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Central Booking — The Latest Beauty And Fashion Reads

Plenty of blogs and makeup artist sites, not to mention YouTube videos, dispense great advice on topics ranging from how to reduce redness to selecting the right foundation for your skin tone, pulling off a smoky eye, and how to properly apply blush. But every so often, a gal wants to put the digital realm on pause and keep a reference book handy, something she can pick up and browse through as needed.

Here, a look at some of the newest beauty tip compilations, fashion advice tomes, and eye shadow application guides.




In Style Ultimate Beauty Secrets: The Best Tips, Tricks, and Shortcuts to Create Your Perfect Look, $12.39 at Amazon.com.

In Style magazine’s editors came together and compiled some of the timeless beauty tips that published in their pages throughout the years, many of which come straight from the mouths of top makeup artists, hair stylists, dermatologists, and Hollywood starlets. Some of the tips are so amateurish that they presume an almost non-existent acquaintance with skincare and makeup application (for example, they suggest curling lashes before applying mascara, lining eyes and smudging for a quick smokey eye, and using a fragrance-free cleanser and an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-packed serum if you have sensitive skin), but there are also some gems in InStyle Ultimate Beauty Secrets . One of my favorite revelations: the editors suggest slathering on sunscreen before hopping on your next airplane flight and picking an aisle seat over a window seat since UV rays increase with altitude (which makes perfect sense, but wouldn’t necessarily cross your mind).

The Foundation & Concealer chapter ranks among the strongest — most women have a hard time determining the right concealer shade to mask under-eye circles (they tend to pick a concealer that’s way too light) and to hide age spots or acne scars (the book suggests yellow-tinted concealers for red blotches and acne marks and products with peach or salmon undertones for age spots). The Lips and Cheeks chapters, meanwhile, figure among the dullest since much of the advice therein will come as second nature to makeup amateurs and cosmetic gurus alike (i.e. applying blush to the apples of cheeks will give you a flushed look).

Another disappointment: each tip is limited to no more than three sentences (so forget about a step-by-step account of how to create a dramatic eye look, for example) and no specific brands or product names are ever cited. Since the tips are so broad, then, I’d mainly recommend this title for women who are just beginning to develop a strong interest in makeup and want to ease their way into the realm. In other words, it’s a great starting point.




Nina Garcia’s Look Book: What to Wear for Every Occasion, $16.31 at Amazon.com

Although I am completely furious with Nina Garcia over her baffling decision to choose Gretchen over Mondo as the winner of Project Runway, I do have to commend her latest book, Nina Garcia’s Look Book: What to Wear for Every Occasion, for taking an original idea and executing it rather flawlessly. The concept is simple enough: Nina Garcia thought of the countless amount of times when her friends, family members, or co-workers had fretted about what to wear to an event (be it a date, wedding, job interview, or any other such affair) and decided to offer women everywhere some easy-to-follow tips on the proper dress code for different occasions.

The specificity of the events chosen are part of what makes the book such a success. Garcia goes beyond the obvious event picks (first date, cocktail party, and baby shower) and advises women on what to wear to their kid’s graduation, to meet a boyfriend’s friends, to a wine tasting, to a rock concert, to jury duty, to a bridal shower, and even to such off-the beaten-path events like meeting with a surrogate.

The tips she offers on how to dress during various work-related scenarios (when asking for a raise, when going on a business trip, etc.) are particularly useful. I love the chapter on “What to Wear on the Average Workday.” Nina anoints Tuesday the “average workday,” pointing out that it’s neither the beginning of the week, when you’re bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, or the end of the week, when you’re anticipating the weekend, and suggests spicing up your look through unexpected accessories like statement rings or cuff links, a men’s watch, or some textured tights. She also excels when offering tips on what to wear to more glamorous events (her suggestions for New Year’s Eve party attire are fabulous).

When tackling more casual fare (and events that appeal to a younger crowd), however, Nina’s age starts to show. Her tips on what to wear to a rock concert, for example, don’t quite hit the mark — she suggests leather pants and rock band tees, for one, which would make most women feel like they’re donning a costume. Low-slung belts and off-the-shoulder tees? Yes. Leather pants that are gonna make you sweat like crazy and look like a wannabe? Not so much.

One of my main gripes with this book is that Nina’s snobbery, and the cattiness of the magazine world from which she comes, tends to rise to the surface. For example: she advises women not to wear too expensive a handbag to a job interview, warning “never upstage the boss.” She rarely references specific brands but when she does so, they tend to be luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Jean-Michel Cazabat, and Louboutin, all of which tend to be out of reach for most working women.

Still, if you approach the book as a starting point and use your discretion to revise some of the chapters and bend some of the rules, you’ll find this to be a handy reference.




Style Eyes, $12.21 at Amazon.com

Makeup artist Taylor Chang-Babaian focuses on eye makeup in this incredibly handy book, which will teach readers how to pull off a myriad looks: from white eye shadow to dark and glossy lids, bright blue cream shadow, winged liner, violet shadow, and more. Aside from step-by-step instructions on how to pull off these looks, Style Eyes includes a guide to makeup brushes and details on what each accomplishes, tips on making brows look their best, and advice on working with your natural eye shape. My favorite chapter is called “Inspirations and Eye-Cons,” which is aimed at more advanced makeup mavens and includes tips on how to create more dramatic, editorial looks like the “New Romantic,” a three-color look involving warm yellow, rusty red, and black shadows arranged in prismatic shapes.


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