Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

Do you agree with her views on skincare products? 

I'm on a hunt for my Summer night serum & moisturizer. I think I'm going to purchase the Perricone Blue Plasma even though it stinks so bad of fish & I hate fish. I've been researching products a lot and one of the sites I was on was Paula's Choice. She is not a fan of the serum... Actually the more I read through her "beautypedia" reviews, it seems like she's not a fan of a lot of products. I also got a feeling she was mainly trying to push her own products and Olay. 


- She's against treatment cleansers since it's just "washed down the drain". I have to disagree with this. When I use a treatment cleanser, although they can be drying, I do see improvement in my breakouts. 

- Witch Hazel is bad. I find witch hazel to be an important ingredient when choosing a toner. She think it's just as bad as alcohol if not worse. 


Products she gave a "poor" rating to: 

- Anthony Logistic's Glycolic cleanser got a poor rating because it doesn't contain any glycolic acid. 

- doctor dennis gross's A/B pads since we can just skip step 2 by simply splashing water on our face to deactivate step 1. 

- Dior Capture Totale One Essential Serum because it's not a "miracle serum" since it's primarily just "water, slip agents, and alcohol"

- ExfoliKate

- Just about every Ole Henriksen product I love :smileysad: 

- Origins Checks & Balances, Charcoal Mask & every other decent product from them

- Most Murad products


I do agree with a few points she makes, like companies need to stop putting active ingredients in clear vials so the sun doesn't break down the properties of the treatment. Also jar packaging is a big no-no for her. I understand that some creams are too thick to be put in a pump, but what about those airless jars that Bosica & Dermadoctor are using? I hate sticking my fingers in jars & the air does break down the active ingredients over time... 

Overall though, I don't think I'll be going to her site when I'm researching a new product I want to try. 

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

I take her with a grain of salt. She gives good information regarding ingredients and packaging. But her tone rubs me the wrong way when reviewing specific products. 


Another thing that reaaaalllly bugs me is thats she goes on and on about how silicone is safe and that it doesn't cause acne.  I personally find this false. Once I eliminated silicone from my skincare, my acne dramatically improved. It was in my moisturizer, sunscreen, serum and foundation.  I told my cousin about my success in going silicone free, and her skin also improved. I did make other changes. I started using oils instead of heavy moisturizers. I know my skin is affected by silicone because I've tested it a few times. Every time I try a new product with silicone, my pores clog like nobody's business and I break out. 


I know I'm not the only one. It just irks me when I'm made to feel like an idiot for professing a different opinion. Silicone works great for some people, and many have zero problems with it.  I'm unfortunately not one of those people. 

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

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^^^^^ This ^^^^^^

My friend and I just discussed silicone in products earlier. Both of our faces do not agree with it. It took some time for each of us to figure it out but once you do, there's no turning back.

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

It's funny you should bring this up, as I'm an avid Paula's Choice user who is currently experimenting with reducing the silicone in my skincare.  I think I've posted this several time in this thread, but to start off, I will state that PC's Clear line changed my life a few years back.  I love the BHA liquids.  But lately my skin hasn't been as clear as it was back when I started using the stuff.


I've come to the realization that I've been using several high-silicone products simultaneously and this may be causing the bumpy forehead I've been experiencing the last few months.  It came to head when I was sampling Paula's Antioxidant Serum w/ Retinol, which basically feels like pure silicone.  I noticed a lot  of hard fleshed colored bumps appearing on my forehead and temples and my gut told me it was the silicone.  I already had some of these bumps, but suddenly it got a lot worse.  I've already cut back on silicone a little and am seeing improvement.  I just went through my stash and further reduced the silicone content, so I'll see what happens in the next few days.


Anyway, my take is that PC genuinely considers silicone to be a good ingredient.  I was just reading their review of Miracle Skin Transformer, and they tout the high level of silicone, giving the product a very good rating.  So it's not just their own products w/ silicone that they approve of.  I imagine that the ingredient is just fine for many people.  PC has been selling a gel moisturizer for acne prone skin for years which like the antioxidant serum feels like pure silicone.  I hate the stuff, but it must work for someone or I doubt they would still be selling it.

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

Pixie, I get disturbed by the fact that silicone and it's derivatives are in practically EVERYTHING. It is surely the "hot" ingredient these days. Is it ok in moderation for most, probably. Do I personally think excessive use of silicones can cause an increase in acne? Yes. I myself do not have a problem with acne (anymore) and do not have sensitive skin. However, when Smashbox came out with their pore-minimizing primer, I had to try it. Well I broke out in several patches of acne and I knew that was the culprit. Stopped using it, problem solved.


But do I use some silicones? Sure. I'm just more cognizant of how much I'm putting on my face, body and hair. I feel like when I've used too many silicone hair products, I've developed a lot of product buildup much faster.


Just a side note for those unaware: Silicon is a mineral that the body uses for things such as bone formation, it is different from Silicone which does contain Silicon along with some other components and resembles plastic.


One of my personal feelings is that most things are okay in moderation (unless we know differently). But how do we define moderation? That starts another topic entirely.


Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

I was just browsing around for a new sunscreen when I noticed two new ones from Paula's Choice.  They have different names and are in different lines, but apparently exactly the same ingredients.  Now I realize she cross-markets the same product in different categories (like her 2% BHA product is in the "Clear" line and also "Resist) but this time the reported SPFs for apparently identical products are not the same!  Shouldn't this be a cause for concern?  I'm now left wondering just how accurate those SPF ratings are, I mean there's a big difference between 30 and 50!


Resist Youth-Extending Daily Mattifying Fluid Broad Spectrum SPF 50


Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.50%,Octisalate 5.00%,Octocrylene 2.00%, Avobenzone 2.00%; Inactive Ingredients: Water, Glycerin (skin-repairing ingredient), Silica (absorbent agent), Dimethicone (silicone slip agent), Tocopherol (vitamin E/antioxidant), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (anti-irritant), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Peucedanum Graveolens (Dill) Extract, Sambucus Nigra (Black Elderberry) Fruit Extract (antioxidants), Avena Sativa (Oat) Bran Extract (anti-irritant), Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Lycium Barbarum (Goji) Fruit Extract (antioxidants), Hydrogenated Lecithin (cell-communicating ingredient), Titanium Dioxide (thickener/opacifying agent), Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer (silicone slip agent), Diethylhexyl Syringylidenemalonate (skin protectant), Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate (stabilizers, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer (film-forming/suspending agent), Xanthan Gum, Sodium Carbomer (thickeners), Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol (preservatives).

Clear Ultra-Light Daily Mattifying Fluid Broad-Spectrum SPF 30+


Octinoxate 7.50%, Octisalate 5.00%, Octocrylene 2.00%, Avobenzone 2.00%; Inactive Ingredients: Water, Glycerin (skin-repairing ingredient), Silica (absorbent agent), Dimethicone (silicone slip agent), Tocopherol (vitamin E/antioxidant), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (anti-irritant), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Peucedanum Graveolens (Dill) Extract, Sambucus Nigra (Black Elderberry) Fruit Extract (antioxidants), Avena Sativa (Oat) Bran Extract (anti-irritant), Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Lycium Barbarum (Goji) Fruit Extract (antioxidants), Hydrogenated Lecithin (cell-communicating ingredient), Titanium Dioxide (thickener/opacifying agent), Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer (silicone slip agent), Diethylhexyl Syringylidenemalonate (skin protectant), Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate (stabilizers, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer (film-forming/suspending agent), Xanthan Gum, Sodium Carbomer (thickeners), Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol (preservatives).

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

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From Skincancer .organization  -anization


"Q. Many people mistakenly believe that an SPF 30 rating gives twice as much sun protection as an SPF 15 and an SPF 50 more than three times that much. What is really the difference?

A. In vitro tests have shown that SPF 15 sunscreens filter out 93 percent of UVB rays, while SPF 30 protects against 97 percent and SPF 50 98 percent. But remember, it is important for the sunscreen to include broad-spectrum protection that also shields adequately against UVA."


I read a long time ago that once you hit an SPF of 30, there is barely any difference between 30, 50, 70, etc.  My guess is even though it uses the same ingredients (assuming one is not a misprint), there may be a very slight difference in the amount of the ingredients that make one 30 and the other 50.  If the company advertised how much of each ingredient was included, it would be easy for other companies to duplicate the formula.  Two identical ingredient lists do not necessarily mean each ingredient is added in at the same level.  


I personally prefer SPF 50 and 70 to 30, because I burn so easily that I want the extra 1% protection.  It really is more a matter of perception than reality that 50 or 70 are so much stronger than 30 though.

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

Doh, that makes total sense!  I could swear I've read that before somewhere but my memory is like a sieve!  Thanks for clearing it up. :smileyhappy:

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

Helpful!  Thanks

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

Thanks for taking the time to get some good education out there as this is a very confusing topic for many consumers! :smileyhappy:

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

It's been over a year since I last posted on this thread, thought I would toss in some more info :smileyhappy:


I frequently use her website to check up on some of the over-hyped newer products, and to learn a little more about things I'm eyeballing before upcoming sales. I have noticed that the writing really varies between reviews; I believe she must have a team of people writing for her because there's no way they're all coming from either just herself or one person. There is at least one writer who is consistently snarky and frequently makes condescending remarks when reviewing expensive products. That I definitely don't like; if you want me to believe you're unbiased then keep the writing professional. :/


Second, I still take a lot of information from her reviews with a healthy dose of my own opinion. She's rated several things I adore (Murad's Clarifying Cleanser, almost all Dior lip products) as being poor because they're either too heavily fragranced or contain ingredients that are "potentially" irritating. I have also found quite a few of her products to be rather fantastic, and I love that you can purchase sample sizes before committing to the full size. (Plus, it makes traveling with my skincare necessities SO much easier.)


However, I have noticed that more recently they are falling into some of the marketing traps that all skincare lines find themselves in. Instead of saying that it can improve signs of aging, at least one of her new serums claims to erase signs of aging.. her line's change in wording has disappointed me, because she knocks down other products for making similar claims.


Last but not least, I wish she wouldn't immediately discount "newly discovered" ingredients in skin care lines, even if they are gimmicky (Algenist, SKII, etc). Everyone's skin reacts so differently to so many things that I feel like it's not fair to say XYZ ingredient will never work because we can't find any reliable research and ABC ingredients are better anyway. I'm not even remotely close to being a chemist (unless mixing a good drink counts) but I think that just because research has already been done and yielded certain effective ingredients doesn't mean more can't be found down the road.

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I completely agree. I think that her concept is very important; I use her website every now and then specifically because they list the potentially irritating ingredients. However, like you said, she has undermined many brands and products that work very well for me, so it's difficult to trust the writer's opinion. I think Paula's Choice talks about the ingredients and how we can get the best use out of our products (such as buying products that are not in a jar package) is beneficial, but I do not think the writer's word should be taken too seriously because it is simply based off the ingredients. What I mean by that is that Paula's Choice gives bad reviews to products simply because they contain a fragrance, while fragrances do not cause negative reactions to everyone's skin.

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

Me too! I don't use her judgment as an important decision making criteria, but I just check out whether they contain "potentially" irritating ingredients and decide whether I'd have a problem with it or not!

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

Simply put, her products are full of silicones and fillers, so why would I trust her opinion on any other product?

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When I first heard of Paula's Choice, I searched on Google for a review on a product I was considering buying because there were not many reviews on Sephora and Ulta. I stumbled upon Paula's Choice, and her review on the product was all negative. There were no pros, and she ranked it one star. Because it was such a negative review and it was by a well-known beauty reviewer, I almost didn't buy the product. But I wasn't going to base my decision off of just one review. So I looked for reviews on YouTube, and a majority of people loved it. I ended up buying it because I wanted to try it for myself, and it was nothing like she said it was. Now, of course, everyone has different reactions to different products, so I wasn't going to dislike her opinion based on one review. So I researched more, and I found that a lot of Holy Grail products for me were ranked badly. She stated that Tarte Maracuja Oil might make acne worse, but it is the product that changed my skin; it reduces my breakouts dramatically overnight. I'm not going to say that her reviews are not valid because she really does know her stuff when it comes to ingredients. She knows which ingredients may cause a bad reaction to sensitive skin. But that's what the problem is: ranking the ingredients based only off the ingredients that may cause a reaction to sensitive skin does not apply to all skin types. I don't know if she tries out every product, but I do know that I cannot trust her reviews because they are inconsistent with my reactions to products I love and behold. I do think that her research matters, but I think her reviews are misleading.

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I think this thread is an interesting study in the emotional attachment we develop toward these pretty, delicious smelling products that we like to smear on our faces!


I started using Paula's Choice four or five years ago and the products changed my life.  After years of struggling with adult acne I FINALLY found relief.  The funny thing is, I still felt the need to wander and try the more expensive products in the prettier packaging.  To this day I know that PC's clear system is the best thing for my skin, but I still want to keep trying other things.


I guess what I'm saying is that I see both sides of the argument.  I'm a logical person.  My brain tells me to use what works and to be skeptical of the next cutting-edge, trendy ingredient.  But my emotional side wants a vanity full of pretty bottles that just might give me the perfect skin I've always dreamed of!


That said, I say don't knock Paula's Choice unless you've tried it and given it a fair shot. If you don't want to try her products, just consider her website one amongst many sources available and take it with a grain of salt if need be.:smileyhappy: 

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

I don't think we should have to compromise between formulas that feel luxurious and formulas that have stellar research-driven ingredients. I'm waiting for that skincare line. So many companies brush the surface of this, and it's frustrating! 

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

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I agree!


With regard to PC, I feel they have made some improvement since I started buying a few years ago.  Though they're still anything but luxurious, I think the packaging has come a long way.  The packaging for the Resist line is fairly sleek.  


I also think they've improved greatly in the SPF department, which is where I felt they were seriously lacking in the past.  I'm currently wearing a sample of the Balancing SPF and I'm happy to report that it left my skin feeling silky, not at all oily, and it didn't sting like her old SPF products used to.  I was planning on buying SPF form Sephora next month during the sale, but I think I'm going to buy this instead. 

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

I have to chime in again and say that the PC website adds so much confusion.  I was trying to find out ingredients that are in a serum I was thinking of trying out ( and have heard rave reviews for!) and I ended up on the Paula's Choice site. Even when I have used products that have worked, after reading the reviews it makes me think that everything I have done or purchased has been a colossal mistake! I read many companies' basic information as well as for specific products  and mostly it is just negative. It has me rethinking recent purchases of items that I know are OK... 

In my opinion, PC is ultimately just trying to make their own items seem like the ONLY things on the planet that one should be putting on their face, and that everything else is secretly going to ruin your skin and empty your wallet.  It makes me feel confused paranoid to buy anything or like any products or companies, due to the conflicting information between this website and the companies.  I really have to stay away from it from now on! :/

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

I don't think you should give up on researching what you put on your skin, and even though I agree there's a conflict of interest for Paula Begoun's team to critique other companies' products while simultaneously touting their own line, Beautypedia can be an excellent resource when used with a critical eye.


For instance, one of the team's major issues with any product is fragrance. But if you'll notice, their reviews are inconsistent about it. Just an example: Beautypedia rates many of Estee Lauder's serums as some of the best, but their recent reviews on the skincare from MDSolarSciences show their lowest rating; both contain fragrance components, and in low quantities (listed last or close to last on the ingredients list). What I would suggest in these cases is reading the text of the review to figure out exactly what they take issue with-- if it is just the fragrance content and everything else in the formula is excellent (as was the case for MDSolarSciences), yet the fragrance is low on the ingredients list, go ahead and disregard the rating. But if the review cites multiple issues, take that as a reason to continue your research.


Bottom line, use Beautypedia as a starting point and not the be-all-end-all. If you've had great results with a product, don't let Beautypedia discourage you.

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Glad I found this thread...

I can't help but be skeptical of a beauty review website that is also trying to sell their own products.  They do rate some products very highly, suggesting that they are not biased, but I can't help but wonder.  They also have certain "rules" that I'm not sure are good to follow - such as "no alcohol."  (I'm currently loving the results of Peter Thomas Roth Max Complexion Correction Pads, completely cleared up my acne, but noted the horrible review on her site because of the alcohol).  Some things make sense (keeping a product at a certain pH for their ingredients to work), but other points / rules I'm not too sure of.  I will continue to go to this website for their reviews, but won't hold everything they say as gospel...


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