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Beauty: The New Basics

Beauty: The New Basics - Rona Berg, Anja Kroencke, Deborah Jaffe Like wishing to be more creative, I suspect that wishing to be more beautiful is pretty common. Personally, I’m not unhappy with how I look; it’s more that I wish I knew more ways to do my hair than a pony tail, could put together outfits that look like I just stepped out of a catalog, and had some idea where to start with eye makeup. Some people just seem to know these things naturally – my sister, for instance, seems to have it all figured out – while other people have a mother or friends who teach them the basics. Unfortunately, I’ve never had either the desire to spend time learning or a natural inclination for such things. And it’s still not something I want to spend a lot of time on. This book was the perfect solution.

What really made this book useful was the distinction between “essentials” and extras. The author often identified the minimal work she believed necessary to keep your body healthy and looking good. Since that’s exactly what I’d like to do, I found that incredibly helpful. Another high point was the help the author provided picking products to use. The sheer number of foundations, shampoos, or eye shadows can be pretty overwhelming. Fortunately, for most of the product types the author recommended using, she also had lists of the specific products she would recommend for different hair or skin types. This would have been more helpful if they were ranked by quality since the prices varied widely. However, since I’m not interested in spending a lot of money on beauty products, this was still a good way to find cheap but quality products. If you wanted to identify the best though, you’d just have to try them. The author also provided general advice for particular skin, hair, and eye colors which was a nice way of simplifying some of her more complicated advice.

Compared to the amount of relevant information content, this book was pretty long. In some cases, I felt the author dragged out saying things and she definitely included more fun facts than I really wanted. Mostly though, this book is just not meant to be read straight through. It wasn’t something I found particularly enjoyable reading and I even skimmed some of the less relevant bits. This isn’t much of a weakness though. Just remember that it’s a reference and a how-to guide, not a book to be read cover-to-cover!

This review first published at Doing Dewey.