What We're Working On

Airdate: 2/28/14

In this special show, Cosmetics Cop Paula Begoun and her longtime co-writer Bryan Barron sit share what’s new at Paula’s Choice! Also, they chat about why the cosmetics industry is universally crazy, how fashion magazines can mislead, and how the work we do will help you make better decisions when shopping for cosmetics. Paula and Bryan also answer several questions from our readers. This show is a fabulous mix of great info you shouldn’t miss!

Paula Begoun: Hello. I’m Paula Begoun, the Cosmetics Cop, here with my co-writer and research director, Bryan Barron. We are the bestselling authors of “Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me,” because we have sold millions of books. We’re very proud of that. We’re here to keep you beautifully informed so you can make the best decisions about everything from skincare, to makeup, hair care, Botox, cosmetic surgery. You name it. We’ll discuss it. Tell you the truth and take your questions on our Facebook page.
00:00:28 Today we’re going to be talking about what are the Cosmetics Cop up to, mostly me. We’re going to talk mostly - but I want to know what is up with Bryan, too. We’ve been busy. We’re working on stuff. We want to tell you what that is. And, you know, I’ve been thinking a lot, Bryan, about our intro as I’ve been reading it while we’ve been taping. You know, one of the things about telling the truth is that what we’re really doing, because we’re telling you what the published research, what we know, what is physiologically possible.
00:01:13 We’re not telling you that this plant gets rid of fat, because it can’t. There’s no research saying it can. That this ingredient is going to make you look 30 years younger. We’re not going to tell you some technology. And notice, everyone, that the technology comes and goes, right? The product last year was supposed to make you 50 years younger, and now the next one is supposed to, and the next one. They launch ones all the time.
00:01:39 And the last one is better, even though they told you it was the best one, now the new one is the best one.
Bryan Barron: Right.
Paula Begoun: So, what we do is tell you the truth about what the research says. And then as the research changes, because it does, then what the current knowledge base is, we will update you.
00:02:01 But it is never going to be based on what a group of marketing sales people want you to believe that is based on nothing but what they’re making it up as they go. And the ridiculous things we’re buying into, because a celebrity has said it, or a fashion magazine has said it, despite the fact that it’s paid advertising, we’re going to cut through all that. And we’ve been doing - well, I’ve been doing it for, I don’t know, 30 years. Oh my god.
00:02:30 And you’ve been doing it for 14 years, going on 15. It is our passion. It is our mission. It is what we do. And for example, there are a couple of studies I wanted to mention. And I know, the Cosmetics Cops are going to be talking about sunscreen again…one more time. I know you guys are all tired of us ranting and carrying on about it. But it’s interesting, despite our carrying on about it, because we will continue carrying on about it, because it is one of the major, major things that’s aging skin.
00:03:03 Not to mention causing skin cancer and actually research showing that it can foment other forms of cancer. There was a research paper done that showed that most dermatologists, most physicians actually don’t recommend sunscreen. Now, 86% of dermatologists do, but not - maybe on their website, and maybe in their papers, but during your dermatology visit, while you’re there, only 1.6% of dermatologists will mention sunscreen to their patients.
00:03:48 Despite the abundant research that they’ve done, that they talk about, that is in dermatology journals all over the place about its benefit, about how UV causes cancer, ultra violet radiation from the sun, both the sun burning rays, the UVB, the UVA skin damaging /collagen destroying mutating rays of the sun, that’s their research. Despite that, this paper…
Bryan Barron: And they see the effects of it every day. Their patients presenting with skin cancers and actinic keratosis, and other…
Paula Begoun: Or they’re doing cosmetic corrective procedures on to reduce the effects of wrinkling, and on and on.
Bryan Barron: Right.
00:04:29 So the study said what?
Paula Begoun: The study said that there were 18 billion patient visits to physicians between 1989 and 2010. So, this would be between 1989 and 2010, 18 billion people saw physicians, but less than 0.07% of those visits resulted in any doctor mentioning sunscreen.
00:05:02 Can you take that? I know, it’s just shocking.
Bryan Barron: I had to pause there. Even though I knew what was coming, when I hear that statistic it just…
Paula Begoun: So, other than us wailing on and on, really, when you think about, because most cosmetic companies hide their sunscreens.
Bryan Barron: Oh totally!
Paula Begoun: Or don’t have many. They have…
Bryan Barron: Or they call it a Lifting Day Cream. And then that SPF is in little tiny numbers.
Paula Begoun: And their sunscreens are really set off as sun protection, as if it’s only about sitting in the sun on a beach, or on an outdoor day.
Bryan Barron: Right.
00:05:35 Right. This is something you only need a few times during the year, and the rest of the year you can put it in a cabinet and forget about it.
Paula Begoun: The number of times you’re at a cosmetic counter where the salesperson is going to comment on using sunscreen, you can - I mean, I can’t even remember the last time I was told a sunscreen was important. In fact, most cosmetic companies, especially new ones, often have maybe one sunscreen.
00:06:00 Not even for different skin types. Just one sunscreen.
Bryan Barron: Just one!
Paula Begoun: If they have any. It’s shocking. Now, the good news, so that’s the bad news is doctors are not telling patients about sun protection, which is just bizarre, because it’s just bad medicine. It’s bad cosmetic medicine and it’s bad health medicine given the risk of skin cancer because of sun exposure, unprotected sun exposure.
00:06:27 But there was an interesting study that I find incredible. So, we know, this was published in a science journal called Photochemistry and Photobiology Science, January 2013. So, we know that UVA damage is serious stuff. That the SPF number on a sunscreen is only about sun burn, how long you can stay in the sun without burning.
00:07:03 And prior to 1997, this is what this review talked about, only 5% of sunscreen in the United States contained - this doesn’t talk about other countries this review. But, just from my own experience I know that this was true globally. Only 5% of sunscreens from 1997 had only 6% actually had UVA protecting ingredients.
00:07:34 So, that means you could sit in the sun and not get burnt, but you would have nothing on your skin to protect you from UVA damage. So, you might not get a sunburn, but you would be getting insidious skin damaging, skin cancer causing damage from the UVA rays because the sunscreen you were using didn’t contain UVA protecting ingredients.
00:07:58 Now, the good news is, this study went up to 2009.
Bryan Barron: Okay.
Paula Begoun: And I’m sure it’s even greater now with the new regulations that are going on around UVA protection, more than 70% of sunscreens have UVA protecting ingredients. And I’m fairly certain that if they were to do a current review, it would be more like 80% to 90%, because in order now with US regulations and Australian regulations and European regulations, that they’re now trying to rate the UVA protecting value of the sunscreens. So, it’s got to be up there in terms of…
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
00:08:40 And just based on the number, we continue to review regular sunscreens from the neck down, and then facial moisturizers with sunscreens, and it’s the rare product, maybe every now and then from L’Oreal, which is continually infuriating because we know they know better.
Paula Begoun: Right. Because they’ve patented one of the UVA protecting ingredients.
Bryan Barron: And do they use that in all their products? No!
Paula Begoun: Isn’t that something?
Bryan Barron: Absolutely shocking. But other than L’Oreal continuing to produce the occasional lacking sunscreen, they’re god.
Paula Begoun: Right.
Bryan Barron: You’re getting that - because especially with word getting out about the whole broad spectrum and what that means now and consumers are wising up, they’re looking for those ingredients.
000:09:23 So, it is in the company’s best interest, because otherwise consumers know that’s not going to be - it’s like the message is out there.
Paula Begoun: Right. It is the rare - actually it still is shocking about L’Oreal and Lancôme, but yeah, it’s better than it’s ever been. And it’s not that there aren’t still, oh my gosh, still companies that drive us crazy.
Bryan Barron: You still need us. You still need us to help you navigate this.
Paula Begoun: Actually that’s really, you know, maybe what the cosmetics cops are up to, what are research team is up to is that because the industry is still just as crazy as ever…
Bryan Barron: As ever!
Paula Begoun: I mean, again, it’s not that there aren’t great products and some real steps forward in water soluble cleansers, in terms of textures of products, but unfortunately what we will continue doing while the industry still tries to sell you products in jars and sell you products with irritating ingredients, sell you products with no ingredients that really have any benefit for skin, dated formulas, don’t use current state-of-the-art research to make their products.
00:10:31 We still have a job.
Bryan Barron: We do.
Paula Begoun: We’re not giving it up. And it’s what we love doing. We all on our team have a passion for it.
Bryan Barron: So I’ve recently, just in the last six months or so, started doing more media.
Paula Begoun: Bryan is a rock star!
Bryan Barron: Filling in. Doing satellite tours and some local shows and what not. And I would think that after all of the years that you’ve been doing this, that -
00:11:00 Because I’ve essentially done a lot of the same shows and gigs that would have you on.
Paula Begoun: Mm-hmm.
Bryan Barron: And they know the history there. And they’re still asking the same questions.
Paula Begoun: The same questions. The same questions.
Bryan Barron: And the same questions that you would get like ten years ago. “When do I throw out a product out? What’s the difference between AHA and BHA?” There’s just certain questions that just never seem to go away.
Paula Begoun: Actually, you know, what I’ve said is I’ve done lectures and media presentations around the world and have for years, thousands and thousands of interviews, is it didn’t really matter where I went, you know, from Indonesia, Jakarta, to Paris, to Seoul, to Beijing, to Toronto, to Mexico City. Wherever I went, because the cosmetics industry is so universally crazy, I get asked the same questions all the time.
00:11:54 And some of it is because we’re just us. And what we say and the research we use and the knowledge base we call from, because we’re not just making it up as we go. We cite our research. We’re telling you what the facts are. But because the cosmetics industry spends billions of dollars, because fashion magazine support the cosmetics industry insanity, they rarely write what we have to say. I mean, rarely if ever. Then you’re stuck getting bad information repeatedly. And it hits you over the head between infomercials and fashion magazines.
Bryan Barron: What your friend said.
Paula Begoun: And TV.
00:12:34 The salesperson. Your friends. Even doctors. I know we all think, “Well they must know.” We are shocked at the bad information and the bad products that dermatologists and plastic surgeons often sell. So, and I just lost my train of thought. What point was I trying to make? Something about what we do. Where was I going with that, Bryan? I don’t remember.
Bryan Barron: I think you were going to say that no matter where you are in the world, which group of consumers you’re talking to…
Paula Begoun: Oh, why we get - I remember. Thank you.
00:13:01 I do, I go off. So, the point being is the reason I think we get asked the same questions over and over is because the information, the wrong, bald-faced lying or just unaware information that you get is just stunning. And you need us. You need us because you’re making - without us, people say to me all the time, well what can a consumer do?
00:13:26 And you will get, by the way, when you’re out there with the media and they’ll say to you, “So, what can a consumer do?” And I’m thinking, well, I can give you some high points. I can say natural doesn’t mean better. I can say don’t use jar packaging. I can say don’t waste money on an eye cream. But those are the headlines. The depth of information about what to do for the eye area. What - if you’re not using a jar, what do you use? And what should be in that product? And there isn’t one miracle ingredient. And what if you have Eczema? What if you have Rosacea?
00:13:56 They always say, well what should everybody do? Well, everybody shouldn’t do anything the same. I mean, again, there are some headlines. Gentle ingredients. Products loaded with antioxidants. But from there, you know, if you have acne you don’t do the same thing if you have Eczema. You don’t do the same thing if you have Psoriasis. So, it’s complicated and there isn’t a way to sum it up, which is why “Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me” is almost always over 1,000 pages and Beautypedia has hundreds of lines on it and all our articles is because we want you to know.
00:14:33 So, what we’re up to…
Bryan Barron: We just passed 300. Can you believe that?
Paula Begoun: 300 line reviews.
Bryan Barron: 300 line reviews on Beautypedia. And we still get numerous request every day from brands, some of which we are planning to review. For example, Michael Todd Organics. You’ve spoken loud and clear…
Paula Begoun: Michael Todd came out with a line of products.
Bryan Barron: I don’t know who this Michael Todd is exactly…
Paula Begoun: He’s a designer.
Bryan Barron: Is he?
Paula Begoun: Isn’t he?
00:14:59 Well, okay, we’ll review it and then we’ll tell you. We’re just starting to look at it now.
Bryan Barron: Yeah. There’s just so many. It boggles my mind.
Paula Begoun: Well, and then that Victoria Secret model we were just talking about. The line we just put up.
Bryan Barron: Kora Organics. Yeah.
Paula Begoun: Yeah, it’s endless. The new lines and the new promises and the new claims and the new insanity that you get hit with all the time. So, what the Cosmetics Cops are up to, our research team is to constantly let you know what’s going on and what the truth is and what the research says is possible and not possible. What people are making up.
00:15:35 What will go away in a short period of time, because it’s some trend that won’t last, or it’s a trend that might last, but shouldn’t last? That’s our job.
Bryan Barron: So, Paula, what’s been going on with you personally? Any news to share? Any new procedures you’re thinking of or…?
Paula Begoun: Well, okay. So, personally…
Bryan Barron: I know you’ve been having a love affair with one of our new products, but you can get to that in a minute.
Paula Begoun: Are you talking about the vitamin C?
Bryan Barron: I am.
Paula Begoun: Oh god.
00:16:05 Yeah, okay. So, let me start just personally. My love affair with the main in my life, who I’ve been with - we have our six year anniversary coming up in December. We met on He’s American, but born and raised in Mumbai, India. He’s a Bollywood guy. His family has a long history in Bollywood.
00:16:31 A very well known grandfather who has since passed, but was a Bollywood producer, director, so he’s a film guy, business guy, attorney. Interesting guy. Tall, good-looking guy. I love him. Still love him. He drives me crazy sometimes, but mostly not. And I’m doing good. I’m turning 60 in November 14, depending on when you’re listening to this. It’s 2013, November 14.
Bryan Barron: 6-0!
Paula Begoun: 6-0. Damn.
00:17:06 I don’t even relate to it. I don’t know where the sixty years went. I don’t know how I got to 60, but thank god I’m here, still doing my work. I bought a house in Hawaii recently. Have been spending more time in Hawaii doing things more remotely. Still involved with, I mean, totally involved with my company in terms of product development, and research, and writing.
00:17:31 What I don’t have to do anymore is deal with budgets and employees other than the ones that I deal with directly and adore. And I’m just an employee now and love my team.
Bryan Barron: And we have grown tremendously.
Paula Begoun: Tremendously.
Bryan Barron: Thanks to everyone who is listening who has been using Paula’s Choice products, telling your friends and family about Paula’s Choice. If you haven’t used Paula’s Choice yet, I suspect that you will want to eventually because…
Paula Begoun: Hopefully!
Bryan Barron: …we think incredibly highly of the products.
00:18:02 And we’re the only cosmetics company in the world - that we’re aware of - that routinely recommends products other than our own. And you can find that information out on the exact same website that you would come to to buy Paula’s Choice products. But it is - we are where we are today for many reasons, not the least of which is the number of wonderful customers we have and they are truly our brand advocates.
00:18:29 In person. Online. In social media. So, thank you.
Paula Begoun: Thank you.
Bryan Barron: For discovering us and for not keeping quiet about it.
Paula Begoun: Yeah, really.
Bryan Barron: And for keeping us on our toes. For keeping us…
Paula Begoun: Challenging us.
Bryan Barron: Challenging us. Making sure that we keep it real.
Paula Begoun: Questions. Absolutely.
00:18:46 I think that one of the things as the line has expanded and we’ve incorporated ingredients based on published research about what ingredients can do for skin. One of the things that Paula’s Choice has been doing, which I’ve been loving because I’m a research person. I live on medical and science journals and what they say. And getting confirmation on the physiology of skin. And what ingredients do. And what research makes sense, because a lot of research is often just - as we all know - funded by the companies making the products.
00:19:26 So, you have to look at the study very carefully. But one of the things we’ve been doing is something called - we call targeted treatments. And that’s been new for us. Where we look at a specific ingredient for a specific problem as a booster. For example, the new one that Bryan was alluding to that I am very fond of and have seen results that I actually wasn’t expecting. I mean, maybe I was expecting, but even with research, not everything works for everybody.
Bryan Barron: Right.
Paula Begoun: But our Resist…
Bryan Barron: And you’re a stickler.
00:20:06 You have your products that you love…
Paula Begoun: I have the products that I love.
Bryan Barron: And it’s very hard to get you to stray from those or to try something new.
Paula Begoun: Right. Right.
Bryan Barron: So, as many new products as we offer, that all of us are like, Ooh, how can I rotate that in? Oh, I want to try this. You’re just like, “Nope, I want my Skin Balancing Cleanser.”
Paula Begoun: I’m not that person.
Bryan Barron: “My Skin Balancing Toner. My 2% BHA liquid.”
Paula Begoun: You know, I think for me, because I had acne, and it’s only recently that it’s so reduced and blackheads, and sensitive skin, I have very reactive skin.
00:20:42 And I could put something on and get a reaction. Plus, I know that we don’t formulate products based on our own reaction. Now, we get excited about our products, and we do have benefit. Many of us, almost everybody in the company uses - actually, I would say almost everybody uses Paula’s Choice. And we love the results.
00:21:05 But I would never base a formulation, a decision to finally launch a formulation based on the fact that we love it. The research has to be behind the ingredients we’re using.
Bryan Barron: Oh, unequivocally.
Paula Begoun: And we do panel testing. We do sensitivity and irritation testing. All of our products are clinically proven to be non-irritated.
00:21:27 We test on real women, outside of our company, at least a panel of between 30 and 50, for them to tell us if they like it, they don’t like it. We go back to the drawing board.
Bryan Barron: It has to meet a certain standard of excellence, not only before it leaves to get to the point of panel testing, but there have been instances where we’ve panel tested products that we thought were just wonderful and so excited about. And then the panel tests come back and it’s just like letting the air out of a balloon.
Paula Begoun: Right.
Bryan Barron: At a kid’s birthday party.
Paula Begoun: Right.
Bryan Barron: It’s like, Argh!
Paula Begoun: Back to the drawing board.
Bryan Barron: Because we will not push forward with it.
Paula Begoun: We’ve been reformulating a product for a very long time, for many different reasons. I’m a little chagrined to say this. And I’m not going to tell anybody which product it is, because it’s not going to be ready for another year because we have the formulary, like you said.
00:22:18 We have to test it. We’re fairly certain it will test well, but you know, until we get the testing back we don’t know. We’ve been working on this for ten years. I think maybe even longer, but I don’t even want to say that. And I don’t know why it’s taken - sometimes certain products are just more difficult than others. I mean, some products we’ve been working on for four and five years. And sometimes we just give it up. We go, you know, we’re never going to get this stable. It’s never going to perform the way we want. We don’t get why this one product has taken so long. We know we can do it, which is why we haven’t given it up, but to find the formulator who can make it go through…
00:22:57 But the point here is that our standard of excellence and our - the research and what the Cosmetics Cop team does and our product development team does is really significant to how we tell you and finally get you a product. So, even though personally I think the Resist C-15, which is our Super Booster that we recently launched, is phenomenal, light, gentle, can mix with any other product you’re using. It is weightless. It is 15% vitamin C.
00:23:30 The research about vitamin C and what it can do to lighten skin discolorations, even out skin is pretty significant. That research has actually been around a long time. It’s hard to get a high amount of vitamin C stable in a formula to make it so that it is weightless, to make it so that it is anti-irritating. So, this Resist C-15 Super Booster, when we finally panel tested it, exceeded what we expected. And we just launched it recently.
00:24:03 So, one of the things we’re working on are these specially targeted products like our Resist C-15 Super Booster. We’re doing a 1% Retinol product that we’re hoping to launch. It tested in - oh, wait, what? Why is Nathan laughing? What did I do? Oh no! I let the cat out of the bag? We’ll give them a sneak preview? Why, because it won’t be ready for awhile. We’re in stability testing. Is that…?
00:24:32 They’re going to kill us. I’m sorry.
Bryan Barron: Well, you know…
Pau la Begoun: We do have the 0.5%.
Bryan Barron: It’s exciting and we’ve got some great retinol products in the line already.
Paula Begoun: Right.
Bryan Barron: And, honestly, this 1% retinol product, which is going to be in our new Clinical line, which is a whole other discussion.
Paula Begoun: Right.
Bryan Barron: This 1% retinol product is not going to be for everyone.
Paula Begoun: That’s true.
Bryan Barron: And not everyone, I mean, we’ve got people on our staff that can’t use it, or that can only use it…
Paula Begoun: Well, I can use Retin-A, I can’t use any form.
00:25:01 Well, I can use small percentages, very small percentages of retinol. But I can’t use higher percentages of retinol.
Bryan Barron: What’s interesting about the Resist C-15 is that it tends, so far, it really tends to be compatible with all skin types.
Paula Begoun: Yes. That is what we’re seeing. And that’s what our research results told us.
Bryan Barron: And you’ve been using it. You mentioned that you had a stubborn brown spot near your temple area?
Paula Begoun: Temple. On the left area.
00:25:27 It’s very typical in the United States or in Western countries where they drive on the left hand - you’re driving - your left side is more exposed. You’re next to the window and you get more hit by UV, that the left side of your face ages faster because of sun exposure than the right side, where your face would be less, you know, not next to a window. So, yeah, I had a stubborn, because I don’t have many brown spots on my face. And I had a stubborn brown spot, and it has lightened significantly. It’s not gone, but it has lightened - specifically - and I can’t use hydroquinone. I get a reaction to hydroquinone.
00:26:03 So, this has been great. Now, I haven’t tried our Pure Radiance. Now, I’m dying of curiosity. Our Pure Radiance tested beautifully. It has a very interesting array of skin lightening ingredients that inhibit melanin production. Now, like I said, I’m always reluctant to add a product now.
Bryan Barron: Oh, try cocktailing that.
Paula Begoun: Yeah
00:26:25 Well, of course, and that is a philosophy of Paula’s Choice that sometimes that combination of ingredients is finally what will do it. You can’t stick everything into one product. Especially high concentrations of certain ingredients. And so that’s one of the reasons we came out with the targeted treatments and the booster as our formularies. And the research, some of it - what we’re doing is the research is just so much more advanced and specific. And then we decide that we’re going to incorporate it and see if we can make it better, more stable, based on what the research says now that there is this very specific kind of view around skincare and the specific ingredients that can do some things that are unique.
00:27:11 Not for wrinkles, and not for - because it takes a cocktail of ingredients to deal with wrinkles and collagen production. But, for certain things like retinol and vitamin C and skin lightening, there’s very specific ingredients for that. also for scar reducing. Our scar reducing that is in our clinical line, which was a phenomenal effort in terms of putting together - I know that everybody knows of the product called Mederma that uses onion extract.
Bryan Barron: Ah, Mederma.
Paula Begoun: And, you know, there is research, there’s definitely research about onion extract as being helpful for scars. There’s no question about it. But it’s a one-note product. Mederma definitely contains this ingredient. There is research it has showing it improves scar formation.
00:28:00 However, there’s also abundant research showing that there’s other ingredients that have incredible results for scar healing. And that’s what we have put into our scar reducing serum is our cocktail approach where we put in the best researched ingredients. And we used quercetin which is the ingredient in the onion extract that actually has the potential for skin lightening.
Bryan Barron: The active compound.
Paula Begoun: The active compound in the onion extract.
00:28:33 So, we used quercetin along with other ingredients. So, we’re doing more targeted formularies that I find fascinating and the research about them fascinating. And my team that has looked at other products, and then product development, and then the research, it’s - it’s better than ever before. It’s more exciting. More challenging.
00:28:58 Our standards of the way we evaluate and make sure we do - how we go about things is much more sophisticated than ever before. I’m more excited to be part of the content and product development process. Yeah. Just phenomenal. I’m very proud of what we do. Very proud. And I can easily say, given we’ve looked at almost every other product on the market.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
Paula Begoun: That without question, ours are - as I so boldly state this - are as good if not better than almost every other, I mean, in the world of excellent products, our are not only as good if not better than the best of the best.
00:29:41 I’m very proud of what we do. So, having said that, let’s take some questions so I don’t wax too much more poetic. I’ll start crying.
Bryan Barron: We have some questions from the Paula’s Choice Facebook page. And if you are a user of all the major social media, you will find us on Instagram. You’ll find us on Twitter. You can follow us and ask questions that way. We’re on Google+. I think those are all the big ones. Oh, Pinterest. We’re on Pinterest, too. If you are down with the Pinterest thing and like doing all the boards and what not, we’ve got some cool stuff going on there.
00:30:13 But the Facebook page is the epicenter of our social media. And so we’re going to take some questions from our fans. And, Paula, the first one is from Marguerite. She wants to know does skin need to be dry before application of your BHA lotion, or can it still be moist from the toner?
Paula Begoun: Oh, god. That is such a good question.
00:30:35 I thought actually, and it’s kind of funny. Where I thought the question was going is does your skin need to be moist from the shower. Because it used to be thought when you put on moisturizer that it was helpful to put it on damp skin. And it isn’t. Water actually in of itself doesn’t absorb all that well. What skincare is really about is keeping a balance of the water in your skin. Skin is about 30% water.
00:31:07 So, saturating with water doesn’t help. It’s keeping its natural water homeostasis, it’s natural water balance, but that’s not what she’s asking. She’s asking is it okay to apply it over the toner. Now, because our toners contain very elegant, state-of-the-art ingredients, antioxidants, skin-identical ingredients, there’s no problem putting it on over it.
00:31:35 I don’t actually do it that way. I do wait for my toner to absorb, simply because I prefer the way that feels.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
Paula Begoun: But if you put it on while your skin is wet, the major thing I don’t want you to do is over rubbing it into the skin so it’s absorbing more into your fingers than it is into your face, or you’re pulling at your face more, pulling at the skin on a repetitive basis does break down elastin.
00:32:02 And you don’t want to do that. So, if you are putting your moisturizer, Marguerite, over your toner before it’s dry, then you have to let that absorb into and not over rub it in. Is that - do you think that answers it?
Bryan Barron: Yeah. I do.
Paula Begoun: Cool.
Bryan Barron: So, Patricia wants to know, “Why do I need to use toner? Seriously. I’m now 50, but I look 40, thanks to your products in part, but is this really essential? And if so, should I pat it on or use a pad to apply it as the pad drags on my skin?”
Paula Begoun: So, boy, do we get asked this question.
Bryan Barron: Pretty much every day. Ha!
Paula Begoun: Ha! I do think toner is essential. It’s not that you can’t have great results without it. I think that you will - I think it’s at least worth trying to add it in to your skincare routine after you cleanse, because I do think you will notice an improvement that you’re not experiencing without using it.
00:33:07 I think that it’s worth it to buy it once, give it a try, and see if it really does boost the results you have in terms of your skin texture, your skin appearance, depending on which one you use, the Moisture Boost for normal to dry skin. Skin Balancing with niacinamide for blemishes and blackheads. So, I think, or the Resist Toner which is loaded with specialty antioxidants. So, I think it’s worth it.
00:33:39 I do believe that what you do after you cleanse your skin with a toner is very different than what you do with a moisturizer. Even if it’s loaded with the same ingredients. There is something about a water base or different glycol-based toners that add a dimension to skincare by removing the last traces of makeup. I do think there is a synergistic effect - I know that’s an overused word, synergistic, but our toners are loaded with ingredients that deliver to skin differently. And a water base versus a moisturizing base versus a serum base.
00:34:16 I do think after you use a cleanser, what a toner does to remove last traces of makeup, restores skin balance from the cleanser is a big deal. But, you have to try it to see if I’m right. If I’m not right, then just go back to not using it, but I’m pretty certain you will find a benefit, Patricia, and it’s worth trying.
Bryan Barron: I notice a difference when I don’t use a toner.
Paula Begoun: I notice a difference when I don’t.
Bryan Barron: For example, this past summer when I was on vacation, away for a good week, I didn’t pack my toner because I thought, you know, I’m just going to kind of pare down.
Paula Begoun: One last thing not to have to bother with.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
00:34:54 And day three or four into the trip, I missed it.
Paula Begoun: You missed it.
Bryan Barron: And I noticed my skin wasn’t behaving quite as well.
Paula Begoun: Actually, my strong feeling is that you could forgo your moisturizer and have better results just using the toner. So, if you were thinking you wanted to pare down, now this is my toners, because I know that they contain very state-of-the-art ingredients. But for me, I use my Moisture Boost Cream around my eyes, but on my face I almost always use during the day my toner.
00:35:33 I’m not one to use a serum on a regular basis under my makeup. So, if anything, I think you could forgo - I mean, put a moisturizer, an emollient moisturizer around your eyes, but on your face, I actually think, Patricia, it might be wise to see if you wanted to give up something, I think you could give up putting a moisturizer all over your face and just use, say, depending on your skin type, the Skin Balancing Toner or the Resist Toner, or the Moisture Boost Toner and see what results you get.
Bryan Barron: Okay.
00:36:02 So, Trish, we’re going from Patricia to Trish, Trish says, “I keep hearing about antioxidants killing the effectiveness of benzoyl peroxide and vice versa. What’s the truth?”
Paula Begoun: What is that? It is because peroxide is an oxidizer and if you don’t, antioxidants would stop the oxidation process. That must be the thinking.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
00:36:26 So, in other words, I’ve got acne, I’m putting on my benzoyl peroxide product. I know that part of the reason benzoyl peroxide works is because it releases that extra oxygen molecule.
Paula Begoun: Right.
Bryan Barron: Which is great for killing acne causing bacteria, but not the best for protecting skin from free radicals. So, then I put my serum on top and the concern is by putting those antioxidants on top of the oxidant, am I going to lose the benefit of both?
Paula Begoun: You know, I get the theory. It just…and I can’t speak to the physiology of the two, but what I can speak to is what the research says. And the research simply doesn’t say that other skincare products, other than retinol, other than tretinoins that you don’t use at the same time, but other than that, I don’t know of any research that says one blocks the other.
00:37:18 You’ve got to keep in mind that benzoyl peroxide also works in part as an anti-inflammatory. It has different actions than just oxidation. I mean, oxidizing, adding, because acne-causing bacteria are, the term is they’re an anaerobic bacteria. They don’t live outside of the pore where air doesn’t get to it. So, having said that, because air isn’t getting to it, then it has its ability to kill the air-causing bacteria. But it also exerts other activity to kill the bacteria.
00:37:59 My initial reaction is to say I haven’t seen any research that says it causes inactivity, antioxidants cause benzoyl peroxide to be inactive. However, if you’re concerned, some of it is your face will tell you. If you’re not getting benefit from benzoyl peroxide, you might want to take a look at letting it dry completely before you put your antioxidant on. Because benzoyl peroxide works rather instantaneous to do what it does.
00:38:28 Because it’s unstable just by its nature. Oxidation is a very unstable process and doesn’t last very long. But, having said that, I don’t see the research that says it’s a problem. And because of the way we formulate our products and the way we’ve done our internal research, I haven’t seen anybody say that benzoyl peroxide doesn’t work when I use these products with antioxidants. If anything, please keep this in mind. Part of what causes acne is that acne is an inflammatory disorder.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
Paula Begoun: So, if you didn’t use antioxidants, antioxidants are anti-inflammatory ingredients by their nature. So, part of what works to heal acne, to heal acne wounds, the red marks left over from acne, even if you’re good about not over-squeezing and picking, which you absolutely should not do.
00:39:29 You should only use our comedone extractor. That you can’t hope to reduce the damage that acne causes and reduce acne lesions without adding antioxidants to skin. So, one is I haven’t seen any results internally in our organization, or in the research that says that antioxidants block benzoyl peroxide and if anything we know that the research is very clear that it improves the condition of skin and reduces inflammation from acne and helps healing.
Bryan Barron: Okay.
00:40:01 Susan has a question that I’ve seen a few times before. And it harkens back to a show that we recorded earlier today about using prescription topical products in your skincare routine. But she says, “The instructions on my tretinoin say to apply to dry skin 15 minutes after washing. You never talk about this. It’s hard to comply with these directions. What am I sacrificing?”
Paula Begoun: Why 15 minutes? Ha!
Bryan Barron: So, I can get this started. My thinking on this, because I…
Paula Begoun: I haven’t heard this before.
Bryan Barron: I used tretinoin back in the day when I was dealing with some acne.
00:40:38 And I was still a teenager. And I believe that that instruction is still there because of the dermatologist’s recommendation to wash with soap.
Paula Begoun: Oh. So, was that there back then?
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
Paula Begoun: So, that same recommendation when you were a kid…
Bryan Barron: Must still be going on now.
Paula Begoun: Like 20 years ago?
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
Paula Begoun: Ooh!
Bryan Barron: Where they assume that you’re going to use a harsh cleanser.
00:41:07 You’re going to disrupt that…
Paula Begoun: But even so, but even so, if you use a harsh cleanser, 15 minutes ain’t fixing much. It’s a high pH, but I don’t know how a high pH, I don’t know what pH tretinoin. I don’t get it. The pH thing that was 20 years ago, like your skin has to be back to its pH level, nowadays most people are using products that aren’t pH damaging and they’re neutral, if anything.
Bryan Barron: Right.
00:41:38 Right.
Paula Begoun: I can’t think of another reason to wait. However, you can’t use soap and use tretinoin, I do strongly recommend you use a gentle cleanser and one of our toners before you put it on. I think waiting after you cleanse and then that’s the only think you’re using is tretinoin, you will not survive using it. You will - well, I don’t want to say so carte blanche, but it is highly likely you will have an irritant reaction.
00:42:08 To let your face go 15 minutes after cleansing it before putting anything on I think would be a terrible mistake in terms of dryness and irritation and not putting antioxidants and skin barrier protecting ingredients back into skin. I don’t get the wait - you know, I hate to contradict instructions on a medicine, but I would think twice about that instruction.
Bryan Barron: Okay.
00:42:33 Turning to hair, Lisa wants to know “to wash or not to wash my hair every day?”
Paula Begoun: Not! Well, I mean, if you have thin, fine hair and an oily scalp, yeah, you’re going to have to wash it every day, or it’s going to look limp and greasy and not attractive. But there is no reason - there is no health reason to wash - for healthy hair - to wash your hair every day.
00:42:58 If anything, and I know this shocks some people, the more you manipulate your hair, the more you get it wet, the more you use cleansers on it, the more you style it with high heat tools and high heat blow dryers and flatirons, you’re going to damage your hair. That’s just terrible for the health of your hair, especially if you have processed hair.
00:43:26 Dyed hair. Permed hair. Straightened hair. Whatever you’ve done to your hair, that will only make it worse. My strong recommendation is to go as long as you can without washing your hair. Your hair will be the healthier for it. Absolutely. There is no research to the contrary. And there is no amount of washing that is going to help hair growth. You’re not stunting hair growth just because you haven’t washed it.
Bryan Barron: Good point.
00:43:58 Let’s see. Let’s take a couple more questions here. This one is a good one from Sherry. She says I had a facial recently and was told my face was congested.
Paula Begoun: I love that! Ha!
Bryan Barron: I only use Paula’s products. What am I doing wrong?
Paula Begoun: Oh, god, I wish Sherry was here so I can ask her what congested - I don’t know what’s congested. Does she still have blackheads?
Bryan Barron: Yeah. I was kind of wondering that, too. So, we’ll see if we can get a response from Sherry on that. And in the meantime, Carla says, “I’d like to know the safety of cosmetics manufactured in China such as the NYC and e.l.f. brands.
00:44:35 Paula has given some of those favorable reviews, but does not address the manufacturing aspect.
Paula Begoun: Well, one of the reasons, I can’t address anybody’s manufacturing process because I don’t know - I haven’t vetted every manufacturing plant that a cosmetic company could be using.
00:44:58 I think that most of the major lines that are getting their products out of China, or Taiwan, or Korea, or even in the United States, for that matter, because believe me, do not think for one second that because it’s out of China you’re at more risk than it’s out of the United States or Canada. Because they’ve got their share of disreputable manufacturing plants, because lord knows we’ve run into them and run away from them.
Bryan Barron: Right.
Paula Begoun: When we witnessed what bad quality control they have.
Bryan Barron: And on the flip side, members of our product development team have toured some of the facilities in China…
Paula Begoun: And been impressed.
Bryan Barron: And often, there was a couple instances where they showed up unannounced.
00:45:40 This wasn’t like a, you know, company is coming over, everything has to pass the white glove test.
Paula Begoun: Right.
Bryan Barron: And they were absolutely impressed. So, it’s kind of like there’s good and bad natural and synthetic ingredients. There’s good and bad…
Paula Begoun: Labs around the world. And it’s not, I think, that…
Bryan Barron: It’s not really fair to assume that just because something comes from China that it’s going to be a problem.
Paula Begoun: And I know there have been headlines about certain things in China.
Bryan Barron: Absolutely.
Paula Begoun: And for whatever reasons, the stuff we’ve run into in the United States in labs don’t make headlines. Maybe some of the ones in China are a bit more sensational.
00:46:17 I know there were some toy stuff that make headlines. But I don’t think that, especially for the major companies, they’re all QC’ing, especially companies like e.l.f. and wherever Estée Lauder is, or different companies, they all QC’ing the labs they get their products from. So, I can’t comment specifically on where a product is manufactured in any country. And, obviously, if you have a bias for whatever reason that you think China is less safe than the United States, products are always stamped with their country of origin.
00:46:55 And you can just follow that.
Bryan Barron: So, Lacey wants to know is coconut oil suitable moisturizer for the face? And can I add the new vitamin C serum to it?
Paula Begoun: You know, the whole thing with coconut oil and the hysteria around it, really doesn’t play out in the research. If anything…
Bryan Barron: You know, yeah. Are you hearing about that in Hawaii, too? Just seeing a lot more coconut stuff?
Paula Begoun: Well just in general, over the past year.
Bryan Barron: Everywhere.
Paula Begoun: But just everywhere, as if that’s the new Noni Juice or the new pomegranate.
00:47:30 And you know, it’s actually, the research about it is actually controversial, showing that it actually has a very problematic profile for health. As an oil for the face, it’s a decent oil. I don’t think it has any special - well, actually I don’t think. The research doesn’t show that it has a particularly powerful antioxidant profile, but as an emollient, it’s a good emollient. But it is as overhyped as Emu Oil, a little Emu bird from many decades ago.
00:48:02 The Emu Oil, or whatever star ingredient you’re hearing about lately, please do not get wrapped up in one ingredient as being the answer for skin, particularly something like a plant oil. It just isn’t an active ingredient. It might be soothing and softening for skin if you have dry skin. But it ain’t a miracle. And especially, I mean, we don’t do dietary stuff very much, but I’ve got to say in looking at the research, other than coconut water, and even then it isn’t -
00:48:34 Coconut oil, and cooking, and eating is controversial.
Bryan Barron: Very much.
Paula Begoun: It’s fattening and triglycerides and the whole bit. I just - look a little bit more carefully at the research, but in terms of skin, it’s decent for dry skin, but it isn’t the answer.
Bryan Barron: And let me add regarding the skincare isn’t as simple as one ingredient. We do have our new, as we talked about earlier, our C-15 Super Booster. And vitamin C is what that product is primarily about.
00:49:01 But even though that’s the main draw to this particular product, we still - there are companies out there that offer a vitamin C liquid or gel or serum product that just are, it’s vitamin C. Vitamin C in silicones. Vitamin C in water, and a stabilizer, and some preservative. We’re using the vitamin C, we’re using sodium hyaluronate, we’re using additional antioxidants, including vitamin E, which helps to regenerate C as it breaks down.
00:49:27 They have that complementary relationship. They help each other out. And we absolutely took a cocktail approach to that product.
Paula Begoun: And it’s also important to mention that any of our booster products, our retinol product, this new C-15 Super Booster in Resist that we’ve created, it’s that certain ingredients do have specific action. But they still don’t work alone.
00:49:59 You want that ingredient for a certain problem, but it isn’t - if that’s the only ingredient you’d be making a huge mistake for your skin. Bryan, I think we have time for one more question?
Bryan Barron: Okay. Lets’ take this one from Tammy. She says, “My skin is drying out on Accutane and your great customer service reps sent me Hydra Light Moisturizer. But I need something more moisturizing.”
Paula Begoun: Yeah. That won’t be enough on Accutane.
Bryan Barron: “Should I try the Moisture Boost? Also, I’m using the Resist Antioxidant Sunscreen over my moisturizer.” I’m not quite sure which one she means. She’s probably using the new Super Light Daily Defense. “Does this have anything in it that would be drying?”
00:50:38 Let me answer that for you real quick, Tammy. No, it does have a matte finish that you may perceive as drying, because your skin is just so extra dry from Accutane, so you might want to switch to either the Moisture Boost Daily Restoring Complex with SPF 30, or even the Resist Cellular Defense with SPF 25, which is more of a cream.
00:51:00 But trust me, skin on Accutane can be just unusually, painfully dry. It may be that nothing quite feels moisturizing enough to you.
Paula Begoun: Right. Actually, that’s what I was just going to say. Depending on your reaction to Accutane, I mean, it can just be a trial, a painful trial for skin. So, what I would suggest before you give up the Hydra Light is you could try mixing a plant oil in with it, like olive oil or even canola oil.
00:51:34 Just mixing an oil within it at night, you might want to try adding one of our serums, which I strongly recommend, particularly the Resist serum because it’s so loaded with antioxidants. Wait, does our Resist serum, well, it just has a small amount of retinol. It wouldn’t be a problem.
Bryan Barron: Which one were you referring to?
Paula Begoun: The Resist serum. The Resist Antioxidant serum.
Bryan Barron: The one in the tube or the one in the pump?
Paula Begoun: The one in the tube.
Bryan Barron: The one in the tube in the Resist line, we have the Regular and the Ultra Light, and neither of those have retinol.
Paula Begoun: Okay.
00:52:05 Not the Ultra Light, because now she needs a little bit more moisturizer.
Bryan Barron: Yeah, the Resist Super Antioxidant Concentrate, what some of our longtime customers call our original formula, even though it’s been improved a few times over the years, we are not one to just settle for something that stays exactly the same, especially not a serum like that. But, yeah, that would be great.
Paula Begoun: Well, and it has to go with what the current research is showing.
00:52:26 We always update our products based on the extensive research that we do. So, yeah, I think that I wouldn’t give up on the Hydra Light just yet. I would try - you can’t mix anything with your sunscreen, so I would try the Resist SPF 25. I do think that will help. And then over the Hydra Light or mixed in with the Hydra Light at night, you can add a plant oil and see how your skin does before you feel like you have to switch to another moisturizer. You can always call our customer service. Let them know, or chat with them online at
00:53:02 And ask them, say that you’re having this experience and you’re wondering if they can send you some samples of some of our other products like our Moisture Boost Cream, our serum to see how that does, because we do have samples that we can get to you.
Bryan Barron: And Tammy at night you may actually want to consider using our new Clinical Ultra Rich Soothing Body Butter.
Paula Begoun: Oh, god, I totally forgot about that.
Bryan Barron: Even, like especially if you’re getting that cracked dry skin on the sides of your mouth, or if the skin around your eyes gets really dry…
Paula Begoun: Or your body for that matter because that will happen all over.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
00:53:42 It is a very, it’s a heavy duty product. It’s not something that the average person would want to put all over their face, but for the purpose of Accutane, dry skin, and for nighttime use when you’re not going to be applying makeup over it, give it a go?
Paula Begoun: Right. Actually, speaking of Accutane, which actually is - I think it’s only available now generically as Iso…
Bryan Barron: Isotretinoin.
Paula Begoun: Isotretinoin, because Accutane, the brand name from Roche went away.
00:54:14 But one of the things that happened, and I’m somebody who took Accutane many, many years ago, is the dryness you get inside of your nose. And the blood, the nosebleeds you can get from it.
Bryan Barron: Oof, yeah.
Paula Begoun: And so if you’re having dry nose, let me suggest this strongly. Our lip and body balm, and I know this sounds a little gross to mention, is take a Q-tip and put it inside your nose, or along the edges. And it will help incredibly. I don’t know what I would have done had I not had that formula for my nose. You can just do petrolatum, but it isn’t quite - Vaseline - but it doesn’t stick as well to skin as does our lip and body balm.
00:54:57 So, I would absolutely consider that. To all our Facebook friends, and to everyone who listens to us at and our radio show, thank you for listening. I’m Paula Begoun, the Cosmetics Cop, with Bryan Barron, the brains behind the Cosmetics Cop. We’re authors of “Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me.” You can find our articles and reviews at Come visit us and stay listening. Thank you.
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