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Pretty Honest: The Straight-Talking Beauty Companion

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  1,974 ratings  ·  136 reviews

A witty, wise and truthful beauty handbook for real women on what works in real life from Sali Hughes, beloved journalist and broadcaster.

“Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick and pull yourself together” Elizabeth Taylor

Beauty books. Exquisite coffee-table affairs featuring improbably beautiful models with wholly-unachievable-to-most women looks, product review-heav

Kindle Edition, 331 pages
Published September 25th 2014 by Fourth Estate (first published September 11th 2014)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  1,974 ratings  ·  136 reviews

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Joanne Sheppard
Oct 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Most beauty books I’ve come across have been huge coffee-table affairs full of glossy photographs of iconic or avant-garde makeup looks. That’s all well and good, and I enjoy looking at those books as much as the next beauty obsessive, but there’s little in them that makes entertaining reading (rather than looking) and their ideas are fascinating but rarely attainable.

Sali Hughes’ Pretty Honest is a different kind of beauty book. Pleasingly chunky and compact, and printed on discreetly sleek mat
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great, sensible advice from The Guardian’s Beauty Editor. I particularly liked the way she isn’t “one size fits all”. It’s refreshing and would be very helpful to me as a 15 year old who loved twilight teaser lipstick! It’s not glossy or full of “how to” pictures, it’s down to earth, practical advice all women could appreciate. Sections on weddings, illness and new mums very helpful. The section on beauty icons was interesting too... if not just for the inclusion of Kim Deal! I borrowed this fro ...more
Jul 18, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I really did not enjoy this book. It did not offer anything that those vaguely familiar with makeup would know, and the 'facts' were merely 'you should do this because I think it works' rather than based on hard science. Really did not get along with this book and would not recommend.
Mar 18, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book mostly because I needed an easy read and many of my favourite beauty bloggers recommended it. But the only useful part of this book was the first 20 pages or so about skincare. I found the rest of it pretty useless. It was repetative and it was mostly based on what the writer likes personally. Moreover, she had a lot of beauty rules for someone who claims she doesn't believe in beauty rules. A big dissapointment for me.
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, from-next
"The only thing worse than feeling bad, is looking bad as well."

This is not the average Beauty Book that just looks pretty and is nice to have. It promises to be witty, wise and truthful. And it delivers on this. It's actually useful, not only about Make Up, skincare and appearance but also about experiences and real advice, gives an overview and tons of information.

I never came across a Beauty Book so well written and it looks pretty and is great to have around, just like a little encyclopedia
May 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I don't know if I love it because it's brilliant or I love it because I agree with almost all of it. Warm, funny, very real.
Piret Pert
Apr 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Useful and well-written.
This book started surprisingly well and I liked Sali's tone, until about half way, when it it turned sour and became highly opinionated, lecturing, and just naff... if I have to think of subtitle, it would be 'How to look like the stereotypical British woman'. As a continental European living in London, if found myself recoiling in horror to say the least.

Sali tried very hard to sound offbeat, modern, easy going, but it all just ends up being tacky. It felt like beauty advice you by the women in
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a great admirer of Sali Hughes: her classy and no-nonsense attitude are present both in her website/youtube channel and in her excellently written columns in The Pool website. This book is a collection of ideas/tips/advice on many aspects of the beauty world, not least the debunking of the idea that women that enjoy beauty are anti-feminists or too focused on appearance. Sali Hughes addresses a few beauty myths with her characteristical honesty and wit, so that you feel that it's okay to lik ...more
Oct 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read it in its entirety on my plane journey back from the UK because I couldn't put it down! Hughes provides a no-nonsense look at beauty that is refreshing. She addresses everything from buying a matching foundation to what indulgent bath treats might help someone who is going through chemotherapy. The most interesting part of the book is that you never feel stupid for caring about beauty. Hughes provides examples of why beauty, skincare and little indulgences are wonderful, all the while maint ...more
Katie Biggs
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was packed with beauty tips and tricks. I loved the recommendations for essential products for your skincare/beauty routine and particularly enjoyed the sections on same-sex marriage bridal make up and beauty and illness, both of which were something I hadn't seen before. The beauty and illness section was particularly well-written and didn't feel patronising or pitying.

The only thing I did feel was a little strange was that information or anecdotes were sometimes repeated multiple ti
Oct 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was dithering between 3 and 4 stars: I love Sali's writing, applaud her attitude and agree with her on almost everything, but for a regular follower of hers, there isn't much new in the book. Then I saw that she has included a note on same-sex weddings... Four stars it is.
May 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i am very, very conflicted about this book, and have swung between 2, 3 and 4 stars whilst reading (and even writing this review). it was sent to me by a friend after i asked about her makeup, and i am very grateful to her both for the gift and for the thoughtfulness! i have a (really) hard time critiquing anything recommended by a friend, though, hence some of my confusion.

i should also say: i did enjoy this book! it has some tips on skincare and basic makeup that i am definitely going to try,
Jun 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED this book. I share SO many of Hughes' perspectives on the liberatory potential of beauty and grooming. It's such a breath of fresh air to read about products and procedures in the tone of "this is why I love this so much, why makeup is pleasing and adds value to so many people's lives, here are some approaches and products I love, take it or leave it" not the women's magazine approach of "what you have isn't cool or new or flattering enough, GO BUY MORE!!!" Her YouTube channel is just my ...more
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love a beauty column. I love beauty and hair tips, I love spending money on new products and my favourite thing to do is treat myself to a long candlelit bath full of goodies to make myself look and feel better!
I knew that I would adore Hughes' beauty companion when I saw some of my favourite beauty bloggers recommend it.
It's funny and witty, without coming across as patronising, and it's packed with helpful hints and tips to help each woman feel beautiful.
The book is full of hints for all
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quick easy read on a plane and I was pleasantly surprised. Most of the "beauty books" don´t really offer that much new information. Let´s face it, in an era of beauty bloggers and youtube gurus, you most likely heard most of these tips at some point anyways. However I quite enjoyed the style Sali used. While passing on tips known to the online beauty community, she does not have the self-important attitude that I feel like I often sense in some blogs. I also like the fact she honestly pointed ou ...more
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I know I spent way too much time reading reviews on makeup, skincare, nails etc and waiting for new beauty launches but its something I just can't get enough of! Some of the things Sali talk about I already knew from the many hours of reading beauty blogs but I picked up some great tips, things that I wouldn't have considered before especially with skincare. I liked how she included product recommendations for low end and high end budgets, my bursary doesn't give me much room for £50 serums. I l ...more
Jun 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
Well-written and easy to read book about beauty, less of a how-to and more about how looking good is valid and important pursuit, and wanting to look beautiful does not mean you're shallow and self-obsessed. I really liked the essay towards the end about not saving your most expensive beauty products for 'best', but using them and allowing yourself that pleasure and indulgence, for life really is so short. I'm a woman who loves literature and lipstick in equal measure so enjoyed this very much.
Alyssa Foll
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great book! Sali Hughes is a beauty journalist from the UK. She is smart, unapologetically feminist, and true to the title, is honest about beauty and the beauty industry.

I loved her advice on make-up in illness, teenage beauty, and how to receive compliments (among other chapters). Her no-nonsense tone with British colloquialisms make for a fun read.
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Solid 4.5 stars + extra for the author narrating the audiobook

20 February 2019
Pretty Honest is a great reference book! Admittedly, an audiobook is not the best format for a beauty reference book, but this is Sali Hughes reading her own book! It was like an eight-hour gabfest with a very informed friend. All that was missing was some wine and Hughes sitting in my bathroom. (Those who follow her YouTube and website will understand.)

There are some redundancies across chapters (e.g. Hughes giving m
Oct 22, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First things first: they say never judge a book by its cover but I think beauty guides are fair game – they are about looking good and the aesthetic of the book should be as enticing as its contents.

Pretty Honest is not the large coffee table type of guide with glossy, colour printed pages like Bobbi Brown’s Make Up Manual (a must-have book for any make up fan). The cover is a delicate, light shade of pink contrasted with black – which looks beautiful but it lacks a dust jacket which seems a li
Behiye Hassan
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this! I'm a huge beauty and Sali Hughes fan so was excited to read this. It's so useful and full of practical advice. I have actually booked marked pages for future reference. A must read for any beauty fanatic.
It is the book that has graced many a coffee table, provided a beautiful back drop for one too many lipsticks shots for that oh so perfect blog post and is a prominent feature displayed on bookshelves around the globe. The book in question Pretty Honest written by the credential lipstick loving babe that is Sali Hughes.

So lets start with the lady the in question shall we? Sali Hughes is a renowned journalist with a keen interest…okay obsession with beauty and that of owning one too many lipstick
Nov 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK, I am slightly lying by saying that I have finished this BUT I have one book to go on my challenge and today is THE LAST DAY!!!! So I am cheating a little by reviewing this one BEFORE I have completely finished.

This book has been sitting on my shelf for about three years, I think (or there abouts at a guess) and I have skimmed bits and pieces over those years but never read it in its entirety.

This December I picked it up and have been reading it gradually over the past couple of days since
Emily Ritchie
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The perfect gift for anyone who wants to look good. Pretty Honest by Sali Hughes covers everything from how to look good in a picture, to how to pay and receive compliments and is one of the more detailed beauty bibles currently on the market. The book itself covers all aspects of beauty and grooming etiquette that one might need to know throughout ones lifetime from teenage beauty to motherhood.
Each chapter is a concise guide with step by steps and dos and don’ts. The beautiful aesthetics are
Bianca Orita
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For all the beauty lovers out there, this is the perfect book to read.It has a little bit of everything and Sali doesn't hide around the corner, she tells you exactly what she thinks and what is good and what is not.
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, self-help
Solid book. These days, anyone can start a YouTube channel and call themselves a beauty guru (or "influencer"), but a lot of the content is specious. Not so here. Sali Hughes knows what she's talking about. The book is a good combination of sensible advice, delivered with warmth and wit. Like a glamourous, loving aunt.

Recommended for anyone into beauty. The tips are very beginner-friendly, but even someone who thinks she already knows the basics could benefit from reading this. There's always a
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love this book! The humour and honesty are fantastic. I particularly love the section on anti-aging - probably because it very much endorses my approach to chocolate! Now off to read the next tome from Sali.
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very informative, comprehensive and well written book. I read all of it, even the chapters that did not apply (like teen make up or bridal) just because I found the nuggets of information she gave were very interesting, and I just liked the way she wrote. I am an aficionado of women's magazines, and online bloggers, so I know a lot of stuff already but there were still a few new ideas and bits of information for me.

If you were new to the idea of make up, skin care or just plain taking care of
Jan 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hughes' writing is engaging and gripping. Considering it's a beauty book with minimal pictures the ease at which you fly through the 300 or so pages is incredible, despite the being packed full of information relevant to all make up wearers regardless of age, race or personal style. Sali Hughes has a no nonsense but friendly tone that remains unpretentious and realistic throughout, though she makes suggestions for certain products she is clearly personally very fond of but consistently emphasise ...more
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Sali Hughes is a journalist, broadcaster, Guardian columnist and founder of the award-winning A former magazine editor, she has written for many publications including Grazia, the Observer, Elle, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Glamour. She is Contributing Editor on Red magazine and Beauty Editor on the Guardian. She is a consultant to major beauty and fashion brands, ...more

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“I believe it’s perfectly normal to love both lipstick and literature, to be a woman who paints her nails while shouting at Question Time.” 16 likes
“But I see good grooming and feminism as entirely complementary. For some, beauty is a matter of pride and self-respect, of feeling your best and worthy of attention. While a man with an interest in football, wine, Formula 1 or even paintballing would never see his intelligence called into question, a woman with an interest in surface is perceived to have no depth.” 3 likes
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