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The Original Influencer, Paula Begoun, On Being A Modern Beauty Entrepreneur

People

In a cosmetics world teeming with mysterious ingredients, strident claims of the efficacy of unknown substances and an almost spiritual belief in nature's ability to cure all-- who can beauty entrepreneurs turn to for a clear, honest understanding of skin care? Paula Begoun the Cosmetics Cop, long known in the beauty industry for her outspoken reviews and now CEO and Founder of Paula's Choice Skincare, seems like the obvious choice.


Begoun started her career in the beauty industry in the early 1980's as a makeup artist in Seattle, Washington. It was here the young makeup artist introduced herself as a cosmetic vigilante-- appearing on a local news station as an investigative journalist of the beauty industry and self-publishing her first book Blue Eyeshadow Should be Illegal in 1982.

The book gained national attention, leading to recurrent appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show and Begoun's column, “Dear Paula," that diverged from the fatigued and archetypical advice column and instead featured the unprecedented honesty of Begoun over specific cosmetic products.

Begoun's experience in the newspaper industry eventually developed into a larger venture. Like everyones' cherished, fictional columnist Carrie Bradshaw, the young writer complied her column and published the first edition of Don't Go to the Cosmetic Counter Without Me in 1992. This exposition on the cosmetic industry was an immediate sensation, and following its publication,“The Cosmetic Cop" became a household name.

Photo Courtesy of Paula's Choice Skincare Instagram

“Women used to literally take my book before it was online to the cosmetic counter," laughs Begoun, reminiscing about women entering makeup stores, wielding literary protection against harmful face washes. And although the author faced some criticism over her candid assessment of the beauty industry Begoun describes herself as “a nonpartisan critic." The credibility of her work was corroborated when it became a standard of every dermatologist's office, “I remember when I started formulating my products I would walk into chemist's offices and contact manufacturers, I would see my book on their shelves, and that was the best feeling."

Determined to use her status as a conscientious makeup advocate, this writer-turned-entrepreneur launched Paula's Choice Skincare in 1995. At first Begoun released ten products dedicated to the high standards she upholds now some thirty years later. Today her company continues to formulate researched products that provide a full spectrum of documented benefits.

Major makeup corporations constantly advertise new, fast acting skin care that despite promises of blemish free skin, are usually replaced by a newer, trendier product. Small, eclectic brands consistently launch new skin care lines that are just as quickly abandoned by their founders-- well intentioned people who lack the knowledge to create what they envisioned.

However, Paula's Choice Skincare is neither an opaque company nor an impractical indie brand with unrealistic expectations.

“I didn't do any of this because I wanted to be master of the universe-- that I ended up being a successful business women was an accident. I didn't have high expectations", explains Begoun, who's motivation to create a transparent and successful skin care line produced consumer cult favorites from her original ten products. Begoun was not driven by a desire for the beauty industry's recognition, but rather an inclination to develop skin care that actually works.

Do the research," is Begoun's immediate advice to modern beauty entrepreneurs. “Do the research. It's called medical dermatology science journals-- one study is not going to tell you everything, you need to take a look at it all," expounds the CEO. She credits her success to being involved in both the research and the formulating of her products.

Paula's Choice Skincare was one of the first beauty companies to sell solely on the internet. However, in addition to viewing it as the key to modern marketing, she sees a dark side to the internet. Begoun is wary of the immense amount of incorrect information circulating, “It's way easier to just reread the bullshit research that gets resaid in blog after blog. The information on the internet around skincare is still pretty damn fucking crazy."

The internet is also a driver of trends, but Begoun credits her success to a habit of avoiding the latest thing. “One of the reasons we rarely jump on trendy ingredients is that I know that a trendy ingredient is going away when there's not enough research or the research is just silly." Marketing fads come and go quickly, “Just in terms of oils I've watched emu oil and tea tree oil and I've just watched trends come and go. Trends aren't good skin care-- it's good for reporting but it's not good skin care."

The current affectation of natural skin care has prompted many of our favorite celebrities and influencers to come out with new green product lines. However, Begoun believes that the quick failure of these products results from a lack of knowledge and research about effective skin care, “The entrepreneur themselves aren't usually chemists and they don't know chemistry or biochemistry. They don't have a fundamental knowledge of what makes for good skin care."

Begoun feels that the need for her insights and careful analysis is greater now than ever, “I'm the only one saying that because it's the truth. I always say to people that the truth in beauty is telling women things even when they don't want to hear it, even when it's disappointing." The budding entrepreneur might well choose to follow the path of research, testing and formulating; this will lead to effective, quality products and will avoid the wrath of the Cosmetic Cop.

3 Min Read
Health

7 Must-have Tips to Keep You Healthy and Fit for the Unpredictable COVID Future

With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.

When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.

Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan

Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.

Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.

The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.

Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits

The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.

With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.

Tip 3: Start slow and strong

If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.

Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.

Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize

In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.

When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.

Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness

From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.

Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.

Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.

A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.

Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition

In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.

If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health

While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.

For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.

While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.