Monday, June 27, 2011

Can You Get Hooked On Lip Balm? Book Review

I won a copy of this book after I entered a contest over on Girls of T.O. My prize also included a $50 Visa gift card but while the money was great, what I really was looking forward to was this book.

And it didn’t disappoint. If the beauty products I used were equivalents to this book, I would be recommending that you buy everything that I used. Yep, it’s that good.

Sub-titled: Top Cosmetic Scientists Answer Your Question about the Lotions, Potions and Other Beauty Products You Use Every Day, Can You Get Hooked on Lip Balm? is “authored” by The Beauty Brains, who, according to the back of the book are, “a group of chemist who have more than forty years of experience developing and testing beauty products at major cosmetic companies, including Proctor & Gamble, Unilever and Alberto Culver.” They run, a site where ordinary people submit questions and the Beauty Brains answer them. This book basically contains the best of those Q&As, along with some addition content, like “Myths about Mineral Oil” and “5 Ways to Reduce Enlarged Pores”.

One reason why I love this book is because it analyzes products and ideas through two lenses: one scientific and one more consumer-oriented.

I really appreciate that these guys don’t shy away from bringing actual science into their answers, something that’s too frequently missing from magazine and newspaper pieces about cosmetics and beauty. Studies are analyzed, ingredients are researched and yes, sometimes the content does get a bit technical.

But it’s all presented in a highly digestible, but never insulting, way. And that’s the other main reason why I love this book, it’s written in a very accessible, and at times funny way, that results in you really retaining the information you’re reading about.

The more consumer-oriented view, meanwhile, considers everything from advertising to how a product makes the user feel mentally. The book openly acknowledges that for many people, beauty products are about more than just performance. It states how while expensive products generally don’t work better than cheaper ones, if a pricey product works for you and makes you feel better, buy it. It’s a refreshingly different approach to reviewing beauty products.

This book does name product names and it does make judgement calls on them. Sometimes these calls are clearly negative while others are of the “try and see if it works for you” kind. I realize that this does seem like a whishy-washy verdict but it’s also a very honest one. While this book can tell you what ingredients to look for (or watch out for), effective ingredients don’t have the same effects on everyone and often the only way to find something that works for you is to try products out.

Thanks to its index, looking up specific topics in this book is easy while its logically organized Q&A format makes it very browsing-friendly. However, once you start reading this book, you may find yourself unable to put it down; it’s that packed with useful facts.

Because of that, this is the perfect gift for any beauty-product fanatic your world. Though you may want to add a little something extra into the gift bag because this book does have rather flimsy cover that makes it seem a bit cheap (especially considering its $19.95 list price).

Would I buy this again: If  hadn’t won it, I would have bought it.
Should you buy it: If the clerks at Sephora, The Body Shop and/or Shoppers know your name, pick this book up.

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