over the skin (shedding) to clean up healed blemishes. It's not a must have, but I haven't run into a similar product anywhere else. 

post #29 of 31

Sorry to dredge this up out of last year, but I have enjoyed reading this and have my own two cents to add.

 

What I like:

 

I for the most part really appreciate and value Paula's website and her reviews. But here are the best things about her brand in my opinion:

 

1. Her website rates not only her own brand, but many others, allowing you to find a similar, perhaps cheaper item that she rates just as well as her own. Likewise, you can look up products you are already using to see what she thinks of them, which is in my opinion, kind of cool.

 

2. She has so much information on products- from full ingredients, what the ingredients mean/do, other people's reviews, etc. It's a busy researcher's heaven!

 

3. All her products are going to be formulated based on what she rates as best, which is good to know.

 

4. All her products have included information on the scientific studies. This is freaking amazing!

 

5. You can buy sample-sizes of almost every one of her products. This is awesome!

 

6. You get free shipping no matter the cost. (Plus, if you spend over $5, you get 3 free samples). Her shipping is SUPER fast!

 

7. I LOVE LOVE LOVE how SPF is really important to her. It is to me too.

 

8. I love the way you can add not just her products but other brands' products to your 'love list' and then it tallies it up based on type of product.

 

9. I also love how you can compare two or more products on her website using her 'compare' tool. That is nifty!

 

10. I ADORE how her brand is cruelty free!!!!

 

What I dislike:

 

1. Harping on irritants, when some essential oils are safe to be applied directly to the skin (such as lavender and tea tree). Although I say this, I also appreciate her studying the irritants as my skin is sensitive. It's kind of ... hypocritical of me!

 

2. Her overuse of silicone in skincare and makeup. It's one of those things my skin doesn't like!

 

However, I just have looked at her website- I don't actually have any of her books. Also, I never use her reviews on makeup as that is just a personal style matter. 

post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastofthesun View Post

Sorry to dredge this up out of last year, but I have enjoyed reading this and have my own two cents to add.


 




Very good points. I love that Paula's reviews exist. I like knowing which $5 products are just as good as $50 products, and also when the $50 product is really worth the money and I'm not just spending the extra $45 on the name.

She gave a bad review to my favorite mascara (it's now discontinued) several years ago. I read the review and understood the reason for the bad rating (it was VERY difficult to remove), but it still remained my favorite and I appreciated knowing it was otherwise a good product.
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