Review: Jemma Kid Masterclass

Back in 2012 I originally reviewed all the various makeup books, portfolios and manuals that I own, but I felt that I could do a better job, so I am starting again from the beginning! I have accumulated a few more since them and I thought it might be nice to give a clear and honest (updated) review of each of the books I own. Often when I look at books the reviews I find are not clear enough or I cannot look inside them online. Living in a country where English is not the first language, most of my book, journal and magazine purchases are online.

These images were captured on a smart phone camera and have not been altered in any way. Even from a photograph of photograph it is easy to see the quality of the images contained within the book.

Front and Back Cover for Jemma Kidd Makeup MASTERCLASS

The review in this series is the Jemma Kidd Make-up Masterclass: Beauty Bible of Professional Techniques and Wearable Looks I actually received this as a present from my wonderful other half who had been sneaking on my Amazon wish list. I would like to begin the review with a quote taken from the book.

This book is a culmination of all that I’ve learnt during my career as a make-up artist, in particular since founding the Jemma Kidd Make Up School in 2003. It’s essentially a distillation of the school’s philosophy and the basis of what we teach, which has evolved over the years with David Horne, the Education Director, and learning from the women I teach.

When I first learned how to do Make-up professionally, I really felt the power of it – how it makes you feel and gives you confidence. When I was travelling around the world as a freelance makeup artist, women would often say, ‘I’d love to learn how to put on make-up properly – my mother taught me and I have been wearing it the same way ever since.’

I took this extract from the Foreward of the book. I would love to include the whole letter from Jemma but then it would spoil it for everyone. I can relate to this as a makeup artist and as makeup noob. When I was 12, I got my first items of makeup, a free eyeshadow and lipstick from Shout Magazine. I had no idea how to use them and looked very much like a clown. My Grandmother showed me how to apply lipstick and for many years I followed her instructions, suffering from bleeding colour, smudged lines and the ring of worn of lipstick. As a result I gave up with lipstick. I would also copy how my Mum applied her makeup but as she has a great complexion I never really learned how to treat my pubertiy ridden skin.

Although she [Jemma Kidd] is most likely speaking the truth, it is a very clever tactic to make the reader identify with her work and she does so (for me) very effectively.

Inside sleeve, inside cover image and snapshot of the layout style for ‘Tips’ pages.

I have a problem with the order of information in this book. I don’t feel that information contained in it comes in a sensible order. In my opinion basic tools and hygiene should come before the explanations of different types of makeup or maybe it is just my preference?

The information within the book I feel is OK. As with all makeup artists, techniques and advice given is very much the personal opinion of the rtist in question. However she [Jemma Kidd] does provide some great information skin tone, colour matching, eye colour and skin care. There is also a reasonably decent section on tools and looking after your makeup but this comes well into the book on page 59. Basic makeup and tool hygiene I think should be one of the first subjects to cover. A break down of different types of brushes and tools would probably be more effective within the first few pages of the book. The tool break down is not very indeapth and really only talks about the most basic of tools.

It may seem extravagant to kit yourself out with an array of brushes and other gadgets, but it will be a good investment in the long run, s they will ensure you are always able to get the most out of your products.

This quote was taken from the ‘Essential Tool Kit’ section of the book (page 60) and while I whole heartedly agree with the statement, I felt that the tools and gadgets named were the most basic of basic. In other manuals I have found much more comprehensive brush guides, especially when it comes to the difference between natural hairs and synthetic hairs, which this book skimmed over so fast I almost missed it.

Brush care was also dissapointing for me with only small paragraph devoted to keeping your brushes clean. Skipping forward to page 66 you get advice on makeup hygiene. Again this is barely one page of bullet pointed basics with no real explanation of WHY you should keep makeup clean. There is a small break down of expiry dates and when you should be replacing product. The possibility of side effects, skin conditions, infections and contraindications are simply not mentioned in the book at all which I find really dissapointing. The only advice given is to not share mascara or other eye products butthe lack of explanation as to WHY again frustrates me.

I can see that this book is aimed at women who want to learn HOW to apply makeup to THEMSELVES but to completly skim over so many health risks associated with makeup I find to be irresponsible.

Example of artistic images, colour chart information and foundation tutorial page.

The images in the book are of great quality but I do have a small problem with them. The arty pictures are obviously heavily edited, which is ok but so are the tutorial pictures. I know that no one really wants book of ‘true’ before and after shots but one or two would be a nice and helpful addition. The tutorials themselves are also a little lacking. For example; Foundation Application Tutorial is basically a wall of text with three full pictures of fully applied makeup which appear to have been heavily edited. For the more advanced readers this is adequate but I think that as the book is aimed at the complete beginner this is huge fault with the book. The reason Vlogging has taken of the way it has is because people can see the transformation, see the techniques and hear the information. I know it is unfair to compare a book tutorial to a video tutorial but there are other makeup manuals on the market that provide the step by step photography to help with the text. This part of the book really disappointed me.

The ‘Get the Look’ section of this book is almost half of the book itself. While yes this is probably why most would purchase a book like this, the actual ‘tutorials’ look more like pages from a magazine. There are arty splashes of foundation, mascara, powder and lip product across the pages like you would find in a glossy magazine and while this is visually appealling, it really doesn’t make up for the lack of information. For me a makeup manual that professes to teach how to apply makeup needs to provide more than this for a get the look tutorial:

Satin-touch lipgloss in soft shell-pink enhances the lips’ naturl colour and makes them look full and lightly glossy.

I know that there is a tutorial in the book for how to apply lip product but it only covers a full liner and lipstick application. i felt that the application methods other types of lip products are skimmed over.

An example of the ‘Get the Look Section’

The more I looked critically at this book the more unhappy I became with it. I started out so optimistically and previously when I have used the book for inspiration I have never had any problems with it. However this is not a book I ‘read’ very often, I usually use it for the imagery not for the information. Looking at it from a critical point of view has revealed many faults and far too much missing information. Of course this is only MY OPINION and I would hate to think that my words have stopped someone from enjoying this book. It is worth a read but if I could I would borrow it before paying for it.


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