Last night I plowed through the newly updated edition of Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, Paula Begoun's famous cosmetics bible
. (Yes, it's a big book, but I'm a very quick reader!) Begoun, known as the Cosmetics Cop, tests and reviews just about every single beauty product available. The seventh edition analyzes thousands of products, evaluating each for its effectiveness, texture, ingredients, and other fact-based properties.
If you're obsessed with beauty, this book is a must-buy; it'll pay for itself the first time it saves you from buying an ineffective product. Begoun isn't shy about ripping apart a lousy product, and she'll tell you when a cream or treatment is effective but overpriced. Her detailed descriptions of texture, scent, and other features of a product are invaluable; you'll never need to approach a makeup counter wondering whether a foundation will be too heavy again.
But there are some drawbacks to her approach, too. To find out where I disagree with Begoun,
As knowledgeable as Begoun is, I'm not crazy about some of her opinions. She hates shimmery eye shadows, for instance, and insists that nobody should ever wear bold colors such as blue, purple, or green. She also pours some major haterade on essential oils, arguing that most irritate or damage skin; while some can be irritating for sensitive skin, they're hardly the terrifying substances she claims them to be.
Then — and this is the biggest problem I have with the book — she reviews her own line of cosmetics. And of course, they're all fabulous. While the products might indeed be good, it makes me question her objectivity. This criticism isn't new, but it's worth mentioning.
Still, despite these nitpicks, the book is well worth buying. As an introduction to cosmetic basics, a product encyclopedia, or a thorough reference, it's tops.