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Still Cool: Bobbi Brown Lip Gloss

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There once was a time when appearing “natural' wasn’t cool and evidently wearing makeup was. When sneaking into your mother’s bathroom to tweeze your brows and shave your legs was not a midnight mission made in the name of forgotten upkeep but rather a rebellious rite of passage. It was life before blogs, when your only beauty bible was Bobbi Brown’s Teenage Beauty, from which you spent hours reading and recreating looks that wouldn’t actually see the light of day.

I’m talking about middle school and while certain moments like figuring out where to sit at lunch, accessorizing with colored braces bands, and dealing with acne (though, have we really grown out of it?) are looked upon with a mixture of distant fondness and nostalgic regret, Bobbi Brown Lip Gloss is the teenage girl equivalent of Proust's madeleine—bringing back the best part of those horrendous hormonal years with its distinct scent and sticky consistency. When the nude-colored gloss was your only mom-approved cosmetic, but you still bought eye shadow from the drugstore and applied it in the school bathroom before a dance because you were independent. The lip gloss literature says it’s scented with a hint of vanilla. While it’s a clichéd disservice to say “smells like teen spirit,” to me it truly does.

—Alexis Cheung