We wanted to see if their advice still held up today, and there were some amazing surprises from all of them. To keep them timeless, we’ve included recommendations on products that fit their advice today, even though the text was written decades ago. We bet you’re pretty curious, right? Join our beauty book club and see the tips for yourself.
The beauty world can be intimidating, so we’re glad this beauty book was one of the first ones we were ever introduced to, because it questions the idea of beauty and rules from the very beginning. Its priority is not to the rules and how you must fit them to be a certain kind of beautiful; rather, the focus is on your unique qualities and how to bring them out. Aucoin wrote this book more than 15 years ago, in 1997, but it’s still as forward-thinking as ever, while being motherly and kind at the same time. The introduction is magnificent: “I feel the goal should be to expand our definition of what we consider ‘acceptable,’ ‘normal,’ and ‘beautiful.’ The future will belong to those with open minds and open hearts, who can appreciate beauty in all its forms.” His tips are honest and don’t market any particular brand or product — just what works, and why it does.
Skin care and preparation: Day cream is a night cream and a night cream is a day cream. Try not to be coerced into buying things you won’t use by overmarketing.” Do you really need a toner, eye cream, two serums, an overnight mask, a facial mist, and a night cream? No. It can also exacerbate any skin conditions you have, because skin is not static, and it is constantly evolving. Sometimes, it really is best to keep it simple. That way, if something flares up, you know what to eliminate (which can be really hard when you’re using, say, six products).
A good day or night gel cream moisturizer we’d recommend based on Aucoin’s advice is Dr. Jart+’s Water Fuse Water-Sure Gel. It’s formulated without parabens, sulfates, fragrances, etc., and the hyaluronic acid encourages hydration all day. It’s great for all skin types – oily, dry, hypersensitive, or combination.
To add depth to hooded eyelids, Aucoin advises applying dark shadow along the lashline and curving it upward at the outside corner, aiming toward the beginning of the eyebrow and lightly under the eye. Pale shadow can be placed onto the lid and brow bone, bringing these areas forward.
Matte neutral shadows are pretty easy to find, but the most compact and practical palette we’ve found for this kind of work would be Urban Decay’s Naked Basics palette. From highlighting your browbone to a pure, matte black, this palette has everything you would need to add depth.
For mature women, Aucoin says that as the shape of the eye “softens,” more defining might be necessary. Keep the intensity on the upper lashline by using smudged shadows and using less for the undereye area. Try an all-in-one primer, shadow, and liner in pencil form for ultimate versatility. Stila’s formulations somehow manage to be waterproof but still very creamy, workable, and long-wearing.
According to Aucoin, there was an ever-increasing number of designers, magazines, and cosmetic companies offering more diverse-inspired choices. And, choice is what this book is all about. Remember, there is no such thing as “too much makeup” or “too little makeup” — only what’s right for you.
There are more foundations in all different skin shades now, though there should definitely be more. But, you’d be hard-pressed to find shades that don’t suit you in MAC, Bobbi Brown, or Becca Cosmetics. It’s easier to find your shade from multiple brands now, too: try Findation.com and it will pull up dozens of comparisons from all price points.
This book may fly under the radar compared to other beauty books from the era, but it’s interesting to see how important some beauty rituals were at the time, and how some tips never die. This book has pages and pages dedicated to perms for every hair type, something less en vogue now. Still, it does have some really useful advice.
This book has a lot of tips on how to “normalize” your complexion, which is bizarre but this tip is amusing: “To relax the eye muscles, close both eyes, cup a hand over one, and then (both eyes closed) circle the eyeballs first in one direction and then in the other. This also helps prevent squint lines.” If you need to do this on a regular basis, we think maybe you are under too much stress, and we salute you. Have a cup of hot chocolate and give yourself a hug.
There are apparently 14 different types of baths you can take. Who knew? There is the bedtime bath, of course, but also the daytime relaxer. This is when you use fragrance and fill the tub halfway. Use an eye mask and witch hazel-drenched cotton squares over the eyes. There is also the fatigue-reliever bath, the wake-up bath, and the invigorating bath (read: cold water). There’s the warm-up bath, the skin soother, the after-sunning (how elegant), shower baths, a grooming shower, so on and so forth. The general idea is that there is a bath for every occasion, and face masks in the bath tub are the best thing ever. A key bath product for the ultimate moment of relaxation? Floating Island by Lush. Vanilla, sandalwood, lemon, and cocoa butter make this a three-in-one product. It’s a bath bomb and melt and essential oil combination that will transport you to pure bliss.
If you want your face to appear wide, this book says to apply blush only to the outside of the face, beginning at the temple and staying outside of the eye bone. For a narrower face, bring the blush over the cheeks to the area directly below the middle of the eye. Then, down the highest part of the cheek, to about the level of the nostrils.
A creamy, sheer, buildable blush would be ideal for this kind of work. Stila’s Convertible Color is an obvious choice: The colors are universally flattering and extremely easy to work with.