Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What Bobbi Brown Taught Me

From the time I was a little girl, I have always been interested in wearing make-up. My mother would use the brightest red lipstick and the blackest mascara to get me all glamourous for my dance recitals, and I would hope against hope that she would let me leave it on afterwards. It made me feel so pretty and edgy at the same time.

When I was 13 my mom finally let me wear some make-up, unfortunately it was only a bit of clear mascara and lip gloss, but by 14 I had mastered the art of hiding ice blue eye shadow in my locker at middle school. Ice blue eye shadow is not cool. And it wasn't cool then, but at the time I thought it was just about the best thing ever invented. I was at a point in my life where I wanted very much to be unique, but I also was too afraid to wear the things I really liked in public if anyone made a comment. My rainbow tights made it out exactly once before they were forever banned from my public school wardrobe. ( In private, I still thought they were amazing. )

The coolest outfit in my childhood..

But when I was 16 I received one of the best gifts ever and it was not rainbow gloves to match my tights. It was a book by Bobbi Brown, Teenage Beauty: Everything you need to look pretty, natural, sexy & awesome. This book was my 16 year old beauty bible. It taught me that less really is more. Red lipstick is for evening functions and only works with certain complexions. Cover-up should match your skin color EXACTLY. And it had pictures of teenage Brooke Shields from The Blue Lagoon, a movie I was admittedly obsessed with in all of it's cheesy over-sexual glory.

I read this book every day.
To my mom's credit, she did tell me all of these things in regards to a more natural look with make-up, but Bobbi's writing style drew me in completely. Her book used images of real teenagers also, who all ranged from 13-16 years old. These kids had braces, skinny legs, and stringy hair, just like me, and when Bobbi got done with them they were beautiful, but the thing is, she knew they were already beautiful, but she enhanced their beauty naturally with a touch of rouge. 

When I was going to community college, I actually had the chance to hear Bobbi speak and I loved her even more. When talking about making her career, and just starting out, a subject that hit close to home for me, because I had no idea what I wanted to do, she said something I'll never forget.

Bobbi had dropped out of college and was very confused about what she wanted to do with her life. Her mother asked her "If you could do anything in the world today, what would you do?" And Bobbi replied with saying she would do her friend's make up, something she frequently did and really enjoyed. So she and her mother did some research and plotted out how to master a career as a make-up artist, which Bobbi is among one of the most successful artists today. 

Now I have previously owned just one pot of cream blush (in roseberry, which I'm pretty sure is not a real berry...) by Bobbi, but I always visit her website and dream that I'll buy her creamy foundations and blackest black mascaras. But even she says, you don't have to buy her cosmetics. Yes it is her company but they are her recommended formulas due to what she has used in making up faces on the runway. Bobbi even states in several of her books that you need to experiment with cheap alternatives before you throw money away on make-up, because formulas change and not everything works for every person. 

A huge lesson learned from Bobbi is that in her teenage years, she yearned to be perfect, but eventually she gave that up and learned to be Bobbi. And that, to me, is perfection anyway.

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