Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me: A Unique Guide to Over 35,000 Products, Plus the Latest Skin-Care Research” as Want to Read:
Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me: A Unique Guide to Over 35,000 Products, Plus the Latest Skin-Care Research
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  861 ratings  ·  113 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  861 ratings  ·  113 reviews

Sort order
Sep 02, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
Jul 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 02, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Trina (Between Chapters)
Jun 22, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Dec 30, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 16, 2009 rated it did not like it
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.
Meghan  Collins
Feb 11, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Feb 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 very large and detailed reference book for buying cosmetics. I looked at a while ago and read a lot of it. Paula Begoun tells you what cosmetics are animal-friendly, what cosmetics actually sort of do what they say they do and what cosmetics are merely fancy (and much more expensive) versions of less expensive ones. Even if you have only a passing interest in cosmetics, this is a very interesting and helpful book to consult. I certainly found it to be an eye-opener.
Hunter R.
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 29, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Jun 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.)
Aug 10, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction
I hated the way this book was organized! I really didn't get anything out of it because I wasn't willing to read the entire book cover to cover. I read a previous edition of this and remember that it was much easier to follow.
Dec 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 12, 2009 rated it did not like it
I thought this would help me to decide what type of moisturizer, foundation, etc to buy and all it did was confuse me even further. Plus...I just figured out that you can find most of the info that's in the book, on her website
September Dee
Oct 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book is no more helpful than your own common sense. Her self-promotion is so obvious and so wrong. There are lots of super sources out there.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I read this book because I wanted to see for myself, and I am now regretting the fact that I always have to look. :-P From what I've gathered, she was a self-taught makeup artist who lost a position at a cosmetics counter because she either couldn't or wouldn't do her job: selling. I'm not sure how this makes her more qualified to recommend products than dermatologists hocking their own, but she is doing it nevertheless-- So, on with the review:

If I reviewed every product listed on Amazon like s
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
I would recommend following online as it's more up to date. Once books like this are published, they are outdated by an ever changing industry.

While there were many commercial lines that were listed; not all their products were. Also not enough attention was given to "natural" "organic" product lines but I think this was a resource for trying to pick the best of the worst off the counter.
Liz Matz
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Always great reading up on honest and proven product reviews, just hard to get the book when all the content is current ... Best to get book from shelves hot off presses, but every chick should take a look n research any products used, insightful
Eric Charles
Dec 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: makeup
A bit out of date. All the information you need is online at Beautipedia
Tammy MacMullin
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good information about skin care and what to avoid!
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read the newest edition a few months ago.I am a fan of her, and I believe all her books are good.
Cons:The one thing that bothered me was there were some areas that she gave no background about.She covered some areas and some she did not cover well. One example is where she talked a lot about natural ingredients that hurt the skin and explained they were dangerous because they were capable of giving a cytotoxic or photo toxic reaction in the reviews. I wish she had explained what these ingredie
Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Wai Ni
May 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
ELITE TEST 360 Health and Fitness is a Decision 1 1 Feb 23, 2014 05:56AM  
How it work REJUVAGLOW 1 1 Jan 21, 2014 08:39PM  
  • Face Forward
  • Sephora: The Ultimate Guide to Makeup, Skin, and Hair from the Beauty Authority
  • Makeup: The Ultimate Guide
  • Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual: For Everyone from Beginner to Pro
  • Eye Candy: 50 Easy Makeup Looks for Glam Lids and Luscious Lashes
  • Vintage Hairstyling: Retro Styles with Step-by-Step Techniques
  • The Wrinkle Cure: Unlock the Power of Cosmeceuticals for Supple, Youthful Skin
  • Freakin' Fabulous: How to Dress, Speak, Act, Eat, Sleep, Entertain, Decorate, and Generally Be Better Than Everyone Else
  • The Lucky Shopping Manual
  • The 5-Minute Face: The Quick  Easy Makeup Guide for Every Woman
  • Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine
  • Volunteer Vacations: Short-Term Adventures That Will Benefit You and Others
  • Coffee is Good for You: From Vitamin C and Organic Foods to Low-Carb and Detox Diets, the Truth about Di et and Nutrition Claims
  • The Complete Photo Guide to Home Repair: With 350 Projects and 2300 Photos (Black & Decker)
  • Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Educational Issues
  • Grow It: How to Grow Afro-Textured Hair to Maximum Lengths in the Shortest Time
  • The Big Book of Health and Fitness: A Practical Guide to Diet, Exercise, Healthy Aging, Illness Prevention, and Sexual Well-Being
  • The Healing Herbs: The Ultimate Guide to the Curative Power of Nature's Medicines
Paula Begoun is the founder and innovative force behind Paula's Choice skin care and cosmetics. She is the author of 18 self-published books, the best-selling ones are on skin care. She has a flourishing website selling her books and her cosmetics. The author has appeared on many chat shows and Paula, nor any of her team, are dermatologists or qualified in any way medically.