Top 5 Beauty Books

Where would a beauty geek be without a beauty bible or five? We've rounded up the best titles to adorn that oak panelled library...

Skincare - The ultimate no nonsense guide by Caroline Hirons, £20

Skin Care – The Ultimate No Nonsense Guide by Caroline Hirons

I pre-ordered this book months before its’ release date and I wasn’t disappointed!  What Caroline Hirons doesn’t know about skincare could be carved on a grain of rice!

Within this weighty tome, there are detailed skincare routines, ingredient information, product advice and Caroline’s succinct dispelling of various skincare myths all delivered with the unique Caroline Hirons humour. “Get in the Sea!” is her favourite put down and we’re planning on using it too. There are lots of great product recommendations to help with particular skin types/conditions and the book runs through every skin predicament and need from teen to menopause and beyond. A brilliant resource for anyone who wants to take the best care of their skin. It’s easy to see why she has her army of “skin freaks”!

Favourite quote: “I don’t recommend using wipes unless you have no access to water (hospitals, fannies, flights, festivals – emergencies only, you get the idea)”


Reviewed by Kit 



Palette by Funmi Fetto, £25

Palette: The Beauty Bible for Women of Colour by Funmi Fento

As soon as I started to read this book, I knew I was going to love it!  Funmi is not only amazingly knowledgeable about all things beauty, she is also extremely witty and tells so many stories which will resonate deeply with women of colour.

Funmi regularly refers to her “Biscuit Experience” when she visited a local pharmacy with her teenage friends only to find the woefully limited offering of foundations for dark skin tones. The darkest shade she could find was ‘Biscuit” and it stood out like chalk against her dark complexion. Similarly, I remember being so frustrated at the lack of choice for my Asian skin, struggling to find anything that didn’t make me look orange. Thankfully things have improved considerably but as Funmi agrees, there is so much more to be done in terms of catering for diverse skin tones. This book goes a long to way to help women of colour find brilliant products that will actually flatter and work for their skin.

Loosely divided up into Skincare, make-up and hair, each category is divided into subcategories eg cleansers, moisturisers etc and then products are recommended for each section.  Every product has a very detailed description (and a beautiful illustration) so that you can decide as to whether this product is right for your skin type.

A must have book. Just be wary – your credit card will never have seen so much action after reading it!

Favourite Quote:  “When choosing a product, ask yourself this: would you invest in the same outfit for a funeral, for the beach, for raving at Afropunk and for a traditional wedding? No, you wouldn’t The point? Context is key. You cannot expect a single product to work for every eventuality.”

Reviewed by Kit 


Pretty Honest by Sali Hughes (paperback) £16.99

Pretty Honest The Straight Talking Beauty Companion by Sali Hughes, Fourth Estate

This book is the first of Sali Hughes’ two beauty dedicated tomes and is regarded as a classic amongst established beauty obsessives. A brilliant buy if you’re someone with an insatiable thirst for beauty knowledge and you love Guardian columnist and broadcaster, Sali’s unequivocal and always sound advice. Incredibly well thought out, this book covers everything in great detail from an in-depth glossary of terms, to the hitherto, foggy topic of how much you should tip your hairdresser as well as more sensitive issues such as how beauty can empower and comfort during illness. As Sali affirms, being excited by beauty doesn’t mean you’re lacking in intelligence or depth and this book is testament to that.

Favourite Quote: There are SO many great quotes from Sali as well as brilliant one liners from  famous beauty Icons, but our favourite from Sali has to be “Anyone who dismisses beauty and make-up as mere frippery, an irrelevance pursued by the vain, frankly knows nothing about women.”

Reviewed by Abigail and Ellie 

The skincare Bible by Anjali Mahto, £14.99

The Skincare Bible by Dr Anjali Mahto

This book is approached from a very scientific point of view as you would expect from a consultant dermatologist. It is clear, concise and addresses a myriad of skin concerns you may have from Melasma to Rosacea. Dr Mahto also explains all the key ingredients of different types of skincare, enabling you to buy the very best product for your particular skin concern. Perhaps the most enlightening chapters cover the subject of acne, something that dramatically affected Dr Mahto herself from around the age of 12. The topic is discussed with warmth and sympathy and Dr Mahto busts myths and outlines all possible treatments with expert knowledge and her own personal insight.

Favourite quote: “My first experience with a dermatologist to address acne was at the age of 14.  My face at this stage had at least twenty to thirty spots at any one time.  I remember as I used to count them. I recall sitting in front of a mirror and trying to cover the spots with my fingertips – mainly trying to imagine what I might look like without them – and then very quickly running out of fingers.”

Reviewed by Kit

Back chat Beauty By Sophie Beresiner and Lisa Potter-Dixon, £14.99

Backchat Beauty The Beauty Guide for Real Life by Sophie Beresiner and Lisa Potter- Dixon, Pavilion

Graphic design junkies and beauty addicts will be salivating over this beautifully presented book, which is basically a print version of the equal parts funny and illuminating beauty chats that award winning Beauty Editor Sophie Beresiner and renowned Make-up artist Lisa Potter Dixon host under the title #backchatbeauty. Fun, light-hearted banter (we hate that word but bants do abound) interspersed with killer beauty advice and make-up application techniques, make this a great buy for anyone who wants to finesse their application or for beauty ingénues who want to learn from two friendly experts who share tales of both the glossy and not so glossy sides of their lives. Erdem dresses and falling asleep in the communal shower spring to mind. We have mentioned the graphic design already but seriously it is a triumph and anyone with a font fetish who loves glossy magazines at their artiest will love the feel of this book. Bonus points for the cocktail recipes so perhaps not one for your young niece or nephew…

Favourite Quotes: “Red Lipstick is my metaphorical medicine. If I’m tired, sad, nervous or rolling on the ground in emotional agony, I literally will wear nothing else, just to test its super powers. “

Sophie Beresiner

“One of the biggest mistakes women make is to use a heavy foundation to cover a beauty dilemma when in fact you should use a lighter foundation and let your concealer work its magic on your problem areas…”

Lisa Potter-Dixon


Reviewed by Ellie