2 June 2013

Book Review: Makeup Your Mind by Francois Nars

During the general #bbloggers chat on Wednesday night the topic of beauty books came up with Fisi, Kate and I and I mentioned one of my favourites is Makeup Your Mind by Francois Nars - a few people expressed an interest in seeing a post on it as they hadn't heard of it before so I dug my copy out.

Please note that all images are copyright of Francois Nars.



One thing I love about this book is that it's different to the other beauty and makeup books on the market which tend to be chapter upon chapter of theory and very little else. They tend to fall into the 90s neutral camp with a lot of browns and yellows and though they are in my opinion timeless, they can feel dated in technique and imagery.



Makeup Your Mind contains a brief introduction and from the first page you're given a clear insight into the ideology of Francois Nars and his approach to beauty and makeup. I've always found his opinions to be refreshing and highly quotable. 


Broken into areas, each section starts with an inspiring quote and a few pages on theory: eye/lip shape, product type and texture, application methods and so on and is followed by pages of large before and after images and a clear sheet which shows which products were used and where they were placed.



This is probably the main area in which Makeup Your Mind comes into it's own - instead of pages of theory, this book focuses on showing you the before and after and the products used by way of a clear sheet - there is little mention of application (this comes briefly at the end of the chapter) so some may struggle if they want a walk through but use the looks as inspiration - get your brushes out and work on it! Find a technique that works for you.

Clear and well lit headshots show the before and after images, the perspex sheets list all products used and where they were used and although this book was published in 2001, many of the products are still available at NARS counters today.


Each section ends with a vignette of each look and a brief run through of how the look was created. As you can see, some of the descriptions are noticeably shorter than others - in this case the reason being that the two models with the shortest descriptions are male which has put a few people off but as a makeup artist it's very helpful to see some catwalk male makeup looks, particularly as I do a lot of male grooming work.



The perspex sheet and product listing prove very helpful, one of the things that annoys me most about makeup and beauty books is that many fail to include a product list and instead put a stockist section and the back for brands and not products and shades.

The spiral binding makes it easy to flip between pages, sections and looks - you can use the sheet to see the products used but move it away to inspect the images more closely. It's a new take on the face chart and I really like it.

Makeup Your Mind is image heavy and theory light which has caused some to opine that it's a case of style over substance, the book itself is beautifully presented and the images clear but it doesn't "teach" you anything per se. This argument is a bugbear of mine as a book and theory will only take you so far with makeup application and technique, applying makeup and learning to do it properly is incredibly practical and personal to each individual, yes a book will tell you where the best place to apply blusher to suit each face shape is but it won't stand behind you and correct your posture or the way you're holding a brush.

If you're looking for a book to guide you through application and talk you through technique then this probably isn't for you however if you're looking for a book full of inspiring images then you will love this - it's a great coffee table book and one I'd love to receive as a present.

Makeup Your Mind does cater more to the high fashion/editorial market so it's unlikely to help anyone looking to achieve every day looks but for a makeup artist or makeup student it provides hours of inspiration - if I'm ever lacking inspiration the first thing I do is get my books out be they makeup/beauty or photography, and the NARS book never fails to inspire me.

Even though it was produced and published in 2001 the looks still translate and many are still seen on catwalks across the world today.



I have quite a lot of beauty books that I'd be happy to do a series on if you'd like to see them?

Which beauty/makeup books are your favourites?


Vicky x
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12 comments

  1. I really like the LAuren Conrad Beauty book for a basic tips book but this book would be a bit more technical! x

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    1. In terms of what it's for I would say it would be more technical but it's very brief in it's teachings x

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  2. I love the sound of this book! might have to get this!

    Rachel
    xx

    http://lustslovesandmusthaves.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. It's a great book for anybody that loves makeup xx

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  3. Thanks so much for mentioning me lovely :) Really enjoyed your review, the book sounds amazing and it's such a bargain too! I always thought I had to spend at least £20 for a decent beauty book but this one sounds right up my street, just went on my wishlist xxx

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Good beauty books can be pricey so I always check Amazon for a bargain. I bought mine brand new for £8 a few years ago and it was retailing for nearly £25 xx

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  4. Ahh I want this book now! I am a sucker for beauty books and this seems perfect! Thank you for sharing lovely! :))

    Andrea | RosyChicc

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    1. You're welcome, it's an inspiring book! X

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  5. I completely agree with what you say about beauty and makeup books being stuck in that brown/90's zone. It does seem dated to me and is what puts me off getting the Bobbi Brown manuals. This looks fantastic, a lot more creative approach and the clear sheets seem like they'd be helpful! x

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    1. Likewise with the BB books, I know it's the signature look but it just feels a bit old. This is definitely fresher x

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  6. 9,95 Pounds!?!? Here it costs 43 pounds!!
    I always go to a bookshop to see some pictures of this book but Im not able to afford it yet. I have the Bobbi brown make up manual and is excellent.. a must have for make up artists as it really convinced me that I wanna be a make up artist :)

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    1. Wow, it's crazy that it costs so much there! Will amazon not ship it to you?! The BB books are good, not my favourites but I'm so pleased they inspired you xx

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Thank you for your comments ♥ If you have any questions, feel free to ask me on Twitter @VickyAtBBB x

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