Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Meeting Paula Begoun


Oh lovely people! So today I went along and met the brilliant Paula Begoun and her co-author Bryan Barron. We chatted for over two hours and I could've stayed all day. Next time she's over we may hit the department stores on Oxford Street together. ;)

If you are unaware of Paula Begoun she is the Cosmetics Cop and the woman behind both Beautypedia and Paula's Choice skincare. She is sassy, opinionated, intelligent and did I mention opinionated? 
I see a lot of brands, meet a lot of people 'behind' brands where there is just nothing but dollar signs in their eyes. Not here. We spoke for so long that it would be nigh on impossible to cover everything but these are some gems that I took away from meeting Paula. 

'More than half my life has been in this industry, it's been over 35 years. Product development is what I love now. Developing products that encapsulate everything we believe is a joy.'

Her beliefs/the brand ethos
'We're now in 50 countries. Thank God for the internet!'
'We were on the cusp of setting up in China and then we heard about the animal testing and we pulled out. We said 'No'. It's a billion people market. It's a big deal. But 'No'.'
'Skincare has to be based around a system. There is no such thing as a hero product. Skin is too complicated. It's the largest organ of the body, it has specific needs and concerns that take more than one ingredient, more than one product to address.'
'It is the rare person that has a 'normal skin'. Or one skin type. So it takes a system to address those variety of concerns.'
'Everybody's skin, no matter who you are, has the same needs from the same ingredients. Everybody needs antioxidants. Everybody needs anti-inflammatories because inflammation is a skin destroyer that comes from many sources and then they need cell-communicating ingredients. Ingredients that can tell cells to make better cells, especially later in life or if you have a tendency towards blemishes.'
'So what it comes down to is texture. If you have an oily/combination skin, you may prefer gels. Same ingredients, but in a gel formula. If you are drier you may prefer a creamier formulation.'
'You cannot use fragrance. It's damaging as soon as you put it on. Skin doesn't show damage in the short term, it takes a long time. We know this from UVA. You step outside, the damage is immediate, even though you don't feel it. Irritation, no matter what the source, is taking place, even if you cannot see it.'

CH: 'And you love/use mineral oil. I hate it.'
PB: 'Well the research says that it is a wound healing ingredient. There is no negative research about mineral oil.'
CH: 'Weellll, that depends what studies you read.' :)
PB: *sits forward* 'What studies?' 
There follows a long off the record conversation about mineral oil and brands that use it.
CH: 'Certainly from a massage point-of-view, during facial massage, plant oils are superior. I would never massage with mineral oil, although I would do a paraffin mask during the treatment.'
PB: 'Mineral oil and plant oils have two different properties. Plant oils have fatty acid properties and are anti-inflammatory and antioxidants. They absorb in better and work at cellular repair. Mineral oil, on the other hand, is a surface ingredient. It's too large to penetrate. It's great for wound healing. It allows for air to flow through and keeps moisture to a minimum.'
That's where we left that conversation. ;)

Her products
'A great skincare product takes into consideration that there are things that need to stay on top, things that need to absorb, and then things that need to absorb deeply.'
'The other thing is the notion of 'gentle'. It is a huge issue because everything about ageing, everything about healing the skin, red marks, blemishes, is all about reducing inflammation. What we know about ageing and collagen destruction and sun damage is inflammation is a killer. Whatever that source is, whether it's the sun, hot water, irritating ingredients, fragrance, fragrant plant extracts, essential oils, it causes further irritation and damages skin. So everything we do is to encompass active ingredients in a formula loaded with soothing ingredients that contain no irritants. That's who we are.'
'All of the claims we make for the products are supported by published research, that we list on our website. We take all of that very seriously.'

Exfoliants
'A major component of Paula's Choice is exfoliants. It's a fundamental concept for healthy skin, to help skin shed naturally what it can't normally do because of things like sun damage. Glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids are the ones we know the most about. However, not everyone can use all of them so we make different products so that everyone can use something.' 
CH: 'I love acid toning.'
PB: 'You call it acid toning? I think that's brilliant!'
CH: 'Don't nick that Paula! It's mine.'

She's not a fan
'That everything needs to absorb, or everything needs to penetrate, or this needle-rolling to create channels to get things into skin is just bogus.'
Me: 'What do you think of dermarolling? I hate it.'
PB: 'It's damaging. Repeatedly wounding the skin does not generate collagen. It generates (we both say together) scar tissue. If you use it once a month, it may not give you an issue, but a lot of people are using it on a regular basis, using at-home kits. Over time, it ends up stiffening the skin. It does not give you supple, pliable, beautiful skin and it damages elastin. And elastin doesn't rebuild. It is very hard, if not impossible, to rebuild elastin. Dermal rollers are terrible. They are physiologically bad for skin.' 
*high fives Paula*

And my favourite part of our conversation
I asked Paula what she thought of the frequent criticism of her Beautypedia website being conjoined with her Paula's Choice website.
CH: 'Do you find it's a fine line to cross between having a website that talks, frequently in a negative fashion, about all the other brands and then at the bottom up pops a box with a 'Try this!' and it's recommending something from your range?'
PB: 'No not at all.'
CH *smiling*: 'You don't care?'
PB: 'Well it's not that I don't care, I get that it's controversial. But I know that we are the only cosmetics company in the world that recommends products other than their own - that are willing to talk about other products.
So as long as we stay, in Paula's Choice, respectful of what we are trying to achieve and keep each other in check, and never cross any lines....
Listen. I know, for a fact, that we have some of the best products on the market, and as an entire line, some of the most cohesively consistent formulas and packaging. We're not going to make everybody happy. You never will. For years we were almost embarrassed that we had our own products. So no, I don't mind the criticism.'

The Lady has a point. 

And yes. She has great skin.




67 comments:

  1. Leaves the page happily hopping away, two of my favourite skincare gurus together! Wowzers!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very interesting :) I hope you review more of her products!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great article. So happy you mentioned scar tissue is a result of dermarolling. I had the procedure done about 8 times after mohs surgery and plastic surgery for skin cancer on my nose to improve the surgical scars. But now I have scar tissue that I didn't before. Not the result I was going for, however I didn't know that scar tissue was a possible side effect of the procedure when I had it done.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Iv been waiting all day in anticipation for some update on this meeting. Thank you so much for the details. Xx

    ReplyDelete
  5. Definitely an interesting lady.
    I'll have a second look at her products now, without the prejudgement after reading those grumpy reviews - or at least I'll try ;)
    Thanks for sharing this, Caroline x

    ReplyDelete
  6. This just reaffirms to me that following one thing blindly isn't the answer. We are all different with different wants needs and opinions therefore why would we not take what we feel is best suited to those wants needs etc? Great read Caroline.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm so excited that the two of you got to sit down together and chat! It's like the Yalta conference of skincare. I wish you had made a video!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG THE YALTA CONFERENCE OF SKINCARE

      Delete
  8. I love that you tackled the topic on mineral oil despite having opposite opinions about it. Kudos!❤️👍

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for this Caroline! This was such an interesting read x
    The Beauty Bloss

    ReplyDelete
  10. I always check her reviews before making a purchase, and always find that my favourites are usually high on her hit list!

    ReplyDelete
  11. what do you think of her claims that fragrance and plant oils/extracts cause irritation and are bad for skin? the part of her reviews that i have the biggest issue with is that when she/her team are reviewing a product as soon as it has any kind of fragrance they tear it apart based on that so you often get no information about whether or not it's a good product outside of it having fragrance.

    furthermore you obviously use and recommend products with fragrance in them all the time and don't seem to experience any irritation (and so do i and so does anyone else without sensitive skin.) she claims that whether or not we can see any irritation our skin is still being damaged but i've never heard this from any other source or seen any studies or evidence anywhere to back this up. would love to know your thoughts!

    jessica - littlehenrylee.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would also love to know your thoughts on this Caroline as it is pretty significant if true. I would imagine all your loyal blog-followers would be interested to hear what you have to say about what the studies on this show. (Pleeeease Caroline!!) xx

      Delete
    2. Oh yeah. Lovely product - contains essential oils - one star (one! not even one star less, just one). Like the lovely Clarins oils or some Bobbi products. It kind of makes her look like a sore loser, even though she's clearly an ace woman.

      Delete
    3. Very interested to hear about this as well. There are a few no-goes for her that my skin has NO issue with whatsoever, like fragrance or essential oils. My question would also be, if I can't see/feel irritation, does that mean it's not there? Because I also get the impression that she thinks it's always bad for your skin no matter what. Is there research backing that up? She loves the research so I'd love to know. Same with alcohol.

      I respect the woman a great deal which is why I wish that Beautypedia were less snarky and downright nasty sometimes. It's so tiring to read. Skin care and all things skin shouldn't make you feel exhausted and cranky. Stress is not helping with wrinkles either.

      Delete
    4. I'm sensitive, so I can't use fragrance, fragrant essential oils, or derivatives of essential oils like limonene and linalool. I become very red, irritated and itchy along with a broken skin barrier if I continue with such a product. Increase in pigmentation for me too.
      Even if there is no visible or physical irritation in "normal" skin, is damage being done?

      Delete
    5. I also find no problem with many products that she has said are terrible. As well, although her products have no scent etc, when I was looking at reviews on her site of some Paula's Choice products, some described irritation/breakouts. Surely this illustrates that different people have different sensitivities, and some sensitivities/reactions have nothing to do with essential oils etc.

      Delete
    6. ETA: I should have been more clear. She does say that fragrance does lasting damage but is there actually any research backing her up? Because it is prefaced with "Her beliefs/brand ethos" and that seems a bit muddy to me. I can't imagine the beauty industry has spent the time and money to research this over years. Of course with UVA we know because of cancer research but that's not the case here.

      If this is really only her belief, then I will stick to my own beliefs. One of which is that if you don't enjoy things (food, skin care, doesn't matter) and only strictly stick with what's good for you according to science, you will probably lead a healthy and very boring life. Beauty products should be enjoyable as well as effective and while it's good to stick to the basics like sun screen and a good diet, I also think that if the rest of it is no fun at all, that can't be great for you.

      Delete
    7. She pretty much always has science to back her up....I don't know if she has posted anything about that on her website but you should definetly have a look! :) there are many articles with scientific sources and knowing Paula there will definitely be one on fragrance!

      Personally I think, as you all said, that is always a matter of personal preference. Paula thinks fragrance is an absolute no no, you don't, that doesn't mean that she should rate 5 stars a product she doesn't like...if you like it, if it works for you, get it, use it and enjoy it :)

      Delete
    8. I would also love to hear your thoughts on fragrance as an across the board irritant please Caroline x

      Delete
    9. I'm no skincare expert, but from what I do know... Fragrances are generally synthetically made and don't really do anything for your skin except making the product smell good. While I personally am not sensitive to fragrance, I do try to avoid regularly applying heavily fragranced products on my skin. I have mad respect for lines such as YULI Skincare because their products aren't contrived to smell good. Instead the ingredients are chosen due to their efficacy. Pleasant smelling aromas are an extra benefit, but aren't sought out in a formulaic way.

      That being said, I would love to hear Caroline's thoughts on this matter as well!

      http://charmystique.com/

      Delete
    10. The fragrance thing is really difficult to me because reading her reviews does not tell me whether it's actually definitely going to damage my skin. Statements like "the amount of fragrance is potentially irritating" (a Chanel moisturizer) or "In fact, the only drawback is that this includes a very minor amount of fragrance. You can't smell it, but it's something to keep in mind if you have very sensitive skin." (a MAC moisturizer) don't really help me here. I haven't found studies backing this up but I haven't had time to really dig yet. I will do that though because I honestly think skin is like any other organ. Some people can tolerate certain "chemicals" while others can't. I can't take Aspirin, my sister can't take ibuprofen.

      And since I stopped using mineral oil on my face my skin has improved dramatically. So maybe some people can use it, I can't. She thinks it's fine. Again, that doesn't help me at all. I do prefer Caroline's approach of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." because it's a lot less dogmatic.

      @ brandy: I agree that it's her rating system and she can of course do whatever she feels is right. It's just difficult to navigate sometimes then.

      Having said all of that, I still love that Beautypedia exist. It's a free resource and I've changed my mind about the issues I had with her recommending her own products. Of course she would. They're hers and she feels they're great products. If you keep that in mind, everything's fine.

      Delete
    11. For me, personally, the right kind of aromas add to my skin care regimen and make me enjoy the 'ritual' even more. I find that smells generally alter my mood, pleasant smells in a good way. Whilst I understand that some sensitive skins do not react well fragrances, I would say that my skin is sensitive, yet does not react to many products containing essential oils (Tata Harper, Aromatherapy Associates, La Mer etc).

      I do find that Beautypedia reviews are quite concise, but are frequently negative of my products I actually enjoy. Skincare is subjective...and works differently on different people. At least she provides reasons why they are rated the way they are, I just don't always agree with it. Reasons products get docked stars: fragrance, outlining claims, effectiveness, jar packaging and price. I think the rating should be based on 5 stars, not 4, and that the review should include a separate rating for sensitive skins.

      I'll keep doing what I'm doing as I enjoy it and it works.

      Delete
    12. I've also been wanting to ask this! I mostly use Caroline-recommended products but some of them (such as Good Genes) get the irritant fragrance/witch hazel/etc "you don't see it but it's destroying your skin long-term" slam.
      I recall that some people challenged the research that Paula's site cited, as any kind of scientific results are limited to variables and sample population, etc... so I'm not even sure if there is a *correct* answer.

      emmy0323 - There was a discussion on Reddit about the snarkiness of the reviews, and one of the editors of Beautypedia was on there saying that they were trying to make the tone more fun and sassy, to counter the amount of boring and dry reviews. He did mention that they were trying to tone down the snark and this is reflected in more recent posts.

      Delete
    13. @ Nightmoth: Oh, okay. That's good to know. I do think there's a difference between snark and nastiness and sometimes they crossed that line but it's good that they know. You can be sassy etc. and I have no problem with it whatsoever, sometimes there's just nothing nice to say about a product. I also have - as I've mentioned above - no problem anymore with them recommending Paula's products instead of the ones they dislike. However, when you put the two together it leaves a bad taste, that was my issue with Beautypedia.

      Delete
  12. Interesting summary. As noted by others, I would love to hear how she can possibly review products from an ingredient list only(as it seems in some cases) rather than actually trialling products on real skin. I find the references she gives for "research" are often old, use a very small sample size, and often related to a single ingredient, which in my opinion have actually no relevance to a product being used with a variety of other compounds, as in a skin care product. The research being quoted would need to be about using the specific product in question. Her "references" would not pass muster to support her claims in the real world of health care research.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I get what you are saying but no company is going to pay for a proper double-blind placebo-controlled study because their competitors are not spending time and money on that. Money goes mainly to marketing. Also, there are way too many variables in a product to make these studies viable; you'd need to add one ingredient at a time and see what happens. It would be AWESOME if more money was spent on actual scientific DBPC studies but that's probably never going to happen.

      You kind of can review a product based on the ingredients list. It is a sum of its parts. If the effects of ingredients are known, including effective concentrations, as well as their interactions (or lack thereof) with other ingredients and the conditions in which they are effective then this gives a pretty good idea of what a product does. Most common ingredients are well-studied but many less common and newer ones are not, like peptides. We don't know for sure if peptides actually do anything beneficial to the skin and to what extent.

      Delete
    2. I agree that you can get a sense of the product from the ingredient list. I'm not saying that you can't. However, one can have no idea if a product works specifically without testing it on skin. I guess I was disappointed looking at some of the articles she referenced that tested a product on 10 people. That is not anywhere close to enough. I went back to try to find it as an example but they have revised the site and the articles referenced don't seem to be as easily accessed.

      Delete
  13. Fabulous interview! I always learn something new from reading one of your posts!

    Emily x


    www.emandthem.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  14. Very interesting! Please can you let us know which of Paula's Choice products you approve of? How strong are her acid toners?

    Thank you x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Her acid toners are 2% salicylic though there is a few different versions she does and she does a glycolic toner which is similar to liquid gold. x

      Delete
    2. Hi
      Thank you for your reply. I emailed them them the other day to ask which their mildest was (I have dehydrated 41 yr old sun damaged skin/no spots) and got the following reply:
      The RESIST Daily Smoothing Treatment with 5% Alpha Hydroxy Acid is our mildest AHA exfoliant , this AHA exfoliant has a pH range of 3.5-3.8 and can be used by all skin types.

      Isn't that liquid gold strength?

      Thanks

      Charlotte

      Delete
    3. I'm not to sure I see varying reports saying liquid gold is between 4-10% buffered glycolic x

      Delete
  15. Lovely interview and very informative loved that you don't back down on the use of mineral oil. Though I will say iv had dermaroller and have had great results though I only have 2-3 a year bit it's definitely Different strokes for different folks

    ReplyDelete
  16. The only thing I like and recommend from Paula's Choice is her salycilic acid toner - it is effective and without alcohol which is something difficult to find on the market. I don't even read anymore beautypedia reviews. As someone already pointed out, skincare reviews cannot be based solely on the listing of ingredients but on their interaction and effectiveness in the long term.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi
      What's the name of the acid toner please?
      Thanks

      Charlotte

      Delete
    2. here you have: http://www.paulaschoice.com/shop/skin-care-categories/aha-and-bha-exfoliants/_/Skin-Perfecting-Two-Percent-BHA-Liquid-Exfoliant/
      but this is for congestioned skin (acne-prone) and use it only once a day (not twice as recommended by the brand), if it is not your case use the milder one: http://www.paulaschoice.com/shop/skin-care-categories/aha-and-bha-exfoliants/_/Skin-Perfecting-One-Percent-BHA-Lotion-Exfoliant/
      or none. Too much exfoliation can be detrimental.

      Delete
    3. Thank you, I appreciate that x

      Delete
  17. Could you recommend some of Paula's products to try for those that have never tried any of her products before? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. her BHA and vitamin c serums are great.

      Delete
  18. Air flowing below mineral oil - ok.

    Where can we get paraffin treatments?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hey Caroline! been reading your blog for 2 months now, and I made so many GOOD changes to my skin like chucking out the foaming cleansers (shudders), double cleansing, acid toning and good serums... 2 months on, MY SKIN HAS NOT BEEN THIS GOOD IN YEARS!!! I feel so much better to look into the mirror and see more glowing skin and NO pimples!! thank you so much Caroline, you're my skin saviour! <3

    ReplyDelete
  20. Whilst I don't agree with everything Paula says, I do enjoy a number of her products and I have mad respect that she refused to enter the Chinese market as it would require animal testing. Love it when brands/individuals stand up for their principles.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Interesting! I would love to know her background...maybe I just need to pop up onto her website :-)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Caroline, since I have been reading your blog and watching your YouTube videos, I have made drastic changes to my skin that have produced awesome results for me. To the point that I don't wear any foundation or bb creams, etc. Don't need them anymore because skin look phenomenal now. Anyway, I really liked this interview and I do like Paula and the products I have tried from her line, which have worked well. I had never heard of Paula until I started following your blog a year ago. I like the mutual respect shown here between the two of you although you have different opinions on certain things. It was very imformative.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Speaking as a nurse who deals a lot in wound healing I would dispute what she says about mineral oil and wound healing. Wounds need oxygen/nutrition (from blood supply), warmth and MOISTURE (not excessive) to heal. If mineral oil worked we would certainly be using it for day to day wound care, which we don't. This was a really interesting and thought provoking post. I totally agree re derma rolling...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed. And the whole "air flows below it" is a load of. No. It doesn't.

      Delete
    2. I've heard more about types of algae helping in wound healing, and being used on patients with extreme burns. I know that La Mer uses something similar (though they also include mineral oil), so maybe that's something that brands should look into, instead of the controversial mineral oil. Though I suppose mineral oil is cheaper...

      Delete
    3. There are alginate dressings (derived from seaweed) which are absorbant and haemostatic (stop bleeding). Honestly though I wouldn't buy a skincare product for wound healing. If I had wounds severe enough to warrant intervention (eg burns) I would be using the health service and the expertise of health care professionals. If you are looking at scar reduction I would say only retinols improve the appearance of scars so skin care products could work. But I am unconvinced about the efficacy of mineral oils, and even algae, for this.

      Delete
  24. Great example of the fact that you don't have to agree on every single thing, but to respect and discuss your beliefs with others.
    Thank you for sharing!

    LindaLibraLoca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

    ReplyDelete
  25. This post was so much fun and so interesting to read. *applauds*

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thank you for mature discussion and informed conversation. I love that all communication ( or science for that matter) is not agreement.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Really interesting interview- thankyou! I'm not in any rush to try her products - partly as already have too many faves ( Somerville, Recherche, Perricone, Suqqu eat al) and partly as something about the Beautypedia still grates with me.

    The fact is that all sorts of weird and wonderful formulae and application techniques work for different people. Some people love bar soap and strong alcohol based toners others will only use organic almond oil. Both would tell you that what they use is the "only thing" that works for them. I find the tearing down of so many other products / ingredients by a manufacturer a bit uncomfortable. Still she does have good skin so she's obviously doing something right!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Amazing! I wish I could have been a fly on the wall!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I had 3 dermaroller treatments at a salon 6 weeks apart to help with my acne scarring before my wedding. The scarring is now completely gone. I know you don't like it long term but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone who is struggling with scars the way I was.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I read through beautypedia that OH's pure truth really isn't good due to the scent... what is your take on this? I bought both the serum and oil through your recommendations and am now afraid to use it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would definitely use it! Ole Henriksen products are lovely and he has great skin himself!

      Delete
  31. Thanks for this Caroline! I absolutely love Paula and her products, my skin is so much happier since discovering them.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi Caroline! I would love to know your thoughts on her BHA exfoliants - I'm looking for something to help reduce my number of breakouts and fade old discolourations from previous spots. I'm currently using the clinique mild clarifying lotion but I haven't noticed very impressive results. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I don't know, she seems like a nice lady BUT she poo poos like everything I look up it seems, I always feel like the stuff can't be ALL bad, especially things I've tried and liked myself. I like her unapologetic attitude, but I take her advice with a grain of salt. Some things just make my skin look nicer, despite not having any viable super impressive ingredients. I don't think anyone who is selling their own competitive line should be treated as an encyclopedia for other competitors personally, but she's built an industry so what do I know!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Ha ha, I always read her name as Paula Be-gone! Many of the reviews are so brutal you can visualise the products squirming in discomfort!!!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I was wondering about the fragrance, too! I'm 28 and don't want there to be unseen damage on my face from not using fragrance-free products. But some of my favorite products that you've recommend have fragrance in them, like Pixi's glow tonic and REN's clay cleanser, and she disparaged my favorite sunscreen for fragrance (Supergoop! everyday sunscreen).

    ReplyDelete
  36. Caroline would you mind writing an article about this fragrance/ essential oil controversy? I'm very confused and afraid it will hurt my skin in the long run

    ReplyDelete

Follow this blog with bloglovin

Follow on Bloglovin
Related Posts with Thumbnails