Originally published in 2018, I’ve updated this post about the iconic Boots Seventeen range at the end…
Gutting for many of those ‘of a certain age’ is the news that Boot’s Seventeen range of makeup is presently being pulled from the shelves. For so many girls and young women, it was our first access to makeup. With legends like Twilight Teaser and Black Cherries lipsticks we could look like shimmery surfer girls or Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction.
Inky nail varnish was an alternative to Urban Decay colours without the new, demand led price tags. Eyeshadow came in duos. Eyeliner was kohl or liquid. The only brow product was a hard pencil perfect for Drew Barrymore style fine arches.
Everything packed a punch. Their strapline in the nineties was super simple – ‘It’s Not Makeup – It’s Ammunition’. It didn’t talk apologetically about prettiness. Nobody buys hair mascara to get a cute boyfriend or girlfriend – trust me, it’s a repeller product – and they didn’t tell us we wanted one. We could be whoever we wanted to be as long as we were having fun.
I don’t think that the new generation of Insta inspired makeup fans will ever really ‘get’ a range that is so direct. There was no contouring in a Seventeen world. It had to show up in a world of strobe lighting and cameras that used film. We waited a week for those photos to be developed and we were having a beer and a cheeky fag in most of them.
Because we were freaking cool and we thought we’d be young forever.
You don’t feel that freedom when you’re tied into a 5, 7 or 10 step skincare routine – you’re are victim of the vagaries of the marketing department.
Screw that, I want to feel the beat. Until I sober up, like. When I will remember my hyaularonic acid product again. I will use my trusty Seventeen bronzer until it’s wrenched from my cold dead hands in the meantime.
For now, don’t be too distraught. It looks like lots of the products are being appropriated by CYO so we can still pretend we’re in our teens for a while.
Edit, June 1st, 2020.
Looking back over the research I did for this (very brief) piece, I discovered a little nugget of information that I love. Here it is for you all.
In 1986 Seventeen ran two adverts featuring one model to showcase their new brightest neons range. The model was an unknown man. He wasn’t particularly androgynous and the unapologetic straplines were groundbreaking – “Not Just for Girls” and “Looks As Good On A Girl”.
Eventually they were adjusted to “Looks Even Better On A Girl” but the photos were not changed.
It’s probably because the range was targeted at a younger customer that sales didn’t skip a beat. The main worry was that the campaign would offend their mums.
I’m really happy that, given the ages of their customer demographic, they continued to grow. With the millennium they started producing an annual Pride eye shadow palette. You’ll have to buy yours from NYX this year – but, at £5.60, it’s got a similar price point.
I’ll leave you with a classic version from 2013 – handbag sized, lightweight, no fuss. Totally Seventeen.