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By: Rosemary O. Fernandez

If there’s one thing everyone in my circles know about me, it’s that I’m the bookworm of the bunch. My bookshelves are stuffed with everything from theology to historical fiction to biographies. But one genre decidedly absent from my collections is beauty books.

The reason? They’re never worth investing my time and money because most of the tips inside don’t apply to me. In books focusing on hair, how-tos on maintaining color and texture for redheads are afterthoughts or geared toward those who’ve obtained the color from a bottle. In the world of skincare, there aren’t many tutorials on how to properly choose makeup shades. (There’s usually an addendum saying something like “If you’re a redhead, forget all of this about red lips because redheads can’t do a red lip.”) Forget properly protecting and showing pale skin as an advantage. (“Better head to the tanning salon on April 1.”) And freckles? No way. (“Cover those suckers up!”) Even though I’m a voracious reader, I’m also a thrifty one, and I won’t buy anything unless I know I’ll get use out of it.

Enter the How to Be a Redhead book. Game changer, ladies, game changer. Much like the Vendetti sisters’ online brand, the 272-page guide from Page Street Publishing covers all you want to know about putting your best foot forward. We all know having red hair (whether by birth or by choice, a charming distinction made in the book that makes sure all gingers are included) is more than just a nice physical asset. The fiery locks often help shape our entire personalities and body image. All topics discussed by the Vendettis are geared toward assisting the reader in becoming more confident in her own (freckled) skin.

As a leftover from my Catholic school book reports, I always try to give 10 talking points when discussing a book. Here I’ve divided them into pros and cons.

Pros

1. It covers everything. 

No joke here. There are sections on hair (obviously), skincare, makeup, nails, and fashion. Hair rightfully takes up the largest chunk of the book with style tutorials, color care techniques, and the best tools to use. My favorite part is the chart and illustrations defining hair types (frizzy, straight, fine, etc.) and which products work best with it. There’s a similar chart for skin types and the makeup and moisturizers that go with them. I can’t say enough about the makeup bit, where there are how-tos on how to apply everything from foundation to false eyelashes. Plus, my favorite five pages in the whole book are 148, 149, 198, 199, and 200: the essays on freckles and freckle-friendly makeup tips. Surprise sections were the bits on nails (woops, I’ve definitely gotten too many gel manicures in my life) and the final fun pages on fashion and style. I love the myth busting page where the sisters declare redheads can totally wear red, pink, white, and yellow.

2. It’s appropriate for all ages.

I’m definitely buying a copy for my mom and mother-in-law and am saving my copy to give to my baby daughter when she gets older. There are great tips on how to keep natural color as you age as well as unique and useful products for sensitive older — and even baby — skincare.

3. The sisters weave in their personal stories and model everything.

These gals know struggle is real because they’ve been there. Their little tidbits from their own lives are delightful to read and even had me yelling “YES! I know exactly what you mean!” They can give proper advice to real redheads because they are real redheads.  And the fact that they are the (super cute) models for the book adds a visual element and proves that they’ve tried the products they recommend themselves. Plus, any claims they make are backed up by quotes from professionals in the business.

4. Tips that I’m already doing made me feel like I’m on the right track.

Here I mean things like moisturizing my hands after every wash, wear green and purple, coconut oil hair treatments. It’s nice to have a little boost.

5. Tips that I would never in a million years have thought to try. 

I didn’t know that specific sunscreen in hair spray form existed. But after reading that page, I dove for my Amazon app and bought some. It not only protects hair, but also is a great way to shield your scalp without making hair look embarrassingly greasy. Also, I never would have thought to brush my skin to exfoliate my whole body, or use avocadoes as a hair treatment. Go superfoods!

6. Handy price charts.

Whenever the Vendetti’s recommend a ‘redhead friendly’ approved product, they include handy little dollar signs, letting readers know if it’s in the higher or lower register of prices. Most tips also have two product options, one with a lower price and one with a higher price, to help you figure out what works in your budget.

7. Stay-open premium binding for hands-free reference. 

As much as I love watching hair and makeup tutorials on YouTube, I can’t bring my desktop in the bathroom and my smartphone screen is too small to be useful when I’m actually trying a new style. This book is a great size to balance on the sink, the font’s not too small, and it lays flat when open so you don’t have to worry about the page flipping on you while both hands are occupied.

Cons

1. It wasn’t around when I was in high school. 

Seriously, I needed it. Then there would have been no over-plucked eyebrows (because I thought it was strange they weren’t the same color as my hair and couldn’t find a pencil the right shade to make them match – all photographic evidence of this has been destroyed, so don’t ask to see them). Eye shadow disasters would have been circumvented, and the junior prom lipstick… well, I still don’t like to talk about it.

2. I don’t have time to try everything because I have two kids.

But maybe when my daughter gets a little older we can experiment from the pages together.

3. There’s no follow up yet.

I’d love to see an expansion of the fashion section, especially since fashion is so fluid by nature. I’m also always on the lookout for easy updo tutorials or fun things to do with braids. I wish this book had more on that. But seeing as the Vendetti’s are pretty darn good at growing their brand, I know this isn’t the last of their books and look forward to the next one.

Happy reading redheads!