Monday, 18 August 2014


Beauty books!

It's kind of embarrassing to consider how long I've been meaning to publish this post! Firstly, I apologise that I've been M.I.A. for a little bit (/a long while), due to exam preparation :( It's been pretty tough trying to balance study and 'things I love doing' as of late. It got to the point that I couldn't even enjoy writing up posts, because I felt so guilty! But after a little hiatus, I'm back (mostly, anyway - I'm not completely off the hook until late-November! :/) :D

So I'd been trying to get back into the habit of reading (I was previously turned off by all of those prescribed texts for English!) and thought 'what better way to get back into it than reading books on subjects that interest me?' Now, I love me a good beauty book - mainly to see how the pros get that flawless finish or apply that product - and to get edu-ma-cated, of course! It's been a while since I've read these (with the exception of Pretty Powerful), so I thought I'd give them a revisit.

When I read a book - well, a beauty book in particular - I look for certain things: clear directions or explanations, plenty of photographs, clean layout, easy to read and understand (not too wordy or repetitive). While this isn't strictly a review on the following books, I thought I'd give my thoughts on them based on those criteria/pointers.

First up... Bobbi Brown Beauty Rules (2010):

Beauty Rules by Bobbi Brown

This one is probably my favourite of the lot (sorry, spoiler alert!), and I think it was also one of my first forays into beauty books. I liked that it had a clean layout, was easy to read, and featured 'ordinary' everyday individuals, such as mums and their daughters, or sisters. I especially appreciated that it had ample photographs and loved that it covered many topics, for example, everyday makeup looks, experimental makeup, etc. I particularly enjoyed the lists of essentials, and the easily-digestable information, for example, an introduction to different types of brushes and their uses, makeup bag basics, and makeup looks for specific occasions, e.g. job interview, formal occasion. Though it's probably geared towards a younger audience - for example, teens who are just getting into makeup - I found it to be helpful as I was just starting out myself, at the time. I also really enjoyed Bobbi's sections on wellbeing, which covered eating well and exercising. I thought it was good for a beauty book to emphasise that 'looking good' starts from the inside - rather than through slapping on makeup - and especially important for its audience of young girls to understand. Bobbi's writing also has a laid-back, humorous tone to it, which made it an enjoyable read - I read it as soon as I bought it and couldn't put it down! A great one that covers the basics for sure. 9.5/10

Next up... Bobbi Brown Pretty Powerful (2012):

Pretty Powerful by Bobbi Brown

Bobbi takes a different angle with this book - starting with the woman and what beauty means to each individual. This one also features 'everyday women', but also many individuals that are more well-known - i.e. sportswomen, celebrities, designers and public figures, such as Lauren Bush, Estelle, Alexa Ray Joel and Blythe Danner. The chapters are also divided into personality 'types': Pretty Natural, Pretty Radiant, Pretty Strong, Pretty Classic, Pretty Authentic, and Pretty Bold, with mini quizzes at the beginning to determine which one you identify with. It also featured day-to-night makeup looks for each 'type'. I found the short interviews with the 'more well-known individuals' to be inspiring; in line with the generally affirming tone of the book. I appreciated the ample photographs, though would have preferred more step-by-step tutorial-type spreads. Like 'Beauty Rules', I enjoyed the segments on 'beauty from the inside out', which looked at healthy eating, exercise and general wellbeing. 'Pretty Powerful' features plenty of 'ordinary' women as well - along with descriptions (which did become a little repetitive at times) of what she did to achieve the 'after' look, though I felt that it wasn't as comprehensive as 'Beauty Rules'. This one's a good pick if you're after a dose of life-inspiration along with your beauty fix! 8/10

And lastly... Zoë Foster(-Blake) Amazing Face (2011):

Amazing Face by Zoë Foster-Blake

This last one is a collection of beauty goodness from resident Beauty Queen and Columnist, Zoë Foster-Blake, and her first beauty book, which was hotly anticipated at the time. Personally, it was a bit of a let down (perhaps due to all the hype?), though largely due to its brevity: it covers many topics - from skincare and makeup to post-flight perking up - but not in a lot of detail, which I would have preferred. It features a heavy dose of her signature witticisms and humour, which is entertaining to begin with, though largely irrelevant at times, when you think about it. I enjoyed its colourful, easy-to-read format, which was visually appealing and contributed to the overall aesthetic of the book. The photos, where featured, were clear, and helped to illustrate the instructions, though more photos would have been nice, methinks. I appreciated the how-to's accompanied by photos, product recommendations, and illustrated brushes and tools guide at the back, as well. I suppose the main issue for me was that, after devouring this book, I was left feeling a tad unsatisfied (if that's a legitimate post-reading emotion...) - like I'd just eaten the icing without the cake. So I'd recommend this book if you're after little tidbits of advice for any beauty topic under the sun, rather than a comprehensive guide. 7/10

Have you read any of these?
Do you have any recommendations on what I should read next?

P.S. Bobbi Brown has recently released a new book that focuses on eye makeup, 'Everything Eyes' which also looks interesting!

P.P.S. If you're looking to buy books online, I'd highly recommend the Book Depository - great prices and free shipping worldwide. You're welcome :D x


  1. I haven't read any of these books but I've been meaning to pick up/purchase at least one beauty book! I've been reading blogs for years, I wonder what a book has to offer. I love Zoe Foster Blake (and of course, Hamish), so it's disappointing to hear that her book doesn't live up to the hype. I hope she releases more in-depth beauty books in the future! x

    1. Hehe, I suppose blogs are just like huge beauty books in themselves! I love the feel of books and turning physical pages haha - and they're kinder to my eyes (all that endless scrolling makes them tired and watery :/)
      You might not find it disappointing - I think I just had a specific idea of what it was going to be like - so check it out if you've got the time! Ah, here's hoping :D
      Thanks for stopping by! x

  2. I've never really looked into beauty books! I too love the feel of being able to flip through a book but I've always preferred blogs and youtube tutorials when it comes to beauty!

    Having said that, I'd love to get my hands on those beauty books that focus on Asian make up/skincare! Too bad they're mostly in Japanese/Chinese/Korean and rarely are translated into English!

    1. Mmm so true - beauty 'in action', haha. I found a good couple of 'cat flick tutorials for Asian eyes' on thebeautydepartment!

      Argh, true that. The struggle of not being able to read any kind of Asian haha - I feel ya. It'd be such a niche for translators!