Back in 2001 I slaved over a persuasive, compelling shelf talker for my first ever contribution to the store’s “Staff Favorites” display: Paula Begoun’s Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me.
Noone bought the book.
But, with a fresh breeze of enlightened curiosity blowing through our well-groomed readership, this is the perfect time to re-introduce Begoun’s deliciously comprehensive compendium which reviews the bogus claims and empty promises of 30,000 skin care and makeup products.
I’ve cultivated my life-long commodity fetishism for skin care technology through beauty blogs, cosmetic trade publications, those free department store cosmetic counter pamphlets, and Avon catalogue back issues.
But, none of those sources compare to Begoun’s truly subversive Don’t Go... which, if her confrontational message gets out, threatens the whole $29 billion cosmetics and toiletries industry, unfortunately, the news gathering that it’s generous ad budget supports (20% of the sector’s net sales, by one estimate), and a manicured and exfoliated army of magazine editors.
Begoun, a 25-year consumer reporting veteran, has compiled a concise, accurate efficacy rating system, and cosmetic ingredient dictionary, which sheds light on the silly “anti-gravity,” and “age-balancing” potions by cult brands with loyal consumer infatuation that have been repeating their lies so long some people believe them.
The book covers cleansers, toners, granular scrubs; eye creams; cuticle softeners, callous removers, anti-cellulite creams, lip plumpers, sunless tanning, night creams, flight creams, acne treatment, pre-shave oils and more.
Begoun (with Co-Contributor Bryan Barron), uses pointed, no-nonsense adjectives for luxury products like “mundane, out-of-date, exceedingly standard,” or “There is no logical reason to consider this product.” Likewise she often calls the prices of these so-called miracles in a jar, “ludicrous, obscene, and out of whack.”
You’ll usually find a used copy of Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me in the Red Delicious Room’s “Fashion and Beauty” alcove along with a super glamorous collection of books on tattoos, designers, and modeling, (and Gardening, ho hum).