Bobbi Brown’s Pretty Powerful, a book review

Sometimes when you’ve made up your mind to do something, the universe will find ways of providing you with the tools you need. In this case, my resolution to develop signatures received some help in the form of a gift: Bobbi Brown’s latest book, Pretty Powerful.

Screen Shot 2013-01-10 at 11.55.41

While I do love Bobbi Brown’s foundations and concealers, her makeup line is only a fraction of what she has to offer. She’s an industry veteran, still applying makeup at runway shows each year at New York Fashion Week, working magazine cover shoots and charity events while managing a company and a household. To young beauty professionals, she’s a shining example of what we can accomplish when we’re driven and passionate. Along the way, she’s compiled much of her experience and wisdom in books for everyone from teenagers beginning to experiment in beauty to professionals who have all ready begun to work in the industry.

Screen Shot 2013-01-10 at 11.58.48

When I said that I want to work on developing signatures this year, I never thought that I would come home the next day to find a valuable tool on my dining room table. Pretty Powerful is not your typical makeup book: there are plenty of how-to volumes filled with color-by-number face formulas, but Bobbi approaches it from her own place, stressing individual beauty over total perfection. Each time I read one of Bobbi’s books, I’m truly taken by her philosophy that beauty is not a standard, it’s an individualized trait that each and every woman in the world possesses. Makeup exists merely to enhance it. Pretty Powerful is organized by profiles–not beauty profiles, per se, but personality profiles. The task presented to you as the reader is not to decide which of your physical features to emphasize or what colours you look nice in, it’s simply to decide how you feel most comfortable. 

Screen Shot 2013-01-10 at 11.56.13

Each chapter–Pretty Natural, Radiant, Strong, Classic, Authentic, and Bold–begins with a note from Bobbi about how the chapter applies to to her, therefore reminding you that there is plenty of cross-over between profiles. You might identify as Pretty Natural, but adopting traits from the Pretty Radiant or Pretty Authentic chapters could benefit not only your makeup routine but also your lifestyle. Each one contains face charts for day and night with suggestions for colours, finishes, and textures to experiment with as well as numerous before-and-after pictures of women who underwent Bobbi’s Pretty Powerful transformations. The captions beneath each photo offer some info on how the look was created–sometimes the complete opposite the face charts, since even within general types Bobbi respects each model’s individual preferences–as well as notes about what the ladies themselves think make them beautiful. It’s inspiring and wonderful to see so many women embracing traits that might have been rejected under traditional beauty ideals.

Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 12.01.09

Additionally, each chapter features a celebrity or woman of note who is not only transformed by Bobbi’s makeup team but also contributes a short essay about what they find beautiful, and what led them to their place in life. Some write about childhood notions of what was or was not beautiful–their freckles, their dark eyes, their uncontrollably curly hair–some talk about the people in their lives that encouraged them to be who they are and helped them see what beauty really was. It forces you to examine your own ideals and experiences in order to transform your routine. Whether you’re stuck in a “beauty rut,” as Bobbi discusses at several points during the book, or just looking to experiment with your look, this book includes plenty of points to ponder.

Going through the articles and face charts, it’s impossible not to envision yourself in each category. Some simply don’t fit (I could never call myself “Natural”) and others might seem to apply in bits and pieces (I’ve definitely gone through both “Radiant” and “Classic” periods), but invariably one category will seem most you. Perhaps predictably, most of my cosmetic habits fell under Pretty Bold–my penchant for colour and experimentation, my confident approach to self-expression through cosmetics. While labeling often causes constriction, Bobbi uses each category to encourage readers to explore what makes them feel most beautiful, whether its looking fresh-faced and dewy or wearing bold, neon lipsticks.

Pretty Powerful can be purchased on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, or at independent booksellers. All images above from Barnes & Noble.

Cosmetics, Love Lists, Monthly Picks

Metamorphosis 79.0 – May Monthly Picks!

May was considerably harder to settle on than any month previously, perhaps because my out-of-commission camera forced me to be later on this post than usual. Things started to blur together–did I start loving these products in May, or early June? Did I even get this in May? Or am I mistaking June for May since I keep writing “5/?/11” on all checks at work?

But after much consideration, I’ve narrowed it to these selections which I enjoyed throughout most of the month. I haven’t included face or complexion products since otherwise, this list would be a boring beige-coloured wasteland (my picks would have undoubtedly been OCC Tint, Bobbi Brown Corrector and Creamy Concealer, Bobbi Brown Pressed Powder, and Lamas Beauty Eye Repair Complex–boring to look at, right?) and it’s much more interesting to see the Sea of Coral I’ve lived in this May.

It probably all started with Zoya Nail Polish in Elodie. On the website, it looks like a soft, almost pastel melon shade but as you see, it’s really a vibrant coral-orange. It’s a gorgeous, fun shade that applies creamy and opaque in about three coats (I use many much thinner coats to avoid bubbling and “VNL”–visible nail line–so it should only take normal people three coats to achieve perfection). I also discovered creme blush (finally!) and fell head over heels for Bobbi Brown Pot Rogue in Cabo Coral. Applied to my skin or foundation pre-powder, it blends to a very pretty peachy coral. It appears rather intense but after it’s been set it’s quite subtle–best of all the colour is completely buildable! It’s also lip-safe and can be used as lipstick in a pinch.

I wore this Inglot palette Monday through Friday for most of May. It’s neutral, it’s versatile–I can use the two beiges and the taupey grey for a very clean, neutral eye or have at the greys for a graduated smokey effect. This doesn’t mean I’ll never wear red eyeshadow to the office again, but it does give me a work-friendly option.

I know that OCC Lip Tar made it’s way onto the list last month, too, but this time it’s Interlace. It is hands-down the perfect nude in my collection and makes any look instantly more chic. I like to apply it lightly, blot off any excess, and set it with a clear or nude gloss (like BITE’s Prosecco or MAC Cremesheen Glass in Lightly Prancing). Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lip Gloss in Citrus was my go-to gloss this month, living exclusively in my purse and swiped on almost every day. It’s a beautiful peachy-orange shimmer in a clear base and while it’s on the stickier side, it is the longest-wearing gloss I have ever owned. I have swiped it on at 9AM only to find my lips are still shimmery and a little tacky at 7PM when I’m driving home. Considering my lips are on the drier side, I find it highly moisturizing.

And last but not least, the product that has everyone and their mother talking, Make Up Forever Aqua Liners in 10 Iridescent Red and 04 Diamond Lagoon Green. I know, everyone has raved about them to no end but honestly they’re that great. They don’t budge for DAYS if not properly removed and they come in such a variety of bold, powerful colours they really are perfect for the bright eyeliner trend that’s been so hot this season. Of the 16 shades available, I scored 10 for 50% off at the Makeup Show. If you don’t get them with a pro discount or show special, they’re a bit pricey at $23 a piece. But I would have paid it anyway–the formula and applicator remind me a bit of MAC’s Superslick liners, but thicker and with a longer felt tip “brush.” Personally, I wish these had an actual brush and a shorter top for application, but I love them anyway. In May, the green was pretty much my everyday liner shade, while the red was for those days I really needed a pop of colour to get me through the day.

And there you have it. My May was a bright blur of corals, not quite Spring but not quiteSummer either. What products did you love in May? Have you made the jump to your Summer look yet, or are you still clinging to Spring?

Love you to the Moon and Back,

Luna Valentine