If you've ever felt overwhelmed at the cosmetics counter or tested so many samples it's sent you into a spin, you could be suffering from product saturation syndrome.
With a never-ending supply of new launches and conflicting reviews, sussing out the best cosmetics buys can be a minefield.
It's little wonder Paula Begoun, the US beauty guru who doesn't mince her words about the products that don't work, is in demand with savvy shoppers.
Having sold millions of books, she's the consumer advocate dubbed 'The Cosmetics Cop' who cuts through the hype to take on the beauty big guns and tell it like it is.
"The cosmetics industry is a jungle of products," says Begoun, who has more than 20 years as a professional make-up artist under her beauty belt.
"Knowing the rest of the story can only help you look and feel more beautiful in the long run."
Begoun reveals how to pick out the so-so buys from the 'oh no!' purchases that belong in a prison for crimes against beautification!
Join the cosmetics constabulary and start policing your product line-up.
Busting beauty myths
Paula Begoun is every beauty advertiser's nightmare. She looks beyond the gloss and catchphrases to see if products live up to their claims.
"Lots of women can't wait to buy the products a celebrity or model is selling because it seems to be accepted as fact that being beautiful or famous means you must know about product quality or what is best for skin care and make-up," Begoun says.
These revelations might cast an illuminating new light on your brimming beauty cabinet.
1. Don't follow skin type hype
If you religiously follow a skincare regime according to your skin type, take a step away from your self-prescribed routine.
"Do not automatically buy a company's group of products just because it is recommended for your skin type," Begoun advises.
"A person with dry skin, for example, who automatically follows a cosmetics company's recommendations could end up using too many products that are too emollient or too heavy, which can cause skin cells to build up and result in dull, rough-feeling skin."
Begoun advises choosing a product individually for its quality and value to your skin, rather than following a set series of products pitched towards a specific skin type.
2. Eye cream is no miracle worker
Hold the beauty front page! If you think your eye cream is going to miraculously halt the crows feet, Begoun reckons you'll be disappointed.
"Eye creams have formulations very similar to those of facial moisturisers," she argues.
"The main differences are that usually the product comes in a smaller container, i.e. you get less product, and you usually pay more under the guise that the eye cream is 'specially formulated'."
3. Stop cosmetic overdosing
Lotion, cream, gel, serum, liquid, mousse, mask, balm... It's no wonder women can feel baffled at the beauty counters with the plentiful product types on offer.
But Begoun states the formulation is inconsequential: "It all depends on your skin type and preference.
"As a general rule, those with oily or combination skin will prefer lighter-weight lotions, gels, serums, or liquids.
"Those with dry skin usually prefer creams or more emollient formulations to make up for what their oil glands don't provide or what dry, arid climates make worse. Those with blemish-prone skin generally do better with moisturisers that have a thinner consistency."
4. Day v Night moisturisers
Two distinct regimes for your morning wake-up call and pre-pillow beautifying? Begoun puts those practices to bed.
"Your skin doesn't do special healing at night nor is it more 'receptive' to nutrients," she says.
"The only real difference between a daytime and nighttime moisturiser is that the daytime version should contain a well-formulated sunscreen," Begoun explains.
"For daytime wear, unless your foundation contains an effective sunscreen, it is essential that your moisturiser features a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF15 or higher."
5. Avoid jar packaging
A miracle product is a miracle product, right? Not for long if it's housed in a jar, according to Begoun.
"Packing plays a significant role in the stability and effectiveness of the products you use," she warns.
"Jar packaging, once opened, permits air to enter freely, which causes those important ingredients to break down and deteriorate.
"Jars also mean that you are probably sticking your fingers into the product, which can transfer bacteria and further cause the great ingredients to break down."
Choose airtight packaging, or any packaging that reduces the product's exposure to air to ensure it remains effective for your skin.
Paula's beauty mantra
- Spending more money does not affect the status of your skin.
- Don't stick to one brand or be 'line loyal'.
- Stop loving your products until you know what you are buying and whether or not the product is beneficial.
- Deciphering the ingredients lists is the only way you'll be able to make a rational decision on skincare products.
- If you're seduced by price and advertising rhetoric, both your skin and your budget run the risk of being damaged.