Rachel Quilligan caught up with ‘Cosmetics Cop’ Paula Begoun and her head of research Bryan Barron to bust the biggest beauty myths.

After suffering with acne and eczema for over a decade, Paula Begoun decided to take skincare matters into her own hands. The result is 20 best-selling books on skincare including the acclaimed Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, now in its ninth edition, and her own tailor-made line of skincare, Paula’s Choice.

Paula and her head of research Bryan Barron bust the beauty myths still tripping everyone up.

Myth #1: Expensive means better

Bryan: That is absolutely not true. We consistently find good and bad products in all price ranges.
Paula: I worry about expensive sunscreens, because in order to get that SPF number protection onto your skin you have to apply the product liberally – well, how liberally are you going to apply a $100 sunscreen?

Myth #2: Age is a skin type

Bryan: There is this common thinking that once you get past a certain arbitrary age, usually somewhere between 48 and 54, all of a sudden your skin needs products labelled for mature skin and that’s absolutely not true. Skin type is a skin type … but products that are sold based on age are almost always products for dry skin.
Paula: And not everybody over the age of 50 has dry skin; in fact a huge proportion has oily skin with breakouts.

Myth #3: Natural ingredients are better than synthetic ingredients

Paula: Nothing could be further from the truth. There are good and bad natural ingredients just like there are good and bad synthetic ingredients – natural doesn’t tell you anything about the benefit of those ingredients on skin.
Bryan: There are many natural ingredients that are very problematic for skin—including some innocuous sounding ones like lavender, mint and citrus—and there are numerous synthetic ingredients that are actually wonderful for skin. People think natural ingredients are very simple, but there are over 300 chemicals that make up a tomato! ‘Chemicals’ doesn’t need to be a dirty word; everything is made up with chemicals.

Myth #4: Dry skin ages faster than oily skin

Paula: That’s absolutely not true – the sun is what ages the skin. Some say that 70 to 85 per cent of what we see on the skin and think of as ageing is really sun damage.

Myth #5: Beauty creams can do the work of Botox

Paula: There is a huge realm of possibilities in skincare, but skincare and medical procedures do not overlap. Where one stops the other begins. We absolutely caution against products that claim they can replace Botox or dermal fillers, or cosmetic surgery.
Bryan: A couple of words to watch out for are ‘lifting’ and ‘sculpting’. There are no moisturisers or creams, regardless of how much they cost, that can re-contour a sagging jawline or lift a sagging neck; it’s just not possible.

Hot tips:

  • Look for products that have a mix of antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients and barrier-repairing ingredients
  • Avoid products kept in jars as the ingredients become unstable once the lid is removed and air gets in

For more information or to purchase Paula’s Choice products visit her website.

You might also like…

Join the dark side
Beauty experiences to try
Hey mole, I’m looking at you