An 1980s guide to makeup

buyer's guide to cosmetics

The Buyer’s Guide to Cosmetics
Boughton and Hughes

I am going to guess that a buyer’s guide of anything from 1981 is going to be worthless for a modern public library collection. Buyer’s guides are only good for a few years. Products change, companies that make products change, and of course prices change. This book should have been weeded by 1990. As of this writing, this book was still in circulation. I know it is a reference book, but it is dull and not laid out in an interesting way. You can hear it yawn when you open the book.

This particular edition was also falling apart and should be weeded on condition alone. Buying guides, for any product, often don’t catch our attention. I think buying guides are easily overlooked. Some of these books also get ignored under the “I won’t have any books on cosmetics if I weed this” mentality. One of the ways around this is going through the collection systematically on a rotation that never ends. Everyone knows to keep an eye on the more obvious areas to weed: medical, legal, computers, etc. Systematically, going deep into a section for a significant amount of time and really looking at a particular subject as a whole can catch items like this book.

I think of weeding is like painting the Mackinac Bridge. It takes 7 years and then they start all over again. It is a constant activity and really never ends. You just start all over again.


back cover

highlighters and glitter



  1. The Golden Gate Bridge has only been completely painted twice ever, once to get rid of the lead paint. Touch-ups occur continuously, of course, since the salt sea air is hell on the steel and it has so many fiddly bits. I had a FOAF who was one of the ironworkers, and besides clambering around way up high and smacking giant bolts in, those guys also were the official suicide watch, talking lots of people out of it.

    The Bridge is still used by lots of people every day, unlike this book, the products in it, and the philosophy of makeup at the time.

    1. I once read an article in O magazine where someone actually suffered breakout from using too many skincare products!

      I thought, “Well, duh, lady! If I put ten different kinds of junk on my face, I’d have skin problems too!”

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