Sunday, June 12, 2016

Reviewing Books by YouTubers: Make Up by Michelle Phan

It's time for another edition of reviewing YouTuber books! Last time I reviewed Grace Helbig's satirical style book, and this week I'm reviewing Michelle Phan's real style book, Make Up: Your Life Guide to Beauty, Style and Success -Online and Off. What a nice coincidence that this book came in for me at the library right after Grace's book.

I'm not going to repeat my big intro that I've used for the last few reviews, because I'm getting tired of writing it, so I'm sure you're getting tired of reading it. If you're new, or missed the last few reviews, feel free to check out the entire series here

A Brief Introduction to Michelle Phan
In lieu of an explanation of the series, I've decided to expand my introduction to each book to include some information about the YouTuber.

My familiarity with the Youtuber: Not subscribed, had not watched any videos until reading this book.
Michelle Phan's subscriber count at the time of this post: 8, 601, 841
YouTube Genre: Beauty Guru (obviously)
Sample video:

The Review

Form: This book opens with a two part biography of Phan's life which sets up the book nicely. It gives the reader a good understanding of where her advice and tips are coming from. She has the typical rags to riches story that most YouTubers have, but it's told genuinely. It's matter-of-fact and the whole, not self-pitying, which I appreciated. After the bio, the chapters go over the usual beauty stuff (skin care, makeup, hair + nails, and fashion) and then it goes into the digital and career advice. Each of those chapters are split into smaller chunks, which makes the book quite readable. Most of all, I really liked the addition of the online and offline life advice at the end. It gave this book a bit more substance and made it unique from other beauty books. 

Content: I was really impressed with how much content is crammed into this book. The beauty elements go over everything you need to know to make yourself look awesome. It really is a comprehensive beauty guide. There are step-by-step instructions, and smaller tips (such as conditioning your lashes or using eye shadow as eyeliner) under each category. I wish this book had been available when I first started wearing makeup; it would have saved me all the time I've spent finding my make-up identity. 

As for the life advice section, I was surprised to see that those sections were equally comprehensive. There's advice from over-posting on Instagram to how to be a good boss and start your own business. It's easy to label Phan as simply a beauty guru, but she's also a hugely successful business women, and that fact comes through in the life advice sections. It was so refreshing to see those two elements, that are often irreconcilable in society, in one book #ladyboss.

Voice: I really liked Phan's voice. She's down to Earth, open minded and just seems really sweet. Sometimes it can be borderline too nice, but overall, she seems like a thoughtful person. I love that she doesn't assume that you have twenty dollars to spend on a lipstick. A lot of her advice focuses on the reader doing what's right for them and using the resources that they have available to them. For example, she might say usually glittery blue eye shadow isn't appropriate for casual events, but then she'll add that you can do that if you want to make a splash. She would also tell you not to worry about buying the fifty dollar blue glittery eye shadow from MAC, but to find a good drugstore alternative. You can tell that this attitude stems from her belief that makeup should be used to boast women's confidence in themselves. 

Overall Impressions: Although a beauty book can be dismissed as being shallow, this one was infused with Phan's personal beliefs and her desire to see her readers succeed. This is one of the more well-rounded lifestyle books that I've read. It was a good mix of the author doing fan service (the initial bio), while still providing valuable content to someone who doesn't watch her YouTuber channel.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Are you a fan of Michelle Phan? Which YouTuber books would you like me to read? Do you like beauty/life style books? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments!

Reading: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Listening: Jon Foreman
Watching: America's Got Talent YouTube videos


  1. I've never gotten into the beauty/lifestyle books, and the few I have read were pretty shallow and not really useful to me. (Then again, I don't really wear makeup so that could be a problem there.) It's cool to see that this one had substance and was practical. I love it when someone can look pretty and wear makeup and be feminine but still be a great business woman because society tends to say that you can't have both. Feminist rant aside, thanks for the review, and I'd love to check this one out!

    1. The book definetly focuses on beauty, but it goes beyond makeup and talks about fashion, and skin care and other elements that might be interesting to a non-makeup wearer. The business stuff for sure was a pleasant surprise:)

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. I really enjoyed this book when I read it last year. Her voice is so refreshing to read, making the book very relatable. I got through the whole book in a day and loved it just as much as I love Michelle's YouTube videos.
    - Sanjana

    1. You're the first person who's actually read one of the YouTuber books that I've reviewed! Glad that you enjoyed it so much:)

      Thanks for commenting!

  3. I personally don't read beauty books because I don't wear make-up. I only watch beauty YouTubers for their skincare tips. I've watched some of her videos and I have noticed that she gets quite a bit of hate from people on other channels. However, I have no problems with her. She seems okay.

    1. I didn't really notice the hate she's getting, because I don't follow her closely online. I understand that people could feel that she's "selling out," but I personally found her story inspiring. Thanks for sharing your more informed insight on this:)!


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