February 18, 2010

Book Review: Jemma Kidd Makeup Masterclass

The few things I know about makeup, I have learned from the internet - YouTube and blogs mainly. When I was younger I would read magazines and try to recreate their so-called makeup lessons but how can you achieve anything nice when the explanations are lousy and nobody never ever mentions using a brush?

Anyway. I decided a few weeks ago that it would be interesting to go through some makeup books. This said, I've never seen any in the libraries around here and had to use Amazon without being able to browse before buying.

I picked Jemma Kidd Masterclass because I had read good reviews, and I liked the look on the cover. Also, the price was very reasonable since this is a huge book, and it was under 20€.

The books covers a lot of subjects: how to pick the right products, apply them, create particular looks for special occasions etc...

Now, this book is for you:
- If you feel like you can't find the right products for you or don't know how to apply them
- If you have zero experience with makeup but want to learn from the start
- If you need to learn more advanced techniques like applying liquid liner
- If you want to learn how to do particular looks like a smokey eye, a bride's look, a polished office look...

But I would say that you should avoid this book:
- If you feel like all your basics are covered, or you have experience with makeup already
- If you like bold or bright looks, because the book revolves around neutrals
- If you're looking for techniques to create very creative or original looks

My personal opinion: the book is beautiful, the explanations are very well detailed and clear, the photographs are pretty.
But... I don't feel like I learned much. Though the looks are pretty, I find most of them boring because almost all of them are done with 2 or 3 shades of browns that kind of all looked the same to me.
And there were some statements with which I couldn't agree at all. According to Mrs Kidd, now that I'm in my 30's I should give up color for ever and start using more and more mattes. I don't agree - and I hate so-called "makeup rules".
The office look was really boring to me, and although there were a couple of bolder looks for evening, there weren't enough of them for my taste and even those were very conventional.

I'm gladly keeping the book for the photographs but not for the learnings. Again, if you're just starting with makeup and/or liking clean, simple, neutral looks - this is going to be perfect for you.


  1. I'm so glad you wrote about this- it's interesting to see other artists' views, but then it's also great for people to understand that just because a makeup artist has had the fortune to become a "celebrity" doesn't mean their technique is necessarily better.

    I agree with you- I hate "makeup rules" and think the idea that the 30+ crowd has to tone down all color and light is silly, and frankly, very dated.

    I'm sure you already know about them, and may already have them, but Kevyn Aucoins books are amazing. If you've not poured through them already, I'd definitely suggest those.

    I'd actually love to see you take one of Jemma's techniques and switch our her neutral shade suggestions with some more bold choices- I think the value of a book like that is largely in whether it teaches the techniques and how to adapt them, rather than just being a big ol' paint by number book!

  2. I haven't seen the book, but I can't agree you more. I'm also 30+ and can't understand "this rule" why I should give up the colours?!? I just discovered how fun is playing with colours and now in my 30's I'm kind of more experienced and self-confident to wear them out.
    Thank you for this interesting post!:)

  3. @ Sil: I can relate, I just started using makeup properly at 30 thanks to the web, I don't want to ban colors from my stash now!

    @Jessica: I don't have KA's books, which one do you recommend first? I like your suggestion of twisting a neutral look, I'm going to try that and post pics when I have a chance!

  4. I saw this book in a store and browsed through it briefly, and I completely agree with your comments. Looking through it, there didn't seem to be anything that I didn't already know, and while all of the looks were pretty, none of them were particularly inspiring. Somebody was going to buy the book for me as a present but I'm glad they didn't, because I doubt I would ever have used it.

  5. Thanks for the JK book review. I was thinking about buying it. (I have yet to look at it), but I'm having second thoughts. There is no way (at 30), that I'm ready to give up colour!



I love getting comments, thanks for sharing your thoughts!