Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cosmetics Cop in Action

You don’t actually need a review of Don’t Go to the Cosmetic Counter Without Me (Beginning Press). You already know about this book. You just need to be told that the latest edition -- the seventh -- is available now. It’s been about 25 years since author Paula Begoun, a former make-up artist, put together the original version of the book that would lead to her being called “the Ralph Nader of Rouge” and “Cosmetics Cop” (a nickname she likes well enough to own the for).

This latest edition is right up to the minute and makes for some fascinating reading. Literally every product I’d heard some buzz about was listed and had been reviewed. (In fact, if I’d had the book a few weeks earlier, I would have saved some money: some of my most recent skincare purchases had earned Begoun’s frowns.)

The book is grouped into three major sections. Section one -- by far the largest – takes you through each product by company. You read that right: about 30,000 products in all. The second hits the highlights: summarizing the best in each category. And a third is a dictionary of cosmetic ingredients for those times when, say, you’re wondering exactly what that watercress extract in a moisturizer is actually going to do for (to?) your skin, or just what the hell Seamollient is, anyway. (Note: according to Begoun, “Seamollient” is a trade name for an algae extract. I would guess it costs more, though.)

I found it interesting that some of the technological changes I have sensed in the cosmetic industry over the past decade or so have been noted by the cosmetic cop herself. Changes in serums, for instance, have warranted a different kind of look than previously. And prefacing the “best powders” section, Begoun writes, “Quite honestly ... it is getting more and more difficult to find a bad loose or pressed powder.”

There is, for me, one huge mystery around Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me: as in previous editions, there’s a picture of Begoun right on the cover. How is it that, with every new edition, she appears even younger? Maybe testing 30,000 products will do that for you!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

She looks younger because, as she admitted on, she's had some botox work.

Friday, March 14, 2008 at 2:01:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Linda L. Richards said...

Dude! It was a *joke*. (Perhaps too oblique?) The idea being, if you read her book, you'll look forever 12, too. Or something like that. Road testing all those cremes, right?

Friday, March 14, 2008 at 2:15:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous David Williams said...

Was it a joke? By reading some one's book its impossible to look young. By the way by using the cosmetics one can look prettier but no much younger.

Saturday, March 15, 2008 at 6:46:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Susan said...

Hey, are you kidding. Its impossible that any one can look young by just reading a book. To look pretty women use cosmetics, but not to look younger.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008 at 11:04:00 PM PDT  

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