Line Review…Paula’s Choice

For all your beauty advice…

Known as the Cosmetics Cop and author of many books, most popular Don’t Go To The Cosmetics Counter Without Me, beauty expert Paula Begoun has started a line of beauty products. Mostly focusing on skin care, but with a few makeup products in the line as well. A classic case of “if you want something done right, do it yourself”, Paula became frustrated trying to find effective products for problem skin, wrinkles and discoloration. With her extensive research and knowledge of what works and what doesn’t, Paula’s Choice was born. If you’ve ever picked up a copy of Don’t Go To The Cosmetics Counter Without Me, it’s pretty obvious Paula has done her homework with all the research that went into those books. I say books because she had 8 editions of it over the years, that’s how popular and in-demand it was! After reading her latest edition of it, I know I am in good hands when I use her products.

When you go to her website,, you will see how easy it is to navigate and get yourself started! You can shop by skin concern or browse through all the products individually. I think the price is right for the quality of the product and the shipping isn’t crazy, either. A lot of times I will go to purchase something online, but as soon as I go to checkout and see what it’s going to cost me for shipping, I just delete everything in my basket! How about you? For a limited time you can get everything shipped for $3, and everyday shipping is free for orders over $75…that’s easy to do when purchasing new skin care. An additional bonus? 3 free samples with every order! We all love to try before we buy, right? I’m all about the free samples! I have a couple of favorites I’ll share with you.

Exfoliating 8% AHA gel. This is a great treatment product! This has 8% glycolic acid in it and it will topically exfoliate the surface of your skin. In doing so, this will help fade sun discoloration, even out skin tone, and help with breakouts. As with any AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) product, your skin will be more sensitive to the sun, so make sure you are using an SPF either with your moisturizer, or after you moisturize for extra protection against the sun. I wasn’t educated on that fact when I tried my first AHA product years ago and it’s wasn’t fun to be self-taught on that little tidbit!

Lip Recovery Balm. I love a good lip balm! Take a look around my house and you will see that I have practically every lip balm under the sun. From Chap-Stick to Burt’s Bees, I like to keep my lips hydrated all the time. This lip balm doesn’t feel greasy or too thick, it’s just right. (Goldilocks of lip balms!) It really helps heal chapped lips. I get a lot of questions on how to treat dry, chapped lips and this is definitely one I will start suggesting to people. It’s fragrance free and has no added color to it, either. Great for everyone, kids included!

Skin Balancing Moisture Gel. All you people with oily skin, meet your new best friend! As I’ve said before, oily skin needs moisture, too. It’s infused with anti-oxidants and anti-irritants and it’s nice and light-weight, making it a great everyday moisturizer. Most moisturizers I’ve used in the past don’t do a very good job of keeping the shine away all day. This one works really well with keeping a matte finish on my skin for longer than most moisturizers. Anyone with acne-prone, combination or very oily skin will like this product!

All of the products from Paula’s Choice are fragrance free, not tested on animals, and 100% guaranteed satisfaction. You can purchase samples for a small price. I know, some of you are probably thinking, why would I purchase a sample? Most times I would say don’t waste your money on something the company should be giving away for free, but these are great sample sizes; even the ones that say “single use” can be used 2 or 3 times. And, sampling is a great way to get to know a new product! It can be intimidating to purchase something online that you haven’t used before. Personally, I have a hard time making a purchase that costs me any significant amount of money if I can’t hold it in my hand first, so I recommend getting some samples if you are hesitant to purchase the full size products. You won’t be disappointed. Plus, the sample sizes are great for travel. One last thing I really like about Paula’s Choice, she is the only cosmetics company founder in the world that will recommend products other than her own. In an industry that can be catty, I think that’s classy!

You’ve Been Beautified!

Q&A Monday

For all your beauty advice…

Good morning and happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. Thanks for the questions sent my way this week. Keep them coming!

Dear Brooke, 
Since I have recently been forced to tighten the belt on my finances this past year and can no longer afford to splurge on both skin care AND makeup products, I need to know which you think is more important; to spend the extra money on skin care, or to indulge in higher end makeup products? 
Out of money and on the fence
Dear Out of money, (I hope that’s not really true, but best of luck if it is!) Certain products we use every day can feel like a luxury when we are forced to make this kind of decision. Although most makeup lines are starting to put treatment into their products, which can result in better looking skin over time, I would have to advise you to put your money into your skin care products. In my searching, I have found some quality makeup products at the drugstore. (I haven’t delved into comparing skin care yet, but you can be sure I will.) I really think healthy skin is going to enhance your makeup, no matter what brand, so stick with skin care and keep your skin looking  beautiful!
Dear Brooke, What is the best product to use to look natural on the weekends? I am thinking of trying Mary Kay tinted moisturizer. Jeanne L.
Dear Jeanne, I agree with wanting a more natural look over the weekend. The less we have to mess with our makeup, the better, but we still want to look put together. You’re definitely on the right track with wanting to try a tinted moisturizer. Mary Kay has been around for a long time and they have a great tinted moisturizer, plus you can’t beat the price for about $18.00. Another great product for a natural look to try is Primed and Poreless by Too Faced Cosmetics. It’s a foundation primer, but it can be used alone because it really minimizes pores and fine lines and evens out your skin. It’s great under foundation, but used alone with a little bronzer, it will give you a natural look. If you go the tinted moisturizer direction, just remember that you still need to apply your face moisturizer before you apply the tinted moisturizer; it will add moisture to your skin, but it won’t take the place of your daily moisturizer. Let me know if you try either of those products and what you think!
Dear Brooke, can I wash my hair every day? I keep reading articles that say to only wash every other day and some magazines even say only 2 or 3 times a week!! Is it safe to suds up on a regular basis or am I going to damage my hair? How do I deal with an oily scalp and lifeless looking hair if I don’t wash it?? Your thoughts? Janet K.
Dear Janet, I feel your pain, I really do! Having been in this industry for over 16 years, it’s really easy for me to tell someone what they should be doing, but not always practice it myself. I am the worst offender with this rule of thumb. I look forward to my daily suds! Should you wash your hair every day? For optimal hair health, no. Can you? Yes, if you do it right. Make sure you are using a gentle, every day shampoo that’s moisturizing. Wet your hair and apply a small amount of the shampoo to your hands and work into your scalp. There’s no need to drag the suds all the way through the ends of the hair, enough of the shampoo is making its way down there already and gently cleansing. You want to just focus on cleaning the scalp. When it’s time to condition, take a small amount of conditioner and apply it at the middle of the hair shaft and work it through to the ends, putting that moisture back in and detangling at the same time. If you’re willing to try not shampooing on a daily basis, look into a dry shampoo. Almost every hair care line has one now and they really absorb moisture and put some life back into your hair for those in between days. I’ve tried them and I like them, not as much as I like to shampoo, but they do work.
Thanks again for the great questions! Want to see your question featured in Q&A Monday? Just leave it in a comment on this post or become a fan of BrookeKnowsBeauty on Facebook and leave your question there.
You’ve Been Beautified!

Hair Trends For Spring

For all your beauty advice…

Spring is in the air!! Unless you live in Colorado today, then it feels more like winter with the 10-plus inches of snow we were gifted with last night.

When I think of spring, I think “fresh start”, “out with the old, in with the new”! Everywhere you look you see magazines getting your attention with headlines that have the word spring in them. Spring cleaning, spring workouts, spring fashion…the list goes on and on. I’ve been reading up on what’s hot for hairstyles and accessories for spring. There are some fun trends and some classic styles that will never die that you will see in magazines and hopefully give a few of them a try!

Here’s what’s trendy now: According to one source, “Long wavy hair is still hot…but straightening irons are not”. Really? Then why does every person I know own a flat iron and daily straighten their hair into submission?? Hmmm… Romantic waves and up-dos are very popular. The big trend with up-dos is what’s being coined “perfectly imperfect”. Think messy ballerina bun. Pull hair back into a pony tail and tease the pony tail to give it some texture. Twist hair into a bun, letting pieces fall where they may, and pin into place. Glad to know this is hot right now since I’ve never been able to master a sleek, perfect bun. Don’t want to put it into a bun? Go ahead and stop at the pony tail step, just tease hair a bit and leave it, that’s trendy right now, too. Braids are popular now, too. A soft, side braid is really pretty and easy enough to do. “Milk Maid” braids are supposedly hot right now…hmmm, I prefer not to look like the Swiss Miss girl, but I guess it’s good enough for the runway.

2 edgy trends I wish I had the guts to try? The pixie cut and the inverted bob. Pixie cuts are great for all face shapes and hair textures. It’s a great low maintenance hair style that can be very versatile. Leave some longer pieces in the front for a different play on the classic cut, or keep it simple and short and still look feminine. The inverted bob haircut has been somewhat of a trend for a few years now and it’s not going anywhere. It’s an asymmetric cut that is shorter in the back and longer in the front. You can get pretty extreme with how long you keep it in the front or keep it simple and sophisticated for a sleek look. It’s easy to maintain and the bob cut seems to never go out of style. Both of these cuts can be edgy with different layers and fun colors, but they can also be simple and classic.

Hair accessories are back, big time! Head bands with bows a-la-Madonna in her Lucky Star video, seem to be everywhere lately. Flower hair accessories are always cute for spring and can add a little something extra to an up-do or pony tail. Jeweled hair accessories are always fun and can be worn daily to add some sparkle to your ‘do or they make a nice finishing touch to a more formal hair style. Hair pieces can be incorporated into almost any style. From headband braids, to curls, to length, hair pieces aren’t going anywhere. They’re easy to use and they’re great for when you just don’t want to do your hair!

I’m looking forward to trying some of these looks. I think I’m past the age of the big bows, though. I tried that the first time around in the 80’s! But, there are some fun trends and some classics for those of us who don’t like anything extreme. Will you be trying any of the new looks for spring? I look forward to your thoughts and opinions on new hairstyles and accessories.

You’ve Been Beautified!

Beauty On A Budget

For all beauty advice…

One of my readers just recently called it to my attention that, even though my reviews on products are informative and fun to read, I need to review more affordable products. Fair enough. I realize that some of the items I write about are indulgences and it’s important to understand that not everyone can splurge like that right now. Does this mean I’ll give up writing about department store brands that can cost a lot of money? No, it just means that I will incorporate drug store brand products more often. My reader challenged me to see what I could get for $10 at the drugstore. Ok, I was up for the challenge, so off to Wal Mart and Walgreens I headed. My first stop was Wal Mart. I admit, I was a little lost looking at the cosmetics there and I didn’t know where to begin. I didn’t really have a game plan on what I was going to try, but I figured I would know it when I saw it. Wal Mart was a mess! Nothing was in stock and the things that were there were picked over. I got frustrated and left. Off to Walgreens I went.

Now, I don’t know if all the Walgreens stores are like this now, but the one closest to my house is new and the cosmetics department is not only large and fully stocked, but there is an actual person there to assist you in finding what you need. Wow…I was impressed by that alone! I looked around for a while to decide what it was I was going to purchase. I really didn’t need anything, but I never do…it’s just fun to buy makeup!

Before I tell you what I ended up with, I want to say something. I have good news, and I have bad news. The good news is, the major brand names we grew up with are really keeping up with the trends. Between mineral makeup, foundations that have treatment within the product, and really cool mascaras, I could see that the people in product development are truly doing their homework and giving the more expensive brands a run for their money. The bad news is, in keeping up with what’s trendy in makeup right now, these brands have significantly raised their prices. I couldn’t find a foundation that appealed to me for under $10. I have a hard time bringing myself to buy foundation at drugstores, simply because there aren’t testers and it’s hard to match yourself. The couple times I’ve tried, it’s always been too orange or too dark. The nice lipsticks that Revlon and L’Oreal carry? At least $8.00. The cool mascaras they’re all coming out with costs about the same as the lipstick. Still a deal considering the best-selling mascara at Sephora is $24. But, I wanted to get more than one thing. I wanted quality AND quantity.

And then I saw it…the first makeup we all tried! Wet N Wild…remember when you were a teenager and you could get a lip gloss for $1.00?!?! You still can! Ok, I thought, I’ve hit the Mother Lode! I decided to go ahead and spend my $10.00 on Wet N Wild. I figure if they’ve been around as long as they have, they’re doing something right. Not everything in the line is $1.00, some are a little more expensive. But, I didn’t spend more than $3.00 on a product and I walked away with 8 products. I spent a few dollars more than $10, but you can’t expect me to conform completely! I got 2 lipsticks, 2 glosses, one eyeshadow trio, an eyeshadow pencil, an eyeliner and a lip liner for $12.53.

I came home and put the eyeshadow and eyeliner on right away. The first thing I noticed about the eyeshadow was the texture. I was really impressed! They are high pigmented and feel like silk…something that’s important to me in an eyeshadow. I had them on all day and they didn’t fade or crease…nice! The lipstick and gloss were also really nice and long wearing. Now that I look at them, the 2 lipsticks and the 2 glosses are very similar in color. How many of us do that? Well, at $1.00 each go ahead and get the 2 colors you can’t decide between! The eyeliner and lip liner were also very smooth…not as smooth as some of the more expensive brands, but they went on nice and easy and lasted a long time.

So, Wet N Wild gets a major thumbs-up from me with quality and price! Not only did the product impress me, but the trip to Walgreens took me back to that fun, innocent phase of life where discovery on a product made my day. The only thing missing were the candy cigarettes! Eventually I’ll get up the courage to purchase a foundation.

Now tell me your favorite drugstore brand products! I’m looking forward to hunting down affordable makeup and telling you what I think! I look forward to your responses!

You’ve Been Beautified!

Q&A Monday

For all your beauty advice…

Good morning and Happy Monday… and Happy Spring! I got some great questions this week from my readers. Thanks! Read on about the best makeup for mature skin, reducing appearance of old stretch marks, and more advice on splitting fingernails.

What is the best makeup for older, more mature skin, liquid or mineral foundation? Jeanne L.

Jeanne, this is a good question that I get a lot. The opinions on the answer to this question are many. I think what it all comes down to is personal preference, but I recommend mineral makeup. I know some people shy away from the mineral foundation because they think the powder will settle into fine lines and wrinkles and actually highlight the problems that are trying to be camouflaged. That’s not true. Make sure you are using a good facial moisturizer to ensure an even application of your foundation. It’s amazing how our skin care routine affects our makeup routine. Mineral makeup is not heavy or greasy. It glides on nicely and it won’t settle into pores or wrinkles. Make sure you use a good primer if you use mineral foundation (See The Purpose of Primer for more info). Primed and Poreless by Too Faced is great for mineral makeup.

I want to know how to minimize OLD stretch marks. I have large yucky silver marks, some actually hurt. What do I do? Is there a cure? Lisabeth S.
Lisabeth, I hear you on old stretch marks! Whether they’re a reminder of our little ones who aren’t so little anymore, or they’re there for any other reason, stretch marks are no fun! While the new ones are easier to treat, there is still hope for the old ones. I’ve come across a few products that have excellent testimonials. TriLastin seems to be the most popular over-the-counter product to reduce the appearance of old stretch marks. I came across a website,, that gives really good information on how this product works. Another site I came across that was very informative and a little more affordable than TriLastin is,  I can’t give a personal opinion on these products because I haven’t used them, but it makes sense and even though they’re expensive, it’s probably a lot cheaper than going the surgical/laser route. Good luck, and let me know the results if you try one of them!
How do you fix splitting nails? Alex A.
Alex, this seems to be a very popular question this time of year. I am asked this question so much, I dedicated an entire column to it not so long ago. (See Nail Care 101) Cold and dry winter weather is not friendly to our hair skin and nails! Add to that the fact that a lot of us have jobs that require constant washing of our hands, resulting in dry hands and brittle nails. The best thing for your cuticles and your nails is moisture, moisture, moisture!! After washing your hands, while your skin is still damp, rub oil into your nails and cuticles to seal in that moisture. Dry your hands off and apply a good hand cream that will seal in moisture and promote healing of the skin. I highly recommend products by Glysolid. They’re products are affordable and functional; not sweet-smelling and “girlie” like some lotions. I’ve been cutting hair for 16 years and this is the only stuff that saved my hands when I was cutting full-time and had my hands wet 8-plus hours a day. Hydrated cuticles will result in healthy nails and stop the splitting and peeling.
Once again, I thank you for your questions. I have some great ones I am working on to be featured soon. As always, I look forward to your questions…keep them coming.
You’ve Been Beautified!

This One’s For The Guys

For all your beauty advice…or your Manly advice…

Welcome to a new installment of my blog! As I’ve been reviewing products and answering your beauty questions, I have had many requests to feature product reviews and advice that are “man-friendly”. The world of products geared toward our knights in shining armor is too large to feature in just one post, so I decided to turn the requests into a new column I will feature once a month. I know I have some male followers and I would like to say thank you. I hope you are enjoying what I have to say! I thought it was only fair to give the guys some tips. Read on and stay tuned…

Ever since the word “Metrosexual” was coined, it seems that men are coming out of the woodwork and openly pampering themselves. They’re no longer in the closet about getting massaged, manicured or even waxed! And I say, good for them! It’s about time…well, within reason. I like a well-groomed man, but I don’t want to be fighting for bathroom time or products. It’s great to see men becoming interested in grooming themselves or even indulging in spa treatments, but don’t go overboard! We still want you to be our big strong man, not soft and sweet…that’s our job!

 So, how does your basic red-blooded male whose grooming routine comes in the form of a bar of soap to clean everything, incorporate new products or habits into the daily routine? One step at a time. Introducing a new step into your daily routine can be overwhelming, but if you’ve never had a routine, it can be downright scary. If I were to advise you gentlemen on the most important step you probably aren’t doing, I would say moisturize!! I know so many guys that complain about being dry on certain spots of their face, like the sides of their nose or their eyebrows and it’s because they don’t put lotion on when they get out of the shower. I’ve overheard one guy commenting to another that sometimes they are envious when they see us women slathering on the lotion. Believe me guys, we are not going to think you are less masculine if you put on lotion. We know what it feels like to have tight, itchy skin and it’s annoying and sometimes unbearable! So, go ahead and start hydrating your skin…you will wish you always have! And us women will 100% understand and support your decision to moisturize…some women might even thank me for saying this because they’ve been trying to tell the man in their life this little piece of advice all along.

Go ahead and pay attention to your image. It shows you care about your appearance and you aren’t afraid to look your very best. Now, I’m not accusing you guys of looking like beasts, but the majority of the men I know feel uncomfortable asking for advice in the cosmetics department…kind of like how I feel in Home Depot.

Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts: Do have nice fingernails: chewed, bitten, or Heaven forbid, dirty fingernails are a major Don’t…enough said. Do trim or wax your eyebrows: I’m not saying you need to go into a spa and get your brows arched a-la-Angelina, but honestly there’s nothing wrong with removing unwanted hair in that area…if your brows have “mad scientist” bed-head in the morning you might want to tame them a bit…I’m just saying. DON’T take longer to get ready for the day than the woman in your life: we want you to care about how you look, but if we have to fight you for time in the bathroom, that’s just annoying! Do smell nice: most of the women I know really appreciate a good smelling guy. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you’re searching for a product that will work for you: the people you meet who work in this industry have seen it all and will not judge you for wanting a man-friendly product. We’re excited about the brands that are geared toward men and we really do want to educate you on them because we know you’ll love them too.

Ok guys, now that I’ve given you my advice and opinion I would love to hear from you! What products are you curious about or have you tried and really like? What questions do you have for me that I can answer and give you a good starting point? I am really excited to open the door on this area of the industry. Please send me your questions or comments, I really look forward to them! And, if there are an abundance of questions coming in, I may start devoting an entire Q&A Monday to the men!

You’ve Been Beautified!

Product Review…Aqua Eyes by Make Up Forever

For all your beauty advice…

When I want waterproof eyeliner, I mean waterproof . I don’t mean water-resistant. I want waterproof, smudge-proof, sweat-proof! Oh, and I want it in a stick form, not liquid or cream. Can I be more high maintenance? Yes, I could be, but I won’t. I have come across such a product and I wanted to shout out about it. It’s been out there for a while, so it’s nothing new, but I know a lot of people haven’t heard of it. I’m talking about Aqua Eyes by Make Up Forever, or MUFE for short.

Aqua Eyes eyeliner isn’t just waterproof, it’s Ultra waterproof! It’s wedding tears proof, it’s funeral tears proof, it’s even “let me watch La Bamba for the umpteenth time and pray Ritchie Valens doesn’t get on that plane and then sob my eyes out at his family’s reaction to his death” proof. You could stick your head in a microwave and this product won’t budge…but please don’t. 100 degree temperatures? No worries, Aqua Eyes is in it for the long haul.

This eyeliner is loaded with pigment, has a soft texture with a slight sheen, but doesn’t feel oily at all when you apply it. It’s not like typical stick eyeliner at all. You know what I’m talking about…the kind that tugs your eyelids or the kind  that you have to heat up with your blow dryer for a few seconds just so you can apply it to your eyes. This will glide on so smooth. It sets pretty fast, so if you want to smudge it out for a smoky look, you will need to work fast.

There are so many colors to choose from in this eyeliner. From basic black and brown to yellow and white, and every color in between. If you pick one (or all of them) up, make sure you buy the sharpener made by MUFE, or one designed to sharpen gel based eyeliner. Sharpeners that aren’t designed for this type of product won’t sharpen it right and will waste tons of product and you won’t get your money’s worth.

Clearly I like this eyeliner a lot! The only drawback I would say it has is the price. $17 each seems pretty steep. But, let me tell you it really is worth it. I have found that this product will last a very long time, even with daily use. I have paid full price for this and I highly recommend it if you are looking for an eyeliner with some staying power.

What do you think? Have you tried Aqua Eyes by Make Up Forever? What are some of your favorite eyeliners that stay put? Looking forward to your comments!

You’ve Been Beautified!