Beauty guru: Paula Begoun

Cosmetics cop, beauty author, skincare creator: the multi-talented Paula Begoun

Here’s a quick shout-out to Paula Begoun. If you haven’t heard of her, that might be because her products haven’t been available in the UK for that long but in the US, she is a towering presence in skincare. She’s known as ‘the cosmetics cop’ for her investigative approach to skincare ingredients and I’m particularly keen on her for the rigour of her approach: her own skincare line, Paula’s Choice, is based on ingredients that have been proven by peer-reviewed science to be beneficial for the skin. Stuff that really works, in other words.

She was in the UK recently launching new products and dispensing her skincare wisdom to the assembled beauty journalists – here are some of her pearls of wisdom that we all might well bear in mind.


1) Be gentle

This is Paula’s first and foremost law for the skin. ‘Nothing can be more physiologically good for skin than being gentle,’ she says. ‘Anything you do that inflames or irritates the skin is bad for it. Harsh scrubs, fragrance, Jacuzzis, the sun… watch out for them all.’


2) Never skip the sunscreen

‘Before you get scared of any product ingredients, get scared of the sun,’ she says. ‘The sun kills the skin. There is no research suggesting otherwise. The parts of your body that see the light the most will look older, even if that light is London daylight in the winter. It’s a fact. So you need to be neurotic about it, not about whatever the latest hashtagged ingredient is.’ So that’s SPF50, every day, wherever you are.

Focus less on that latest miracle ingredient

‘Retinol is great,’ she says, ‘so is omega-3, so is niacinamide… and we often showcase products with one particular ingredient, as if that ingredient was overwhelmingly important.’ But doing this, she points out, is a bit like eating lots of spinach. Yes, it’s good for you, but you need a lot of other stuff along with it, too. In skincare terms, that means replenishing, hydrating ingredients (like hyaluronic acid and ceramides) and restoring and regenerating ingredients (like peptides and retinol) as well that that big-news miracle ingredient.