Michelle Phan’s Make Up | Book Review


Michelle Phan + YouTube:

Michelle Phan could be described as the queen/Oprah of YouTube. She started it all by making easy-to-follow makeup tutorials on her Mac, and I became a fan. I remember seeing her videos for the first time and learning A LOT about makeup, techniques and products that I never knew about before. Only then, I felt like I was actually doing my makeup correctly. Her makeup tutorials turned into DIYs for face masks (egg mask facial) which turned into celebrity transformations (From Barbie and Lady Gaga to GOT’s Daenerys and Angelina Jolie) If you watch any of her videos, the celebrity transformations are the ones to watch!

My expectations:

I went into reading this book, which I finished in a day, thinking I would get expert tips all about makeup and I was so excited, especially because the first word in the title is Make Up!

Quotes from the book:

Here are the kinds of expert makeup tips I’m talking about that I am so glad she shared:

I do whatever part of my face I’m emphasizing that day. If I’m doing a smoky eye, I’ll do my eyes first. If I’m doing a beautifully lined dark lip, I’ll do that first. This way everything is in proportion. You want to make sure to balance your look. That means making one thing the focal point on your face and toning down everything else. -Michelle Phan, Makeup Basics and Beyond

I tend to do my makeup all in the same order, regardless of a smoky eye or red lip. I would have never thought to do the part of the face I want to emphasize first. It’s a great tip, and I can’t wait to try this order of doing my makeup.

BB Creams are tinted moisturizers that come loaded with extras – SPF, antioxidants, treatment ingredients, primer, etc. The BB stands for “beauty balm” or “blemish balm.” -Michelle Phan, Makeup Basics and Beyond

What is was about:

The book starts out with her childhood life to adult life. You get to learn about her hardships with family life, how she was bullied in school, and her determination to become an artist. The Skincare chapter was about finding out your skin type and the products you should use. There were never any specific product recommendations. You’d just see words like “foaming cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin.”

The Makeup section was by far my favorite chapter; It’s the main reason I read the book. She goes through eyes, lips, face, etc. She also discusses types of foundations, eye shadows, eye liners, and lip products. The Hair and Nails chapter had tips on how to dry your hair and how parting your hair could change your look, while also teaching about a DIY mani/pedi. The Fashion section goes through the basics of clothing every girl should have, what to wear to an interview, and how it’s better to be over dressed than under dressed.

The Social Media chapter has dos and don’ts on over-sharing in regards to posting on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram. Finding a job section is full of positive ways you can start to look for a job. She also explains how she turned her hobby into jobManners is also included one of the last chapters of her book to teach women of all ages how to act in specific situations, whether it is situation awareness or respecting others.

IMG_2860Would I Recommend?

I would recommend this book to young girls and young adults (teens to early 20s.) At some points in the book, I felt like I was reading this a couple years late, especially because there is a section dedicated to being in college and landing your first internship. I found the book to not only jump from one topic to another with no transition, but I also found some of her phrases and examples to be repetitive throughout the entire book. Several times, she mentions she didn’t get the job at Lancome when she was younger and uses that example more than it’s needed.

The makeup and skincare chapters are really informative for those who have no idea about makeup and/or beginners in makeup. I thought the book would strictly be about beauty and was surprised that fashion and life tips were included as well. I found the DIY pedicure to be the newest tutorial I’ve seen from her. You could see the life tips as a bonus or an annoyance. If I picked up this book and wanted her to really help me pick out some products for my skin type, I would have expected some guidance with at least one specific product. It felt like everything that was supposed to be specific ended up being a generalization. Meaning that these are answers that I could find online.

Also, most of her life story was not new to me because it was what I have learned from her Draw My Life video. I also got the feeling that this was just a long YouTube video that I had to read instead. I could definitely hear her voice in the writing. It was very simple, sometimes silly, always positive, similar to the voice in her videos. This book is a fun read, and it is not to be taken seriously as a beauty guide; I’m happy I ended the book with a few tips that I can’t wait to try out.

Make Up: Your Guide to Beauty, Style, and Success–Online and Off

What do you think of Michelle Phan? Do you watch her videos?

Have you read her book? Thoughts?

17 thoughts on “Michelle Phan’s Make Up | Book Review

  1. I liked her when she was still ricebunny but then I stopped when she started to commercialize her brand. I understand she’s monetizing her youtube channel but it just became too much – first with Iqqu Beauty, then Lancome, then Ipsy, then Em. The only business that I think she did well was Ipsy. The Em line was SUCH a mismatch for her target audience – are you kidding me with the Life palettes? I got a sample of the eye shadows and they’re not pigmented at all.
    So overall, I’m over her. She was innovative for her time and parlayed her channel into a multi-million dollar business, which very few of her cohorts have managed to do, so good on her!


    • I know what you mean. I don’t watch her new stuff that often anymore. I do still enjoy her makeup tutorials. She tried a lot of different companies so at one point, I was confused as to which one she was advertising! I’m surprised Ipsy is still alive. They worked all the kinks out. She talks in the book about how something got sent out with paper samples, when the first makeup bag was marketed to ONLY have deluxe to full size samples. So now all of that is fixed. I agree with your thoughts on the life palettes. I don’t want to mix ANY powder products with ANY sticky glosses/sticky blushes, really anything! So many youtubers are promoting her makeup line to this day. My sisters are over her too. I am still a fan, in that I watch her videos from the past.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I always enjoyed Michelle Phan! Maybe I will pick this up for a light fun read when I’m on vacation this summer! I’m currently finishing up #Girlboss!


  3. I used to watch Michelle too, I do give her props for parlaying her YT channel into a bigger career, but I don’t find her videos very relatable anymore. I think there are so many other ‘beauty gurus’ who have tutorials I prefer in terms of makeup application. But she definitely helped to pave the way for so many!


  4. I used to watch her quite a lot a few years ago, but I tend to go through phases of watching one person a lot and then moving onto another. Your post has reminded me that I should go back and rewatch some of her techniques-based videos. Great review.. I don’t think I’ll buy this, but I might pick it up in the library to check out the specific sections you mention! x


  5. I like her videos for the soundtracks she uses and the voice over, which allows her to concentrate on the look, rather than on the words…but I’m also sick and tired of anyone publishing books nowadays. I mean, it takes time, craft, something useful and funny to tell, it’s not rocket science, but I’m not 100% sure anybody can do anything. I hope you’ll understand what I mean…


    • I understand completely! The videos she puts out now have changed ever since she got famous. The quality is better but the content is not. Everything feels more like an advertisement than an honest opinion. I still think she is talented, but she is not the youtuber I used to watch anymore.


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