How We Do Reviews

How We Do Reviews

The guidelines and standards The Paula's Choice Research Team use to evaluate products make our reviews distinctly different from every other cosmetic product review site, and that's to your advantage.

Our criteria is primarily based on published medical and scientific research to help ensure you find the best products for your skin, not based on our personal feelings for a product, how much we love the packaging, how it worked for us, or the way it smells.

Every product we review is assigned a color-coded rating of either BEST, GOOD, AVERAGE, or POOR. Not surprisingly, products rated "BEST" and "GOOD" are recommended, while products rated "AVERAGE" are not as compelling and those rated "POOR" are not recommended.

Here are the most important factors we consider before reviewing a product:

Skincare Products

  • Given the ingredient list and based on published research can the product live up to any of its claims?
  • How does the product differ from similar types of products, including those that cost less or more?
  • If a special ingredient (or ingredients) are showcased, how much is actually in the product, and is there independent research verifying the claims for it?
  • Does the product contain problematic ingredients such as fragrances (natural or synthetic), problematic plants, topical irritants, or other questionable ingredients that could cause problems for your skin?
  • How farfetched are the product's claims? Even if the product is well formulated, lies don't make for good skincare.
  • 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, ineffective preservatives, or misleading ingredient lists?
  • Does the product have what it takes to become an important, beneficial part of your skin-care routine, with the goal being to take the best possible care of your skin?


Makeup products are evaluated in person and more subjectively than skin-care products with regard to the following traits:

  • Application
  • Texture and finish
  • Color selection (range of shades and their suitability for various skin tones)
  • How the product compares to similar products from 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, The Paula's Choice Research Team makes 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 one of four ratings: BEST, GOOD, AVERAGE, or POOR. We promise the information you'll find on this site will help you find the best products for your skin and save you money, though if you want to go for the pricier products, we'll tell you which ones are worth your money and which you should absolutely avoid!

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