I am obsessed with books — as a writer, that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. And, as much as I love to curl up with a good piece of fiction, I always make a beeline for the beauty genre in every and any bookshop I set foot in. Over the years, I’ve collected a library of beauty books that have served as staples in my own routine (and my career as a beauty writer). But here’s the thing: I’m not just in it for the beauty; I’m in it for the self-care.
For too long, we have focused on our exteriors without paying much attention to — or, at least, not considering the connection to — our interiors. Skin and hair aren’t really about an end result; it’s about taking the time to care for ourselves and, as a result, feeling more connected to our inner glow. I love a good beauty tip as much as the next gal, but it’s the dash of self-care that takes that tip to new heights (and habits).
Whether you’re looking to refresh your relationship with your regimen or want to spend a little more time caring for yourself, beauty books are a great way to do so. From new releases to oldies-but-goodies, here are my top picks for beauty books to read this year and keep on your shelf to reference for years to come.
Black Skin by Dija Ayodele
It’s a book about identity and takes a deeper look at the beauty industry and its historical relationship with Black women. This guide for Black women offers expert insight on some of the most-asked beauty questions and concerns — including hyperpigmentation and sun care — while addressing some of the myths about darker skin tones. The book dives deeper into the realities of an industry that has predominantly ignored Black women and how that has shaped how Black women express themselves through beauty.
“Healthy skin is happy skin, and I know that both these two things together mean increased self-esteem and confidence,” Ayodele writes in the introduction. Self-care is all about taking better care of ourselves — or even just taking the time to care for ourselves — to live happier, healthier, and more confident lives. This book is an embodiment of that experience.
The Book of Lymph by Lisa Levitt Gainsley
From jade rollers and gua sha to massages and face yoga, the beauty industry is obsessed with trying everything and anything to lift and depuff our complexions. While these methods can work, the body’s lymphatic system plays a key role in flushing away the bloat and under-eye bags. In The Book of Lymph: Self-Care Practices to Enhance Immunity, Health, and Beauty, author and lymphatic drainage practitioner Lisa Levitt Gainsley shares a must-have field guide to the world of lymphatic drainage and how to learn and practice these rituals yourself. Self-lymphatic drainage massage is not just about de-puffing the skin — it’s about mindful movements that can target certain areas of concern, including bloating, digestive issues, headaches, acne, inflammation, and even feelings of anxiety.
Skincare: The New Edit
If you’re looking for a skincare book that covers it all, this is it. Caroline Hirons’ new book, Skincare: The New Edit takes the reader from how to build a routine to ingredients to skin types and everything in-between. With so much information on what to do and what not to do, what to use and what not to use — and the list goes on — this book offers a straightforward, no-nonsense approach to caring for the skin from one of the industry’s top experts and aestheticians.
Let's Face It by Rio Viera-Newton
We all have that one friend who has all the beauty tricks and tips, plus the product recommendations to match. And New York Magazine’s Rio Viera-Newton is that friend to all of us. In Let’s Face It: Secrets of a Skincare Obsessive, Viera-Newton gets real with some of the best beauty advice you could ever want and need. In the book, the devoted beauty columnist and skincare enthusiast shares what Viera-Newton considers the “five pillars of skincare,” how to target and treat specific issues for your skin type, how to ensure your beauty routine is as effective as possible, and so much more.
Skincare for Your Soul by Jude Chao
Korean skincare is all about that glowy, skin-first approach. In Skincare for Your Soul: Achieving Outer Beauty and Inner Peace with Korean Skincare, author Jude Chao gives us the inside scoop on the multi-step approach to K-beauty, focusing not just on the physical results of Korean skincare but on how K-beauty can become a pillar for managing mental well-being through a little R&R. This guidebook is not about forcing fast results, it’s about steady improvements and taking a skincare journey and learning about how skincare is more than beauty — it’s self-care.
Skincare Decoded: The Practical Guide to Beautiful Skin
Skincare can be stressful, which is the opposite of self-care. Whether it’s the latest and greatest trends or conflicting advice, there is a lot to take in and decode in the name of healthy-looking skin. In this book, authors Victoria Fu and Gloria Lu — as the title suggests — decode the world of skincare with a focus on the fundamental skincare steps, take a closer look at various tried-and-true ingredients such as vitamin C, retinol, and alpha hydroxy acids, and give empowering guidelines on how to create the best skincare routine based on personal requirements.
Face Fitness: Simple Exercises and Rituals for Toned, Glowing Skin
With its ability to lift, tone, and de-puff, face fitness is an excellent and natural way to promote healthier and more youthful-looking skin, sans the Botox. In Face Fitness: Simple Exercises and Rituals for Toned, Glowing Skin, author Patricia San Pedro takes a holistic — and very on-trend — approach to skincare. From various exercises and stretches to affirmations and mantras, this title is about finding your inner radiance through the celebrity-favorite regimen of facial fitness.
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