So you’re interested in beauty, but you’re kind of a newbie. (Hey, that sort of rhymes!) I’ve been there. I supplemented my knowledge as a beauty-obsessed youngster the best way I knew how: by reading! Didn’t we learn as kids that books are the best? LeVar Burton taught me that.
If your skills are way past basic, never fear. It’s still fun to read about the beauty world, whether or not you need a manual to show you the way. Here are a few of my favorites, which hold prime place in my ever-expanding library.
Making Faces AND Face Forward by Kevyn Aucoin
I feel like I was blessed the day I received these books. The late Aucoin is probably the greatest makeup artist whoever lived, and his two books are pure magic. Making Faces is excellent for honing your skills and Face Forward is fun; Kevyn turns some of his celebrity friends into historical figures, aliens and other celebrities. You have to see Martha Stewart as Veronica Lake to believe it. I’m still sad Kevyn is no longer with us, because he was a genius. These books inspired a few of my makeup artists friends to embark on their careers, which is a true testament to Kevyn’s talents.
Perfumes: A to Z by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez
Luca Turin is a well-respected biophysicist and perfume critic. His word goes. He and girlfriend Tania Sanchez delved into hundreds of fragrances and reviewed many of them, from classics like Shalimar to mainstream scents from Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. They’re smart, funny and often cutting reviews. It’s fun to see which scents they rave about (Tommy Girl) and which they hate. What do they say about your favorite scent?
Free Gift with Purchase by Jean Godfrey-June
This book, written by “Lucky” magazine’s now-legendary beauty editor, is part memoir and part how-to … how to make it as a beauty editor, that is. Jean is hilarious and REAL about what a career in the beauty industry/magazine industry is actually like. Sure, there’s a lot of glamour, but it’s not all glittery parties and celebrities. Her writing voice is one of the reasons I still pick up “Lucky,” even now that it has changed from a relatable shopping guide to the “Vogue” copycat it is today.
Bobbi Brown Teenage Beauty by Bobbi Brown
I DEVOURED this book as a young teen. It was so well-written, honest and relatable that when I found it recently at a thrift store, I picked it up and read it again. I still gleaned a few valuable lessons from Bobbi and the real-girl teens she used in the book. I’m well out of my teens now, but I have such fond memories of “Teenage Beauty” that I’m sure I’ll keep coming back to it. I seem to find most girls my age (24-26) feel the same way. Bobbi was forthright about teens using a little makeup to cover up what they didn’t love and using just a few tools to enhance their natural selves, which was refreshing. She wanted her readers to love makeup and to feel comfortable playing with it, but not to cake it on and hide behind it. She sends this same message via her makeup line and the subsequent books she’s released.
Lauren Conrad Beauty by Lauren Conrad
Say what you will about the ex-“Laguna Beach” star, but her book on beauty is really great, especially for beginners. I’ve always admired Lauren’s polished, cute style even if it isn’t quite MY personal style, and she shows you how to mimic it in easy steps with excellent photos included. Lauren IS the master of the cat-eye, you know, and her beauty blonde hair is to be coveted.
The Perfect Scent by Chandler Burr
Chandler Burr was the New York Times’ scent critic. What a heavenly job that would be! He spent a year shadowing Hermes’ in-house perfumer, Jean Claude Ellena, as he crafted Un Jardin sur le Nil. When he wasn’t in Paris with Ellena, he was sitting in on meetings as Sarah Jessica Parker’s now-classic Lovely was developed at Coty. SJP was super hands-on, which is probably why Lovely was such a success. Burr was there for early meetings and to see the eventual product in its glory as well as the accompanying ad campaign. It’s fascinating to see what goes on not only at a legendary design house during a scent’s creation, but what noses, developers and celebrities do as an eponymous fragrance is being conceptualized.