Cosmetic Counter Tips

The following is an excerpt from the book Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me by Paula Begoun.

Buy your copy of Paula Begoun's book here.

Beauty in Conflict

What I do is controversial. I've known it almost since the beginning, when at my first cosmetics job I told a customer that "astringents can't close pores, and if they could, why would anyone still have pores-wouldn't they all be closed by now?" I knew I was in a precarious position. No doubt there were going to be salespeople who wouldn't be thrilled by my comments, and without question throngs of cosmetics company executives would be disturbed by someone challenging their claims.

Yet what I say or write is not unknown to those in the industry (at least not those involved in serious skin-care and makeup research and formulation). I draw my conclusions from many well-known cosmetics industry sources, which I encourage all of you to check out for yourselves. My primary references for the conclusions drawn and assessments used throughout this book are from Drug and Cosmetics Industry magazine, Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine, and The Rose Sheet.

All of these are industry publications that report on or review ongoing cosmetics research, U.S. government's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, the creation and critique of formulations, and opinions from the people who make the products. I also constantly refer to medical journals such as Cosmetic Dermatology, The Journal of the American Medical Association, The New England Journal of Medicine, and The Lancet (a British medical research journal), as well as press releases from the American Academy of Dermatology, and published studies from the biochemistry world found in The Blue Sheet (a health and biomedical publication).

Published, peer-reviewed information is integral to my work, but I also spend a great deal of time interviewing cosmetics chemists, dermatologists, cosmetics ingredient manufacturers, biochemists, oncologists, and plastic surgeons. This accumulated research provides me with abundant sources of information that you may not get a chance to hear because the fashion magazines just leave out any information that their cosmetics advertisers don't agree with.

Despite the work I cite, I have been called everything from a charlatan to someone who has nothing more than a vendetta against the cosmetics industry, with no substantiation or proof backing up what I say (I guess ignoring credible sources is the only way to prove anyone wrong). Yet I truly feel that it only takes a quick perusal of this book's Appendix for someone to realize that I have extensive resources and data for my comments. The fundamental research I base my evaluations on is well documented and the specifics are detailed in my work.

I also receive complaints (particularly from cosmetics salespeople) saying I hate all cosmetics except my own products. Yet a quick flip through the pages of my book clearly reveals that I recommend hundreds and hundreds of products. Women who have written me often comment that they notice that people who sell cosmetics usually find my work both awful and wonderful. My book is considered insightful and helpful when I recommend the products they sell, but if I suggest that some of the products in their line are a waste of money or potentially damaging to skin, then their opinion is that I don't know what I'm talking about and that I should mind my own business.

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