Friday, October 16, 2009

Beauty Literotica: Fine Beauty by Sam Fine

Hi everyone,

My local library has an interesting mix of books in makeup and beauty. I was happy to find some very great books such as “Face Forward” by Kevyn Aucoin and “Bobbi Brown Beauty Bible” by Bobbi Brown. Among them, I found Sam Fine’s book published in 1998 titled “Fine beauty: beauty basics and beyond for African-American women”. As I have been a fan of his blog, I was more than delighted to read this book. And let me tell you, it’s a fine book!

Image courtesy Clutch Magazine

Sam Fine

This book is beautifully illustrated with a mix of black and white as well as color photos. It is divided into three main parts: makeup 101, makeovers, video and editorial portfolio. In makeup 101, Mr. Fine covered basic topics from foundation, brushes, to makeup application. It is written in a simple and easy to understand manner, which is suitable for beginners. In makeovers, he transformed ordinary women (and one man), including his mother, into sensational beauties. The genius of his makeup is to make the beauty routine functional, based on their lifestyles and jobs.

How to get a good foundation match

And here are some side-way pictures, courtesy of Picasa:

How to do your eyebrows

Beautiful lips
How does he do that?

And juicy lips, as well :)
(This I know how to do)

Fashion Forward makeover

This is a makeover he did on his mom
The before and after pictures are 180 degrees different!

However, his talent does not simply stop at makeovers. The last part of “Fine Beauty” can be recognized as a part of his portfolio where he showcases his body of work in video and magazine-style editorials. Mr. Fine probably has worked with all major African-American divas and models, including Tyra Banks, Patti LaBelle, Vanessa Williams, Iman, Veronica Webb, and Naomi Campbell. I bet a lot of makeup artists out there would drool over this portfolio: it is really gorgeous!

Tyra Banks for Pepsi commercial

Vanessa Williams in "Colors of the Wind" music video

Notice the writings on the left side of the picture: it's his actual handwriting! I thought it was some computer font but Sam Fine has good calligraphy.

Ms. Patti LaBelle

...and Ms. Naomi Campbell

While having all the wonderful accomplishments in his career as a makeup artist, Mr. Fine remains humble and credited his success to having “fine friends”. The last part of his book is about his life story of how he became Sam Fine, the makeup artist extraordinaire. Whoever said, “If you want to know me, look at my friends” must be right. Mr. Fine has associated himself with the best in the industry, including Lloyd Boston, Matthew Jordan Smith, and Mikki Taylor.

To me, this book is part information, part inspiration - leaning more toward the second part. If you look for basic makeup tips, it probably does not offer enough coverage for you. However, this book serves wonderfully as a supplement reading material. While I am not African-American, I find ‘Fine Beauty” to be refreshing and informative. Now, I can answer more questions that my friends have, even I do not look like them.

Currently, "Fine Beauty" is out of print and if you are lucky, you may find it at your local library. For those who don't, you can view a part of his work at his blog, aptly named "Fine Blog" :)

That's all for today, ladies. I hope you'll have a good fine weekend!


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  1. I checked my library once out of curiosity on makeup and they had very interesting selection of books. :)

    Thank you for the suggestion on the mascara! :)

  2. Hi Alyssa,

    You should take advantage of your local library. Because of it, I am able to do this section. Please let me know if the trick works for you :)

  3. I fell in love with Sam Fine back in the 90s, before doing flawless makeup seemed possible for the average person. I recently saw this book for $2 at a dollar store. I think I need to go get it. It's an oldie, but timeless.

  4. You are so lucky! I wish my dollar store has it for $2. Please get it!


Dear Dao...


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