By now you all probably know that I am an avid reader and book lover, but I must confess I usually go for escapist fiction rather than non-fiction books these days. I blame my Ph.D. on this reluctance to read non-fiction, since those three years of academic torture forced me to read too many exhaustingly boring books on topics I only marginally cared about.
Now, when it comes to beauty, however, I happily dive into the nerdiest of content. Since I “only” have a humanities degree, I can’t pretend that I will ever be able to fully understand the scientific side of skincare. So, I’m always happy when other, smarter people than me create books that communicate scientific facts in accessible language that even science noobs like me can understand.
Lately, a number of beauty bloggers, skinfluencers, and science educators have brought out books primarily focused on basic, easy-to-follow skincare advice mixed with scientific facts. Some of them also share their own personal journey with skincare and what a well thought-out routine has done for their health beyond merely clearing up their skin. These are the sort of books I could have used when I tried to figure out how to even get started when it comes to building a proper skincare routine. But even now, as someone who feels pretty knowledgeable about beauty products after six years of writing about them, I feel I can learn so much from these authors and their expertise!
These are the sort of books I could have used when I started building a proper skincare routine. But even now, I feel I can learn so much from these authors and their expertise.
So, if you are still a bit lost as to what product goes where in a routine, or you just want to nerd out over skincare wisdom and learn important facts about skin health, then these five skincare books will be a great addition to your library.
Skincare: The Ultimate No-Nonsense Guide by Caroline Hirons
UK-based beauty blogger Caroline Hirons is one of the most influential women in the European beauty industry, with decades of experience as a brand consultant as well as an aesthetician. She was one of the first truly successful beauty bloggers and an influencer in the truest sense, with products that appear on her blog usually selling out at British drugstore chain Boots the next day. She was also one of the first (Western!) influencers to insist on the by-now pretty much standard double cleansing routine at night, and many smaller brands rose to fame thanks to her enthusiastic endorsement.
With Skincare: The Ultimate No-Nonsense Guide you basically get handed a straightforward, fuss-free introduction to caring for your skin. Hirons is like that auntie you always ask for advice because she just seems to have an answer to every problem out there. She won’t sugarcoat reality for you but will be so very helpful with her practical and to-the-point advice! I would say this is a fantastic book for “late bloomers” when it comes to skincare, for people who are starting to get serious about their routine and feel a bit lost where to turn to amongst all those 20-something skinfluencers.
The Skincare Bible: Your No-Nonsense Guide to Great Skin by Dr. Anjali Mahto
Dr. Anjali Mahto is a UK-based dermatologist with years of experience and, incidentally (or rather, probably not so incidentally), absolutely amazing skin! I’ve followed her on Instagram for a while and love how generously she shares her vast medical knowledge on all things skincare, debunking problematic myths on the regular. Her Skincare Bible goes deeper than most of the other books introduced in this article, with a strong emphasis on anti-aging and very enlightening explanations of how the skin aging process actually works.
Not only do you get a crash course in understanding the structure of your skin from this book, Dr. Mahto also gives an overview of common skin problems and illnesses such as rosacea, pigmentation issues, and acne. I also appreciated her breakdown of how hormones can affect our skin, something that those of us with a uterus know all too well! I would say this is a great book especially for those who prefer to get their information from a dermatologist, and who want to know more about the scientific background regarding skin and how to care for it.
Fresh Face: Simple Routines for Beautiful Glowing Skin, Every Day by Mandi Nyambi
Mandi Nyambi is an Ivy League-educated entrepreneur and skincare educator, who founded the membership-based skincare community Baalm when struggling to connect with others who shared her passion for beauty products. Her beauty guide Fresh Face is a great choice for anyone who is completely new to skincare and quickly overwhelmed by having too much information and too many product recommendations thrown at them. If you are more advanced in your skincare journey, the majority of the information could potentially be too basic for you, as—similar to Hirons’ guide—this is more of a beginner’s book.
I liked Fresh Face precisely because it has such a simple and clean structure. Teens and people in their 20s will love the clearly laid out factoids and descriptions, and I found Nyambi’s relatable and approachable writing voice so enjoyable. The best thing about this book? It features 30 example routines to follow for a variety of different skin types, life situations, and skin concerns.
Skincare for Your Soul: Achieving Outer Beauty and Inner Peace with Korean Skincare by Jude Chao
How could I not mention this newly released skincare guide written by our very own Jude Chao, aka Fiddy Snails—beauty writer, K-beauty expert, and snail mucin enthusiast extraordinaire. If Korean and the wider Asian skincare world is your jam, then this is a must-have addition to your bookshelf! And Jude’s approach to discussing skincare is so unique: She connects having a good skincare routine to doing something good for your mental health as well, which is a sentiment that is very dear to my heart. So, if you (like I!) don’t just have a matter-of-fact kind of relationship with skincare but also an emotional bond with the rituals connected to taking care of your skin—to the idea of skincare as self-care—this book is the one for you.
Basing her skincare advice on the Maslow hierarchy of needs, Jude forms her own “skincare hierarchy of needs”—from the essential (sunscreen!) to the additional, from your daily skincare “sustenance” to the more weekly or even just monthly “refinement.” If you have read her articles here or anywhere else on the net, you will already know what a wonderful writer Jude is, and this book is just the perfect mixture of straightforward skincare expertise and caring advice. If Caroline Hirons is your slightly blunt but always well-meaning auntie, Jude is that kind best friend who takes pains to find the gentlest of words to give you advice and just make you feel understood.
Skincare Decoded by Victoria Fu and Gloria Lu
Out of all the books listed in this article, skincare nerds and science lovers will probably gravitate the most to Skincare Decoded. Written by two skincare chemists who worked for the L’Oréal Group for years, the book was born from the success of their Chemist Confessions Instagram account, where they shared common misconceptions and marketing deceptions in the beauty industry. Tired of being restricted in their creativity as skincare formulators by narrow-minded marketing directives, the two wanted the freedom to share and create on their own terms, leading to the Chemist Confessions skincare brand. So, to say these two know their skincare is kind of an understatement!
In Skincare Decoded, you get an accessible crash course on what our skin really needs, how to build your own routine, and what ingredients to look for depending on your skin concerns. This is the book for anyone interested in the science and the process of skincare formulation, and those who want to acquire a basic ingredient knowledge, plus get some great skincare routine advice!