Friday, May 8, 2009

Beauty Literature: How not to Look Old by Charla Krupp

Happy Friday, everybody!

Ever since I started this blog, I always wanted to review beauty and makeup related books. Since I learn about makeup and skincare mostly from books and magazines, it makes sense for me to pass the knowledge to all of you. However, purchasing books take a chunk out of my pocket and after a while, makeup and beauty books started to sound the same to me. I was surprised to find one book at my local library called “How not to Look Old” by Charla Krupp. In the spirit of the upcoming Mother’s Day, I advise you not to buy this book as gift for your mom on Mother’s Day, birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day. Although this is an enlightening book (to me, at least), you do not want to anger the one who gave you life by giving her something called “How not to Look Old”, do you?

How not to Look Old by Charla Krupp
Image courtesy of Charla Krupp's website

Charla Krupp, the author of “How not to Look Old”, is a former beauty editor at Glamour, senior editor at InStyle, and beauty editor at People: Style Watch. She has done more than a hundred style segments on the Today show on NBC and appeared in various other TV shows including Oprah. Currently, she has a fashion column at More magazine. The book was written in an intimate way of “just between us” when the author shared her fashion and beauty secrets that every fashionista should master.

The book is broken into 19 chapters: the first chapter contains a quiz to determine if you are a high, medium, or low maintenance diva, the subsequent 17 chapters give advice on a specific point of improvement, and the last chapter is about putting all the advice together. The chapters are written in a format of a magazine article that is friendly to the readers. In each chapter, the author included pictures to illustrate her point, which is effective. At the end of each chapter, she included a list of products called “Brilliant Buys” to save you time and energy to do the guesswork. The products listed are reasonably priced and can be found at drugstores, Sephora, or department stores. I appreciate her effort to compile the lists and make them affordable (and practical, too!) since most lists in magazines contain products with astronomical price.

Match your foundation to your skin color. When in doubt, go a shade lighter

Use a lighter hand on your eye liner.

Since my interest is in makeup, I find the advice to be practical and easy to apply. As this book targets women in their 40s and beyond, I am not a good tester of her tips. Some of the tips are practical for everybody such as tame your eyebrows, match your foundation to your skin, and get a perfect pair of jeans. Other tips are a bit controversial, like cutting your bangs and putting on pink lipstick.

The bangs sisters :)
(The model looks like Demi Moore, doesn't she?)

The infamous pink lipstick advice

I like the makeup done in this picture: so simple, yet so elegant.

While I have some knowledge on makeup, I’m kind of clueless in style. From this book, I learn more about the art of dressing thyself. Chapter 14 “Slip into the Perfect Pair of Jeans” is a must-read for everybody, not just moms and women over 40. Chapter 18 “Step into Sexy Heels” probably just assuaged my fear of wearing heels by suggesting a list of comfortable yet good-looking shoes. Who could have guessed Cole Haan and Nike to team up and created a line of shoes called Dress Air? According to this book, Dress Air heels are as comfortable as a pair of Nike?

To me, the most interesting piece of advice in this book is “The Three-Bling Rule” from stylist Genevieve Yraola. This rule guides you to wear your blings in a way not to overpower each other.
The Three-Bling Rule
  • Sparkly dress (2 bling points) + earrings (1 bling) – necklace = 3 bling points
  • Black dress (0 bling) + bold necklace (1 bling) + cocktail ring (1 bling) + shoes or bag (1 bling) – big earrings = 3 bling points
  • Jewelled cuff bracelet (1 bling) + shimmery metallic sandals (1 bling) + chandelier earrings (1 bling) - watch = 3 bling points
  • Dramatic upswept do (1 bling) + drop earrings (1 bling) + bracelet or ring (1 bling) - necklace = 3 bling points
If you can’t remember the whole thing, just notice the location of your jewelry matters: you do not want to wear 2 pieces of jewelry too close to each other. If you wear a big pair of earrings, your necklace should be simple or just forgo it totally. If you wear a sparkly dress, keep the rest of things simple.

Overall, “How not to Look Old” is a great book. To me, it is a glimpse into the future of my makeup and beauty obsessive self. The cost to upkeep is not cheap. Beside makeup, there are skincare, hair care (cut and color), teeth care (whitening and veneer), nails, clothes, and shoes. I can’t help but notice this is an American female perspective on aging. In other parts of the world, people are more accepting toward the aging process. In the U.S, we are obsessed over getting old starting from grade school: middle school girls want to look like teenagers, teenagers want to look like college student, college students want to look like over 25, and the rest of us want to look like we’re still 25! While there are some critics toward this book as being shallow and vain, I give it a merit point for not mentioning nip-tuck as a way to recapture youth.

Is it a must-read book? Probably, if you are into makeup, skincare, and style. Would you give it to your mom? Hells, no! As much as I love this book, I also fear the scorn of an angry mother. So if you want your mom to read it without hurting her feeling, I would recommend a Border’s or Barns and Noble’s gift card with a suggested book list that includes this book. And pray to God that mama would buy it with your own dimes!

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Happy Mother’s Day, everyone! Wishing you and your mom a wonderful Sunday together.

Take care and stay gorgeous,
Your Makeup Blogger

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  1. oh i love that! maybe i should wear heavier liner to look older... hehe

  2. girl you're not even old! why are you reading that! LOL

  3. Hi Pattie,

    The heavier liner tip is true, you should try that sometimes :)

  4. Hi Roxy,

    I guess that book got a lot of press since it's controversial and all. It has some good tips though, although I won't be using it anytime soon :)

  5. I saw that book the other day in Borders and I was really impressed with the tips and makeup. I just 27 but I think I will included in my collection of beauty books.

  6. Hi llianexy,

    I like this book as well, it's very informative and well-written. You're 27? So am I!


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