Monday, September 16, 2013

Beauty Book Review-- Robert Jones

 Local libraries are wonderful places-- you can try out a book, and find it isn't for you. Or that you must have it, now!

 For me, cookbooks and beauty manuals are always interesting to read, but if I bought each book I enjoyed looking through, I'd need a square mile to keep them all. So I take them out for a spin and return them to the Kenmore Library for others to enjoy, and in the process, sometimes I find one I want to refer to again and again, enough to purchase.

 Recently I read through the Robert Jones book, Looking Younger. It's a nice how-to for those that aren't experimental on their own, or for anyone that needs a few extra tips to get their makeup in gear with their changing skin and contours. Jones is a thorough guy, explaining in detail and with pics all the little hows and whys of his approach.

 Plus Points: He does a good job of showing women how to use contouring to help combat the sag that may happen as we age.

The use of each item, from blusher to brow gel, is handled thoroughly, with step-by-step instructions for placement, shade, and purchasing guidance.

I'd say his biggest strategies for looking younger are whiter teeth, strong and well-filled brows, glowing skin (however you get it glowing!) and moist lips.

Which brings me to the first negative: heavy glossing.

I don't know why some people are so drawn to a single, constant approach to glossing, but Mr. Jones clearly has a love affair with the stuff, as evidenced by the many photos in this book, all of which contain smiling older women with heavy-duty gloss. I love gloss, we all know that by now, but to use it the same way every time is to lose the texture and feel of so many other types of moments.

Which brings us to the second negative here: although Jones urges women to use makeup to bring out " their individual beauty," every single model in this book is wearing the same safe, neutral makeup of soft browns, cream, taupe and apricot with a little warm-toned pink on a few lips. They all have the same exact level and application of shadow, blush and eyeliner set in an utterly safe and even balance with not an ounce of edge or excitement. It's a look that an Avon beauty manual once tagged "naturalness with style."

Does it bring out their beauty? Yes. Well-applied makeup always does.

 Does it play up each woman's special features? NO. Not remotely. And even if it did, why should we stick to one boring palette and one ultra-safe, simple approach just because we're not thirty anymore?

 Fuck that philosophy to death in a handbag. I won't go there, not now, not when I'm eighty, and I resent like hell the idea the implication that I should have to, if I don't want to look old. You can bet Kat Von D. won't be turning in her electric eyeliner with a sigh when she hits 55. And neither will I and neither should any of us.

 It breaks my spirit a little to see so many artists unwilling to really take on the challenge of age in others. No fashion designer demands that all the fabric they work with should be flat and smooth, without a single ripple-- on the contrary, texture and character are always prized in the plastic arts. Why not here, too?

 Just makes me more determined to put out the message that women over 40 need not pander to ageist beauty attitudes. Makeup isn't just about looking younger, or looking "your best," whatever that means-- it is one small way to be whoever you want to be. That, my friends, is ageless.

 Overall, Jones' book had much good basic advice to offer; it's a good book, it's just not what it could be-- so how can it help us be all we could be? I would encourage anyone reading it to look beyond the palette and style shown, using the solid techniques offered with a wider range of colors, a more adventurous sense of placement,  a more playful approach to balance. You CAN look gorgeous without resorting to a daily diet of light caramel lipgloss.

 Have a lovely week! Peace, Mari


  1. Amen sister! The idea of picking one look that you need to stick to because it 'works' for you is ridiculous, but it's also silly think that you cannot do certain things anymore once you reach a certain age.

  2. And may you hold that truth throughout your beautiful life!