The Reading List

I don’t have much of an off-switch when it comes to beauty. If I’m watching TV then I’m trying to guess the actresses lip colour, it’s about two minutes into dinner with my friends before I quiz them on what nail polish they’re rocking and reading time is a largely beauty dominated activity too. I’m like a sponge, me – absorbing all the cosmetics chatter up from every corner – but I do love a good book. There’s something about packing out a bookshelf with a bevy of beauty reads that feels just as satisfying as an A-Z brand organised MUJI drawer. A good reference point, pages of inspiration that have me scribbling down post plans and a welcome alternative to the bright backlight of my laptop. Open up my current reading list…

Lauren Conrad Beauty was a ‘damn I just want to buy something‘ purchase when the other book I wanted was out of stock. It’s a pretty read, but it’s simple especially for anyone already accustomed to her website ‘The Beauty Department‘. A good starting point for makeup newbies perhaps – but for those who know their contour from their highlight the nail tutorial pages are worth the perusal. Another picture heavy and pretty offering is Bobbi Brown’s latest release, Pretty Powerful*. I’m a big fan of Bobbi books; the Makeup Manual was top of my Christmas list three years ago and was read and re-read cover to cover many a time. But Pretty Powerful steers away from the makeup know-how and more in the makeover direction, giving before and after at the hand of Bobbi images without an apparent airbrush in sight. One I like to flick through on sleepy Sunday mornings.

Rounding of my beauty reads is Allure, of course. Do I even need to mention this one again? My subscription ended, so I’ve turned to picking up my hit at Selfridges which is quite easily the best £4.40 I spend each month. The exception on my bookshelf is Grace, A Memoir by Grace Coddington, no beauty bumf to be seen instead a reflective look back at the life of Vogue’s Creative Director by the lady herself. This purchase was spurred on by my recent viewing of ‘The September Issue’ (I know, 5 years too late on this one!) where she basically kicks ass. I’m still at the beginnings, but I have a feeling that Grace has a good ol’ story to tell.

Initiation into the beauty bookworm club complete, additions to the reading list are welcomed and as always my pen is on note taking standby. And just remember, if we ever meet, have your nail polish shade name handy cause I will ask for it.

*PR Samples


  • Rocio

    Ah, I’ve loved this post Anna! I have the Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual and it is amazing, I’ve read it so many times and I still learn new things every time! Really want to read Pretty Powerful now…


  • Maddy Cane

    Your picks are really good, I have read some of them but I am definitely going to try Allure, it sounds amazing! xxx

  • I need to pick up a copy of Allure mag, so glad they stock it in Selfridges, will definitely be purchasing one!

    Lottie x

  • Gita Bončina

    I really wanna read those books from miss Conrad, I bet they’re pretty cool. And Allure! I need Allure! 🙂


  • Labelilla

    I’m afraid there is another idea on how to spent money stuck in my head now :).. I literally see the moolah jumping out of my purse 😉

  • anca.lb90

    I love reading beauty books! They’re all so light and interesting at the same time 😉

    Currently hosting a $50 Gift Card to for two lucky winners.

  • Pippa Jones

    Aww these books look amazing, Lovely reading list.

    Pipp xx

  • Abbey Rosete

    Love the choices!

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  • I love the bobbi brown books, I have a couple of them and I think I’m going to try and collect them all, they’re so nice to look through! You might like the 2 books that Jemma Kidd has done, they’re really good with lots of different looks in them. And I think Kevin Aucoin has done one, but I’m not sure because I don’t have it…
    Eleanor x

  • -ky-

    “Making Faces” – Basically a summation of Kevyn Aucoin’s (R.I.P.) career work. He was the god of the “heavy natural look,” and I literally drool over the pages. 🙂 Features dozens of iconic faces and looks. B-e-a-utiful.

  • Harriet Kate


  • Harriet Kate

    Allure subscription saves me from insanity. Lauren Conrad’s book is good, but the website (beauty is more detailed like you said! I’m intrigued by Bobbi Brown books- never read one. Might read up on her Make Up Manual…

  • Jess Cameron

    Rae Morris has some pretty amazing makeup books (she also has a winning brush range as well)

  • vikki

    I have never read a book about make up before, I will be sure to check some out next time I have a chance though!

  • beautyandtheb

    I am loving the Grace book, she is such an inspiring woman!

    B xxx

  • talisa
  • I have watched the September Issue over and over again it is brilliant, Grace is my hero she is amazing, total Kick ass against Anna 🙂

  • Alittlebitunique

    Really want a bobbi brown book, even if it is just to look at the pictures lol

    A little bit Unique – Blog // Facebook // Bloglovin


  • Katie

    I just got the Lauren Conrad book. You’re right about it being pretty basic, but I still enjoyed having a flick through it. It’s a nice coffee table type book!

    Katie x
    And Katie // Beauty & Lifestyle

  • Kassie lee

    some great beauty reads, thanks for sharing

  • Maria

    I’ve been wanting to get the Bobbi Brown books for forever! Glad to know you still read them again and again.

  • Lauren P

    I really want the new Bobbi Brown book. I recently read the original – I picked it up for my sister when she started wearing makeup and I ended up reading it myself. It was really interesting though so I look forward to reading her other books.

  • i have an obsession with beauty books lol. i got jemma kidd ones recently but haven’t read them yet, and now i’m considering getting rae morris ones!

  • Hey Anna, I’m an ipad reader. The format of your blog comes up in the wordpress mobile pack. I was wondering if there is a way to avoid this “mobile version” Thanks, Carly xxx

  • Love your style of writing. X

  • katherine.parkes

    I’m loving Allure magazine! x

  • Another beautifully written post, Allure subscription has now crept onto my birthday list. So on board with immersing yourself in all things beauty related, best way to be. Even Bobbi Brown’s Teenage Beauty is a bit retro but always a nostalgic read!
    Rhyanna x

  • I need to get Allure magazine and pronto!