Confession: when the whole “Internet beauty guru” thing got started, I didn’t get it. I had been introduced to Xanga as a freshman in high school (because, unlike the MySpace pages we were all obsessed with at the time, we could rush to the library and check it at lunchtime). As I got more into it as an online community and less as a place to keep up with my real-life “friends”, I discovered the “popular bloggers.” One of those was RiceBunny, who I would read occasionally, but wasn’t subscribed. Like a few others popping up, she posted tutorials along with more typical entries on the platform.
Then, she had the audacity to move her videos to YouTube. Seems silly now that we would complain about her becoming popular on another site and “abandoning” the community. Especially since I think most of the people who were complaining at that time jumped ship within a few years as well and now the site looks like it is still frozen in time around 2010.
Anyway, RiceBunny went on to own her own beauty empire. And be known by her own name, Michelle Phan. From a successful YouTube channel (to which I am subscribed. I get it now!), to a subscription sample service, her own cosmetics company, and now her own book, Michelle is a perfect example of how hard work and perseverance can pay off.
This all makes her a perfect candidate for writing a “Life Guide to Beauty, Style, and Success – Online and Off,” as the tagline for her book Makeup puts it. The book begins with a look at her early life, and then leads into the things that brought her to where she is today.
Once you know Michelle’s story, she gets into the beauty basics. Chapter three is all about skincare and creating a good base for the rest of the beauty tricks.She doesn’t even try to promise you’ll have “perfect skin.” As she says in the second paragraph of the chapter, “These are steps each of us can take to ensure that our skin is in optimal condition”…”So perfect skin? No. But better skin? Absolutely.” She takes you through determining your skin type, creating a skincare routine, and even gives tips for caring for skin elsewhere on the body, not just the face.
Chapter four has a good set of makeup basics, from choosing your shades to how to apply everything correctly. She even includes tips on organization, tools, and a DIY brush cleanser. Chapter five is all about hair and nails, same premise as the previous two chapters were for skin. She covers nail polish, hair dye, and just basic care for these parts of yourself.
Chapter six delves into fashion. Instead of harsh, “no white after Labor Day” or “no one should ever wear…” style rules, Michelle keeps with her general guidelines in this section. She even provides some basic “Do & Don’t” lists for various occupations, as well as dressing tips for various occasions. As with the previous chapters, she also provides good storage and organizational tips as well as tips on caring for your clothes and accessories. This chapter does a good job of bridging between the beauty and life sections of the book.
Chapters 7-10 are full of great life advice. From balancing your digital and personal lives to using manners in the modern age and finding a job, this part of the book includes wonderful hints to help you life the best life possible for you. It’s not an “everyone has to work from the bottom up” or even “everyone should find a way to be their own boss” type of advice. It really is about finding a way to do whatever you love, not what someone else says you should love. All of the tips are things Michelle has learned over the past few years that help her and may help you, too.
Overall, I was very impressed with this book. While there are brief mentions of Michelle’s various business endeavors, the book itself did not feel like a giant advertisement for said endeavors like some other books written by bloggers that I have seen. It is very much what it claims to be: a life guide. I would highly recommend it if you are someone who is into beauty and fashion, or even someone who wants to be and is looking for a place to start out. I would especially recommend this to someone getting ready to graduate and move on to another stage in their life who might be looking for some general guidance.