InTruBeauty: Beautypedia

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Hello All!

I made a very exciting discovery this weekend.  I was looking for beauty books at our local Barnes and Noble and only found two.  I did a really cute Kewpie Eye look from one of them, and shared some trick's of the trade in a blog too- both of these were from books I found at the store.  However, when I started searching around on my Nook, I found an abundance of really great books.  One of them is by the "Cosmetics Cop," Paula Begoun.  She reviews literally hundreds of brands and products in her book, and I have been looking up everything I use!

The thing I love most about her reviews is that she is not a makeup snob. She has very particular ways that she rates her products.  To show you how thorough she is in her reviewing process, and what she takes into consideration, I will just go ahead and copy/paste from her website,

How The Cosmetics Cop Team Does Their Reviews

Rating a wide variety of cosmetic products is a rigorous, complex process. The standards my team and I apply make our reviews distinctly different from every cosmetic product review site, and it’s to your advantage! We have established criteria to help ensure you find the best products for your skin, regardless of preferences or budget. Here are the most important factors we consider before reviewing a product:

Skin-Care Products

  1. Given the ingredient list, and based on published research—not just on what the cosmetics company wants you to believe—can the product really do for you what it promises?
  2. How does the product differ from similar types of products, including those that cost less?
  3. If a special ingredient (or ingredients) are showcased, how much of it is actually in the product, and is there independent research verifying the claims for it?
  4. Does the product contain problematic fragrances (including volatile fragrance chemicals), plants, topical irritants, or other questionable ingredients that could cause problems for your skin?
  5. How farfetched are the product’s claims?
  6. Based on what’s known about the ingredients it contains, is the product safe? Are there risks such as allergic reactions, increased sun sensitivity, insufficient sun protection, or potentially toxic ingredients?
  7. Does the product have what it takes to become a sensible part of your skin-care routine, with the goal being to take the best possible care of your skin?


Makeup products are evaluated more subjectively than skin-care products with regard to the following traits:
  • Application
  • Color selection
  • Texture
  • How they compare to similar products from myriad other lines
  • Formulation is also a consideration for makeup products, such as foundations with sunscreen
  • How accessible the products are in store, such as testers and sensible color organization
Throughout this site, my team and I make the final determination for each individual product rating based on specific criteria established for each product category. Each category has specific standards that the products must meet to garner a happy, unhappy, or neutral face.

I have a great idea on how to use this website and the accompanying book to my advantage!  First of all, I'm thinking about our "Best of Beauty" awards that Jessica and I are going to be doing in January.  We have been searching high and low through the drugstores, department stores, Sephora and our Birchboxes, for all of our favorite products at every price point to share with you.  We are planning on unveiling our very best products for you all in January, so you can see the #1 favorites that we have in our cosmetics drawers.  How cool would it also be to only put in products we love that also match the claims of being worth their money, or only ones that have the best possible rating on this site?  

Also, I downloaded the "Beautypedia" app on my cell phone so next time I go to the drug store or mall and want to buy products, I will know in advance how they rate.  This is such a great app!  I will definitely be using this along with my "TotalBeauty" app.  If you don't have a Smartphone, I would highly recommend next time you are eligible for an upgrade you go ahead and see if you can get one of these.  I actually had one a few years ago, and downgraded because I didn't use the apps on it.  However, so many great apps that are money saving, educational, and FREE have come out in the past few years that I think it's definitely well worth the money spent to have one.


I wanted to see how some of my favorite EXPENSIVE and INEXPENSIVE products add up to the Cosmetics Cop, and see if I have been totally wasting my money, or see if they actually stand up to the claims they make.  Please realize that if I reviewed all of my products, this post will last a year, so I am only doing products that I literally use on a daily basis, because I love them so much.  When I write the review by Cosmetics Cop, in some cases I'll definitely shorten it so you don't need to read a mile long reiteration of the same idea.

Things I Love- Worth it or a Waste?
High End-
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair
Review:  Very Good but pricey.  A major ingredient is bifida ferment lysate...bifida referring to "bifidobacteria"- a friendly strain of bacteria found in the human body and believed to provide immune protection and prevent gastrointestinal problems.  How does it relate to skin care?  Oral consumption of this bacteria, through yogurt or supplements, can be of benefit to infant eczema, but that's about it when it comes to skin.  

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel
Review:  Very Good.  An affordable department store moisturizer- the formula is more a lotion than a gel, but does feel quite light and silky on the skin.  It doesn't contain any oils or heavy thickening agents, is fragrance-free, and appropriate for normal to slightly dry or slightly oil skin.  There is a meager antioxidant content, and great anti-irritants.  Plain by comparison to many other moisturizers.

Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray Thirsty Skin Relief
Review:  Very good but pricey.  This is a very good spray-on, alcohol-free toner. This is a good choice for all skin types, including oily or blemish-prone skin that has minor dry patches.

Lancome Color Design Eye Brightening All-in-One 5 Shadow and Liner Palette
Review:  Average and pricey.  You should toss out the sponge-tip applicators that are included because they are poor substitutes for professional eye shadow brushes.  Designed to be applied wet or dry, and all palettes have moderate to intense shine.  The shiniest shades have visible flecks of finely milled glitter and tend to flake.  The shiny finish also magnifies the look of wrinkles and sagging around the eyes.  Pros:  Excellent smooth texture and even application.  Applied wet, great for a dramatic eye.  Liner colors are suitably dark and match their intended purpose.  

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Soft Matte Bronzer
Review:  Very good and pricey.  This is worth the investment.  Doesn't have the smoothest texture around, but it's still worthwhile and does apply evenly, leaving a soft shine.  The single shade is a realistic tan color that's neither too red nor too orange, but it's best for light to medium skin only.

Benefit High Beam
Review:  Very good and pricey.  It comes in a nail polish bottle and is applied to the face with a brush, or you can use a sponge or fingers.  It dries to a matte finish, leaving the shine behind.

Bare Minerals Original SPF Foundation in Fairly Medium
Review:  Average.  This is the backbone of this makeup line.  It has a soft, almost creamy texture and an undeniably shiny finish, which is not a good look for someone with oily skin.  The powder has opacity, medium to full coverage, and a slightly thick finish.  With 25% titanium dioxide, sun protection is assured.  This foundation is tricky to blend, and is best applied with a powder brush.  

Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow
Review:  Very good and pricey.  This shadow has a silky-smooth texture with a shiny finish.  The color range is extensive and beautiful.  Despite its creamy texture, this eyeshadow isn't likely to crease for those with normal to dry skin.  Those with oily eyelids may experience creasing by the end of the day, but not more than they would with a powder eyeshadow.  

Low End-
Wet 'n Wild Color Icon Palettes
Review:  Average.  These palettes are part of the brand's attempt to update and improve their product line, and these palettes do a mixed job of improving their image.  The company hypes these shadows as rivaling department stores brands like MAC but that isn't the case here.  These shadows are extremely hit or miss.  However when they're good, they're exceptionally good!  Each of the six palettes has at least two shades that impress in texture, application, and color, and at this price, that's still a pretty good deal!

Physicians Formula Powder Happy Booster
Review:  Poor.  The heart design imprinted on top is lovely to look at, but it's fragrant and the irritating ingredients aren't going to make your skin happy.  Pros:  the mosaic of flesh-toned and soft blush shades combine to give your skin a luminous glow; the pressed powder is silky smooth and easy to pick up with a brush.  Cons:  the noticeably strong fragrance can be a problem by causing irritation, the bright red and pink brush is flimsy and a poor choice for applying any powder.  Also, there's no research showing that applying plant extracts to your skin can make you feel happier.  

Rimmel London Natural Bronzer with Minerals in Sun Light
Review:  Excellent and a Paula's Pick!  This powder bronzer has a beautifully smooth texture and application. Shine from each of the three shades is so subtle as to be almost nonexistent, making this a fine choice for daytime wear (though if you have oily skin it probably isn't the best option; those with oily skin need less shine, not more).  Speaking of the shades, all have potential, but the orange tinge of Sun Light makes it trickier for fair to light skin tones to pull off, and it's too light for medium skin tones.

Boots Botanicals Soothing Eye Makeup Remover
Review:  Excellent, and a Paula's Pick!  Those looking for a makeup remover that's as close to natural as possible may wish to consider this product.  The oil-based formula is noticeably greasy, and best used prior to washing your face, but it removes all types of makeup with minimal effort.  It's fragrance free, making it ideal for sensitive skin.  This product's value for sensitive skin (it only contains six ingredients) is why it earned a Best Product rating.  This formula is concentrated and should last longer than a typical water-based makeup remover.


I was shocked by some of Paula the Cosmetic Cop's reviews!  I know most high end brands are pricey, although good, but especially with the hype revolving around BareMinerals I was shocked at the negativity of the review.  Although...I must say I agree in some ways- I have to be having an excellent skin day to even consider their foundation powder in my daily regimen, or it tends to cling to the dry patches and make me look worse.  I was surprised that she only found Wet 'n Wild's palettes to be average, because I have had extremely good luck with most of mine, however I have read a ton of reviews before purchasing any of these.  I was shocked by the Happy Booster review, but I think I love mine so much because I use my own brush with the product, and don't believe their wild claims that the plant extracts will actually make me happy; I bought it for the lovely color and shine, not the claims.  I was pleased that almost ALL Boots products had a rating of excellent; I have been loving everything I have bought from their entire line so far, and am so happy to hear it does live up to all of its claims!  

Especially after getting our start beauty blogging, I have pretty much given up my makeup snobbery, because I realize that so many companies own each other, and so many different products at a lower price are similar.  A lot of my product loyalty Clinique comes from the fact that I have been using their products forever, I trust that many of them work, and when working on a neutral or naturally beautiful type look, their colors work wonderfully.  I have had problems with a few of their products (A chemical peel product gave me a burn and a rash on my face, as well as my husbands') but they have always been very gracious about take returns on anything that doesn't work.  Lancome has a lot of my product loyalty because their eyeshadow and lipstick shades are vibrant and beautiful. A lot of department store brands have my loyalty simply because they are easily accessible in my area compared to other brands I love just as much (Benefit, Nars, etc) but they don't have their products readily available in my area.  For convenience sake, if I need a new foundation right NOW, I am not going to order one from Urban Decay, because I can't get their products easily- I'll go to the mall or the drugstore and purchase from one of those lines.

A lot of my product loyalty for Rimmel, NYC, Hard Candy, and L'Oreal, just to name a few, comes from the fact that their cheaper price point products work just as well as or better than some of my more expensive products.  I also love that they are readily available to me at 2-3 stores in my area.  If it's 10 pm on a Saturday night, and I want to try a Cover Girl product, I don't have to wait until tomorrow- I can go to Walmart or Walgreens and pick it right now!  And I can pick up 5 or 6 eyeshadows to try for the same price as 1 of my favorite Lancome shades.  

That being said, even if something is deemed a "rip off" by the Cosmetics Cop, sometimes it's fun to use anyways, and although similar products perform in similar ways at a cheaper price point, I just love to experiment and play, and occasionally I don't mind shelling out the extra cash.  But it's always nice to play with cheaper stuff that I love too, that works just as well.

Well that's my two cents, I hope you have gathered some worthwhile info from this blog post- I am really into educating myself about the brands that I use, and it's nice to know what I am actually spending my money on!

Yours in Beauty,

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