Trusting Independent Reviews

Posted: November 12, 2009 in Ramblings
Back in the early 1990s I discovered Paula Begoun’s book ‘Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me.’  This book contained a wealth of detailed information about a load of beauty products, and as a junkie myself, I bought the book and lived by its rules for a long time.  In fact, I didn’t give up until 2003, when I spent a few hours on the FDA website trying to find the sunscreen guidelines that Paula used in her reviews.  I didn’t find the sunscreen information, and what I did find contradicted some of her information.  So I abandoned her and became my own Beauty Muse.
Lately I have been looking for a new foundation.  Paula now publishes her reviews on a website called Beautypedia, and there is an annual subscription fee.  Given the amount of time & money I spend researching and buying beauty stuff, I thought the subscription fee was worth it, if only for the foundation search.  So I paid it and have spent about a month looking up things and trying them on myself.
And once again I’m stunned!  There is a type of foundation called a cream compact foundation.  It comes in a compact, yes, and you swipe it on with a sponge and it’s creamy.  Several of these make it into the Beautypedia as "Best Foundations" (a short list of "can’t-go-wrong" items).  I’ve tested about 10 of these, and they all have one major problem, and I cannot see how Beautypedia can rate them "Best."
What’s the problem with them, you ask?  They stay creamy on the face all day long.  Wipe your mouth with a napkin after a meal, and the foundation around your mouth is gone.  Rub your temples to ease stress, and the foundation rubs off.  Lie on a pillow.  Talk on a phone.  The stuff smears all over everything!  How can this be "Best"?  And it happened with every one of them!
Other than Paula, I’ve never seen any Ralph Naders for makeup, so I have no way to cross-reference some of this stuff.  I now wonder how much of a single independent review I can trust on any product.  I believe my best bet is to start looking at reviews on sites like Amazon and Sephora, where the products receive multiple reviews form a variety of real-world users.
For the record, here are all the foundations I’ve tried this month, based on Paula’s recommendations, and there’s not one I’d actually buy.
  • Bobbi Brown Moisturizing Compact Founation
  • Smashbox Camera-Ready Foundation
  • Maybelline Instant Age Rewind
  • Cover Girl Aquasmoothers
  • Chanel Teint Innocence
  • Prescriptives Photochrome
  • Shiseido Advanced Hydro-Liquid
  • Urban Decay Surreal Skin
  • Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Intensive (?)  Not sure that’s the name of it.
  • Illamasqua Cream Foundation

There are probably a few more but I can’t remember them.

If you have a good recommendation for something in a compact that doesn’t smear off, please do advive!

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