Updated: Apr 27, 2021
In 2003, I read a book called Don’t Go To The Cosmetic Counter Without Me. For me, this book was a game changer. The author, Paula Begoun, was a self proclaimed cosmetics cop writing not only “to serve as a watchdog of the ever-increasing $40-billion cosmetics industry”, but to help women “make wise cosmetic and skin-care decisions, look beautiful and save money”. The book offered straightforward, specific product evaluations and an easy-to use rating system. From this book I learned many lessons, but I will share my favourite two.
The first is that Maybelline, L’Oreal, and Lancome are all owned by L’Oreal. Many of their cosmetic formulas are similar but contain different fragrances and packaging to appeal to different demographics. For example, the Maybelline mascara formula is very similar to both the L’Oreal and Lancome mascaras but is packaged in a way that appeals to teenagers, as Maybelline marketing is targeted to a younger audience. The products are also appropriately priced to align with their target demographic. This essentially means that when purchasing a Maybelline mascara you are getting an upper crust, beauty counter at the department store product for a fraction of the cost.
The second lesson I took from the book was the amazing rating for a previously unheard of product (for me) Cetaphil. Cetaphil is an affordable drugstore cleanser. It doesn’t have any fancy packaging or marketing (that I am aware of), but this is hands down the best cleanser I have ever used, and I don’t think I will ever change my mind on this. I can pump it onto a wad of toilet paper, and it will gently without any irritation remove ALL mascara – even multiple layers of mascara after a theatre performance. I cannot sing the praises of this miraculous gentle cleanser loud enough. And to echo Paula’s point, why would you spend a fortune on something that only lasts for seconds on your face?
You can see more of Paula’s evaluations and ratings at: https://www.beautypedia.com/.