I remember getting my first beauty book when I was about 12. It was a huge and very 90’s manual of how-tos which, while somewhat outdated today, did teach me some important basics of color matching, hair care, skin care and makeup application.
The book didn’t dwell on larger questions about cosmetics or their implications — why do we need them, and why in particular are women singled out? — instead, it assumed you had bought it for functional advice. So rather than a history lesson, it served up a no-nonsense guide with huge glossy photos showing you each step of the process. Whether it was how to do a blow-out, line your lips, shave your legs or achieve a day look for your skin tone and hair color, my first introduction into the world of makeup explained everything in helpful detail. I loved it, even as it got covered in smears and stains from ill-fated attempts at liquid liner or mousse application.