Paula's Choice

Q&A with Paula's Choice Founder Paula Begoun

After years of struggling with problem skin, at the age of 25 Paula Begoun took matters into her own hands and dove headfirst into the world of skin care ingredients. She carefully researched what worked and what didn’t—and began writing books to share her findings with the world. She amassed a following that begged her to apply her expertise to her own skin care line. That’s how Paula’s Choice began in 1995, and the line continues to expand to accommodate new research and skin care concerns. Here’s more about Paula’s unique perspective on skin care.

What was your inspiration to create a skin care line?

It wasn’t so much inspiration as a repeated request from family, friends and women around the world who had read my books. They wanted me to make their lives easier and to stop making them read so much information. They just wanted me to create effective, state-of-the-art formulations, that weren’t expensive, so they could take the best care of their skin.

How has the landscape of the skin care industry changed since you first began your research?

When I first began researching skin care the internet wasn’t around, so I spent most of my time in medical libraries researching biology, chemistry and dermatology medical journals. We knew so little about the structure of skin back then and there was limited information as to how ingredients impacted skin, little knowledge about sun damage and sun protection, antioxidants, peptides and barrier repair technology. Product formulations were mostly water, wax and oil. Now everything is different—not only the accessibility of information, but the incredible amount of serious scientific research being done about skin and skin care.

What is the process like for developing and testing new Paula’s Choice formulations?

It depends on the product, but generally it’s an ongoing process. I am constantly reading published research about skin and skin care ingredients to determine what we can use to create products for a range of different skin care needs, concerns and skin types. Then the team gathers together on a regular basis to brainstorm what would be the best combinations of ingredients and new technologies to produce the best product for a specific skin care need. From there it is an endless series of procedures for creating a stable formula with a beautiful application. Then we panel test the product to see if women experience the results we were hoping to achieve.

Paula’s Choice products aren’t found in many retail stores—what drew you to Pharmaca as a partner?

Pharmaca believes in skin care the way we do here at Paula’s Choice. Truth + Science = Beauty. It’s really a simple but brilliant equation.

How does Paula’s Choice differ from other skin care brands?

At Paula’s Choice we are dedicated to only using published research as the basis for our product development and skin care routines. Every product page on our website lists the dozens of studies we used to put together that specific formula. Skin care has to be about facts—and not marketing fiction just for the sake of selling a product.

You have such a broad selection of skin care that it can be overwhelming. How do you recommend people get started with the Paula’s Choice line?

The first step is to figure out your skin type and concerns. Someone with oily skin will need different ingredients than someone with dry skin. The three most important steps for a simple, yet effective, skin care routine is to cleanse, exfoliate and moisturize based on your skin type and concerns. A more advanced routine would be to add in a toner and a serum or targeted treatment. Once you get into the habit of having a good routine, you’ll find that it really doesn’t take long at all, and the results are so worth it.

And I can’t stress this enough: Remember to wear a well-formulated moisturizer with an SPF 30 every single day…even if the sun is not out.

You offer several different leave-on exfoliants, how do I find the best for my skin type?

If you have any issues with your pores at all, then a BHA is the way to go. AHAs are better for someone that has dry skin, sun damage, and isn’t very sensitive.

What are your personal favorite Paula’s Choice products?

By far it’s my Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant. Here are my other favorites:

  • Skin Balancing Cleanser
  • Skin Balancing Toner
  • RESIST Serum for combination skin
  • Lip and Body balm
  • 2% BHA Body Lotion
  • Makeup Remover
  • Vitamin C Spot Treatment

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