Interview with Founder of Paula’s Choice

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Interview with Founder of Paula’s Choice

Finding the right skincare can be a bit of a minefield. Paula Begoun went through the same struggle – but it all changed when she had a lightbulb moment at the tender age of 25. She read an ingredient label on a skincare product and saw the fourth product was acetone. As in, from nail polish remover! That sparked her lifelong interest in the beauty industry, as well a shiny new career and memorable nickname: the ‘Cosmetics Cop’.

Paula has written 20 bestselling books on skincare, cosmetics and haircare, which have collectively sold more than 2.5 million copies worldwide. Along the way, she also created an extremely successful skincare brand, Paula’s Choice.

We sat down with the messiah of skincare to find out a little bit more about her product range and ongoing success…

beautyheaven: How did you go from reviewing beauty products to developing your own?

Paula Begoun: I figured with everything I had learned and with the help of other industry experts I knew and trusted, starting my own product line would be a cinch, and its success – assuming it would be successful – would mean I could stop writing books. Plus, my family and friends CONSTANTLY asked me to come out with my own products so they’d know exactly what to use.

Of course, even when Paula’s Choice became successful I kept writing more books and posting new content to my website. I just couldn’t help myself! I love sharing what I know, and I continue to learn in an effort to help people to avoid wasting money, being misled, and feeling disappointed  – it’s too strong a driving force for me. But I now have a well-trained team helping consumers around the world make sense of the often-confusing cosmetics industry. I don’t have to do it by myself anymore, thankfully!

bh: What does it take to create an effective skincare product?

PB: It involves endless research on published studies about skincare ingredients and what benefits skin; testing and retesting; understanding ingredient compatibility; and creating different prototypes until you have the one that puts everything together perfectly and remains stable. You also have to know about skin physiology, which is everything from how and why skin ages to what causes acne, oily skin, dry skin, and numerous other skin issues the right skincare products and ingredients can treat.

bh: Do you have any advice for bh readers trying to determine their own skin type?

PB: First and foremost, you have to make sure you’re not using any products that contain irritating or drying ingredients, as these can create a skin type you’d otherwise not have naturally! Also, know that age is not a skin type! People of all ages can and do experience various skin types and concerns; for example, a 22-year-old woman may have dry skin and sun damage while a 62-year-old woman may be experiencing oily skin and acne for the first time in her life. These are two different ages and two very different skin types and concerns, yet most products labelled ‘for mature skin’ are thick, emollient creams and balms someone with oily, breakout-prone skin doesn’t need!

Otherwise, here’s a simple test to determine your skin type:

If you do not see any signs of oil or dryness, you most likely have normal skin.

  1. Wash your face with a gentle water-soluble, non-soap cleanser and pat dry.
  2. Do not apply any other products.
  3. Wait 20-30 minutes and then examine how your face looks and feels.
  • If your skin feels dry or tight all over or looks dull, you have dry skin.
  • If your skin is shiny on the forehead, nose, and chin but is normal to dry on the cheeks and jawline, then you have combination skin.
  • If your skin is shiny all over and feels a bit greasy, you have oily skin.

bh: What are three skincare tips everyone should live by?

  1. Avoid products with irritating ingredients. Irritation hurts skin in numerous ways, even if you cannot see or feel it happening.
  2. Apply a sunscreen rated SPF30 or greater every day, rain or shine – no exceptions. Unprotected, cumulative exposure to UV light is the #1 cause of multiple signs of ageing, regardless of one’s skin type or colour.
  3. Use an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) or BHA (beta hydroxy acid) exfoliant as part of your daily skincare routine. These leave-on exfoliants can improve multiple skin types and concerns because the skin’s natural ability to exfoliate becomes impaired as we age.

    Do you struggle to find skincare that suits you? Have you read any of Paula’s books or used Paula’s Choice products?


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