There’s no worse feeling than arriving home from the store, products in tow only to find that they are, well, horrible. The gloss that’s too sticky. The eyeliner that is much more like a crayon than a fluid pen. One book that will hardly ever steer you wrong on choosing products is Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me by Paula Begoun.
Have a question about moisturizer you just bought? Want to know if you just blew $40 on something that promised to rejuvenate your skin and reduce wrinkles? Ask Paula. A good way of knowing what will be in there and what won’t is asking yourself, “Can I put this product on my face?” If the answer is yes, it will be in the book. So, for example, if you want to know about a hand cream or shampoo, it will not be in this particular book.
The rating system used in Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me is very easy to understand. While the author goes in depth on a few items, the rating system will tell you right off the bat if the item is worth buying. Unhappy face symbol? Steer clear. Happy face, alright! Happy face AND check mark and you’re in business.
Another useful feature I really like is found near the back of the book where every product type (moisturizers, moisturizers with SPF, etc) is listed by price (either under $15 or over $15). A recessionistas dream come true!
Okay, so this book isn’t without its criticism. Some disagree with her overall philosophies on certain products like under eye creams. I personally find it a conflict of interest that Begoun rates her own makeup lines at the highest level the ratings system can reward.
Another troubling fact I found about many makeup lines is that there are not many affordable cleansers or moisturizers made by companies that do not test on animals. This, certainly, is not Begoun’s fault but the fault of the beauty industry. I love animals and try, when I can, to not buy cosmetics produced by companies that test on animals. I have not found it hard to find superior cosmetics for under $15, but, when it comes to facial cleansers and sunscreens, it is very hard to find one by an affordable brand that does not harm animals.
What if you go through all your cosmetics and notice that they are all rated poorly? It happened to me. Don’t despair especially if this product works for you and your skin type. I, personally, chose to phase out certain products I owned once I replaced them with better rated products.
One major benefit you can get from this book is finding out if your makeup truly has SPF in it. Simply put, many products have the chemicals that could provide the protection, but they are not always formulated in a way that make the SPF active. I myself used a moisturizer by L’Oreal that advertised itself as SPF 15. Only a year later did I realize it actually had no SPF. Only 5% of the United States population wears sunscreen. Make sure yours REALLY works and wear it often!
Overall Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me is fabulous. If you don’t want to drop the $20+ bucks on it, I recommend getting it from your local library and taking it along with you to the cosmetics aisle. In the suburbs and less urban areas, many huge cosmetics retailers like Ulta are located near bookstores like Barnes and Noble. Pop in there and check out what you’re looking for that day. Remember, every year it becomes more outdated so you have to evaluate how much you’ll truly use it before you spend your hard earned money.