When I shop for beauty products, whether at a drugstore, a speciality store, or a department store, I often find myself feeling like my eyes can’t focus on any one thing. I feel overwhelmed and overstimulated by the sheer number of products lining the shelves and all the flashy packaging designed to catch my attention. There are also so many lofty claims written on products, but it’s no secret that those hold little weight. There’s minimal regulation on what companies can say about their products. One could easily go to a store looking for a moisturizer for dry skin and pick up a product that claims to be that, but there’s a high chance that that product won’t be as hydrating as it claims and might even contain ingredients that could irritate the skin or block pores.
Since I knew I couldn’t trust company claims, I used to rely on looking up online reviews to help me decide on what products to buy, but even customer reviews can only be so useful because everyone’s skin is so different. I once purchased a moisturizer that had a lot of really positive reviews on Sephora’s wesbite, but after I started using it, while it did moisturize my skin, I started breaking out too. After doing some research, I discovered it contained quite a few comedogenic ingredients (meaning they can block pores). I seemed to be more sensitive to those ingredients and their comedogenic nature than many other reviewers.
I eventually discovered Paula’s Choice, a website that offers reviews on many of the cosmetic products on the market that are based on scientific research on a chemical level. So far, it’s is the best resource I’ve come across to find good beauty products that you can trust will work and won’t irritate or harm your skin. Paula’s Choice also makes their own products, but it still offers unbiased reviews of many other brands. While they will recommend their own products, they also recommend so many other brands’ products. I’ve been able to find many products that have worked really well for me, using their beautypedia site. You can search for specific products and see how they’re rated or search for products under categories to find the best one to fit your concerns. Because the cosmetic industry is so unregulated and companies can get by using fictitious claims and even harmful ingredients, it’s important to look to external sources for scientific, unbiased reviews.