Beauty Literature: Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual

Hi everybody,

As you can see, I love reading good books: they open my eyes and keep me humble. Whenever I feel like a know-it-all, I find something in a book that I have not heard before and that deflates my egoistic head a little. With the case of makeup and beauty books, inflated ego happens a lot to me and I swear it’s not fully my fault. Most books out there cover the same old-same old without offering many insights into the world of makeup artistry. When I saw Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual at the local library, I picked it up thinking what else are there to see. I was so wrong! Bobbi Brown gave me a front row seat to her world of makeup and it was worth the thrill. As a matter of fact, I really want to own this book now.

Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual

Unlike Kevyn Aucoin, whose book I reviewed here, Bobbi Brown was not a self-taught makeup artist. She got a BFA in theatrical makeup at Emerson College. Then, she embarked to the makeup world and eventually had her own brand in 1991. She is the woman who is responsible for the natural makeup look and those famous brown lipsticks people wore in the 90s. Beside being a famous makeup artist and running her own company, until today Bobbi Brown authored five books about makeup and beauty (Bobbi Brown Beauty, 1997; Bobbi Brown Teenage Beauty, 2000; Bobbi Brown Beauty Evolution, 2002; Bobbi Brown Living Beauty, 2007; and this book in 2008.) “Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual” serves to some extend as a textbook for any makeup and beauty lovers.

The book is divided into two parts: “Basics” for everybody and “Artistry” for (aspiring) makeup artists. Like “Making Faces”, Ms. Brown did not mention any brand names in this book, which gives readers more freedom to use products they want. However, this book does not contain makeovers. It is simply and purely a book about the art of makeup that reaches to a wide variety of audience, from novice (those who can’t tell eyeliner and lip liner apart) to pros (aspiring to seasoned makeup artists.) I am somewhere in between: I’m not quite a novice but not a pro either. However, I do have a blog which put me nearer to the pro area, I guess.

In “Basics”, the first part of the book, the information is concise and sufficient for those who have never touch a grain of makeup to start working on their beauty routines. Like her makeup philosophy, this part of the book is written in a simple manner that is easy to comprehend. She explains about skincare before heading into makeup, which is the right direction. A wonderful thing about “Makeup Manual” is how detail the pictures are. In each section, every single step were photographed and explained carefully. Ms. Brown uses a diverse number of models with different skin colors to illustrate the techniques. To me, this is an important point as I can see how things are supposed to look on someone who looks like me.

The famous 10-step makeup guide

While “Basics” contains detailed information and is quite a heavy (and to some extend, boring) read, “Artistry” is where fun begins. For those who want to get into the makeup industry, this part of the book is very important as she breaks down what it takes to be a successful makeup artist. For this part only, I guess it’s worth the money to buy this book. She also includes some editorial-style photos of various looks for magazines. Of course, Ms. Brown does not reveal much of the step-by-step instructions. To some readers, this may look incomplete but I can understand from the author’s point of view: the makeup looks are what she does for a living and also are her brain children. How would she reveal her tricks? Also, do you want to look like an editorial look on the magazine everyday?

Let the fun begin!

I remember seeing something like this on America's Next Top Model, cycle 12.

Love this look!
The model looks like Le Midget at Dirt on the Rocks

Who's who in makeup

Resource Guide, a very useful pointer for those who want to be in the beauty industry

To me, the first part of “Makeup Manual” is the updated and better-illustrated version of her first book, “Bobbi Brown Beauty”. While both books are written with fervor, “Makeup Manual” earns more points by being a more legible and better laid out book. I have to give it to Bobbi Brown for writing her books so passionately. In every single page, I can feel how excited she is with her art. I really want to be a fly on the wall and follow her for one day to see how fun her makeup live is.

Bobbi Brown Beauty

L-R: Bobbi Brown's latest and first books

For those who want colorful and fun looks, this book is not for you. However, those who want to start learning about makeup or enforce their techniques (like me), this is yours to keep. Also, I highly suggest every makeup artist out there to get this book and read it, if not buy it. To me, “Makeup Manual” is an eye opener and a breath of fresh air. I am going to put it in my list at and get it on my next shopping spree.

That’s all for today, ladies. I have more books on my back burner to review. How about making this a regular segment of the blog, dear readers? Please give me comments, ok?

Take care and as always, stay gorgeous!


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