Q&A: Makeup maven Bobbi Brown dishes on her new teen beauty book

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“College girls love black eyeliner,” said makeup artist and beauty industry icon Bobbi Brown, citing one of many things she’s learned over the years about teens and beauty. “And they don’t wear a lot of makeup unless they’re going out.”

Brown, a mother of three boys now college-aged and older, is certainly an expert on the subject.


She’s poised to debut her second book on teenage beauty, “Beauty Rules,” on Aug. 25, following up the super-successful “Bobbi Brown Teenage Beauty: Everything You Need to Look Pretty, Natural, Sexy and Awesome,” which was published in 2001.

The hefty coffee table book chronicles dozens of mini-makeovers of real (and decidedly real-looking) girls -- not models -- while delving into lifestyle subjects including fitness and nutrition.

We caught up with Brown to chat about her new book; what, in her opinion, teenage girls need to know about lipstick and life; and how she spent her teenage years.

All the Rage: Why did you want to do another beauty/lifestyle book for teens?

Bobbi Brown: My first one is my best-selling book and I realized that it was 10 years old. It’s the one book that people are constantly stopping and telling me, “Oh my God, this helped me or my daughter.”

I love how the book is full of real-looking girls. Where did you find them?

There’s not one model in the book. The girl on the cover was a waitress in our town. A lot of the girls are friends’ daughters and I had a high school kid last year, so a lot of his friends were in it. I had three boys, but I watched these girls grow up from the time they were 3 years old, some of them.

What do you wish you knew about beauty when you were a teen?

That it’s OK to look different from everyone else. And that you don’t have to look like a Barbie. Right now the girls have a hard to time because they don’t look like the celebrities they see – the perfectly done-up celebrities. They think the girls wake up and look like that.

What, in your opinion, is the book’s most important message?

That you are and can be amazing. You have to realize it, then you have to know a few tips and tricks. Everything from being kind to eating healthy – to basically do the right thing. Be who you are.
You branch out into other issues beyond beauty, including fitness and nutrition. Why did you want the book to be about more than beauty?

I thought about all the different things young girls need to know. Certainly they need to know how to cover a blemish, but I really think of things like the importance of exercise. Nothing makes you feel as good as exercising.

Hilary Duff wrote the book’s foreword. Why was she your pick?

I think Hilary is a great role model. She’s someone who’s not only really nice and super pretty, but has been very honest about being in the public eye.

What kind of teenager were you?

I was short and I wanted to look like Cher – I was into that sexy hippie thing. I loved makeup even then. I used to apply makeup so I looked tan and healthy.

So you were you handy with makeup from an early age?
I was. I used to watch my mom, who was quite talented with makeup. She did white eyeshadow and black false eyelashes and pale pink lips. She used to put false eyelashes on with a Q-tip. I started using makeup when I wanted my friends to say, “Wow, you look so tan.” I knew exactly how to put it on so it didn’t look fake.

At that time, you also wanted your shoe to be the smallest size possible. I used to shove my Size 6 feet into 5-1/2 shoes. That was really cool to have a small foot. And of course we set our hair in juice cans so it would be stick-straight.

-- Emili Vesilind