Paula’s Choice

I must admit, my interest in beauty products did not rise until quite recently.
For the longest time – since my teens – I’ve kept to a few common sense ground rules, but I did not give too much though when buying beauty products.

Well, I got a bit more vain recently. Combine this with the fact that as I got older, I became more and more of a conscious customer, a time came when I looked at the cosmetics I was using, asking myself Can I truly improve something here?

This was a bit of a rhetorical question – of course there was room for improvement, but unfortunately the type of information about cosmetics that were of interest to me were not really easy to find.
I was on the lookout for facts, real trials and not company spin doctor claims.

Thankfully, someone has done it before me! Truthfully, I was a bit shocked how little unbiased, in-depth reviews are there on the multitude of websites that deal with beauty products on the internet. Beautypedia was one of the few that actually went more than skin-deep, including extensive ingredients explanation and that has led me straight to Paula’s Choice (Dutch retailer) – the brand of Beautypedia’s founder, Paula Begoun (the self-proclaimed Cosmetics Cop).


  • working ingredients
    a lot has happened in research about beauty products in recent years, but in short: there is a lot of science and trial supporting some ingredients as actually working, and no support for others that get a lot of attention because they are “natural” or have hyped names
  • not perfumed
    perfumes are irritants, I don’t buy my creams for nice smell, but for effect
  • no colorants
    colorants are also irritants and truly, I care not what color my cream is (unless it leaves a colored cast)
  • mostly alcohol free, strictly no low molecular weight alcohols
    together with the 2 proceeding points, this one is of very high importance to me: I have a very sensitive, combination skin, strongly reacting negatively to presence of low molecular weight alcohols
  • some unique products, following latest in beauty scientific research
    there are plenty of AHA products on the market right now, some better and some worse, but BHA products (better for oily skin prone to comedos) are harder to find; not to say impossible in Europe!
  • packaging beneficial to the products
    most actually beneficial ingredients are volatile, which means they will be lost with time if packaging is not as air-tight as possible – thus jars, plain and simple, suck and make you loose money
  • not tested on animals


  • price in Europe
    Paula’s Choice is not only a top quality brand (because of the research support they base their formulas on), but is also very reasonably priced… in USA, where they cost as little as drugstore brands.
    But not in EU. For some reason, prices go 2x their retail value in America here and are on level with prices in Australia and Japan!(!!) and anyone reading up on beauty products probably knows that those countries get usually the most ridiculous price overhead.
  • personal problems with specific products
    some of Paula’s products and not a match with my skin and cause irritation :(

May be regarded as Cons

  • not perfumed
    I see many reviewers put a great deal of emphasis on beauty products’ fragrance. While I can understand this attitude, it’s totally missing the point, in my opinion: as long as the smell does not last (and it disappears almost instantly once creams set in), it really is not important how a cream smells, but if it works and if it is actually beneficial to your skin. Perfumes are known irritants and I really don’t see a pay-off in applying one to your skin, it’s undermining the rest of the effort and the rest of the formula!
  • consistency
    getting rid of irritating, ineffective or downright harmful ingredients comes at a price: many of these are usually used to maintain an uniform, creamy consistency drugstore brands made us used to. If you get rid of them, the consistency changes as well – Paula’s cosmetics are a bit more watery and most require (or could benefit from) some shaking before use.
    I think this trade-off is more than fare, again: I want to buy beauty products that are effective, not pretty. While the consistency might be a bit runny, all of them set in quickly and well, so I don’t see any prblem at all.
    Truth be told I am happy that there is a brand that emphasizes on good effects rather than customer (missed) expectations


Paula’s Choice is definitely on the top of my brand list, together with Olay.
If you’re looking for products that actually do what they claim they do and are beneficial to your skin, go for it! But drop your superstitions before-hand.

If it wasn’t for the ridiculous price mark-up in Europe, I might just use it exclusively