One of the most interesting and unique books I’ve read all year is Face Paint: The Story of Makeup by Lisa Eldridge. Tracking down information on makeup history can be challenging. I’ve managed to read a little about it over the years. Sometimes, I can find a section devoted to makeup in a book about fashion trends throughout history. However, I’ve yet to find a book that compiles makeup history as well as Face Paint.
A surprisingly quick read, Face Paint covers makeup trends from ancient times to the present. It gives a look at the early days of cosmetic companies (such as Elizabeth Arden, Revlon, and Max Factor) as well as an overview of different moments in makeup history. For example, I learned a lot about early European makeup by reading this book. I love reading about history, especially fashion history, so this book was a no-brainer for me. Eldridge doesn’t only talk about makeup trends; she also explores the motivations behind these trends. For instance, the film industry helped expand the market for makeup, and red lipstick was seen as a patriotic stance during WWII. She examines the influence of art and literature on makeup (and vice-versa). For example, early Christian writers equated makeup with deception, which made makeup unpopular during the Middle Ages. Face Paint is full of interesting facts.
Face Paint contains many beautiful, glossy photos. If you leave it on a coffee table, expect for your guests to give it some attention! The book is broken into sections that focus on different aspects of makeup. The order is semi-chronological, and it never drags. Honestly, I could have kept reading more and it would have continued to hold my interest! Eldridge’s passion for makeup shines through the informational text. The book is well-curated, introducing makeup icons throughout the book. For makeup fanatics and history lovers, Face Paint: The Story of Makeup will please! Eldridge provides a comprehensive and interesting perspective on an often overlooked aspect of fashion history. From the first page to the last, this book is fascinating and original.
Lisa Eldridge made a video on her Youtube channel about the history of makeup, which gives you a taste of what her book is like. I really enjoyed reading it, because it is so different from what I usually read. What are your favorite nonfiction books? Be sure to follow me on Bloglovin’ and Instagram, check back soon and comment below!