A love letter to Boots’ Seventeen make-up

Posted by
Viola Levy
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As Boots begins to phase out all remaining Seventeen stock, we bid a tearful goodbye to the beloved make-up brand we all grew up with.

Every British teenager interested in make-up has probably had an encounter with the make-up brand Seventeen (or No.17 as it was previously known). With pretty shades and cute packaging at pocket-money price tags, it was a slightly classier alternative to the dubious no-name brands we splurged on in The Pound Shop (everyone has owned a face powder that resembled a dubious shade of orange at some point in their lives).

This was in the days before Instagram was introducing us to a whole slew of weird and wonderful make-up brands and ingenious ways to wear them. Back then, Seventeen was our only window into the beauty world (and adulthood itself you might go as far as saying). Armed with a handful of products, we just had to work out for ourselves what worked and what didn’t, which involved a lot of trial and error in front of the bedroom mirror - as Alanis Morissette warbled away in the background.

And although we may have graduated to more sophisticated, niche beauty lines as we grew up, Seventeen still has a special place in our hearts and we felt reassured whenever we spotted it on the shelves. (A bit like when you occasionally dip into Eastenders and you see Phil Mitchell is still living in Albert Square.) So when we heard that Seventeen was being discontinued for good, it felt as if a chapter in our lives had well and truly closed.

Boots revealed plans to phase out Seventeen products starting in May, with the following statement:

“SEVENTEEN has been a successful brand for many years in the U.K., but all good thing must come to an end. We have sadly taken the decision to wind the brand down, by gradually exiting the brand from all Boots stores from May 2018. As the brand exits stores, SEVENTEEN will continue to be available on for a limited time, continuing to stock a core offer of consumer faves until summer.”

But following a huge recent clearance sale and dwindling stock remaining, the reality was starting to hit home with several sad customers who tweeted their dismay.

As teenagers, most of us have fond memories of stocking up on ‘No. 17’ clear mascara (that you could get away with wearing to school). Their lipsticks were another big hit, with names like ‘Twilight Teaser’ (a frosted lilac that went perfectly with our smudged kohl ‘Courtney Love’ eyeliner), ‘Bon Bon’ and ‘Pinking Shears’ that were regularly passed around in class underneath desks like brightly coloured contraband. 

The formulas were comfortable and rich enough to hold their own against the occasional Revlon number we saved up to buy (or nicked from our mum’s make-up bag). Plus, their famous eyeshadow trios were the perfect fodder to practise that elusive smoky eye – even if the results were more ‘Marilyn Manson’ than ‘Winona Ryder’. 

Even today, Seventeen are beloved by teens and students for their BB Balm (now £2.10), with SPF25 and oil-controlling formula to help prevent shine. And their Stay Pout Lipstick (now £1.50) has won accolades from beauty editors for its nourishing, stay-put formula. (For a classic red, try ‘Date Night’ or the raspberry-pink ‘Audition shade if you want a real 90s nostalgia trip.) Given how ridiculously cheap these are now going for, the silver lining is you can restock your make-up bag for less than a tenner while stocks last.

And if you’re wondering where you’re going to get your budget beauty fix once Seventeen is gone for good *wipes away a tear*, we suggest trying NYX Professional Makeup, Sleek and Collection - all proving themselves worthy contenders to the Seventeen crown.

But as the beauty brand that ignited a million obsessions with make-up, we’ll always hold a special place for Seventeen/No.17 in our hearts - and will forever associate it with our beauty obsessed, back-chatting, Hubba Bubba-chewing 13-year-old selves. 

Image: Boots Seventeen Press