Colin Solves Your Problems 14: Paula’s Choice

Diana writes :

Hi. This is not exactly a problem, it’s more of a question. I just discovered your blog a few days ago, and I find the information on it very useful. I especially appreciate the scientific explanations and I’m still going through your articles. Until recently I was not interested in cosmetic ingredients and would buy anything (and too much stuff actually). But through another blog about beauty I started to find out more about and cosmetics ingredients. Through there I read about Paula Begoun and Paula’s Choice products. Do you know anything about her? My question is, do you consider this as one of those “scaremonging” companies, or are the products ok? I have tried a few and am happy with the results. The price is not expensive but for the same money I could very well buy something from the shops.

Hi Diana,

I have to say I only know a little more about Paula than anyone can find out from the web.  She started as a make up artist, then started blogging about the science of beauty products and finally launched her own range of products.  I have not read a huge amount of her output about science and ingredients – I find it a bit tedious because to me it is a bit obvious and superficial.   I  haven’t come across anything positively wrong or misleading myself.  I have seen people criticising some of what she has written but have never troubled to look any further.  You can imagine how her approach might annoy other people in the business, particularly if they know more than she does.

I personally find the idea of setting yourself up to pass judgement on other people’s products when you have your own makes me feel a bit uncomfortable the exact way she does it.   But having said all that the products seem to be well regarded by people who use them, and she isn’t doing it in a misleading way.  Compared to a lot of the tricks people play to sell cosmetics she is definitely on the straight end of the spectrum.  I am not sure any of that actually helps, but that is my take.

5 thoughts on “Colin Solves Your Problems 14: Paula’s Choice

  1. Ling

    As a cosmetic scientist, do you think her products might work better than those of other cosmetic companies? She says that she only uses active ingredients proven to work. I like this approach, but she doesn’t seem to be using the ingredients that are considered to be the best for her sunscreens, and she doesn’t reveal the % of retinol in her products, which seems to be pretty important.

    What’s your take, are her products better than others?

  2. Colin Post author

    I’m afraid I don’t have anything to judge her products. I haven’t seen them at all and none of the blogs I follow have ever reviewed them. They haven’t really made much impact in the UK yet. I think if they were either exceptionally good or exceptionally bad I would have heard about it, so my guess is they are okay.

  3. Neva

    Hi Diana,

    Just came across this site as I was browsing the web.

    Something to know about cosmetic ingredients. The skin has a very efficient membrane barrier that stops external material from being absorbed beyond it.

    No cosmetic ingredients can get through that barrier. If they do, they have to be approved by the FDA and sold as medical treatments. As they are not, you know the truth.

    Recently a marketing term has become very prevalent and popular, “Cosmeceutical,” designed to make a gullible public believe the products are not just cosmetics but also pharmaceutical solutions. Nothing could be further from the truth. “Cosmeceutical” is strictly a marketing term.

    The right cosmetic ingredients can make a difference to the epidermis above the skin barrier, for exfoliation, cleansing, softening and moisturizing. Those are superficial differences. Cosmetic ingredients make no difference to the deep layers of the skin, where the collagen and elastin (structures that keep skin taught and youthful) are found. As we age those structures break down, causing wrinkles. Of course, the sun, smoking and tanning beds also cause wrinkles.

    The best way to keep skin young looking is to minimize time in the sun, wear sun protection, don’t smoke and never go to tanning salons. Exercise is also important. As one starts to see signs of aging the best solutions are plastic surgeons and dermatologists who are licensed to give botox, fillers and plastic surgery for those who want to go that route.

    Another huge myth in the cosmetic industry is the one of “natural” ingredients. That also is well worth the research to find out the truth.

  4. Diana

    Hi Colin!
    Thank you so much for answering my question. It does help to form my own opinion of the line.
    I am a bit cautious about them, but overall I still think they line is pretty good. It doesn’t mean I will buy only Paula’s Choice from now on.

    Neva: thank you too for providing all this information. You are confirming something that I always suspected. We can help the skin with cosmetics, but we cannot cure anything. For that either medication is needed, or sometimes no cure is available.

  5. John Lewis

    Hi Diana,

    I’ve used a couple of Paula’s Choice products for a few years now and I love them! I use her balancing cleanser and BHA Liquid, both of which are great in my opinion! I love the fact that her products don’t contain any questionable ingredients which is what sold it for me!

    John 🙂

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