Paula Begoun, Founder of Paula’s Choice, is one of our favourite beauty entrepreneurs, thanks to her honest, outspoken approach to products that deliver the results they claim to do.
Paula has a love/hate relationship with the beauty industry: “I am in love with what brilliant products can do for skin, but I am also frustrated and saddened by products that can’t live up to their claims, or contain ingredients proven to irritate skin, creating further problems.”
At the forefront of internet beauty, Paula started formulating her products in 1992, and launched exclusively online in 1995. “My desire to create skin care products stemmed from my own struggle with acne when I was a teenager. No matter which products I tried, my acne never got better. In fact, many times it got worse! I began to research and learn everything I could about skincare when I went to college. Those years of research led to my writing 21 books on skincare and beauty!”
It’s safe to say Paula is a skincare guru, delivering high-performing products with retinols, acids, and exfoliants beloved by beauty insiders and editors alike. “If I have to choose (my favourite product) it would be my Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Leave-on Exfoliant. It is our global bestselling product, and my personal favourite. I actually developed it for myself, and I loved it from the first day I used it.”
Travel has been central to Paula’s career for the past 30 years, allowing her to meet with customers and discuss their skin concerns the world over: “I’m asked the same beauty questions no matter where I go. Everyone wants to know what works and what doesn’t for anti-aging, acne, rosacea, dark spots, clogged pores, dry skin, oily skin, combination skin, and so on.”
From packing both miniatures and full-size bottles of her Paula’s Choice products, to non-negotiable SPF during the flight, this is how Paula Begoun does beauty in transit.
What are your must-do beauty rituals or treatments before you travel?
They are the same every day of my life, and don’t change because of travel. Think of it like your diet: as long as you are eating healthily, you don’t need to eat special foods before you travel. Skin is the largest organ of the body and needs the same nourishment and protection every day of the year.
How do you adapt your beauty regime when you travel?
I have never adapted my skin care routine when I travel. There is rarely a reason to change. If you are using well-formulated effective products, it can keep your skin balanced, healthy, hydrated, and glowing, wherever you are in the world. The only exception to that is if you are travelling to a very dry environment, or you find long hours on a plane dry out your skin. In those situations, adding a serum or moisturiser with ingredients such as omega fatty acids, ceramides, non-fragrant plant oils, and hyaluronic acid to your skin care routine will be essential.
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What’s the best way to downsize your at-home beauty for travel?
I never downsize. Every product I use has a distinct purpose that I would never want to do without. I take my skincare with me on the plane or train, and do the same step-by-step routine wherever I am. It doesn’t take me long to do, and I love the results.
Do you prefer to pack travel minis or full-size beauty staples? And why?
Do you have a regular plane beauty routine?
On a long haul flight, when I’m ready to go to sleep, I do my regular evening skincare routine. When I wake, I do my daytime skincare routine, which of course includes sunscreen.
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How do you unwind when travelling?
My passion in life is opera, theatre, and fine dining. I miss that so much. When the world opens again I am traveling to every major opera house in Europe and the United States. I’ll be indulging in as many trips to 5 star restaurants as possible!
How do you overcome jet lag skin/eyes when you land?
My skin has never been affected by jet lag because of how I care for my skin every day of my life. However, at my age, I do struggle with getting into a regular sleep schedule after travelling to a different time zone. I’ve tried everything and have finally discovered what works for me. My doctor prescribed a non-addictive sleeping pill that I take until I adjust to the time difference.
What’s been your favourite vacation spa so far?
The Ananda Spa in Rishikesh, India is spectacular. The accommodation, food, treatments, classes, and surroundings are the best I’ve experienced anywhere.
What’s your favourite country to shop for home-grown beauty products?
What are your top beauty tips when travelling?
Don’t forget sunscreen! The sun’s most damaging UVA rays come through airplane windows, and because of the elevation, the damage it does is even worse than when you are on the ground. If you are on a long flight don’t sleep in your makeup.
What’s at the top of your beauty wish list right now?
In April I’m scheduled for some cosmetic corrective procedures with my dermatologist that I’ve been wanting to have done for a while, but COVID-19 got in the way!
THE PACKING LOWDOWN
Travel light or over-packer?
I over-pack. It’s a bad habit I wish I could break, but I like having options for clothing, and not running out of my skincare products.
Spa facial or massage?
Always a body massage! I can never get enough of that and I never get a facial.
Vacation air-dry or blow-dry?
Flat iron! Air-dry does not look good on me, and I am not skilled at blow drying my own hair.
Faux tan or au naturel?
I never use self-tanners as it’s just too much trouble to get it right.
Face wipes, yes or no?
Wipes are an option when washing your face in a plane or train bathroom isn’t desirable but only if the wipe doesn’t contain surfactant or detergent cleansing agents, because you never want to leave those on the face!
Desert island product…