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No More Dirty Looks By Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt

No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Your Beauty Products and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics by Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt
Published 13 Jul 2010 By Da Capo Lifelong Books

Goodreads

Summary: Your lipstick. Your nail polish. Your conditioner. Most of us don’t realize that the products we use every day can expose us to thousands of chemicals that are readily absorbed through our skin. The impact on your health? It’s not pretty. In this must-read, Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt leave no bottle unturned. They found out all kinds of things the cosmetics industry doesn’t want you to know and now they’re going to share it with you.

– The most dangerous ingredients in widely-used brands and how they’re still not regulated
– Insider secrets from top scientists, dermatologists, and experts
– The 100 best clean makeup, hair care, and skin care products
– Cheap and simple do-it-yourself beauty recipes

It’s easy to make the switch to clean cosmetics. From mascara to moisturizers, shampoos to sunscreens, No More Dirty Looks will help you detox your regimen. Now you can be beautiful inside and out – because coming clean is the best look yet.

 

Today’s book review is a little bit different from usual. I’ve been reading a lot of beauty and fashion related books lately and this gem of a book was discovered from one of Anushka Rees’ blog post. I had a hard time finding this book and according to the librarian they no longer stock this on the shelves because its a very old edition. This book was first published in 2010 and there doesn’t seem to be newer editions of this, so I don’t know how accurate the information in this book is and if anything has changed within these 7 years.

No More Dirty Looks discusses about all the harmful chemicals and ingredients that can be found in our every day products like shampoo, body wash and even skin care. The authors discuss at great length about the FDA and what the FDA does and how major companies get their licensing and its horrifyingly shocking how easy it is for anyone to use a large amount of harmful chemicals in our products. It’s even more shocking to know that there are dangerous chemicals even in baby products — and that really speaks volume about how thorough these products are checked through.

The authors list down a series of dangerous chemicals and ingredients and provides alternatives that’s readily available in the market right now for a cheaper price (or slightly more expensive, but a product that is completely free of harmful chemicals) and what names (and alternate names) to look out for. I’ve personally looked through a bunch of my own products and noted that there are a lot of chemicals that were listed in the book, so perhaps not much have changed in the past 7 years.

Its important to note that the book states that out of the thousands of chemicals that were banned in Europe, only a handful have been banned in the US. I don’t know how accurate this information is but it is absolutely terrifying to just think about it.

I think its important for us to try to look into the ingredients that go into our everyday products, especially if we’re using it on large surface areas of our body and on a regular basis. I’m definitely interested to learn more and if there’s other books that has been released lately with more updated information. I urge you to do the same and look into these ingredients — it may be difficult to do a complete overhaul, but at least we could have the chance of making better and smarter choices.

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Bloom: Navigating Life and Style

Bloom: Navigating Life and Style by Estee Lalonde
Published 6 Oct 2016 by Ebury Press

Goodreads

Summary: ‘For me, the word “bloom” encapsulates the idea that anything is possible when you put your mind to it. It’s a word that hints at becoming who you are meant to be.’ Estée Lalonde

In Bloom, Estée shares the moments, people, things and life lessons that have made her who she is today and offers her tips for surviving life. Celebrate your bloom story and what makes you unique.

Youtubers getting book deals seems to be a trend as of late.

I’m actually a fan of Estee’s videos. I love how calm and collected she is and I love her beauty and style content. As a fan, I’m quite disappointed with this book. I loved the opening few pages, but as it went on it, Estee just seemed to glance over all her problems to keep it positive and nice. I feel that her stories were on a very surface level, she didn’t go too in depth, and she didn’t share how she overcame her problems. She just did, and that was that.

I don’t really know what Bloom is supposed to be. Its a mixture of her life story (very briefly explored) and later some bits about beauty, some recepies and about travelling. In a way she is quite relateable. I feel like I could relate to the things she was talking about like anxiety, long distance relationships etc and the way she writes makes it seem like you’re talking to a friend. I went through this book in a day. Its a really quick read, fairly simple to digest. Aesthetically, Bloom is very pleasing. I loved the layout, fonts and pictures. It is very Estee, but other than that, the real content is rather simple. It does remind me a little bit of Tanya Burr’s Love Tanya though it is lacking in the self help portion (though, I don’t think Bloom was meant to be a self help book).

Easy to thumb through if you have the time. Worth buying if you’re into clean aesthetics for the coffee tables, but probably not one for the shelves.

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How To Get Dressed By Alison Freer

How to Get Dressed: A Costume Designer’s Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing by Alison Freer
Published 14 Apr 2015 by Ten Speed Press

Goodreads

Summary: Costume designer Alison Freer’s styling kit is a magical bag of tricks, built to solve every single wardrobe malfunction on earth. TV and film productions wait for nothing, so her solutions have to work fast. In How to Get Dressed, Alison distills her secrets into a fun, comprehensive style guide focused on rethinking your wardrobe like a fashion expert and making what’s in your closet work for you. She provides real-world advice about everything style-related, including:

• Making every garment you own fit better
• Mastering closet organization
• The undergarments you actually need
• The scoop on tailors and which alterations are worth it
• Shopping thrift and vintage like a rockstar

Instead of repeating boring style “rules,” Alison breaks the rules and gets real about everything from bras to how to deal with inevitable fashion disasters. Including helpful information such as how to skip ironing and the dry cleaners, remove every stain under the sun, and help clueless men get their sartorial acts together, How to Get Dressed has hundreds of insider tips from Alison’s arsenal of tools and expertise.

How to Get Dressed was recently featured in Anuschka Rees’ blog on fashion and style books. After reading Rees’ The Curated Closet and my recent wardrobe revamp, I’ve been more interested in styling and clothes. Fashion has always been something I’m interested in, but its too difficult to get into what with all the fashion do’s and don’ts along with the latest trends. It was just too hard to get into.

The thing I loved about this book and Rees’ is that they’re both simple. They’re books that guide, just as a self help book should. It tells you what to do, how to do it and makes you, the reader, decide consciously about what you want to do. How to Get Dressed isn’t so deep — there are many practical advices on what to do with different stains, introduces you to a series of materials and their function but most importantly, this book focuses on how your clothes fit. The important thing here is that it doesn’t tell you what you should own in your wardrobe, but that whatever you own in your wardrobe should fit you, nicely and perfectly. She’s a great beliver in getting your clothes hemmed, stitched, fixed as long as you fit it. Of course, its not as simple as getting things stitched and restitched — she also tells you how to try the clothes on beforehand, to do certain tests before deciding if its even worth getting it fixed to perfectly fit you.

As a profesionally stylist, I believe she understands body shapes very well and she understands how certain things can be difficult like finding the perfect jeans size or having difficulties finding the right bra. She gets it. And this book is filled with useful practical tips, tricks and hacks for you to look good, without bursting your pocket. This book even includes a guide on bras, panties and even washing and drying your clothes! Small and compact, its another one of those books perfect for your bookshelf that you can refer to every now and then when you need it.

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The Curated Closet By Anuschka Rees

The Curated Closet: A Simple System for Discovering Your Personal Style and Building Your Dream Wardrobe By Anuschka Rees
Published 20 Sept 2016 By Ten Speed Press

Goodreads

Summary: A brilliant and inspirational roadmap for discovering and cultivating a strong sense of personal style and building the ideal wardrobe for your lifestyle.

Many women don’t know what their personal style is, don’t have a wardrobe that actually matches their style or life, and don’t know how to shop for a structured wardrobe of all pieces that can be worn easily and confidently. Style and minimalism blogger Anuschka Rees presents a fascinatingly strategic, prescriptive approach to identifying, refining, and expressing personal style and building the ideal wardrobe to match it, with style and shopping strategies that women can use every day. Including beautiful full-color fashion photography, infographics, and activities, The Curated Closet is a useful guide covering everything women need to know to fully realize their individual style and create their perfect functional and beautiful wardrobe.

The Curated Closet has been such a good help for me. I’ve recently purged a lot of clothes and am in the process of creating a wardrobe that is more me and this book came in so handy. It’s a pretty simple guide book on how to create the perfect curated wardrobe to fit your personal style. It has great introductions on how to sort out your clothes before the great purge, different types of clothing material, colours and good tips on what to do if you want to try a certain look but need to tone it down a little bit.

I’ve read several fashion guide books, but I feel like most of it tells you what’s in and what’s not and I feel like most of it is a repeat of what you either already know or more on following trends and covering basics. The Curated Closet is more for those who is looking to create a more balanced closet that’s geared towards their daily life. It teaches you practical tips that you can use on a daily basis. This would be especially good if you’re about to revamp your wardrobe, revamp your style or trying to figure out what type of style you like and how to mix it all up.

I really enjoyed The Curated Closet. Its one of those practical books you can have in your bookshelf and refer to every now and then. It also includes a practical guide on how to shop practically and well. Its a very all rounded book, I enjoyed it a lot. Its very hard to rate it, personally, because I feel that self help books are really up to the individual’s taste. The Curated Closet gets a 3 from me, because it is useful and in depth — its also quite engaging because it has activities for you to do but I do feel that its quite heavy in a sense that you have to invest quite a lot of time to read through, think and work on the activities. If you’re looking for a fashion guide book flat out tells you what to buy, this is probably not for you. But if you’re interested to shop more consciously and have a wardrobe that you will wear all year round, this book is geared more for you. Overall a useful an great book and great addition to the bookshelf and coffee table.

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Crazy is My Superpower By AJ Mendez Brooks

Crazy is My Superpower By AJ Mendez Brooks
Published 4 April 2017 By Penguin Random House

Goodreads

Summary: Three-time WWE Diva’s Champion A.J. Brooks’ Crazy is My Superpower is a literary memoir chronicling her unlikely rise from 100-pound nerd growing up in extreme poverty and enduring years of abuse to international sex symbol and professional wrestling champion (known as A.J. Lee). A.J. fought against stereotypes, forced the men in her industry to view her with respect, and inspired a huge fan base of over 2 million Twitter followers with her fierce independent streak.

I cried. Literally.

If you are not familiar with the name AJ Mendez Brooks, formerly known as AJ Lee, she was one of the top female wrestlers for the WWE. She came, she conquered until the day she retired on her own terms.

AJ is my role model for many reasons. Growing up I’ve always admired the strong female wrestlers on TV. In a sport that’s mostly dominated by men, the women wrestlers were relegated to being valets, managers, or used for half time dance sessions in their underwear. But long gone are the days where women of wrestling are used as eye candy. They wrestle, they take bumps, they fight — literally. While there are many who could be attributed to helping lead the way of the women’s revolution amongst wrestlers, I personally feel that AJ helped mould our current group of female wrestlers. She was different — she wasn’t those tough chicks, she was skinny, small and packaged as a geek goddess (which she was). She appealed to young girls, older girls, males and females alike. There’s something special about her that forces people to look.

She was one of my favourite wrestlers (and still is!) and though I’m so sad that I can no longer see her on TV, I’m so happy she released a memoir. I preordered this and finally, it came and I devoured it in days. I loved learning more about her background. She came from nothing, from actual poverty, had her fair share of shit and was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

This book is important. Its revelant, not just for wrestling fans, but for non wrestling fans as well. She tackles the book in a simple tongue in cheek manner, its not difficult to get into the book at all. She talks in great lengths about her struggle with a bipolar mother, and later, her struggle being bipolar herself. I believe the book will help a lot of people — people who feel they are margianalised for being different, people who were bullied, people who suffer through mental illnesses. My favourite part is that she’s trying to break the stigma against the word crazy, against mental illness. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Things happen, and you are not alone.

Read, open your mind and heart. You are never alone. This one will be on my favourite shelf for a long time (and by that I mean forever).

 

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Korean Beauty Secrets: A Practical Guide to Cutting-Edge Skincare and Makeup By Kerry Thompson and Coco Park

Korean Beauty Secrets: A Practical Guide to Cutting-Edge Skincare and Makeup By Kerry Thompson and Coco Park
Published 3 Nov 2015 By Skyhorse Publishing

Goodreads

Summary: Kerry Thompson and Coco Park, the writers behind the influential beauty blogs, Skin & Tonics and The Beauty Wolf, come together to bring you Korean Beauty Secrets: A Practical Guide to Cutting-Edge Skincare and Makeup.

With advice on how to assess your skin, build a routine, and apply and shop for a wide variety of makeup products, this guide shows you how to achieve the look of flawless, radiant skin—with makeup—and without! This guide is your gateway into the alluring and sophisticated world of Korean beauty—for all skin types and ethnicities.

From the multi-step Korean skincare routine to chic Seoul-inspired makeup looks, this full-color handbook offers product explanations, advice, tutorials, and insider information that will have you immersed in the trendsetting beauty culture of South Korea in no time.

Kerry’s blog, Skin & Tonics, has a loyal cult-following thanks to her in-depth, scientifically-informed reviews and skincare tips, with a particular focus on Korean beauty products and Asian skincare philosophies. Kerry’s enthusiasm for skincare began at a very young age and eventually grew into a passion for documenting her skincare adventures and sharing them with the world. Her mission is simple: try emerging skincare products from all over the globe, and distinguish between marketing hype and legitimately effective solutions. Kerry can often be found perusing peer-reviewed clinical research, or speaking with cosmetic chemists and industry insiders. As an early U.S. adopter of the Korean beauty philosophy, her relationships in the Korean beauty industry and continuing quest for knowledge make her an ideal guide to the unique and seductive world of Korean skincare.

Coco Park is a digital journalist, artist, and the beloved beauty writer behind the heavily followed blog, The Beauty Wolf, which features art and reviews dedicated to Korean makeup and skincare products. Coco also works as a freelance K-beauty correspondent, and is a repeat guest beauty author at XOJane. She’s been featured in numerous Korean beauty articles in a number of publications, including Fast Company and The Daily Mail. Coco, a certified esthetician and makeup artist, has lived and worked in Dallas, NYC, Toronto, and Montreal. Her lifelong immersion in the beauty industry and specific, in-depth knowledge of Korean beauty trends make her the perfect adviser to lead you through the exciting, ever-changing world of Korean beauty.

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Today’s book review is going to be slightly different. I’m a huge fan of Korean skincare. When I saw this book in the beauty section I just knew I needed to read it and devour its content. I’ve reviewed several fashion, self-help, beauty books on Pretty Bookmarks before, but this book by far takes the cake.

The book talks mainly about Korean beauty skincare — how the Koreans view skincare as more important than the type of makeup you’re wearing and how Korean skincare has expanded over the last couple of years. Compared to the ones I’ve reviewed on PB, Korean Beauty Secrets is one of the most comprehensive skincare book that I’ve read. It really goes into the details of what types of ingredients are most commonly found in Korean skincare (and other skin cares), what types of ingredients they’re experimenting with, what the benefits and disadvantages of each ingredient or product is. That’s what I love about this book — its really a full practical guide for beginners and non-beginners. Anybody at any age can pick this up and easily digest the information. What I love about this book is that it also has a full translated list of ingredients from Korean to English, which is definitely helpful for non-Korean speakers who wish to purchase Korean products but are wary of certain ingredients.

Inside is also a compilation of different bloggers skin care routines, as examples of how you can mix and match different products, not just Korean products but any products in the market to cater to your skin type. And of course, every beauty book is not complete without a set of make up looks and advice.

I love that this book is not afraid to list down the products and names of brands that they’ve used or that people are using in the market. I believe the authors are long time users of Korean products as well and have researched into what they’re doing and what they want people to know very well. As somebody who loves skincare and Korean skincare, I feel like I’ve benefitted a lot from just this one book compared to the others I’ve read and that definitely have gotten a lot of takeaways from this book.

Definitely one of the more beneficial self-help, beauty-related books that I’ve read so far and I feel that it’s worth sharing with readers of Pretty Bookmarks, young, old, male or female! Everyone can benefit from this book and can learn so much about skin care and how to better manage their skin.

As always, if there are other beauty related books that you’ve read and loved please share them in the comments!

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Grace & Style By Grace Helbig

Grace & Style By Grace Helbig
Published 2 Feb 2016 by Touchstone

Summary: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Grace’s Guide and the host of The Grace Helbig Show on E! comes a beautifully illustrated, tongue-in-cheek book about style that lampoons fashion and beauty guides while offering practical advice in Grace Helbig’s trademark sweet and irreverent voice.

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I’m disappointed. I really enjoyed Grace’s first book Grace’s Guide, but Grace & Style really fell short for me.

The first few chapters were great. They delved into why style is so important to Grace and how she overcame her eating disorder to become the healthy person she is today. I was hooked, interested to see how her style has evolved over the years and what she’s learnt about fashion. I wanted to know what she’s learnt as a person who didn’t learn fashion, or not a beauty guru — just your average girl who wears clothes.

Grace & Style was more on the humorous side of things. There weren’t any tips that I could remember after reading it, there wasn’t anything in particular that captivated me besides the first few chapters that delved into her personal story with fashion.

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting out of this out. But I certainly hadn’t expected it to be mundane, considering I loved her first book. Grace & Style will be a hit or miss for some; it is easy to read, but probably not necessary for my shelves.

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Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to Be a Grown Up By Grace Helbig

Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to Be a Grown Up
Published 21 Oct 2014 By Touchstone

Goodreads

Summary“One of the sharpest, funniest voices on YouTube” (Forbes), comedian Grace Helbig offers an irreverent and illustrated guide to life for anyone faced with the challenge of growing up.

Face it—being a young adult in the digital era is one of the hardest things to be. Well, maybe there are harder things in life…but being an adult is difficult! So Grace Helbig has written a guide that’s perfect for anyone who is faced with the daunting task of becoming an adult.

Infused with her trademark saucy, sweet, and funny voice, Grace’s Guide is a tongue-in-cheek handbook for millennials, encompassing everything a young or new (or regular or old) adult needs to know, from surviving a breakup to recovering from a hangover. Beautifully illustrated and full-color, Grace’s Guide features interactive elements and exclusive stories from Grace’s own misadventures—like losing her virginity solely because her date took her to a Macaroni Grill—and many other hilarious lessons she learned the hard way.

Amusing and unexpectedly educational, this refreshing and colorful guide proves that becoming an adult doesn’t necessarily mean you have to grow up.

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Grace’s Guide is surprisingly refreshing and tongue-in-cheek funny with witty, yet useful tips to survive the world.

I have to address that I absolutely love Grace Helbig — but with most self-help books, I go in with minimal expectations that I would actually learn anything. Grace’s Guide took me by surprise! The stories that Grace shared in the book really resonated with me and a lot of it was really relatable. With YouTubers, it is easy to forget that they are just like us — they have problems like everyone else and they’re just trying their best to live their lives. YouTube gives us an outlet to be ourselves and create content, but at the same time, we only get to see snippets of their lives. This book really opened up another door into Grace’s life, and personally, I feel that I can relate to her a lot better now after reading her book.

Grace understands. The anxiety problems, being an introvert — these are things that I could really relate to. Its always great to read about someone else’s struggle and how they overcome it — just like how Grace feels her reading about others’ stories give her encouragement and believe that there is a way out, I feel that way reading about her story.

There’s a lot of useful takeaway from Grace’s Guide. Its not just funny or witty, but there are real information in there that can be useful to so many people out there who feels like they’re struggling and need someone to just understand. (Again, I have to stress that the amount of takeaway from this book varies from reader to reader).

Overall, Grace’s Guide is a pretty good quick read. Definitely recommended for fans of Grace Helbig, and anyone who just wants to see what she has to say.

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Love, Tanya By Tanya Burr

Love, Tanya By Tanya Burr
Published 29 Jan 2015 By Penguin Random House UK

Goodreads

Summary: Hi everyone and welcome to Love, Tanya! This book is really close to my heart, because it’s inspired by my journey to becoming confident and feeling happy about who I am. I wanted to write a book to share the things I’ve learnt with you – to reveal my top tips on fashion, beauty, love, friendship, YouTube… and loads more! Plus, there is room for you to list your own hopes and dreams alongside mine – so get creative and get involved! I’d love it if this book became a keepsake you can turn to whenever you need some guidance or a little pick me up. I hope you enjoy it!

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OK, I know what you’re thinking. Another book from another Youtuber, what could they possibly know?

But Tanya Burr knows her stuff.

One thing that works in Tanya’s favour is that the book is a non-fiction. It isn’t a fiction novel nor is it a memoir. Love, Tanya is a cross between a self help book and an autobiography. Tanya discusses her experiences, her background, shares tips and tricks about fashion and even recipes. Love, Tanya probably doesn’t fit into one genre because it just encompasses everything that Tanya loves.

I do enjoy watching Tanya’s videos. She comes across as this genuine, bubbly and incredibly positive ball of sunshine that I’d love for her to be the big sister I never had.

It seems that a lot of youtubers are getting a lot of flack for putting out their own book, but I think how good or bad a book is really boils down to the contents of its book and how the reader perceives it to be. Love, Tanya isn’t a work of fiction so you’ll just have to use your own judgement about how good it is. To me, Love, Tanya is one of the better self help books for beauty and fashion that I’ve read and I personally found it helpful.

I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a simple self-help book with easy tips to follow.

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Style By Lauren Conrad

Style By Lauren Conrad
Published 5 Oct 2010 by HarperCollins

Goodreads

Summary: You’ve seen Lauren Conrad on TV and red carpets, looking fabulous whether she’s going casual for a day with friends or dressed for a night out. Now Lauren reveals how you can adapt her classic, understated style for yourself.

In her first-ever style guide, Lauren offers tips on how to create your own unique look, shares her favorite sources of inspiration, and identifies the absolute must-haves for any fashionista’s wardrobe. Along the way, she examines her fashion evolution, from California-casual teen to camera-ready style icon and clothing designer.

From beauty advice and hair secrets to how to shop vintage or find the perfect T-shirt, Lauren Conrad Style unlocks the mysteries of being effortlessly chic. With Lauren’s guidance, you’ll look and feel stylish every day.

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I find it so hard to properly review Style by Lauren Conrad mainly because self help books are so subjective that its really hard to review this book without completely leaning to one side.

I think Style is a hit or miss, depending on who is reading it — and for me, it is a miss. I have loved Lauren Conrad since her Laguna Beach days and I know she went to fashion school and is very successful so I picked up Style hoping to learn more than I already know. I’m in no way an expert on the topic of fashion and style but a lot of what’s taught in the book is stuff I already know or what I assume is “common knowledge” — for things such as the little black dress (because it seems like every fashion magazine, blogs, etc talk about the LBD). In a way, I didn’t feel like I learnt much from her book because of prior knowledge. But again — this book would be good for someone who is looking to revamp their wardrobe or their look or possibly those of a younger age group than me.

Owing to personal circumstances, there’s not a lot in her book that I can follow. This is of course different for individuals, but for me, personally, there isn’t much I can adopt. I can tweak it a little bit but there’s only so much I can do.

Style covers 3 main topics: fashion, beauty and lifestyle. This goes from essential clothing items, how to shop, makeup and hair and dressing for different occasions. I did particularly like the jeans section, mixing prints, how to dress for your figure and the make up section but that’s about all that I liked.

I don’t think it’s necessary for me to have this book — I think for me, I’m better off sitting in the library copying down the little pointers I want mainly because not everything is applicable to me. I don’t know if there is a specific targeted audience, but I feel like it would be better for teens looking to build their wardrobe. But again, there’s so many beauty and fashion gurus and books out there that can help you, so my suggestion is to really flip through the book to see if its going to be useful for you, before you buy it.

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