While every age has its insecurities, girls in their teen years are particularly prone to appearance angst.
Inexperience with this matter, one that suddenly seems so vital, just adds to the problem. But fortunately for teens these days, a number of good reference books on teen beauty exist.
The latest is Teen Beauty Secrets (Sourcebooks, Inc., $14.95), by former model Diane Irons. The book, which has no photos or how-to illustrations, reads like a compilation of advice from your favorite fashion-forward, seen-it-all aunt.
Irons covers all the expected topics, including beauty basics, hair care, picking clothes that work for your body type and style, hand and foot care, overall health, tricks and tips from celebrities and models, international beauty secrets, budget beauty, caring for clothes and cosmetics, special occasion dressing, and even guides to cosmetic surgery and staying healthy in college.
The tips tend to be excellent. Parents may find some simplistic, but someone growing into adulthood probably has not encountered them yet. A few favorites:
Irons does best when she sticks to what she knows: tips. She gets into trouble nearly every time she gives a calorie count. In the chapter “A Healthy Weight,” she includes a page of a few calorie counts of fast-food restaurants. When we checked her numbers against the restaurants' own data, we found only one (KFC's Mean Greens) that matched.
While most differences weren't more than 20 calories, one (Wendy's sour cream and chive baked potato) was off by nearly 300. Given that a day's worth of calories on a reducing diet should fall between 1,500 and 2,000, that's unacceptable. We urge teens to go directly to the sources for nutritional information, and skip this page entirely. Most of the restaurants cited have their own Web sites. A couple of good round-up sites are www.calorie-counters.net and www.3fatchicks.com.
Aside from that flaw, Teen Beauty Secrets reads well - a thoughtful gift for the teenage girl in your life.
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