Girl Talk Reviews: Secrets of the Beauty Insiders

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Secrets of the Beauty Insiders by Nada Manley
Secrets of the Beauty Insiders

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Have you ever met one of those women who is a sucker for self-help books? Uber-obsessive. Always trying to improve upon herself. You know the type. I'm kind of like that, only my obsession is beauty and fashion manuals of all types. I've read so many that I've become completely jaded. When I got word that yet another beauty manual was headed our way, this one penned by beauty writer and fellow blogette Nada Manley, I knew I couldn't trust myself to be impartial. I love a good beauty trick like a stockbroker loves barely legal insider tips. But what about the everywoman? What would the average girl about town think about a book devoted to telling her how to make herself just a little bit more beautiful? I decided to turn over Nada's new book to the Stiletto Jungle Girl Talk panel to see what they thought about the usefulness of this beauty how-to.

Here's the lowdown on the book in question. Secrets of the Beauty Insiders is the brainchild of Nada Manley, a recognized fashion and beauty writer with over 1,000 magazine articles to her credit. She is also a former beauty editor with more than a dozen years of experience. She has made numerous television appearances as a fashion and beauty expert on FOX News and E! Entertainment Television and she even has her own well-known blog-- Beauty Insider Blog. Secrets of the Beauty Insiders is the culmination of her lifelong obsession with beauty and includes tips and tricks from 79 top beauty professionals, including groomers to the stars like Nick Arrojo, Napoleon Perdis, and Terri Apanasewicz. The credentials are certainly impressive, but what did our panelists have to say?


"Nada Guirgis Manley does a great job in her book about beauty secrets. She really establishes credibilty creating an easy to read manual that can help everyone from the beauty freak to the misguided female. The book takes complex beauty decisions and lays out several solutions, with quotes from beauty experts. Manley helps the reader focus on who they are instead of who they want to be, meaning being honest with yourself, especially when it comes to skin color and hair color.

Manley is honest and makes the reader understand that the more they know, the easier it will be to choose a product. For example if you have dry skin and you are buying a cream that is drying out your skin more, you are not knowledgeable about your skin type. What is even more fascinating about this book is that she gives you the solution right then, helping you find out what skin type you have. Manley simply outlines the pros and cons of different beauty products without making it seem she is biased towards one. Because, as she puts it, everyone is different and, 'treatment is only fabulous if it works.' The book is divided up into sections, which makes it organized and less cluttered than most beauty books. I love how at the begining of each chapter she identifies with the reader by giving a personal example of her struggles with the issue or some relateable story."
-- Kim; 23; La Jolla, California


"Quite frankly, I knew I was going to have issues with this book the second I got it in the mail. Why? It proffers 199 pages of beauty advice, from product recommendations to application techniques, and doesn't contain one single picture or diagram. Ignoring for a moment the fact that humans are visually oriented beings, the very concept of physical beauty is undefinable without accounting for the visual component of it. Yet here we have a book of beauty secrets which is 199 pages of nothing but text, not one single example of what is being discussed... interesting.

Picture issues acknowledged and addressed, I did try to read this book with an open mind: with so much content, some of it was bound to be worthwhile. Also, Manly's list of contributors is both impressive and extensive, so I knew there was probably some valuable info to be had here, and there is. The advice contained on these pages is clearly knowledge obtained through years of education and experinece. The further I got into the book though, the more overwhelmed I felt. It's expert and extensive to the point of being too much. There are like 15 contributors to each chapter, each has advice (sometimes conflicting) about how something should be done, and each has a favorite product they'd like to recommend (usually from their own line). For instance, there are 14 product recommendations in the 'What the Pros Choose' section for acne treatments alone, and each topic has a 'What the Pros Choose.' What happened to 'simple or straightforward?' Simple and straigtforward to me means have a concrete idea about what I'm doing when I'm done reading it, not a million suggestions I have to follow up on.

I think the main issue here is that the author and contributors to this book are beauty professionals. They spend all day every day doing this and so have the time to play with techniques and products to find what works best in any and every circumstance, and to differentiate their circumstances by a whole host qualifying factors. They forget that the average woman doesn't have the time, inclination, or money for that, nevermind the patience and bathroom shelf-space. Certainly none of my friends who are married and/or have kids do, a couple of my single friends might wish they did.

So my bottom line impression is: This is a great book for anyone who is very very into make-up/ beauty/ fashion trends, going into cosmotology, or wanting a beauty encyclopedia of some kind. It is not really a practical book for the average woman though. If you are looking for something that will help you develop ageless style, simplify your routine, and choose reliable, quality products... Well, there are better books out there. Many of which come with pictures."
-- Hannah; 31; Corona, California

Click on the photo at the top left of this post to link directly to where you can purchase Secrets of the Beauty Insiders by Nada Manley online and on sale. Don't miss any Girl Talk reviews. Subscribe to Stiletto Jungle and get free updates by e-mail or RSS.

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