Paula Begoun

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Paula Begoun
Paula Beth Begoun

(1953-11-14) November 14, 1953 (age 68)
EducationNorthern Illinois University
OccupationCEO, author, radio host, and talk show personality

Paula Beth Begoun (born November 14, 1953), also known as "The Cosmetics Cop", is an American talk radio host, author, and businesswoman. She is the founder of Paula's Choice and Beginning Press Publishing.[1] She is known for her view that skin care and cosmetics should be based on ingredients that have been subjected to peer reviewed research.[2]


Begoun was born in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As a child, Begoun suffered from acne and eczema. She studied science at Northern Illinois University before moving to Washington D.C. in 1978 to work as a professional makeup artist and esthetician. Begoun then relocated to Washington, and opened her own cosmetics stores in Seattle in 1981, adding a business partner a short time later. In 1982, KIRO-TV in Seattle, Washington offered Begoun a consumer/feature reporter position, where she began reporting on the beauty industry as an investigative journalist. At that time she began working on her first book, Blue Eyeshadow Should be Illegal.[3]

Begoun had sold her business shares to her partner in 1984, and at the end of 1985 she self-published Blue Eye Shadow Should Be Illegal.[4] The book gained national attention, and resulted in the first of many appearances for Begoun on The Oprah Winfrey Show. She also began writing a syndicated column titled "Dear Paula," and received thousands of letters from women across the nation asking for specific information on various beauty products.[5][6] These requests inspired Begoun to write Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me. The first edition was published in 1992.

In 2008, Begoun created, an online version of Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me. The site is a product review database that claims to cover over 45,000 products from more than 300 brands.

In the early 1990s, Begoun began work with a team of cosmetic chemists to develop her own line of cosmetics and skin-care products. She claims that her products offer results based on published, peer-reviewed research, and that her extensive research of the cosmetic industry provided her with the expertise necessary to develop these formulations.[7] In 1995, Begoun began selling her products online. This has led some consumers to question the objectivity of her product reviews. As counter to these concerns, Begoun claims that Paula's Choice is one of the only companies that recommends products other than their own.[8][9][10]

Begoun remains a consultant for dermatologists, plastic surgeons, major cosmetics companies, news and industry insiders.[11][12][13][14] She positions herself as an internationally recognized authority and consumer advocate for the cosmetics and hair-care industries, and routinely appears on news and talk shows, including CNN,[15] Oprah,[16] The Dr. Oz Show,[17] and The View.[18][19]


Begoun is a self-published author of 18 books on the beauty industry, most notably Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, The Original Beauty Bible and Blue Eyeshadow Should Be Illegal. Her books have received international recognition,[20][21][22] have sold nearly three million copies, and have been translated into eight languages.[23][24]

Radio show[edit]

Previously, Begoun has run a podcast with topics centered on cosmetics, skin and hair care. The show also covered current beauty industry news, "myth-busting", best and worst products, and hosts special guests including dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons.[25] Listeners are invited to call in with questions for Begoun or her co-hosts, and each show includes product giveaways to callers. As of 2013, the radio show is on an indefinite hiatus.


  • The Best Places to Kiss in Northern California
  • The Best Places to Kiss in Southern California
  • The Best Places to Kiss in The Northwest
  • The Best Places to Kiss in New York City
  • Blue Eyeshadow Should Be Illegal (1985)
  • Blue Eyeshadow Should Absolutely Be Illegal (1991)
  • The Beauty Bible (1997)
  • The Complete Beauty Bible (2004)
  • The Original Beauty Bible: Skin Care Facts for Ageless Beauty (2009)
  • Don't Go Shopping for Hair Care Products Without Me (1st edition 1995; final edition 2004)
  • Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me (1st Edition, 1991; currently in its 9th edition, 2012)
  • The Best Skin of Your Life Starts Here: Busting Beauty Myths so You Know What to Use And Why (2015)
  • 40 Beauty Myths Busted: What Really Works for Clear, Younger-Looking Skin (2018)


  1. ^ Beginning Press Publishing
  2. ^ About Paula’s Choice Skin Care and Cosmetics
  3. ^ Begoun, Paula (January 1, 2004). The Complete Beauty Bible: The Ultimate Guide to Smart Beauty. Rodale. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-57954-999-2. Retrieved March 23, 2014.
  4. ^ Self-Publishing-Hall-of-Fame-Bs Self Publishers Hall of Fame: The Bs: Blue Eyeshadow Should be Illegal, 1st ed. 1985
  5. ^ NT Times Daily News: Dear Paula Column Archived August 9, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Augusta Chronicle: Dear Paula Column
  7. ^ About Paula’s Experience
  8. ^ "Paula Begoun The Cosmetics Cop: Friend or Foe to the Skincare Consumer?". Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  9. ^ " reviews". Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  10. ^ "Makeup Alley product reviews". Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  11. ^ Quenqua, Douglas (June 2, 2010). "'Jersey Shore,' Without the Sun". The New York Times. Retrieved March 22, 2014.
  12. ^ The Denver Post, December 12, 2009: Fashion's look-back decade
  13. ^ LA Times, June13, 2010: Brush Up at the Makeup Counter
  14. ^ Salon, January 18, 2010: Hype in a Jar
  15. ^ CNN: Live From the Headlines Show Transcripts, June 17, 2003
  16. ^ The Oprah Winfrey Show, November 11, 2008
  17. ^ The Dr. Oz Show, May 10, 2010
  18. ^ The View, Nov. 11, 2008 Archived June 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, November 2008]
  19. ^ Nellie Cashman Business Women of the Year Archived October 2, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ NT Times Daily News: Dear Paula Column
  21. ^ Montreal Gazette Online: Q & A with Paula Begoun Archived August 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ Interview with Cosmetic Critic Paula Begoun
  23. ^ "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, 2010 Press Release". Archived from the original on March 26, 2010. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
  24. ^ Paula Begoun: The Cosmetic Cop
  25. ^ Paula’s Radio Show

External links[edit]