Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

FROM GEEKY TEEN TO BEAUTY QUEEN; What's the Best Way for Teenage Girls to Learn about Looking Good? Alice Hart-Davis Has the Answer

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

FROM GEEKY TEEN TO BEAUTY QUEEN; What's the Best Way for Teenage Girls to Learn about Looking Good? Alice Hart-Davis Has the Answer

Article excerpt

Byline: Alice Hart-Davis

IT WAS when my daughter Molly began asking me, persistently, whether she could shave her legs that I realised it had begun.

Sooner or later, every girl reaches an age where she starts asking questions about her skin, her hair and her looks. It might be nine, it might be 19; for Molly, it was 11, and her supposedly hairy legs were the tip of the iceberg. What about her face? Did she need a special wash for it like it said in the magazines? Or anti-ageing cream? When could she wear make-up? The answers required more thought than usual. My job is writing about beauty and health. I'm used to answering queries from adults but realised I was assuming a certain amount of beauty know-how. You tell a grown woman that she needs to cleanse, tone and moisturise, and she knows what you're talking about it. Molly would say: "What do you mean, 'cleanse'? Is that the same as washing? And what is toner, anyway?" Fair point.

As one question led to another, a book began to emerge. Be Beautiful: Every Girl's Guide to Hair, Skin and Make-up is the result. It's for 11- to 17-year-old girls who are getting to grips with the basics of skincare and discovering the fun of make-up -- and doing it in a way that isn't going to cost the earth.

It's the first book of its kind and if you ask me, it's needed. In France, teenage girls are rigorously schooled by their mothers in the details of grooming. American teens are introduced to a dermatologist as a matter of course, along with the doctor and the dentist. But in the UK making the most of your looks is still seen as a slightly questionable pursuit. Mothers rarely drag their daughters off for facials or make-up lessons and dermatologists are thin on the ground, so girls pick up snippets of knowledge from what their friends say, from what is being promoted in magazines and on TV, and from what they find on the web. …

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