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Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me: A Unique Guide to Over 35,000 Products, Plus the Latest Skin-Care Research

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  655 ratings  ·  106 reviews
When women seek reliable information about the relative value and performance of specific beauty products, they consult Paula Begoun. From drug stores and home shopping to department stores and catalogs, Paula Begoun reviews all of the major cosmetic and skin care lines — more than 25,000 including 75 new product lines in this edition. The comprehensive beauty bible from “ ...more
Paperback, 1400 pages
Published January 2nd 2003 by Beginning Press (first published May 1991)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,223)
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Ugh. I'm all for consumer protection and everything, but I can't believe that she calls this an unbiased book when it's clearly biased to her very own skin care and makeup line!

Makeup and skin care is pretty subjective, since everyone's skin and personal style is so different. I don't mind fragrances, but she immediately marks anything fragranced an entire grade lower. Lame. It's really just a book about products appropriate for her skin. I guess if I had been living in a cave and had never was
This is a MUST-HAVE for every woman so we don't get conned by the beauty industry. I have saved thousands of dollars since buying this book last year and I frequently use it as a guide when choosing products for myself and my family.

Paula Begoun has provided me with effective solutions to rid my skin of acne and eczema. I have been acne free for a year now and my skin is luminous and hydrated. Even though I am 26 I can still pass for 19. I look better than I have in years and I only spend penni
Trina (Between Chapters)
Jun 22, 2012 Trina (Between Chapters) rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all people who use makeup
Shelves: non-fiction
I really appreciate the reviews by Paula, and I flipped through this book for about a day before I realized that all of the information is available online, thus the low rating. Paula's website had all of the same information that the book includes, for free, in a much simpler format that makes it easier to search by category and compare similar products. The information in both the book and website is extremely valuable and I felt like I learned a lot. Reviews are honest, object ...more
So, looking to find out what goes on behind the making of your cosmetics and all the evil ingredients? Then this is the book for you! According to Paula, using Burt's Bees is a huge no-no and so is eye cream. The ONLY products that get all happy faces and check marks is her own line of cosmetics. Suspicious? Yes, I think so. So, even though she told me not to use certain products, I will continue to because my face likes what I currently use. The real asset to this book is the list at the end th ...more
Meghan  Collins
The biggest obstacle for finding a quality beauty product is interpreting the glossy marketing which generates most of the cost. Begoun helped me develop a healthy skepticism and got me into the habit of reading the back label before the front.

Once I realized every bottle of goo is made up of mostly water and promises, I was willing to let go of all the pathos and begin to understand what I'm buying. The book begins with a broad spectrum chapter designed to educate about the powerful psycholo
I found out about all of the products I was using and found some better products to use instead. No wonder I wasn't liking my face wash - when tested it doesn't remove makeup, but that's not on the label. No wonder I wasn't happy with my moisturizer - it didn't have any skin identical ingredients.

This book was fantastic. I'm amazed at the level of research that went into each brand and product. She covered all major lines available in department stores as well as stores like Target and Walmart.
This is a fantastic book to use for shopping for all kinds of face cleansers, lotions and cosmetics for men and women. Products are tested and rated for effectiveness, hypo-allergenic properties and price. While the author does sell her own line of products (which I have never tried) her reviews of every product seem thorough and the recommendations have all turned out well for me.

Personally, I want to take good care of my skin, with a little hassle as possible, and for a reasonable price. This
Wai Ni
I thought the book was quite amazing since there were so many products listed. But once I saw products under Paula's Choice, I decided that this book probably can't be trusted. Everything under Paula's was BEST, and the explanation she gave was not very convincing. For example, for skin recovery hydrating treatment mask, she wrote :"prevents dry skin with moisturizing ingredients that help to restore a healthy barrier function and reduce inflammation. Skin is left feeling soft and looking radian ...more
Regina Hunter
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
You don't need to read this book from cover to cover since it's packed with over 1000 pages of product mini reviews and it works as a fantastic reference guide for checking up on your favourite products, assessing potential purchases, and understanding how these products work. There is a substantial 78-page "introduction" including why we need to care more about the products we buy, what goes in them, and how that can affect us, along with skin care "rules to live by." The reviews are precise, u ...more
They should do a larger review of products in categories so you can choose the best moisturizer, eye product and so on. THere is a brief one - but it's not very good or comprehensive. The book is also poorly written and is all opinion - I want science & clinical trials!!!! This is the 7th edition and you still don't have things down right - this had so much potential - but fell flat.
This is Begoun's second book that I've read. I am so not into makeup and all that, but maybe because I am not, I feel like I don't have a clue sometimes what to do, wear, or buy. She is so helpful in cutting through hype, and again, I learned so much. Loved the reviews and found some new (affordable!) products to try. (Btw, I read the 7th edition, just realeased this year.)
I like this book, but it annoys me as well. I am skeptical of the quality of a lot of big cosmetics brands too.

However, she seems to hate everything, even natural products are bad in her eyes. I can understand making your own brand because you're not happy with what's on the market, but I don't always agree with her viewpoint.
Despite its length, it doesn't take long to get through. I just read the introductions and then skimmed through each brand to see which products she most recommends and why. This is a helpful reference to have around, and definitely has changed how I look at the cosmetics industry.
flawed and quite un-scientific. Most of her claims are blown out of proportion or just taken out of context when you look at the actual studies.
This is a great resource to find effective skincare and makeup products without having to deal with the hype of the marketing teams for each of the billion (it seems, anyway) companies out there trying to get our money. I have super sensitive skin and eczema and after trying some of the recommended products and learning specific ingredients and other things to avoid, I've seen an improvement. This is a great reference, but since she practically comes out with a new edition each year, I would def ...more
LM Yellow
This is a reference book, so I didn't read all of it, but I read a lot. I don't use retin-a/renova/vitamin A skin
products while pregnant and instead of the cute, surfer girl type pregnancy mask I got across my nose and
cheeks with my son this time it came in ugly patches on my forehead so I needed new skin care
stuff. I really liked how she explains what the active ingredient is in a wide range of products, what it is
suppose to do, if it is packaged and formulated in a way that the ingredients
This book changed my life.
I've always been a fan of cosmetics, but I could never really understand how a company could make claims about their product, and yet it never worked as described. Thanks to Paula, I understand how the FDA does not control anything about the entire cosmetics industry, and how the way cosmetics companies market their products is misleading, laughable, and occasionally dangerous. (False eyelashes in mascara commercials? Photoshop used on a model, whose picture is advertis
It's a very useful source of information but it doesn't cover a big deal of brands sold in Europe or cover just some strange selected group of products within a brand. For instance in her review of Nivea P. Begoun doesn't write a single word about numerous sunscreen products of the brand. It makes me wonder whether the brand sells such products in the USA or what might be a reason to ignore them... That's why I don't give the book the highest rate - when the author goes international the book mu ...more
I liked discovering what cosmetic lines were made by what companies. It was also interesting to learn that no line was consistently good or bad all the way through. I was surprised to see that some of the drugstore lines got great reviews on a number of their products and some of expensive companies had mediocre or below average reviews on theirs.

Overall I enjoyed this book although it's not something you would sit and read cover to cover. The first 4 chapters are mostly explanations of the ing
While I liked this book, I disagree with some things said in it. The writer constantly hates on blue eye shadow and non-natural eye shadow colors. I disagree because makeup should be fun. If you want to shade and contour your eye in a natural way, that's great! Others want to wear bright colors and should be encouraged to do so. The world would be entirely bland if everyone did the same thing. Some sections were incredibly helpful, like when discussing how eye creams are really just facial cream ...more
I saw this at the library with my friend. We are both very savvy and crazy about skin care and makeup. I think I am really concerned with what I use so this book of reviews looked really helpful plus it had the brands I used like Body Shop, Burt's Bees, Sephora and many more.

I was just a little bummed that some of this brands are not available in Singapore as well as some products from the brands already available here. I gave this three stars as some products I used had a different reaction to
Thanks to Alison's review I requested this book months ago. It finally came just before I left on a trip so I had to return it after only reading the first chapter and requested it again. It became available again just before another trip. So I went through it very quickly-took notes while sitting in the library parking lot! I thought the basic information was very informative and helpful, but she doesn't like cleansers with natural roughage and instead recommends ones with polyester beads in th ...more
Stephanie Larson
I found this book incredibly helpful. Expanded my knowledge of the beauty ingredients and products. Determined what I need my daily routine and do not. I did find the book annoying in a sense that all the products that got rated best, she also had to mention her own line is better and cheaper. It seemed tacky.
I tossed this brick of an overhyped encyclopedia after reading it twice. the first to get an idea of her intentions to my curiosities as a consumer and the second to compare what I know as a professional makeup artist and cosmetologist. I believe there is some valuable info in this book, all which can be found on blogs and dermatologist pamphlets. I'm curious as to how well her own line sells since she has put so much into this heavy advertisement. Scientifically, she needs a fact checker. I agr ...more
I wish I had known about this guide earlier in my life. I have sensitive skin and I can't tell you the numerous times I've returned makeup and skincare products that did not work for my skin, or worse gave me reactions. This guide tells you which products to buy and which to avoid depending on your skin, and also rates hundreds of products with reviews. All of the reviews are on Paula's website, but I really like how everything is presented in the book - it's a lot easier to read and browse thro ...more
I borrowed this book from the library because I thought it would be a good resource to check beauty products I'm using to see if the claims they make about their effectiveness is accurate. Not surprisingly, most products make completely false claims, and according to this book, many of the products irritate your skin and actually make it worse. I still remember all of those oxy and noxzema products I used in junior high school that claimed "the burning sensation let's you know its working." Ouch ...more
So I don't have the science background to know if she's really telling the truth, but I still really enjoyed this book. I did like that she cited the journal articles she's using to back up her assertions -- again, I don't have the science to know if she's accurately reflecting the articles, but at least she's putting them out there.

I really appreciated the format. I appreciated that she dings lines for not having colors appropriate for darker skin, though I think she should have been harder on
I absolutely, completely love Paula Begoun. She does an incredibly job reviewing different cosmetics (and hair care products in other books) and she gives very good advice on which ingredients to avoid. She has been physically removed from stores while trying to read the ingredients labels in department stores, but she doesn't give up in her pursuit to lead consumers to better skin care choices. It can be very difficult to find products that treat sensitive skin kindly, and my skin has loved me ...more
Really a 3.5 I haven't read this edition, but just finished the 8th edition. She has some great information about what you should look for in products, but this book is more of a reference - there is no way you can remember all the scientific names to be able to comb through your makeup without referring to this book. I love how she factors price into each rating. I loved her intro chapters and learned a lot about the brands I'm fairly loyal too. That's the easiest way to go through this book - ...more
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