Reviewed by L.D.Y.
Hardcover, 192 pages, 2006
Reason for Reading: Like many women, make-up and hair-care products tend to be one of my favourite cheerful (but usually cheap) pick-me-up purchases. It’s fun, but good advice from actual pros is always welcome.
Synopsis: Every woman deserves to feel like she looks good, or has a certain ‘allure’ to her, even if we can’t all be supermodels. Working with the editors of Allure magazine, Wells, the founding editor-in-chief of the publication, walks readers through head-to-toe beauty and makeup tips (and basics) that are broken down into ten chapters: skin care; skin problems; face; eyes; lips; nails; haircut & color; hair care & style; salons & spas; and body.
Why you should read this book: We’ve all felt like we need a new look; maybe a re-examination of the basics; or something more sophisticated and polished; or perhaps something more age-appropriate, and Allure is an excellent guide to turn to for help. It will teach you how to take care of your skin, tell you what products can make a huge impact and which are completely bogus, and give you tips on how to get a timeless, classic look, with a hint of fun that allows you to keep yourself looking like you – but better. Unlike magazines, this book doesn’t mention product names, just ingredients or certain descriptions (‘creamy’ vs. ‘powdery’ for example) to look for in products, so you don’t have to worry that you’ll feel like you just shelled out money for a 200-page advertisement. You might find it a bit more time-consuming in the stores, but your wallet will thank you when you realize you can get drugstore products that are almost chemically identical to luxury brands. Barring any miraculous scientific breakthroughs, Allure should prove to be a classic reference point that will keep you looking good for years to come.
Why you should avoid this book: Despite the introduction touting how the industry has embraced racial and ethnic diversity, this book doesn’t offer much to anyone who’s not white, either in its pictures or its advice – something like Iman’s The Beauty of Color might prove more useful. Ditto on the age factor, because you’re going to want something more specialized after a certain age (one I’ll leave to your own choosing). A few diagrams could have gone a long way in the make-up sections for the sake of those (teens especially) using this as a starter-guide, especially since photo-shoots don’t really follow the subtle looks that are usually required for every-day make-up wear.
About three hours into my first day at a fashion magazine – testing lipsticks on the back of my hand, cataloging bottles of fragrance – I realized I’d found my true calling. Anyone who knew me before that moment would have laughed at such a thought; I was an unlikely candidate for beauty editor (well, beauty editor’s assistant). At twenty-two, I came late to lip gloss, rarely did much more to my hair than wash and brush it, and had never once surrendered my nails to a professional. I admitted none of this to my skillfully made-up, perfectly manicured boss.
The famous rule about getting ready, then removing one accessory before you leave the house applies just as well to makeup. After you’ve done your face, turn away from the mirror, then quickly look back. You might be surprised to see that your blush suddenly looks too bright, or the shimmer on your eyes is more disco than dazzling. A light dusting of powder will tone it down.
Women with limp hair have an excellent excuse for being cheap: Many inexpensive shampoos are actually perfect for your hair because of their higher levels of detergent. When lathered only at the scalp, they wash away excess oil that weighs hair down – and might even allow you to skip a day in between.
Also recommended: Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me by Paula Begoun.
Also by this author: Allure is Wells’ first book.
Would I read more by this author? It would depend on the topic – this book was pretty thorough.
Â© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2007