When beauty editor Andrea Pomerantz Lustig compiled her prodigious knowledge into How to Look Expensive: A Beauty Editor’s Secrets to Getting Gorgeous without Breaking the Bank, she aimed to give women tools to look their best no matter what their budgets. According to her definition, “looking expensive” just means looking like the best version of yourself, not trying to be someone you aren’t, which is a refreshing view.
The book includes sections on hair, makeup, skin care, grooming, fashion, and other miscellaneous beauty categories, and the information is similar to what you might find if you combed through a couple of decades worth of tips and product advice in women’s magazines. Over the years I have read a lot of those columns, so much of the information was familiar to me, but it was helpful to have it in one volume, with very updated references and product information.
One exceptionally helpful component of the book is Lustig’s charts in every section for how to achieve a particular look or what sort of product to buy, along with a range of products she vouches for from $1 ELF cosmetics from Target to super high end brands. I like knowing which things are worth spending money on and which things are OK to get on the cheap. For example, I am looking to replace a couple of old makeup brushes (and when I say “old” I mean “from the 1990s”) and wasn’t sure if I needed to buy expensive ones, since one cheap brush I got a few months ago is already threadbare from shedding. Lustig’s book let me know that CVS Essence of Beauty brushes ($10 for an entire set) are excellent and hold up as well as expensive brands. Bonus!
I also liked the recipes for how to get salon results at home (especially for facial type things), pros and cons of different solutions to common problems, and understanding that not all women have the same style, coloring, or shape. The emphasis in the book is on figuring out what works best for YOU, not attempting to have us all look alike.
If you’re a woman who takes even passing interest in hair, makeup, skin, clothes, or related topics, I’m sure you’d find How to Look Expensive quite helpful and I would recommend it. It’s a quick read, but informative and well worth your time.
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