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 Smiley Sad 

- 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?

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WOW Paula's Choice! She is bashing all skincare products except her own products. I have tried her mask and it broke me out so bad I had to go to a dermatologist. On one blog, they have reviewed some of her products and it seems her products use the cheapest possible ingredients. Here is the link of the review 

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I just wanted to ay that the beautypedia skincare reviews are not based on their personal opinions of the products and if yoooou go unde the best category there are tons of products that get a best rating. beautypedia uses the research that is out there by scientists to determine what ingredients are bad for anyones skin (ie:fragrant plant oils, alcohol, witch hazel etc) people are always saying that the reviews are biased but they are not because beautypedia will rate two products from the same brand one best and one poor. Witch hazel is made from alcohol and alcohol is scientifically proven( not proven by cosemtics companies) by hundreds of scientists to break down collagen and cause premature aging. Your cleanser might have helped clear your acne up but it is a fact that your cleanser gets washed off your face and active ingredients are not left behind. So I think people should do their research into what beautypedia says before calling them biased or un trustworthy.

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

I just spent some time looking at her site, and honestly, I don't trust her reviews. While she has a clear anti-fragrance stance (even natural essential oil fragrances), she gives toxic chemicals like parabens, sulfates, and avobenzone free passes! That alone makes me very wary of her so called "expertise". She clearly doesn't do as much research on toxicity and irritation as she claims. I always say do your own ingredient research before committing to a new product.

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Totally agree!

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

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One more thing: Keep in mind that Paula had been writing reviews long before she developed her own line. She also does allow negative reviews of her products (really, just look on the product page to see them; don't know why anyone would contend otherwise).

I love that Paula took on certain cosmetic behemoths to show how absurd and overblown their claims — and prices — were. (Crème de la Mer is a great example of that.) She also let us know that some drugstore products make great formulas (Suave shampoos and conditioners and Ceravé products, for example).

That said, her background in chemistry is limited (she studied some), and is not at all comparable to people with higher degrees in the subject, nor with people who work in cosmetic research and formulation. Like Dear Abby, she consults people, and as we know, experts don't always agree (though "scientific consensus" is reliable).


Frankly, as a gal with sensitive, reactive skin, I've found her warnings against any amount of almost any fragrant extract (rose, frankincense, helichrysum) — even low concentrations — to not jibe with my experience, but as noted below by the "chemist and skin care expert," this may not mean that inflammation doesn't occur. Keep in mind, too that a certain amount of controlled inflammation occurs with exfoliating agents, and that that stimulates repair and regrowth. So even that issue is complicated.

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I have follow Paula since my Tweens!  She gives out good information on anti-aging care and because of her I probably have beautiful skin and a fatter wallet.


I am still curious.  I want to know what Paula looks like today!  I did not find any photos on her website.  

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Oh, you can find photos of her. She's had cosmetic procedures done — something that she's fairly open about.

paula begoun <--- try clicking that? See if it works.

What do you think of her makeup opinions? I find her to be pretty "dinosaurish" (to cop your description from a previous post) in that area. I mean, plenty of people love bright eyeshadows and more extreme looks, and some really adept makeup artists look great like that! Yeah, as an older, shyer type, I might not look so hot with that level of artistry, but good on the people who do. What would we do without diversity —  lolitas, goths, retro vixens, ratchet fans, glamor gals and guys? Life would be dull.

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I just saw some videos.  Her skin is very clear and while it does not look tight she does look lifted.


I like Paula and trust her reviews, but use them as guidance and buy what I like.


I don't  like her products but I did buy them in the late 90's when they first came out.  I like a more 'luxurious' feel when it comes to skin care and cosmetics.  I also don't believe in destroying my skin or wasting my time buying acne topicals.  I take Spironolactone to keep my hormones in check and avoid it altogether. 


What I thought was funny back in the late 90's/early 2000's, Paula's book/motto was, 'blue eyeshadow should be illegal.'


Then MAC became super popular and that MAC bright  blue eyeshadow was all the rage!  Lol!!!


Make-up is supposed to be fun!

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

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One other thing. I hate now that she has dupes for some of her products (she'll put the same basic formula in 2 or 3 different categories). It makes it so confusing to know what to get. That (and some of her purple prose in her product descriptions) shows that she is falling further into the same marketing strategies that she once snarked about. Not that that makes her product any less effective, but it does call into question her objectivity in reviews.

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 Thoughts on Paula's Choice: I've loved the products I've tried.

In particular, her BHA 2% is very effective — and gentle! — for fighting blackheads, enlarged pores and "sebaceous filaments" (teeny blackheads, generally on nose). I personally do not want to over-exfoliate*, so I use this once a day *at most* on my T zone (at night). As Paula pointed out years ago, BHA's are oil soluble, which means that they will reach below the surface of a pore to keep it clean of excess keratin, which is what you want to keep blackheads at bay. Note: this product smells like aspirin, as does her body cream with the same ingredient. Smiley Wink Not luxurious, but effective.

Her 8% AHA is a good weekly treatment, as is her Resist Weekly Resurfacing Treatment with 10% AHA. They are safe even for my sensitive, reactive cheeks, and they help smooth out the texture of my skin. 

*Per over-exfoliation — read about the "hayflick limit" on cell turnover, and look up "acid mantle" of skin. If you see a dermatologist (and you should), ask them their opinions about these issues. This will help you decide what's right for you.

I've tried various sample-sized moisturizers (Earth Source, Resist Barrier Repair) and they were all good. No burning, overreaction, parched-ness, or clogged pores. I can't remember if the Barrier Repair had retinol in it.

I haven't tried her antioxidant serums, as I'd prefer to limit silicone usage (just personal experience). I'm a huge fan of Sanitas' products — particularly Topical C, which has a cocktail of antioxidant vitamins. It's very balmy, which is perfect for my thin, dehydrated skin. Sanitas has other, lighter Vitamin C options. They're a Colorado company, and Colorado is a place that's very challenging for skin (dry, hot, extremely sunny, high altitude).

As for Paula's reviews — this is complicated nowadays, as her team writes reviews. As pointed out in this thread, she hates essential ("fragrant") oils, though she will revise her stance when good information comes out — such as with Tea Tree oil. This is because EOs are very potent and can trigger inflammation (as with geranium), or increase photo-sensitivity (e.g. citrus oils). But the issue is complicated in terms of dosage, types of studies, etc.

On the issue of sensitivity to fragrant components of essential oils: there is a fair amount of debate regarding her rather blunt declarations. In particular, her contention that "lavender causes cell death" has been taken to task for its simple-minded approach to a very complex subject. (The same is true of her anti-alcohol stance. That argument confuses the heck out of me.) Read "Lavender Oil: Skin Savior or Skin Irritant" by Robert Tisserand, and you'll get an idea of how complicated the issue is. I frankly love lavender oil, and I use it (well-diluted) on my body.

*As an aside, if you are attracted to the practice of using essential oils, please educate yourself, as a lot of MLM reps and self-professed experts make downright dangerous claims. Robert Tisserand is a good source of info about safety and efficacy of EO's.

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I always told myself I would never buy anything from her line because red flags would always go up in my mind when I saw her products recommended in Beautypedia. 


But after a trip, my skin got really awful. Tiny red bumps all over my forehead, clogged pores, etc. I couldn't scrub it, and all the products I had were making it worse. I looked on YouTube and some YouTubers with the same experience recommended her line. It took for me to see influencers on YouTube recommending her products to really consider using them.


I also looked up all the ingredients of the products I owned that were not in her line, and saw on Beautypedia which ingredient in them was improper for my skin type and making my acne worse. 


Needless to say, I chucked all my old stuff once it was used up, then bought her cleanser, toner, BHA 2% (Wow I have oily skin and had been using an AHA without realizing! The change in my skin was incredible after switching), Moisturizer, and 1% Retinol. 


I would say her BHA and Retinol have made the biggest difference. The BHA made all the bumps go away, and now I don't even need a scrub anymore, because the BHA somehow stops any bumps from forming. The Retinol I have been using every other night for 4 weeks, and have noticed my skin is more even, and feels bouncier. I just turned 30. 


So I sound like a salesman for them but I'm not. I think her reviews, whether you can trust them or not, really depend on your skin type. Mine is sensitive and acne prone, so I break out a lot from products. Or a product will work really well, but have a nasty side effect. What I think is the most valuable advice is the packaging reviews (for certain ingredients it is crucial), including an AHA or BHA in your routine, including Retinol cream if you are beyond 30, and having a Vitamin C serum in your routine. I also love the price of a lot of her products, her promotions, her no nonsense packaging... it kind of reminds me of a pharmacy. I go in, get what I need prescribed for my skin type, and enjoy the results. 


Also I wanted to add, I really like Caroline Hirons advice. She has a blog and talks about skincare, she has a post about Paula's Choice. 

Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

Most of what I've read from her I tend to disagree with.  I have sensitive combination skin, the t-zone is very oil, the rest pretty dry.   I am allergic to anything that has a coconut derivative (about 10% of people have this) and yet I never see her mention that things like Cocomide DEA/MEA or cocamidopropyl betaine as being irritants.  And yet there are tons of other things that she lists vaguely as "potential irritants."


She has said in several reviews about how rose extracts are irritants or that they don't work, and she rates Lancome's Tonique Douceur poorly, which is a rose-based alcohol-free toner.  This product has worked amazing wonders for my skin which seems to love rose extracts, rose water, etc.  In fact, she rates a number of Lancome items poorly, a number of them have improved my skin substantially since I started using them.  I am almost 30 and I am always mistaken for being much younger, like 20-22.  I do keep out of the sun and don't smoke, but clearly I am doing something right for my skin.


Also the jar vs. pump analogy is one of the most bogus things I have ever read.  You open a jar and it's exposed to air.  You use a pump and air is pumped into the container so that the product can be extracted.  Yes, if a product isn't used quickly enough it's not going to be as effective, but considering that most of this stuff gets used up within a few months, I do not see the issue.  And at least with a jar I can actually get all of the product out instead of wasting some of it.


I don't mean to come off as a Lancome fangirl (even though I am) but there are SO many variations in a persons skin.  Lancome happens to work really really well for me!  Quite possibly because adding rose to everything is their thing.  It's really disappointing to see that a person who is so highly regarded for beauty care is also very narrow minded as to what works or not as though there are only four different skin types. 




Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

Paula is like a beauty dinosaur! She was my beauty bible in my Tweens 20 years ago! She used to have books on skin and hair products. I remember she gave the Body Shop a lot do bad reviews.  I read this after a shopping spree. The next day I boxed everything up and requested a refund.  The Body Shop sent me a check about a month later.  Lol! I was 16!


Let me tell you!  This is what she used to tell people to do in her books!  Don't worry about the stores refund policy. Ship everything back to their Headquarters for a full refund.


Paula is great for ingredient education not so much for reviews.  People are going to use what they like!


I am thankful I read her books in my Tweens. She taught me a lot.  Not just on how the ingredients work but the beauty industry in general.  I am an informed consumer and that is Paula's goal.  She is an educator.


To my knowledge she has never been in legal trouble, so she is not lying about the brands.  She is just giving her honest informed opinion.  We can choose to buy the products or not.


Paula's products.  I remember her line in the late 90's.  She sold it in kits and I got the BHA products. Her makeup I think I bought a few pieces.  Comparing to today, they are very much like the $3 ELF products. Very basic and nonsense.


I  would not buy anything from her website today. Her stuff did not work back then.  I need the yummy spa like experience!


I am also very curious about what she looks like today! I noticed she hardly has any online presence.  I can't find a good photo of Paula.  Yea, the proof is in the pudding!!  Where is her photo? 


Re: Thoughts on Paula's Choice?

I dislike her reviews. I think her input on the safety of ingredients in all the products she reviews is good, but, I don't think she's a licensed dermatologist. Where is she getting her info from? In addition, her reviews on the products themselves are often incredibly short and off-putting, with very little detail or helpful information. It's like she just slapped a paragraph together in a few minutes and copy-pasted her brand overview below. I've had great experiences with so many products she reviewed negatively. I really respect what she's trying to do and the audience she caters too. People with sensitive skin and people in general who care deeply about what goes into their cosmetics have specific needs, but, Paula often comes off as pretentious and just plain wrong. And her reviews are just so short! 


Overall, just take her reviews with a grain of salt. I avoid them in general.

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Hey girls, Paula doesn't have any education in chemistry or biology, she is not dermatologist. She is a business woman and brainwash people. Why would you even listen to her?
All her reviews are based on a list of ingredients. She doesn't evaluate the quality of ingredients, neither she knows how much of those ingredients in the product.

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Actually, she has *some* education in chemistry, but keep in mind that that was A) a long time ago, B) we don't know what kind of chemistry, and C) we don't know how much education she has. That doesn't make her an expert by any means, and you know the saying about a "little bit of knowledge."

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So to me, it's only good for checking out ingredients.

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. 

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Have you had any success with a silicone-free foundation?  I've been silicone-free (with the exception of concealer used ever so sparingly) for 5 months now and my skin is so calm.  The only thing I can't find a replacement for is foundation.  Many thanks!

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Kind of off topic but I've cut silicone out of my routine and have noticed an incredible reduction in my acne. Out of curiosity, what primer and foundation do you use? I've been on the hunt for a good silicone free primer which has been difficult to fine one that is effective. I've bee using tarte foundation which is fantastic and silicone free!


Would love to hear more about your silicone-free routine Smiley Very Happy

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