Saturday, May 30, 2009

Get Positively Beautiful by Carmindy- Book Review

Carmindy's second book, Get Positively Beautiful, has been sitting in my pile of books for months now. I couldn't decide what to do with it. Obviously, it's a beauty book that was sent to me for review, so I was simply supposed to read it and let the world know what I think of it. But it wasn't that easy.

As a beauty book, Get Positively Beautiful is mediocre at best. The chapters focusing on makeup application and technique resemble the generic advice you find in magazines. Here's an example:

"For an eye that's ready for day or evening, lightly line the upper lash line with a pencil. Next, sweep a midtone shadow on the lid, and with an angled brush, smudge it under the lower lash line. Then brush a contour shadow in the crease and a highlight shade under the brow. Finish with mascara, and you're gorgeously good to go." (page 46)


The very few illustrations are of little help. The "custom eye looks" try to explain how to apply eye makeup for different eye shapes, but the drawings show almost the exact same eye for every category, so the point is lost.

What you do get in the book is lots of great photos of Carmindy herself, in action and just showing her very pretty face. She's gorgeous and likable, but I'm not sure how that serves the purpose.

So why can't I just come out and say "this book sucks"?

As a beauty/makeup manual it does, indeed, suck. But Get Positively Beautiful is trying to be more than that, and there's some merit to this approach. If you're familiar with Carmindy's work on the American version of What Not To Wear, you know she starts her makeup consultations by asking the woman in front of her "what do you see in the mirror?". She then works on showing her makeoveree just how naturally pretty are some of her features and encourages her to plat them up. Carmindy doesn't talk about hiding, fixing or camouflaging your flaws. Instead, she focuses on the pretty and the positive, making sure the women can still recognize themselves in the mirror.

Similarly, large parts of the book are dedicated to make one change the way she looks at herself in the mirror. It's sort of a "chicken soup for the soul" thing, full of positive affirmations and mantras. I admire the good intentions and the loving spirit and think we all could use some of this attitude for looking at ourselves and at the world. But is it effective? Would reading such a book 25 years ago had saved me some of the teen angst? Had I been able to look at myself and see more than a nose only a plastic surgeon could love? Maybe, but I have a hunch it takes more than statements in a book by a picture-perfect blonde makeup artist.

Get Positively Beautiful by Carmindy (list price is $21.99, available on Amazon for $14.29) can be found in any bookstore, online and offline. I got my copy as a PR freebie.


  1. I just think that although she offers positive mantra's etc, it is really only effective when coming from someone sincere. The women she gets her brushes on look nice, but some could be total knockouts, if she were to do their makeup the way she does her own, a lot of makeup in a way that it doesn't look as though she has a lot on. But she does, which makes the "natural beauty" thing for me just lip service. I don't think she's a very good person, inside. Her words just seem empty. She's no humanitarian. But people seem to like her, I'm just not one of them. And as the sister of a writer, this is such a simple book even I could have written it. Seems like she's pumping out the books to complete her contract without realizing there is only so much you can say about makeup. What about skin care? which is much more important. She got the book deal because of the show only, otherwise she'd just be another makeup artists who wears too much makeup. And the reason I couldn't recommend this book is due to the unbelievable number of pictures of herself in her books. It's kind of? I don't know, just wrong! I mean who does that? answer. someone who is completely in love with themselves. She really thinks she is one of the most beautiful people in the world, and THAT makes the book suck and her as well.

  2. Wow, that was long. I will say this and try to make it short. The book basically sucked. I couldn't understand what she was telling me to do. Stipple? I'm suposed to know this? I happen to, but what if I didn't? And then the most obvious, as the first was to me, like a book dedicated to ones self, Carmindy. Other than Madonna, I don't know of anyone who puts so many pics of ones self in ones books. Its plain creepy. She is a marketing hound though, like Madonna, who she kinda looks like. I think it speaks for herself with the pictures from her books. Speaks volumes.


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