Years ago, I was listening to a talk radio program and the hosts announced that after the break they’d be talking to Paula Begoun, “Cosmetics Cop.” As my major interests in life are makeup and law enforcement (hmm, maybe not the latter so much), naturally I was intrigued. Ms. Begoun came on the show and started talking passionately about her top three favorite mascaras currently on the market, why they were great products, and then directed listeners to her website where they could read in-depth reviews from her team and from customers, evaluating the claims made by the company. My favorite part? Two of the three mascaras she recommended were drugstore brands priced under $6; only one was a high-priced department store brand. What?


I’ve been using her website ever since. My favorite part is that you can search based on specific criteria. For instance, interested in getting some new foundation? With or without sunscreen? For oily skin? Not tested on animals? You can indicate all of this search criteria to find the best product for you. Plus, once you get your search results, you can order the list based on product price.

She also evaluates skin care products–cleansers, toners, moisturizers, and so on. She looks at the ingredient list to determine if there are any products detrimental to skin. One of the examples she uses is that when she was first starting out, she looked at the ingredients in a cleanser she was using and it had acetone in it. Yes, the stuff that’s in nail polish remover. FAIL. But she also understands other ingredients that may not be so obvious to the average consumer. For instance, in her review of the tinted moisturizer Rénergie Éclat Multi-Lift Tinted Skincare by Lancome, which costs a hefty $75, she says, “While it does contain some beneficial ingredients, it also contains skin irritants like linalool, limonene, citronellol and fragrance which are bad news for everyone’s skin (see More Info).” Guess what’s under “More Info”? A write-up about why these ingredients are bad, plus…wait for it…she directs you to actual SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH that backs her up. Like the April 2008 Journal of Investigative Dermatology, on pages 15-19. I love that Paula is not expecting consumers to just take her word for it. She does the research, tests the products, then tells you where to go to find the same information so you can be an informed consumer.


She’s passionate about evaluating products and making sure consumers are getting the best deal. She is not endorsed or swayed by any company. She also makes her own line of excellent skin care products which I’ve been using for years…though that’s a post for another day.


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