(Bonus) Book Review: How to Look Expensive

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Yesterday in the excitement of my new blog design, I gushed about how awesome my younger brother is. Today, I’d like to offer my thoughts on a book that I’ve borrowed from one of my best friends, Celia. She’s turning 25 this week, and we spent Friday shopping, eating, and being pampered.

Weeks ago she wanted to know what I thought about Andrea Pomerantz Lustig’s 2012 book How to Look Expensive. Since this is nonfiction, it won’t count toward my official reading list, but there’s nothing wrong with mixing things up every now and then!

Lustig, known as the “Beauty Sleuth,” has worked for Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Sephora.com. Her book pulls her best tips, tricks, and tales from Hollywood’s experts. As she discusses hair, makeup, and other beauty topics, she caters to four celebrity types: Park Avenue Pretty, Hollywood Boho, Glam Globe-Trotter, and Modern Movie Star.

Unfortunately, these categories aren’t distinguishable enough to matter, as the looks and styles are often interchangeable. And unless you’re a total beauty rookie, most of the advice is just plain common-sense. Don’t pile on products? Stop smoking? Wear sunscreen? If you haven’t absorbed these yet, maybe you should change your moisturizer.

Paging Beauty Editor-in-Obvious!

Maybe I’m a bit jaded…or simply lucky to have so many friends who rock their war-paint. Celia introduced me to highlighter and bronzer, and my Sacramento pageant girls taught me the importance of doing your brows. But if your friends aren’t as cosmetically inclined, the book covers all these topics, so don’t fret!

Although I question how much Lustig was influenced by the beauty and cosmetics companies to throw them shout-outs, the products and websites she mentions are worthy whether you have a celebrity’s budget or not. It’s nice that she ends each chapter with what you can accomplish with a $20 save to a $500 splurge.

As for me, here’s some items on my beauty to-do list: Invest in lip liners to go with all my lipsticks, experiment with applying foundation with brushes instead of sponges, see what all the fuss is about with BB cream, and finally buy a curling iron to control my already curly hair instead of wearing it up or straightened all the time.

And stuff I couldn’t care less about? Tanning, dyeing my hair, maintaining a manicure, and spending a fortune on treatments like eyelash extensions and microdermabrasion. I like the concept that beauty is about enhancing what you already have, but I also recognize that concerning yourself with looking gorgeous 24-7 creates unhealthiness like perfectionism, narcissism, low or overly high self-esteem, and even serious mental health disorders.

Not to mention, all your focus on patriarchal standards of beauty distracts you from truly living to your potential by pursuing more noble endeavors. Obviously, you can be a feminist and still enjoy your mascara, but let’s not kid ourselves. It’s not mascara that got Queen Elizabeth, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Rosa Parks to make a difference in the world.

But if you’d like an easy-to-read book to class up your vanity, by all means check out How to Look Expensive. However, if you’re more interested in practical, more-than-novice tricks of the trade, I’d suggest the many beauty blogs and YouTube tutorial channels out there. You’re better off searching the Internet for what you need, all without spending a dime!

Lastly, if you want to crack up, watch Jenna Marbles videos on “What a Girl’s Hair Means” and “What a Girl’s Makeup Means.” Jenna’s my fav YouTube celebrity, but as usual with her, there’s plenty of profanity and sexually explicit material, so click at your own risk and enjoy the laughs!

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