[unpaid/sample/affiliate/ad] This year has been the year of the beauty book – and we are all the better for it. Hopefully, so is our skin :-).
Twelve years as a beauty director has put Inge in good stead to really understand products and what they can – and more importantly, cannot – achieve. If you want to tuck up on the sofa with a blanket and hot chocolate, this is the perfect book to while away an afternoon with that leaves you feeling you are better for the information. Inge takes the thorny problem of choosing the right moisturiser and dispenses with it in four pages – as she says, ‘it’s not that complicated’. A lot of what the beauty industry does in marketing to us is apply terminology that is pitched just above what most of us readily understand (as I’ve mentioned before reviewing the wonderfully approachable Discovering Cosmetic Science) – so that a product sounds really good and sciencey but isn’t particularly. At the end of each topic, Inge recommends product that offer a comprehensive price range – being spendy isn’t a requirement in being beautiful.
What I particularly like is that there is a conclusion to each chapter – a ‘bottom line’ that leaves you with a one-line summary to hold on to… for example, the bottom line on Vitamin C is ‘topical Vitamin C undoubtedly improves skin, but some forms and formulations of Vitamin C are better than others..’ and we ALL want to know what the good ones are (above fyi)! When it comes to cleaning, the bottom line there is ‘a cleansing brush is not an essential part of anyone’s skin care routine’ so we cannot say she doesn’t tell it how it is. She really does – the book is a bit of a hand-hold if you’ve ever found yourself wondering how the heck to choose a sunscreen or cleansing oil. It made me smile in parts because the tone is very direct without being bossy – it’s a case of ‘here are the facts, do what you want with them’. You won’t feel overwhelmed – in fact, the opposite and in my view, the ideal reader is someone who is drawn into buying lots of different products (because they all sound great, right?) and wonders why the miracle hasn’t occurred. It’s £10.15 HERE, non affiliate HERE and I think is nicely gifty paired with a lovely lipstick or mascara.
Next up is Start With Skincare by beauty stalwart, Alice Hart-Davis who has also done her time testing, researching and reviewing beauty products and treatments. You need a little more time for this one – it’s dense with information. There are a lot of product recommendations – again to suit all budgets – and I like the way it sets out ‘regimes’ such as the one for large pores, that sets out exactly what you need … you could literally use it as a shopping list although it’s not product specific, the recommendations throughout should see you with a confident idea of what to go for.
One of the best nuggets of information is the fact that the decolletage area is slightly tip-tilted towards the sun and acts as our own solar panel. Anyone who has sunbathed for even five minutes will know that the chest takes the sun faster than anywhere else but the angles had never occurred to me before. Suddenly, it makes sense. Obvious advice is to slather your panel in sun screen! Actually, sun screen is a really strong section in this book – explaining all the different types of light and recommending products to suit. Sensible advice, too, on cleansing, starting with not over-cleansing your face, which is something we have all probably been unwittingly doing at some point or another. It’s £9.19 HERE, non-affiliate HERE. Alice has also written The Tweakements Guide – that covers non-surgical beauty procedures. It’s HERE and a very informative read for anyone considering Botox, fillers, lasers or peels.
This is really different – an open and honest tale of how Invisibobble came to be. Written by the founder, Sophie Trellis-Tvede, who invented the Invisibobble when she was 18 (she is only 27 now!) it’s an inspiring read for any aspiring beauty entrepreneurs. Actually, it’s the things that go wrong that are the most interesting – that time the factory producing Invisibobble was destroyed in a typhoon but nobody told Sophie for weeks. They probably couldn’t but still, it’s very much a story of bouncing back – fully loaded delivery trucks catching fire, container ships going the same way carrying 10,000 bobbles and Amazon removing the entire product range just weeks before Christmas.
One of the sections I found most interesting is where they take a stand at Cosmoprof in Bologna – one of the biggest beauty expos in the world with global reach and attention. I’ve been – twice. It’s absolutely overwhelming but riveting at the same time (although it was at a Dubai beauty expo where they had to chase after someone who had helped themselves to as many Invisibobbles as they could carry straight off the stand). I guess the stand-out points are as a new business having to pare back expenses, to make every action a considered one and persevere. I like Sophie’s unfluffy tone although the print is absolutely tiny – you’ll need your readers :-). It’s a fun read – I liked it a lot and have so much more respect now for the little springy things that hold my hair up! It’s £8.40 HERE, non affiliate HERE and a great stocking filler for teens upwards.
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Thanks for the book reviews! Very timely for Christmas gift shopping – some great ideas for skincare lovers who has so many products already 🙂
Welcome – actually I think they might help people with too many products to pare down and put some sort of consistent regime in place.
Thank you, Jane! Yay, more “smart books about beauty”! I remember my first – The Beauty Bible I bought in 2000 on my honeymoon in airport flying to Malaysia: beautiful card cover thing full of handy advice – also with products suggestions (made me cry in my Europe – it took much more effort 20yrs ago to buy American or Asian brands) and pretty illustrations/pictures. I had years of pleasure with it and still smile passing the book cast and noticing it’s bright pink 🙂
That’s a reminder how much product access has changed Anna 🙂
Thanks for the recommendations Jane. Have you gotten around to reading Caroline Hiron’s book yet, I’d be interested to hear what you think? I had it on my christmas list but I’m now thinking maybe I’ll ask for Inge’s instead!
No – several people have asked me that but I haven’t got to it yet so can’t do a comparison. I thought afterwards that Inge’s would be great for people who have bought loads of skin care they don’t quite know what to do with to pare it into some sort of routine OR stare at a range and don’t know where to start. It’s not a long book but there is a great deal of information in it that’s pretty digestible.