I’ve recently read several beauty books. By far, my favorite is Jemma Kidd Make-up Masterclass: Beauty Bible of Professional Techniques and Wearable Looks. I’ve also read and loved Making Faces by Kevyn Aucion, Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual, Face Forward by Kevyn Aucion, Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me by Paula Begoun and Eco-Beautiful by Lina Hanson.
In September I read Eco-Beautiful. Eco-Beautiful was ok (it was sent to me for review purposes). It had good sections on nutrition, the looks included in the book were cute, but I absolutely hated that it supported the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
I then read Face Forward and was blown away by the talent of Kevyn Aucion. Just, all the beautiful makeovers he did, all of his amazing techniques… the man was a genius. From everything he wrote, he also seemed like a kind-hearted individual.
I also read Paula Begoun’s book, which was interesting. Her method of reviewing products seems fairly good, even if I don’t agree with all of her reviews. Some of the information seems quite relevant, and it definitely spurred on my hatred of moisturizers in jars. Originally I just hated sticking my fingers in jars because you get stuff under your nails, ick. However, she talks about how it causes the product inside to break down from constant exposure, making it less effective. So that expensive moisturizer you bought, if it’s in a jar, isn’t going to work as well and the money you’ve spent is wasted.
Over Christmas I read Bobbi Brown and Kevyn’s Making Faces. Bobbi Brown’s book was different from Kevyn’s in that she embraces the enhancing your features and shading with makeup. That’s good, because I learned some things about shadow placement and enhancement that was helpful. Making Faces gave some detailed examples of how to emphasize certain features, in addition to his stunning looks.
Then I read Jemma Kidd’s book, and surprisingly, that was my favorite. I found this one the easiest to use, and probably the closest to what I was looking for. I found the examples in this book the easiest to follow when it came to contouring, highlight and shading the face. I also really liked her example looks, as I felt she did some great things with colors.
Some of the things that I’ve learned from reading all of these books are that:
1. Some people really hate blue eye shadow. I’m not one of them.
2. Some people really feel that you should only enhance your looks and eschew bright colors. I’m not one of them.
3. Some people buy into the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. I’m definitely not one of them! (see the critique here, and an additional thoughtful response)
4. You don’t need to put foundation all over your face. Now THIS one was a huge breakthrough for me. Two of the books talked about how you don’t have to put primer or foundation all over your face, but you can instead focus your primer or foundation on your problem areas, and just use them to even out your skintone. When I applied this to myself, I ended up being really happy with the results for a couple of reasons:
a. My own ‘natural beauty’ shines through with less foundation on
b. I use less product on my skin
c. I can actually make more colors of foundation work, giving me a larger range of options.
5. I learned how to contour better. Yay! Jemma’s book had incredibly clear instructions, which I really appreciated.
6. I really like a lot of the looks and makeovers done and found a lot to be inspirational or breathtaking, especially Kevyn’s work. If you’ve never seen it, it’s totally worth it.
7. I totally found myself wishing for some new books with a variety of eye shadow looks. I know you can find a lot on youtube, but I only have so much in the way of patience and I really enjoyed flipping through Jemma Kidd’s book, as well as Kevyn’s books.
8. I found Paula’s book (and the corresponding website) interesting as a base, even if I didn’t necessarily agree with everything I read in it, like her hatred of blue eye shadows. It gave me some suggestions for products to try out, which I appreciated. And hey, remember, I found the cheat code for browns with blue eye shadow!
9. I liked that several of the books mentioned that to have great skin you need to be eating veggies and drinking water. While these seem like no brainers, I think a lot of people forget them.
10. I also liked learning how you’re supposed to do natural, normal looks, since I don’t have a lot of practice with those. It’s good to know the basics so that you can then bend the rules.
I’d love to see more new books with look tutorials to give me ideas and inspire me. One of the reasons I read so many blogs is that I love to get inspired and see different people’s looks and talents. Have you read any good makeup books? Are there any you’d recommend? How about video tutorials? What are your favorites?
Lina Hanson’s book sent for consideration. All other books purchased by me. All opinions are my own.
Learning that you don’t need foundation all over your face was a real breakthrough for me too.
Very interesting post!
I wish I had known sooner! Glad you like it
I want to read some of these now… :p
Love love love Kevyn’s books. There is a geisha look in one of them that I used for Halloween a few years back. I just yesterday bought Francisco Nars’s book book Makeup Your Mind. I’m excited to go through that as I have been a little obsessed with him… I mean Nars makeup lately.
Oh! It looks like a new version of the book is coming out on April 5.
It is! I have had my mouse hovering over the pre-buy on Amazon for weeks, now. I need to just do it.
Please let me know what you think of it and if I should pick it up? (if the new version is different)
Oh, thanks for this! I’ve been eyeing a few of these books on Amazon recently, but found it quite hard to figure out whether they would really be useful for me, so this is awesome.
It is! Ana had recommended the Kevyn books to me and I’m so glad she did.
Ah, thanks for this post! I’ve been wanting to read Kevyn Aucoin’s books in such a long time and it’s great to see a comparison between different makeup books. I’ll definitely be looking for Jemma Kidd’s book.
Also, I have a HUGE folder of makeup looks I’ve collected from various websites, blogs and facebook albums, around 8000 pics + most of MAC’s Facecharts. If you’d like, I can upload an archive on rapidshare or something similar and email it to you, just let me know
Oh very cool! Face charts might be useful because they usually detail what the person used where.
Face charts should be in your mail in 10 minutes
Thank you so much! That’s so sweet of you!
I must confess I hate blue eyeshadow… because it hates me too. It looks awful on me! It’s the only color I have issues with (and I’ve used them all), from applying to blending. I wish blue and me could be friends…
Off topic, I’m looking for my HG red eyeshadow. Any suggestion?
I’ve forgot to say that, since I have not read any makeup book, my favorites YT tutorials are from the Pixiwoo girls and Lisa Eldridge. Also LetzMakeup and sharonmakeupartist. I guess I have a thing with accents…
Sugarpill Love + is awesome. Also Fyrinnae has some great reds, including Bite Me.
Kevyn’s work is by far the best in the industry. I hope someone of his caliber can step up to the plate and fill his shoes. He will be missed by a lot of folks, in and out of the makeup industry.
Me too! The man was amazing.
There have been so many times where I’ve thumbed through these books, and ones similar, at books stores. I always think, “eh, this doesn’t seem worth the money…plus I feel like I could find this online” but now I’m thinking I didn’t give them a thorough look and I missed something. Definitely going to pay more attention next time I’m in the book store!
I spend a lot of time looking online and I do feel that these were worthwhile to purchase. It’s funny because I haven’t wanted to purchase books in non-kindle format until I wanted these makeup books.
Kevyn was a revolutionary. Like many lost before their time, I often wonder how he, and the entire genre, would have evolved if he was still here.
There is one thing that you mentioned though that I have to bust as a BIG beauty myth: drinking water has no proven effect on your skin.
I know a lot if people will say that they notice a difference, but the proof is just not there. Dry skin is caused by insufficent oil production, and drinking water does nothing to increase oil production. It also doesn’t lead to more hydration in the tissues, like it was once thought.
I regularly drink a MINIMUM of 2 liters of water a day, generally more, and I still have excessively dry skin. In treating me, I’ve never had a doctor or dermatologist tell me to drink more water
Thank you for sharing that information! I think like we were discussing earlier, when people drink more water they’re drinking less diuretics.
Oh, I forgot to mention, I second your suggestion of Sugarpill Love + for anyone looking for a good true red shadow. I started using red on my eyes back when you simply couldn’t find it in eye products- I had to use blush! Sugarpill’s shade is very similar to my previous favorite, by Anna Sui, but I prefer Sugarpill for it’s texture (I’m pretty sure it’s a better deal price-wise too.)
I’ve also heard great things about Kryolan and Ben Nye reds- if you have a good costume/theatrical supply near you, I’d check there since those brands are likely to be 1/2 the price!
I love Kevyn’s books! I have both and refer to them often for inspiration! I love playing the “guess who this is” game with the makeover pictures. Even my boyfriend was impressed.
I have to say though I really hated Paula’s book. I appreciate her intentions, but some of her suggestions were just horribly biased to me. Like suggesting petroleum based products for the face. Yes they are cheaper, but petroleums never actually absorb in the skin rather than just sitting on top of it. And mieral oil in hair is a truley heinous idea. It coats and causes dry out and ick. Not a fan. And what’s her obsession with her hatred for organic or natural products?
I really want to check out Jemmas book, it sounds awesome!
I have ‘how not to look old’ by Charla Krupp. I’m in my late 20s so I don’t really need this but I found it interesting. It’s more overall appearance rather than just makeup but she also suggests products for people varying on “maintenance level” so there are a wide variety of prices. Some of her opinions certainly don’t suite people who like more alternative aesthetics but I found it hpful nonetheless. And her chapter on shapewear change my life!
I didn’t like all of Paula’s suggestions, but I did feel like some of them were good. It was also helpful to understand her biases to then make a judgment on a product. Her hatred of blue eye shadow is just irrational!
I’ll add the How Not to look old to my list
Thought I’d point out that only using foundation on problem areas ONLY works when the foundation doesn’t alter the textural appearance of your skin too much. I for one can’t get away with it because my foundation gives such a good smoothing effect, which makes it obvious against the giant pores and oily texture of my ‘natural’ skin.
There’s a book by Joy Terri which is very good, it covers everything from brushes to eyebrows and has fab visual prompts! Also ‘Makeup your Mind’ by Francois Nars is excellent and ram packed with little tips. The looks are a bit dated and some are a bit…unflattering, but the information is very useful!
I haven’t worn foundation in years, because I could never find one that was light enough for my skin tone (they were always too yellow, or too orangey!)
I think the idea can work for some people, but like most, not for everyone. All depends on your skin tone/texture/how much coverage you need. I can get away with just using powder and will usually only apply it to my T zone.
Thanks for the suggestions! Yeah I’m sure the minimal foundation won’t work for everyone but I’m happy that I finally learned about it to try it
I got ‘Making Faces’ as a gift once and forgot about it.
I think I have to go look at it now!
It’s definitely beautiful to look at!
Hi! I’m very curious about the Kevyn Aucoin’s books because Lisa Eldridge (which I love) talks so much about his work. Now you made me curious about the Jemma Kidd ones.
I share your thoughts about the campaign for safe cosmetics. As a scientists I am shocked that so many people buy into it! A while back a friend of mine e-mailed me almost in panic because she seriously thought she had a bathroom full of poison! It took a lot to convince her otherwise. She kept saying “are you sure? because I read in this website…”.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics made me so angry I wanted to throw things. It’s such a fear mongering campaign!
I’m so glad that you were able to help your friend understand the truth from the lies in that video.
If you are interested in other books, I recently read Rae Morris’s Ultimate Guide to makeup and thought it was pretty insightful. She has some really pretty looks that are actually quite simple. She also had some good tips on contouring and how to pair lipsticks with the colors you are wearing.
I’ll have to check out Jemma’s. Thanks for the suggestions!
Thank you for the suggestion! I’ll add it to my list
I only have the Bobbi Brown book my mister bought me for my birthday 2 yrs ago. I flip through it again every now and then. It taught me the importance of under eye concealing!
I still have trouble getting my concealer to look right!
Another great read is Rae Morris’ Makeup: the Ultimate Guide.
Paula Begoun;s advice put me on the path to a great anti-acne routine but her thoughts on shimmer and fun makeup colors can get aggravating.
I’m glad you mentioned this! She really does have a stick up her butt about certain things.
Yeah I had to basically block out all her hatred of blue eye shadows.
I borrowed the Jemma Kidd book from my library a couple of weeks back, and I really like it. The looks are really nice and the full-page photography is lovely to look at.
My favourite looks are the Blushing Bride & Date Night ones which look gorgeous, and I’ve been trying to reproduce both
I hope you can give us tips on how to contour. I never controur as I am afraid to look like a drag queen if I overdo it. >o<"
I haven't read a makeup book yet. Maybe I should buy one too. :3
I have been trying
You want to choose a slightly darker, matte shade to create or enhance the shadow on your face. I mostly try to contour my cheeks. I take a small dense brush head and work in small circles from my ear towards the hollow of my cheek and back again.
Another book to try is Make Up: The Ultimate Guide by Rae Morris. This book has some great ideas for looks however some of the pointers I felt were not applicable…like the Rae suggested applying foundation two shades darker so your face would match your neck and shoulders. I understand the idea behind it…but not really applicable for everyday use.
Eww! No thank you to foundation 2 shades darker.
Besides, the rest of my body is LIGHTER.
Thanks for the reviews. I have read all of those except for Jemma’s and will do that now. Contouring has always eluded me.
Have you read (or looked at) Eye Candy yet? I thought that one had some cool eye looks in it.
I have it on my list
Love Kevyn’s books :D. The transformations I was most blown away by were his looks with Martha Stewart. He seemed like such a genuinely good person too.
The way he wrote, he seemed like a sensitive and caring person.
I can definitely say Kevyn was indeed kind-hearted. I had the honor of meeting him and getting 2 of my books signed. He was gracious and lovely and treated every person at his signing like they were old friends of his. Just a lovely man all around.
Aww that’s awesome! The way his books are written they seemed to make him sound like a very kind and caring person.
I also love Kevyn’s books, and recommend Best in Beauty by Riku Campo as another good one. I enjoyed Passport to Beauty by Shalini Vadhera on many levels. I’ve heard some of the Carmindy books are good, but I’ve never read them. (Also seconding How Not To Look Old by Charla Krupp… a little early for me but it had great info and made me laugh out loud in several places.)
Woot! Another vote for How Not to Look Old. I’m also trying to see if there are any makeup books out there that target hooded eyes.