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Published: Thursday, 8/9/2001

Book offers practical beauty tips


If you hate spending hours on your hair and makeup, but you still want to look polished, a book set to debut next month may be just what the beautician ordered.

The Beauty Workbook: A Commonsense Approach to Skin Care, Makeup, Hair, and Nails by Cynthia Robins (Chronicle Books, $24.95) contains 176 pages of practical tips, quizzes and checklists, tales from the makeup counter (including one about the high priestess of pancake, Tammy Faye Bakker), and information about caring for your health, and thus, your looks.

Ms. Robins, who grew up in Columbus, is the San Francisco Chronicle's beauty editor. Her chapter topics include the beauty basics: skin, sun, makeup, hair, and nails. Within each chapter, she addresses the topic's background, the elements of care, common problems, and when pertinent, how aging might affect it.

The Beauty Workbook is written with a nice mixture of authority and warmth. The Beauty Workbook is written with a nice mixture of authority and warmth.
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As Ms. Robins states in the introduction, the book stresses the basis of good makeup technique and beauty. It “is not designed to give you 15 ways to do your eyes,” she writes. Indeed, magazines at the supermarket checkout line should offer plenty about application, tricks, and trends.

I particularly liked the quiz/ checklist sections. The chapter on makeup includes “Are You Makeup Phobic?” “Are You a Diva In Training?” “Are You Trapped in a Cosmetic Time Warp?” and “Are You a Makeup Addict?” A section on cosmetic colors helps readers analyze their reactions to different shades of makeup - unexpected and rather fun.

Ms. Robins writes with a nice mixture of authority and warmth, including a few anecdotes to give her prose a personal touch. The result is a book that's easy and pleasant to read, and a good addition to the beauty bookshelf.

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