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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.