The next instalment of beauty book reviews offers a little twist: it’s beauty but not as you know it. I’ve been book worming my way through quite a few titles recently, from Caroline Hirons’ bestselling Skincare to Caudalie founder Mathilde Thomas’ ode to the French approach to beauty in The French Beauty Solution. So what next? I’ve been reading A LOT about skincare, and whilst I’m nowhere near done on the topic, I’m ready to explore a different angle: from stepping away from unattainable beauty trends to beauty seen through the lens of a stand up comedian, here are three books that offer a different perspective.
Camilla Collins is no stranger to the beauty industry: a qualified hair and makeup artist, owner of several beauty and creative agencies, this is where she started her career before becoming a self-image specialist and exploring the decline in our identity. Her book #NoFilterNeeded is an eye opener for anyone struggling with confidence and shines a light on some of the darker repercussions today’s beauty trends can have on self-esteem. Affirmations such as ‘we are leaders in our own lives’ can sound quite cheesy, but if you can look beyond that there are some useful tips and methods to build confidence in your own abilities. The second half of the book has a stronger beauty slant, from classic references such as the lipstick effect to quoting the 2017 Dove study on beauty and confidence which found that an astounding 50% of girls participating did not have high body esteem. It can take a tough skin (no pun intended) to navigate through all of today’s beauty trends, with YouTubers and Instagrammers posting heavily edited, airbrushed and contoured faces which fall more into the theatrical than the beauty world, and the mental exhaustion from keeping up with overwhelming trends, choices and messages. Camilla still appreciates the transformational power of make-up artistry, there is nothing wrong with using beauty products to give yourself a boost, but don’t dive too deep until the beauty rabbit hole until you have built a strong sense of self or you could get lost in artifice. RRP £12.99
What do you get if you cross a makeup artist with a stand-up comedian? Jeremy Beth Michaels, the author of this book. Strange combo? Not really. Although Jeremy does contrast her dual profession ‘In beauty we try to conceal your imperfections, while in comedy we try and magnify the flaws’ I think they sound perfectly complimentary: as a makeup artist she must gather some amazing material that she can then use as a comedian. And this unconventional how-to beauty book is proof: she covers all the classic beauty topics (skincare routine, how to do a smokey eye) but interspersed with hilarious anecdotes. Her thoughts when a client kindly told her ‘Aww honey you could use a little Botox’: ‘I’m 4 feet, 11 and ¾ inches tall […] So from the back, I actually look like a fat nine-year-old girl – light years younger than this bitch.’ I’d love to get my makeup done by Jeremy. Working in LA she has a magnified view of a certain approach to beauty. On ageing: ‘You see that line there? Well it’s a smile line. Imagine that! Traces of joy! You know how they say 40 is the new 30? Well, facial expression is the new dead.’ Did I learn anything new about beauty? No. But I had fun. RRP £12.99
OK so this may be a beauty book in the more traditional sense, but it still offers a little twist. This is your introduction to Korean skincare: Korean beauty history, the now famous 10 step skincare routine, popular skincare ingredients and dos and don’ts in Korean skincare application, it covers key topics with a light approach. Written by the founders of MiiN Cosmetics, a retailer who specialises in sourcing Korean beauty brands and making them accessible to Europe, this little book has not only clarified the 10-step routine for me but also highlighted some interesting ingredients which I now can’t wait to try. Top of the list are all unsurprisingly brightening ingredients: illuminating rice extract, brightening pearl extract and antioxidant natto gum (fermented ingredient produced from soya). If you think Korean skincare sounds too invested you’re right, it’s not for the fans of a quick face wipe. Depending on the number of steps you incorporate, the full routine can take up to one hour. Whilst I won’t be going down that route on a daily basis I have discovered the 7 skin method which I’m loving: applying 7 layers of toner on your skin for an extra hydration boost. OK I don’t quite manage 7 applications, but 3 or 4 give a pleasingly dewy finish. The key message here is that however much time you dedicate to your beauty routine, in Korean culture it is considered a ritual and a chance to take care of yourself. Bonus points for the extra pretty format of this book with its small format and kawaii pictures. RRP £10.00
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