Inspiration can be found everywhere! At Chic Studios, we have a various array of books in our classroom library. During our LA makeup school Professional course, we focus heavily on finding inspiration and bringing photos from editorials and magazines. We encourage our students go through them every week to find looks that they’d like to recreate in rotations. Here are our top favorite beauty books found in our LA makeup school library. These titles are from leading makeup artists who are world renowned and have made a name for themselves in the industry. We’re glad to have their work available in our classroom!

Making Faces by Kevyn Aucoin

makeup school la kevyn aucoin

For more than a decade, Kevyn Aucoin has been the makeup artist of choice for fashion and entertainment royalty. As a legend in the makeup industry, he has painted and sculpted the faces of magazine cover models and celebrities including Cher, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Janet Jackson. In Making Faces, Aucoin believes that makeup gives everyone the power to transform themselves and try out new personas. Published in 1997, this book is a timeless classic for anyone who wants to know Aucoin’s unique, innovative tips and tricks on makeup application. He believes that there’s beauty in fashion, trends are wavering, but true beauty defies the test of time. Aucoin not only explains the basics of makeup application and technique but also explains and shares his secrets on how use these usual fundamentals to create a wide range of different looks. In Making Faces, he teaches the tricks for enhancing, defining, and altering facial features with makeup through step by step demonstration. It’s an excellent book for those who are fairly well versed in cosmetics as a reminder to focus on the basics rather than mimic trends that come and go. Despite the age of the book, it’s still a go-to for many artists! There are also personal notes and stories added by Aucoin himself. We’re so glad to know that he dedicated his life to bringing out the beauty he saw in each and every woman, and his legend lives on today.

Face Paint by Lisa Eldridge

makeup school la lisa eldridge

If you love makeup and are interested in how we have used it throughout the years to define and create, then this is the book for you. It’s not your ordinary step-by-step guidebook instead, it’s more of a history lesson. Lisa Eldridge is a widely renowned makeup artist who has created a huge following through her Youtube channel, which has a 1.7 million subscribers. If you want to learn more about her social media presence and her tutorials, we’ve talked about her before as one of Chic Studios’ 5 Must Follow Influencers. Face Paint is a gorgeous visual history book that showcases how makeup was created in the ancient times and how over the years, people have been obsessed with making it to enhance or empower their outer appearance. Makeup has been used for years to hide or tone down features that we don’t like. However, Eldridge emphasizes that makeup should also allow us to tap into our creativity and playfulness. In this book, she captures that spirit of fun throughout, making it memorable for readers. One can sit down and read this book like a novel while learning the history of such an interesting art form. We focus on a lot of the history she narrates in our Basic Makeup 101 course which takes place the first week of the Professional Makeup program. From the ancient Egyptians using kohl liner to the Renaissance era, we dissect the thorough history of how makeup came to be! It’s great to pair this book with our lessons so students can get a visual part of it.

François Nars by François Nars

makeup school la francois nars

François Nars, an influential French makeup artist and founder of the luxe makeup brand NARS Cosmetics, has continually created new standards of beauty through his bold artistry and unique aesthetic vision for over thirty years. His empire has evolved from the 12 lipsticks he created in 1994 in an office “the size of a bathroom” to selling one of the most sought after blush products and concealers in the makeup industry. In 2016, he released his story, François Nars, with over 500 photographs celebrating his vision, inspirations, and creative process along with snippets of memorable moments in his career. Curated by Nars himself (he is an accomplished photographer), this book is the ultimate muse for makeup artists and fans of the brand! This luxurious volume provides unique access into the imaginative life of Nars through intimate reflections by his close friends and collaborators, such as Naomi Campbell, Steven Klein, Marc Jacobs, and Tilda Swinton; his photography projects; and striking advertising campaigns for NARS Cosmetics personally shot by him. From the palette to the product name to the campaign image itself, Nars continues to reinvent the definition of modern beauty through a revolutionary approach to makeup. We alway turn to this book when we’re in need of inspiration for high fashion looks.

Miles of MAC by James Gager

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Miles of MAC presents one hundred looks spanning over 30 years that have made MAC Cosmetics a pioneer in the professional beauty industry. There is almost no text in this oversized, 250-page hardcover, but the photos speak volumes! Since the brand’s founding in 1984 by Canadians Frank Toskan and Frank Angelo, MAC Cosmetics has revolutionized the role of makeup and become a leader of avant-garde and edgy looks both on and off the runway. Their motto—all ages, all races, all sexes—and unique advertising campaigns featuring RuPaul, Catherine Deneuve, Lady Gaga, and even Hello Kitty have helped to inspire experimentation and fearlessness with makeup in the modern woman (and man, too). James Gager, the author, MAC’s Senior VP and Group Creative Director, isn’t interested in showing ready to wear, traditional bridal looks. He’s more interested in storytelling and we definitely suggest this book for anyone wanting to push the boundaries with their makeup artistry. With striking images of some of the best and most inspiring MAC looks to date, this stunning book celebrates the brand and gives readers the opportunity to delve into the colorful and surreal world that makes MAC one of the most highly sought-after cosmetics brands in the world. While the makeup looks in this book may be too bold for you to copy completely, they just may inspire you to be a little bit more fearless when you’re getting ready for your next night out!

Makeup the Ultimate Guide by Rae Morris

makeup school la rae morris

Rae Morris is Australia’s top makeup artist, having won the prestigious Australian Makeup Artist of the Year award four times over. She is not only the author of Makeup the Ultimate Guide, but is the makeup director for Australian Fashion Week, a twice yearly fashion industry event showcasing the latest seasonal collections from Australia and Asia Pacific designers. If you’re looking for a more informational and step-by-step how to makeup book, then we suggest this gem! Makeup the Ultimate Guide is a glamorous book that outlines how to apply makeup in a high fashion way. It’s the perfect read that will inspire any makeup enthusiast to create and execute looks that you never thought you could! Not only does this book touch on high fashion looks, but it explores the essential tools needed, how to find the right beauty products at the right price, what eyeshadow color works best for individual eyes, and how to achieve perfect eyebrows and use fake eyelashes. Because there are so many step-by-step photos, even beginners in makeup can execute a complicated looking smokey eye with practice! This is a great book for someone who is really interested in pursuing a career in makeup, or for someone who simply wants to get better at it and learn how to do looks that are more unique than the average natural makeup look. We recommend this book as a great way to break out of your comfort zone and create a high fashion but wearable look!