Monday, May 25, 2009

Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual- Book Review

Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual is the book I wish I had years ago. It would have saved me countless of makeup disasters, stupid purchases and the entire dark age known as the 80s. Of course, all these years of experimenting are also responsible for my beauty obsession and the thought process that started and created this blog, so maybe it was not all bad. In any case, this book is probably among the most useful makeup tools one can have.

Bobbi Brown's approach to beauty and makeup has always been about letting the woman shine, making her look like the best possible version of herself. Her makeup line makes sense- the colors are pretty, flattering, wearable, and will never make one look like Katie Price or Shauna Sands. The great news is Bobbi Brown's latest endeavour, the Bobbi Brown University, a new program that will encompass the in-house training for the company’s artists plus college-level classes she developed for Montclair State and her alma mater, Emerson College. It would be fabulous to see more and more makeup artists trained according to Bobbi Brown and less of the parrot school of color application.

I got to hear Bobbi speaking about her vision, her school and her book a couple of weeks ago at an industry event, organized by Makeup Artist Magazine. It was a fun cocktail party for makeup artists and industry professionals which let everyone a chance to mix and mingle, meet Bobbi Brown and ask her questions. I brought my copy of the book and got her to sign it, which excited me quite a bit (I'm a nerd and have a serious thing for autographed books).

The book itself covers everything one needs and wants to know, from color choices to application techniques. There are thorough explanations of the types of brushes, including tips on choosing the right ones. Different skin types and complexions get the proper attention and coverage (I especially feel validated about a couple of my observation regarding my own skin tone and what's right for it), and the focus is always on working with nature and not against it.

The detailed instructions for everything from the proper way for applying foundation, covering blemishes and doing a dramatic smoky eye are absolutely priceless. Some of the photographs are breath-taking (you'd recognize many of them from Bobbi's various collections. They look so much better in high quality print and you get to appreciate the artistry) and would make you head straight to your mirror and start playing. The wealth of information is wonderful and is interesting and useful enough to hold the attention of even a seasoned makeup user.

I liked that there's a section about lifestyle and nutrition as the base for every beauty routine. What you eat and how you live shows in your face. Just look at Kate Moss or Amy Winehouse and then compare them to 51 year old Bobbi Brown herself.

I admit I only skimmed the chapters about becoming a makeup artist, and since I'm not really in that game, I can't comment about its usefulness for an industry pro. The history of makeup and the who's who sections were fun, though.

Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual ($36 retail price, listed on for $20.16) is available from bookstores online and offline. My copy was a PR freebie.



  1. Ohh I love this - imagine how many make-up faux pas' could have been avoided with this bad boy - gah! WANT. NEED. MUST HAVE!

  2. Thank you so much for this review. I have two teenage daughters and have been looking for something like this for them. My oldest (17) especially loves to experiment-- and is already obsessed with Nars lips and eyes. (I wish I could have been this cool at 17!)

    I bought the Sephora one a while back, and promptly returned it once I saw that it is basically one big advertisement for the brands.. not about technique and education. This seems different.


  3. I quite agree, this is the best makeup book out there.

  4. Lisa, I think this book should be a compulsory reading at junior high schools everywhere...

  5. Dea, I can't wait till my nieces are old enough to start experimenting with makeup (they're too busy now learning to walk...). I'm sure your daughters would like this book (and I wish Nars was around when I was 17...)

  6. Dain, definitely. There's so much stupid crap out there and this book really shines.


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