Bobbi Brown’s Beauty Evolution is unusual in being aimed at readers of all ages, including women in their 40s, 50s and above.
The DH bought me Beauty Evolution for Christmas, as it was one of the books I earmarked, and I was very much looking forward to it (and he doesn’t mind it hanging around the house, as it has a picture of Chandra North on the cover!).
Bobbi Brown wrote Beauty Evolution when she was in her 40s (what she laughingly calls the ‘oh shit’ decade) and I wanted it because her approach to beauty tallies largely with my own in that she doesn’t believe in plastic surgery but in making the most of what nature gave you. Her epiphany, she says, came when, as a short, heavily pregnant makeup artist, she was required to make up several supermodels and realised that never – not EVER – would she look like them.
Brown is quite a handsome woman herself, and the book is well furnished with pictures of both her and many other women in midlife and above, though unfortunately, because the book covers beauty from your 20s right through to your 70s and older, the section on each decade is quite short. What I would really like is a book on beauty in your 40s, but it’s unfair to critiscise this book for not being something it never aimed to be.
First, the negatives. Anyone looking for step-by-steps on application, or specific recommendations on skincare or cosmetic products will go away empty handed. Brown has her own makeup range, and all products illustrated are hers (this is one reason I prefer the books by Kevyn Aucoin), and the advice on makeup is so general that it’s of little use. American women do seem to prefer a more made-up look and European readers will notice that Brown’s ‘five-minute’ makeup for slapping on before you run out to the shops is far more akin to what European women wear on a daily basis than the ’10-minute’ daily makeup suggested in the book, which is more what Europeans would wear for an evening out.
Nevertheless I still feel the book was a good buy if only to see so many inspirational images of women in their 40s and above looking great, particularly the gorgeous Carmen, still radiant in her 70s, and many black and Asian women, who normally have to buy specialist books to see relevant images. The advice on purging your old makeup is very sound (I use only a handful of products now, in order to prevent infection), and the idea of keeping five-minute and 10-minute makeup kits is also very good and saves you hunting around through loads of products that you hardly ever use. I also enjoyed the chapter on Quick Fixes for Bad Days.
Overall, the book is more of a coffee-table read than a manual, but nonetheless useful and inspirational.