Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Book Reviews: Make-Up Tutorial Books September 22, 2010

 

I am pretty much all thumbs when it comes to make-up application.  Truth be told I didn’t really start wearing make-up on a daily basis until I was in my 30s.  I have to admit that I was always intrigued by make-up but completely intimidated by make-up application to the point of near paralysis.  A few years ago I started playing around with make-up.  Now I feel that I look much better with at least a little make-up than without any at all.  In my opinion a little eyeliner, mascara, and lip gloss go a long way. 

Now you might ask – as an esthetician don’t you want to help me get skin that looks great so I don’t need make-up?  Of course that is one of my goals as an esthetician.  But we all must remember that perfect skin is almost completely unobtainable.  In the words of the great make-up artist Pat McGrath: “How can anyone really look like she has perfect skin without any makeup on?”  McGrath is, sadly, right on target with that comment.  But here is my outlook on make-up – for a day-to-day look I think make-up should be subtle and enhance what you have and hide what you don’t like especially.  While make-up is a fantastic medium in order to experiment, create, and be artistic with (there is a very important reason why make-up artists are called just that) it doesn’t need to be unnatural or a mask.  I love the idea of using make-up to enhance your best features and to boost your self-confidence.  A make-up routine doesn’t need to be complicated or overwhelming.

So why make-up books you might ask?  Certainly there is no end of make-up tutorials available online (particularly on YouTube).  But this is the thing, as I wrote at the beginning of this post, I’m all thumbs when it comes to make-up application so I need photos, step by step instructions, diagrams if possible, and more photos on how to apply my make-up, and I need those things in front of me, in the bathroom, as I attempt to apply my make-up.  Though I now have a netbook that I could bring into the bathroom with me I don’t want to have to rely on the whims of technology (or the speed of my home internet connection) in order to view a make-up tutorial.  But on top of that – I like books.  I want to be able to open up a book anytime, anywhere in order to learn how to create a make-up look.

Now while I was given a few basic make-up lessons in esthetics school and tried to experiment on my own I realized that I needed help.  So I started searching for a make-up book that would teach me the basics and beyond (I was particularly interested in eye make-up and still am for that matter).  While my job rarely calls on me to do someone’s make-up or give a lesson I realized that I would have to prepared for that eventuality since make-up application is considered part of an esthetician’s job.

The first make-up tutorial book I purchased was the late, great Kevyn Aucoin’s Making Faces.  As a make-up artist Aucoin was in a class by himself.  His looks are extraordinary and gorgeous.  The book is inspiring.  The book has makeovers of ordinary women and instructions on how to create classic make-up looks like “the vamp”, “the flapper”, and “the starlet”.  While there is no denying Aucoin’s genius (yes genius – look at the book and you’ll agree) in applying make-up I realized that even with step by step instructions and diagrams I still needed more basic instructions.  For me this book serves as an aspiration.  I hope one day I can apply make-up well enough to get close to recreating one of the looks in the book.

So my next make-up book purchase was Bobbi Brown’s Makeup Manual.  I like this book for its clear and concise instructions on make-up application and make-up tools.  My favorite part?  Photos!  Lots and lots of photos!  I learned how to do a smoky eye from Brown’s book.  The step by step photos really helped me understand each part of the process.  Smoky eyes, a make-up look that had always scared me (yes, scared me), became very doable with the instructions in Brown’s book.  I also really like Brown’s basic make-up look which though it is ten steps doesn’t take too long to achieve.  Bobbi Brown is known for her signature natural, not over done make-up look and these clear instructions help anyone achieve those same results.  And if you are at all interested in pursuing a career as a make-up artist this book is a must read for you since the final chapter is all about the business of make-up artistry.

My most recent make-up book purchase was Robert Jones’ Makeup Makeovers.  What a great book!  Basic but not dumbdowned, helpful, and thorough.  One of the reasons I wanted to buy this book was for the instructions on contouring (something I am still working my nerves up to trying contouring on myself), the precise instructions on how to do make-up on different face shapes and different eye shapes, and the summaries of how Jones did each makeover featured in the book.  Though Jones has a definite style of make-up application you can still take his tips and do your own thing.  Most of the transformations in the book are on real women, not models, and it is amazing to see how great he made each of them look.  The women are also all ages, shapes, and ethnicities which is wonderful to see (the same can be said of the models in both of the other make-up books I already mentioned).  While reading this book I found myself going to the mirror or to my make-up supply in order to immediately try out some of Jones’ tips and instructions.  There is a wealth of knowledge to be gained from this book.  (It turns out that you can get online lessons from Jones, for a fee of course, through his web make-up academy)

And last but not least I would be quite remiss if I did once again mention Allure magazine in this blog.  The monthly print edition of Allure will keep you up-to-date about the latest make-up trends.  The looks in the magazine will certainly give you inspiration for your own make-up looks.  The website has daily updates on things beauty related and offers many make-up tutorials as well.

Now I just need to work out the courage to try out false eyelashes – wish me luck!

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4 Responses to “Book Reviews: Make-Up Tutorial Books”

  1. Brooke Says:

    Making Faces was my first beauty and smoky eye book too – Kevyn was the greatest at transforming people. I haven’t checked out the other books, thanks for the tips.

  2. sara Johns Says:

    Have most of these books, they taught me so much! but Are a little airbrushed and hard to follow at times. For my birthday I was given a great book called Eye Catching Eye Candy a complete guide to perfect make up for any occassion by ailbhe murray. The best things truly come in small packages its a small hardback girly looking book, Packed with tips and so easy to follow pictures and steps I have finally perfected the smokey eye……….Yea I no longer look like ive just been punched. I’d 100% recommend it to anyone. Ive no idea how much it was but i have seen it in a few bookstore windows. Love your blog xx SJ

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