The Bobbi Brown Book of Teenage Beauty


We don't remember exactly how, but we recently rediscovered Bobbi Brown's delightful love letter to the 90s, Teenage Beauty. As you might recall—raise your hand if you feel old—it was the ultimate guide to being a chic teen in 1999. (We've said it before. See: Emily's Red Lip Magic post.) And given that matte skin, teal eyeliner, and Claire Danes have all been fully rehabilitated as of late, Brown's natural, Cali-girl take on beauty is more relevant than ever. Plus, she says things like "Sleep and rest and happiness are the backbones of beauty.” So, for your perusal, a selection of Bobbi Brown's timeless advice culled from the book, to satisfy your inner-teen or just, you know, because it's Wednesday:

Bobbi's Real Talk:

“If you do drugs or drink to be cool, ask yourself: How cool is it to be ugly?”

“I believe that foot odor comes from the inside. Maybe you’re not drinking enough water or exercising enough.”

“What great guy would want to kiss a girl who smokes?”

“Plastic surgery: What an awful term...You should be truly miserable before you make a permanent change.”

“I L-O-V-E strong noses. For me, a strong nose gives character to the face and its special beauty.”

“Be zen about your zits. Instead of picking or attacking them, let them be. Hands off. Fingernails out!!!!”

“Sunscreen is important even if you tan easily—no one looks good in prune-y skin!”

“Sleep and rest and happiness are the backbones of beauty.”

“The one eyebrow shape that’s nowhere? The tadpole brow…it gives you a puzzled look, and it looks old-fashioned”

Bobbi On Hair:

“Buy static guard (the stuff you’d use on your clothes) and spray on your brush before using. Wash your brushes regularly because the hair left in your brush can pass static along to the hair still in your head.”

“Rinse shampoo out really well…time yourself here and try to go for four minutes. A good rinse is just as important as a good wash in getting really clean hair.”

“[The] hairstyle boys like on most girls? Long over short. (Some sensitive ones admit that it depends on the girl. Duh!)”

“Stay simple and don’t fight the 'Hair God.' I love a ponytail slicked back—this is a great option for those of you who have a 'hair thing.'”

“If someone offers to give you a home perm or body wave, find any way you can to refuse.”

“What’s the cause of the biggest hair disasters? Going against your own natural hair texture. There are a lot of things you can do to transform your hair look, but changing your hair texture isn’t one of them.”

“Avoid using a lot of stuff in your hair. What’s really pretty is simple, clean hair that has nice, natural movement. Don’t use hairspray (too old-fashioned, except for fly-away help).”

Bobbi On Makeup:

“The perfect color blush is the shade of your cheeks when you exercise!”

“Mix Vaseline with bronzer for a one-toned face look—spread on eyelids, cheeks, forehead, and nose.”

“Biggest Eye Mistake: Trying to change the shape of your eyes with dark shadow (i.e. contouring)—all you’ll end up doing is making your eyes look smaller.”

“Know your light. As a runway makeup artist, I’ve learned to be a master of lighting. If you do the wrong makeup for the light you will be in, it may 'read' in a totally wrong way.”

Advice for pale girls: “Just go with it and give up on bronzers and suntans. Instead, wear pale pink blush—it’ll make you look like an angel.”

“In Your Backpack: It’s much cooler not to lug around your entire makeup kit. Try to focus on a few key items that will help you get through your day.
1. Pressed powder compact with mirror to fix T-zone shininess
2. Foundation to cover up pimples
3. 3-in-1 pencil for lips, eyes, and cheeks
4. Lipstick or pot of gloss”

Bobbi On Self-Acceptance:

“Be cool. Of course you feel insecure, but you don’t have to show it.”

“Model thin isn’t necessarily pretty! Be healthy, be strong, be yourself!”

“The bottom line: Don’t follow rules. Wear anything that makes you feel good!!”

“Girls peak at all different times. Growing up means finding yourself, and that happens at different moments for different people.”

“Appreciate what you’ve got when you’ve got it. If that means suffering through a little beauty envy in the short term, that’s totally normal.”

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Julie

    Such an amazing inspiration! Thank you Bobbi!

  • eva

    LOVE THIS!! everything that you need to know about feeling good about yourself in a nutshell

  • Helen

    I'm pretty scared of that Vaseline-bronzer on the forehead mental image. Am I missing something?

  • Natalie

    14 years later and pretty much all of those tips still suffice for teenagers...

    • magpie

      ...well, and 14 years later and pretty much all those tips still suffice for adults!

  • Charlotte

    love this! great quotes.

  • Adrienne Angelos

    Aaahhh, my very first real (i.e. NOT out of the pages of Seventeen or my sister's stolen Cosmo) beauty guide! I still reach for lilac eyeshadows when I feel uninspired because of this!

  • Roni Faida

    “The bottom line: Don’t follow rules. Wear anything that makes you feel good!!” I so believe this. I never look at magazines to find out what is in style. I wear what makes me happy and guess what? I'm always ca-yoot!

  • Valentina Novo

    Love the quote on drugs and alcohol, it made me laugh so much! "how cool is it to be ugly?" i just can't believe she said that

  • Amanda Raponi

    This book was my bible when I was a pre-teen and teen. It taught me everything.

  • CayC

    Oh man, I had this book MEMORIZED. There is still a part of me that feels guilty when I use black nail polish, because I specifically remember her saying to NEVER do that.

  • carolinelee

    I loved this book. So many of these things stuck with me, and I had forgotten where they came from. Great post.

  • innaboxx

    I remember she had a point in there about how if you put your makeup on the same way every day and can't leave home without it, it becomes a chore and you're doing it wrong. That makeup should be fun and something you want to do, not an obligation. Love that sentiment and still think about it.

  • MissWix

    I was always more of a Kevyn Aucoin disciple. Too many rules Bobbi! Not enough fun!

  • Joy of Stranger Sensibilities

    OMG I remember that book! This brings back so much memories. *tear*

  • Janine

    Everything Bobbi says, I believe....and I've done on my own forever. I have all of her books - this one is especially good. Every girl who wants to start wearing makeup should read/buy this book. She's so smart when it comes to natural beauty. You can look natural with a bunch of products - or even just one! A bronzer. I think BB is for the woman who gets to the point where she realizes makeup enhances not covers or hides; realizes she wants to look like herself and no one else. That inner beauty is just as, if not more, important than exterior beauty.

    Now if Bobbi could just bring back Ruby Stain.....

    Thank you, ITG!

  • WengYee

    LOVE these quotes. Had to stop half way, as I'm so buying the book myself now!

  • Chellie

    My mom got this for me when I was 14. I would read it front to back, I'm getting so nostalgic looking at all of the pages on here!

  • Liz Flodström

    Oh to be 15 again! I LOVED this book and well...still do! Beauty basics and feeling good in your own skin never go out of style.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane, ITG!
    xx Liz

  • KatInEurope

    Awwwww, Baby Adriana Lima, Baby Isabeli, Baby Ale... funny to see so many future VS glamazons BB style, but cute!

  • Lizzie

    omg i had this book and i used to look through it EVERY DAY.

  • Aly

    “[The] hairstyle boys like on most girls? Long over short. (Some sensitive ones admit that it depends on the girl. Duh!)” Way to fuel a girl's insecurity, Bobbi. I have a love/hate relationship with her brand. At this stage in my life, her makeup is too courtroom chic for me.

  • Holly Skelton

    Helpful and inspirational quotes! Great post. Holly xx

  • Ainsley Hellrud

    The look in slide 10 was my ultimate inspiration as a teen. I worshipped the book until one fateful day when my underage drinking friends spilled their Vex (yes) all over it and the pages were stuck together from then on. RIP teen beauty bible. I wish I could've passed you onto my daughter one day.

  • dara simon

    i love this book it helping me a little bit my face is smooth now because of this book

  • Ygritte Snow

    I love this book! My mom, who wore no makeup ever, bought this for me when I was a preteen and I remember how positive it was, also the lilac eyeshadow... to die for!


Bobbi Brown
Bobbi Brown Teenage Beauty