Revisiting The Teen Beauty Book That Didn't Get Me Any Dates

But it taught me some SOLID makeup tips regardless. (And it had its fair share of WTF advice.)
Publish date:
July 15, 2013
teenagers, books, bobbi brown, cat eyes, blue eyeshadows, throwbacks, teen beauty

When Marci asked everyone what our favorite beauty books were, I responded in the comments that I was OBSESSED with Bobbi Brown Teenage Beauty: Everything You Need to Look Pretty, Natural, Sexy & Awesome. And then many of you were like “OMG ME TOO.”

I’ve always been crazy about beauty, and when my mom bought me this book when I was about 13, it was all. I. read. When I was a teen and had no friends and didn’t get invited to parties, I would stay in on Fridays and Saturdays and practice makeup, using much of what I learned in this book. I thought it was so cool that a makeup artist was giving me insider secrets about how to look hot, and that if I followed her guidelines, maybe one day I would have a date to prom (I went solo both years).

This book gave me a great foundation of makeup knowledge when I was starting to experiment, and when I learned it did the same for you guys, I decided to re-buy it (I lost my copy years ago) to see if the advice still held up. And guess what! Some of the stuff I STILL do today, and some of the tips made me literally LOL.

But before we get to those, let’s see if the makeup looks Bobbi teaches us still hold up, because that’s why we all bought the book in the first place.

The book gives teens an eight-step makeup routine to follow each morning that is supposed to enhance their natural beauty instead of hide them behind makeup. It’s a really simple makeup routine, but also very basic if you’re an adult and know how to work your way around an eyeshadow palette.

The first steps are to cover your under-eye circles with concealer, and then cover any zits or blemishes with foundation. I used Benefit Boi-ing as my concealer and just a tiny bit of Urban Decay Naked foundation to cover my pimples.

In this chapter and in many others, Bobbi says to “seal” your concealer with powder so I dusted my face with some MAC Studio Fix before working on my eyes. Dust your brows with matching shadow.

Step 5 is to “shimmerize your lids.” I hated this part.

It says to dust your lids with one eyeshadow, and Bobbi recommends a shimmery purple because it flatters everyone. I used the lighter shade in Clinque Color Surge Eyeshadow Duo in Blackberry Frost and THAT’S IT.

The next step is to put on mascara, but not eyeliner or a darker shade in the crease or ANYTHING. I never wear a shimmer shade without adding some depth, but I guess that’s a perk of being an adult? But I still had some eyeliner on my bottom lids from the day before, which might be cheating.

After mascara, I used cream blush, The Body Shop’s Lip and Cheek Dome in Pinch Me Pink, on the apples of my cheeks and blended toward my temples.

The last steps are to fill in your entire lip with a creamy lip pencil. I like MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Shore Leave because it has a really soft, cream texture and just glides on.

I followed Bobbi’s final step and topped that with some lip gloss, Smashbox’s O-Gloss, and then looked to see if I was transformed into a teenage beauty.

I think the look is quite pretty, but also bland. As I was doing this, I remembered that when I was reading this as a teen, I always tried to add my own spin on the "natural look" tips because I wanted more pizzazz. As much as I tried to be natural and cute, I always found myself gravitating toward spackling my lids with glitter or highly pigmented shadows, which is why the experimentation chapter in this book was always my favorite.

The best look in that part is definitely this one:

I had to try it out, obviously, so I just grabbed Urban Decay’s Haight Shadow and a small angle brush and drew the shape around my eye and then filled it in once I had a shape I liked.

Annie did a great tutorial about making cat eye shapes, and I think the only way to get good at this is to practice a lot.

That’s more my style, but that’s probably why people were weirded out by my makeup looks in high school. BUT LOOK AT ME NOW, BITCHES. I’M WRITING FOR A BEAUTY SITE. Muahahaha.

Now on to the part that really dates this book.

It came out in 2000, and some of the tips did not stand the test of time. These are some of the best, worst, and weirdest tips I found while rereading my old bible.


  • If your lipstick color is too intense, put some beige lip color on to mute it. I’ve honestly never thought to do this. If my lipstick is too intense, I just wear it anyway knowing it will fade, but maybe I’ll start beigein’ it up.
  • The best way to hide zits is to put some foundation on them, not white/light concealer because it will just draw more attention to them. You guys, I always do this. I always feel like putting a light concealer on my WHITEheads only makes them look whiter and like that are filled with even more pus. Sexual.
  • Don’t blowdry your hair! Just put in some leave-in and let it dry naturally. I bet your air-dried hair is mad pretty. I only heat style on the weekend, and it’s definitely helped my hair bounce back from being bleached three times in one month (worst choice ever). I just hop out of the shower and spay in Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Tri-Wheat Leave-In Conditioner (stupid name, I know) and love how it dries.
  • Break the rules: put lipstick on your cheeks or bronzer on your lips. YES YES YES this is my favorite beauty “rule.” It’s just makeup.


  • In the Q&A chapter, some girl told Bobbi that she didn’t like her big nose, and Bobbi told her that she should learn to love it OR “If, however, your nose is truly out of proportion with you face (and you're at least 16), talk to your parents about consulting with a plastic surgeon.” Umm WTF? If I would have asked my parents for plastic surgery at 16 they would have laughed in my face and asked me to empty the dishwasher.
  • I know we are not a very accepting society when it comes to all shapes and sizes of bodies (which needs to change), but it was obvi WAY worse when this book came out. Bobbi tells "big" girls that their only celeb role models are Emme, Camryn Manheim, Rosie O’Donnell and FEMALE HOCKEY PLAYERS. She also says “Remember, some girls were not meant to be thin.” Ah, the magic words every teen wants to hear.
  • Also in the section where she tells girls how to dress for their body, she gives the “big” girls a “treats” section (which no other body type has on their page) and tells them to make sure they treat themselves to professional pedicures and keep their hair and makeup nice, which makes it seem like girls need that to distract from their bodies. Ugh. I’m surprised I didn’t jump out my window after reading this as a teen when I was the most self-conscious I’ve ever been.


  • The book informed me that when asked, most teen girls said the celeb whose beauty cabinet they would most like to raid is Gwyneth Paltrow’s.
  • Apparently, a good rinse is just as important as a good shampoo, and the book advises that you rinse your shampoo out for a good FOUR MINUTES. Is it weird that I HATE showering and don’t want to be in there any longer than I have to?
  • Also, just FYI single ladies, you’re probably single because you wear lip gloss and boys hate lip gloss because “It makes a girl look like she just ate goo.” And they don’t mean the good kind.

Do you guys remember this book? Are there any beauty tips from it you still follow today?