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Rae Morris, Makeup the Ultimate Guide; Beauty Poetry in Motion

One of both mine and Lucy’s greatest loves are books; of the beauty kind specifically. I love a YouTube vid and find the editorial styles in monthly mags an absolute joy, but nothing beats the massive investment made in creating a book all about make-up. The gorgeous, heavily styled images, detailed tutorials and page upon page of inspiration make spending time reading and re-reading my (frighteningly large) collection of make-up guides right up there on my list of guilty pleasures.

Right at the very top of that list is Makeup, The Ultimate Guide by Rae Morris. I am sure many of you know who I am talking about but for those unsure, Rae is an Australian born make-up artist and a bit of a beauty legend. Trained by Richard Sharah , she shot to fame after making up Naomi Campbell, notorious for *allegedly* slapping the brushes from artists hands if they aren’t doing it the way she likes and a lady with extremely high expectations of the people allowed to touch her hallowed features. Her usual artist stormed from the building and Rae stepped in with her trusty gloss, only to be caught by a million paps. Et voila, the legend was born.

Editorial glory followed, with a series of books and a brush line not far behind.   Makeup is, in my opinion, the pinnacle of the books. Published in 2008 by Apple Press, the emphasis is on slick, glamorous images, eyes laden with more Mica than an Oscar’s red carpet, and quick tips that transform how you apply your makeup totally, without taking masses of time to learn. It is a swoon-worthy masterpiece of how high glamour and simple effectiveness can marry to make aspiration achievable.

One of the things I love the most about both the book and Rae as an artist, is that she was one of the very first to refuse to shy from older women, making them look sensational without hiding wrinkles or sticking to the ‘safer’ beauty so expected. Offering a mountain of advice not to anti-age or pretend, just to look seriously damned sexy in cleverly executed versions of mainstream ‘younger’ work, this is a book that should be handed to all women considering surgery as a genuinly viable reason why not being 21 does not equate to not being one very hot mamma.

It goes without saying then that my favourite section by far, despite being thirty two myself, is the over-forties bit. Page after page replete with smoky eyes where glamorous women look like really bloody gorgeous versions of themselves; it is the only book to EVER make me look forward to being older and still enjoying make-up. She explains clearly and easily how to achieve the looks, how to handle your make-up as skin gets thinner and harder to handle and manages to sound encouraging with an absolute absence of the patronising tone so many of these tutorials seem to take.

The best is definitely Sarah (page 152) – her advice on using black and gold eye-shadow works at any age and the lady herself ends up looking simply beautiful. Not beautiful for her age. Just beautiful, something all of us aspire to.

Other sections of note include essentials, eyebrows, contouring which thanks to Kim K is simply MASSIVE right now (word from us on that soon) bronzing and highlighting and ten minute makeovers, followed by a gallery of Rae’s work which will make anyone who ever picked up a brush, regardless of how good, sigh with envy.


An absolute must-have, not just for artists and beauty lovers, but for women unconfident with a brush and not up for spending hours hitting pause between tutorials. This book doesn’t just inspire confidence in your beauty ability; it inspires confidence in your beauty. Something I think you’ll agree we all need.

BUY THIS AND OTHER RAE MORRIS BOOKS HERE (note on Rae’s site is the ability to read a few pages of the book via Isuu – if you aren’t sure, take a look – it won’t take long to change your mind).

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