Paula Begoun is the founder of Paula's Choice skin care and cosmetics, as well as the author of 20+ books on skin care, makeup, and hair care.
She is a nationally-recognized consumer expert for the cosmetics industry and has appeared on CNN, Oprah, The Today Show, 20/20, The View, and Dr. Oz.
In this interview, Paula shares her background, why she ended up starting Paula's Choice, the grooming products that men should use, and more.
Tell us the story behind Paula's Choice. What's your background, and what motivated you to launch the company?
Paula: At the age of 11, I began a struggle with my own skin care problems, both acne and eczema. I tried numerous skin-care products and medical treatments yet my skin didn't get better.
Then at the age of 25, when the FDA made ingredient listings mandatory on skin care products, I began reading all of the research I could find on skincare, and eventually I was able to put together a routine that completely transformed my skin.
That’s when I started my obsession with understanding skin physiology and skincare formulations. I wanted to do everything possible to make the world of skin care more effective and less deceptive.
I wrote my first book in 1985, and now my 21st book is going to press later this year. It is called The Best Skin of Your Life Starts Here and the information is as valid for men as it is for women.
I’ve also done hundreds of TV appearances throughout my career including repeat appearances on Oprah, CNN, The View, and Dr. Oz - all about informing consumers about what works and doesn’t work for skin.
In 1995, at the request of thousands of my fans and readers - and from my continued frustration with the skin care formulations available - I decided to use my years of research to create my own skincare line called Paula’s Choice and the rest, as they say, is history…
What makes your brand's products unique?
Paula: We are dedicated to helping people take the best care of their skin.
Whereas some companies formulate gimmicky products just because of some new fad or buzzword ingredient, we only use proven ingredients backed by research that can truly make your skin look younger and radiant.
We also take extra precaution to use non-irritating ingredients, and we are one of the few lines whose products are 100% fragrance-free.
The extensiveness of our options for a variety of skin types and skin concerns and the fact that we cite all of the research we use to create a formulation (hundreds of studies) is completely unique in the world of skin care… there’s nothing else like it.
What's the single biggest mistake that men make when it comes to choose grooming products? And what's the biggest mistake that men make when it comes to skincare?
Paula: They don’t make mistakes - it’s just that, like most consumers, they don’t have the information needed to make the best decisions for their skin.
Making matters a bit worse is a man’s fear of skin care products being too feminine.
Trying to shop for products aimed at men doesn’t help either because so many of them contain problematic ingredients like menthol, peppermint, eucalyptus, camphor, citrus, fragrance, or alcohol to create the strong smell and give off a tingling, cooling sensation that feels “refreshing” on shaved skin but is actually terrible for skin.
The problem is those kinds of ingredients actually cause needless irritation and break down vital substances in skin that can lead it to become inflamed, impaired, and potentially more oily, or dry.
What’s worse is that we don’t always see this kind of inflammation on the surface of skin—it often happens in the lower levels so you can be damaging skin without even knowing it.
How can you avoid that? Of course I would love for you to use my men’s line of skincare products called PC4Men - but other than that, please stick to fragrance-free skincare and shaving products, and avoid anything that contains irritating ingredients.
If you could give just one grooming tip to our readers, what would it be?
Paula: There’s never one thing, though I know that’s what many consumers want. Skin is just too complicated. It’s like saying you only need to drink green tea or eat spinach to be healthy, but if you only did that, you would soon become malnourished and sick.
The primary things a man need are a gentle cleanser, a gentle shaving gel or foam, a sunscreen with SPF 25 or greater (every day!). Those are the basics.
To make the skin look smoother and have less redness or irritation, I would absolutely recommend our leave-on BHA exfoliant post shave called PC4 Men Soothe + Smooth.
BHA goes far beyond a traditional after-shave to soothe and reduce red bumps, razor burn, clogged pores, breakouts, uneven skin tone, and blackheads. It also helps rough skin look smoother and younger! It is a slam dunk product.
What is a quick and simple morning grooming routine that men can do to get ready in the mornings?
Paula: Wash your face with a gentle water-soluble cleanser (no bar soap fellas!), use a gentle shaving gel or foam, then exfoliate and soothe the skin with our PC4 Men Sooth and Smooth.
During the day finish with a moisturizer that has an SPF 25 or greater!
How can our readers learn more about what you're up to and connect with you online?
Step Up Your Grooming Game
Thanks to Paula for the interview and for all of the great advice!
If you're interested in learning more about stepping up your grooming game, check out the "Grooming Blogs Toolkit" for 17 blogs that can help you get started with better grooming.
Or you can get access to a free download of the "Grooming Blogs Toolkit" by clicking the image below: