Beauty Secrets: Books for Beauty

May 9, 2014
Beauty Secrets: Beauty Books

Welcome to Beauty Secrets!

I’m thrilled to welcome you to a new series on Peaceful Dumpling—Beauty Secrets. Every Friday, I’ll share some of my favorite, tried-and-true beauty tips and “hacks.” At Peaceful Dumpling, we’re interested in all things vegan, but we’re so much more than “animal product-free”—we’re budding fitness gurus, fearless cooks, devoted pet-lovers, and yes, makeup junkies…

Here’s my philosophy—beauty (primping, pampering, and so forth) can be a powerful expression of self-love, creativity, and your own personal brand of elegance. For a long time, I was a closet beauty-lover. I come from a very literary family. Dinner conversations were about Aristotle’s Enthymeme and the flaws of the Literary Canon (in sum: too many dead white guys). Academia was always a very visible part of my identity. My friends knew me as that lovable book-nerd-professor’s-daughter—it was—and still is—a natural, comfortable part of my identity.

Beauty Secrets: Beauty Books

Beauty Secrets will discuss any and all things related to Vegan Beauty–including cruelty-free products, finding the right tools, and making sure we’re using healthy, skin-loving ingredients.

Beauty Secrets: Beauty BooksBut like all vegans who are more than just vegans, I was just as much beauty-lover as I was a literary-buff. I was simply concerned that this other interest was “frivolous.” My parents probably knew I was poring over Vogue when I wasn’t reading Anna Karenina, but they probably didn’t suspect that both were equally thrilling—equally important in their own way. I tore out countless magazine pages to make “lookbooks” (how I survived pre-Pinterest) and spent hours in front of the mirror practicing variations on the smoky eye. Knowing that the little eyeshadow sponges that come with the palettes were far from adequate, I experimented with my mom’s paintbrushes instead (sorry, Mom).

With this post, I’m combining my two loves. My first beauty secret is about Books for Beauty. For years I thought that magazines were the authority on all things beauty—until I discovered books on makeup, clothes, and everything in between. (Of course, there is no true authority on beauty since trends constantly evolve, and rules are meant to be broken.) Books like Eva Scrivo on Beauty by Eva Scrivo and Jemma Kidd’s Make-up Masterclass explain in great detail how to line you lips or achieve the perfect blow-out (still working on that one). These books taught me that makeup is an art, and like any art, technique is key. The following books helped me teach myself everything I know about beauty.

Beauty Secrets: Beauty Books

My favorite beauty reads.

Makeup-up Masterclass is ideal for beauty newbies—think of it as Makeup 101. Kidd explains how to apply makeup depending on the shape of your features, the tone of your complexion, and your age. She offers how-tos on “Everyday Gorgeous,” “Boardroom Beauty,” and “Yummy Mommy” looks.

Make-up Secrets focuses more on problem solving plus various enticing looks featuring palettes for Bridgette Bardot, Audrey Hepburn, and Grace Kelly looks. Accompanied by gorgeous photographs, Kidd’s writing is engaging and inspiring. In fact, reading this book was my reward for completing fall term my last year of grad school.

While Eva Scrivo spends some time discussing makeup in Eva Scrivo on Beauty, her focus is primarily on hair. She walks you through hair cut, color, and maintenance so you can take care of your locks like a pro.

Beauty Secrets: Beauty Books

The Goddess Guide is gorgeously illustrated and full of colorful pages.

Books like Cupcakes and Cashmere (Emily Schuman), The Goddess Guide (Gisèle Scanlon), and Things Every Woman Should Know About Beauty (Karen Homer) lightheartedly offer inspiring visuals and humor, making beauty fun and approachable. I’ve personally enjoyed reading these eclectic books on road trips or by the pool. Cupcakes has a modern, Cali vibe and is perfect for any one looking for a classy take on current trends. The Goddess Guide chronicles Scanlon’s adventures in buying vintage online, interviewing haute couture designers, and chatting with well-known makeup artists–a good read for the glam city-dweller. Every Woman is a gold-mine of vintage photos. With her dry humor, Homer takes the reader through beauty how-tos—including a section on plastic surgery!

Finally, I’ve also included Ballet Beautiful (Mary Helen Bowers) and Eat Pretty (Jolene Hart) on my Beauty Reading List. Beauty isn’t just about lipstick and primers—it’s also about what you eat and what you do with your body. Ballet Beautiful shows us that exercise (including ballet!) can be fun and accessible. All you need is a mat and a little dedication. In Eat Pretty, we learn how to improve our skin from the inside out with beauty foods like leafy greens, whole grains, and seasonal fruit. For an in-depth discussion of Eat Pretty, see Molly Lansdowne’s review.

What are your favorite beauty reads?

 Related: My Beauty Detox Diet Journey

Bedtime Rituals for Beauty Sleep

DIY Tea Steam Facial


Photos: Mary Hood

Peaceful Dumpling Beauty Editor and creator of Bisou du Jour, Mary Hood Luttrell lives with her husband in Corpus Christi, Texas. Mary is a freelance writer and writing and blogging consultant. A lover of whole foods, Mary delights in learning new ways to prepare vegan dishes. Mary also enjoys reading and writing poetry, art journaling, running, and practicing yoga and ballet. Follow Mary on her blog Bisou du Jour, Instagram and Pinterest.


always stay inspired!