I love having what I like to describe as ‘coffee table’ books on beauty. They are inspirational, instructional, full of tips and tricks and just gorgeous to look at! I’ve recently acquired three incredibly different yet all amazing books on beauty that I want to share.
The first one that I want to talk about is called ‘Simply Glamorous‘ by Gary Cockerill. Gary is a self-taught celebrity MUA whose book is a masterclass of his favourite looks and techniques through a series of 15 transformations and make-up tutorials. This book is fabulous for all skin tones and ages and the models that Gary works on through his illustrations are of all ages and races.
What the book does first is show how to apply four different looks to one face which shows you how transformative make-up can be. He then performs 15 amazing makeovers on a range of women. Just look at the below image! I love how Gary uses normal people for his models which is realistic for us all. It’s impressive just looking at the below image how much make-up can enhance our looks.
So one face, four ways is first applied to Kelly Brook (below) showing how different one can look by switching up their make-up in one of four ways:
- Neutral Eyes & Lips
- Dark Eyes & Light Lips
- Light Eyes & Dark Lips
- Dark Eyes & Dark Lips
The book is divided into various sections such as ‘Face’, ‘Lips’ and ‘Eyes’ and shows you step-by-step how to create a smoky eye, contour, use bright colours, wear false eyelashes, etc. Basically everything you need to know about transformation is here in this book!
I particularly enjoyed the section on lips because I am lover of lipstick and wouldn’t leave home without it. I’m always seeking naturally fuller and more voluminous lips as well and Gary gives some make-up tips on how to achieve this by drawing your lip liner just slightly outside the lip line.
Contouring is another area that I struggle with and the book has amazing tutorials on how to achieve this. Honestly anyone can do it with these instructions!
The next beauty book I want to talk about is from another celebrity make-up artist named Lan Nguyen-Grealis. Her book Art & Makeup is a showcase of her incredible work with photography by Rankin. This is high-fashion make-up – it’s more like art with looks inspired by paintings, sculptures, cinema and performance art.
Like Gary, Lan is also self-taught so it’s amazing reading about her creative journey. The beauty looks that she creates are very editorial in the fact that you may not wear these looks everyday but inspiring none the less! She uses face paint, face lace, metallics, glitter and anything that looks impossible to create but somehow she does it. This book is truly art and I love the way that Lan has shown that using make-up is artistic. She has certainly honed her craft!
The looks are incredible and the nice thing is that the type of make-up used is listed out so it’s interesting to see what Lan uses on her models to create these stunning looks.
Lan’s make-up looks are very fashion-focused – such as this scene below inspired by Marie Antoinette and her lavish dinner parties with friends. The models look amazing with their bouffant hair, extra-pale skin and bright pink cheeks. This is one of my favourite looks in the book.
I also love this look below which is a kind of face lace made of gelatin. I love the sharp lips on the model – gorgeous!
Lan has also been inspired by pop art in her work and I love the look below – it’s fun and cute with the polka dots. I’ve never seen this kind of look before so I think it’s really unique.
The way that Lan uses various pieces of materials on the model’s face below is inspired by Picasso’s Cubism. In this way she has turned the model into a being from another world!
I was lucky enough to be able to see these looks in real life in Lan’s pre-LFW show inspired by her book, Art & Makeup. The show was incredible and was amazing to see the looks recreated from the book in real life. Some of my favourite looks from the book were taken by photographer Gemma Reynolds which I am sharing below.
So now we have step-by-step tutorials covered, inspirational artistic looks covered so where do you turn if you just want advice on everything from acne to anti-ageing? For this, I love Sali Hughes book ‘Pretty Honest‘.
Sali has a wealth of knowledge and has tried and tested so many things so she is a great source of knowledge when it comes to what you do and don’t need in regards to skincare.
She is pretty straight-talking and this book is great for anyone who wants to know more about skincare and needs some help navigating their way through make-up/skincare/hair woes/salon questions. Sali has great recommendations on the brands she likes and covers a wide range of products with affordable price points so this book really speaks to every woman!
I found the section on ‘acne’ particularly useful as I sometimes break out in spots (due to hormones or stress).
So for anyone looking for some fantastic beauty books out there these are my recommendations – put them on your coffee table and they are sure to start a conversation!