With a dream birthday party, makeovers, and a lipstick-themed cake from the Flour Patch Bakery in Montclair, Hanna’s 16th year had a great start.
Hanna and friends show off their new looks, courtesy of Bobbi Brown and her team of makeup artists. "Fifteen-year-olds are much more sophisticated than they were ten years ago," says Brown.
Clockwise from top left: Partygoers Nadia Morehand, Sara Dana, and Claire Hentschker experiment with different hues at the make-your-own lip gloss station; the makeovers begin in Bobbi Brown’s Montclair industrial-chic studio space; makeup artist Lindsay Jackson applies blush to Lisa Swenson’s cheeks, while Brown herself attends to birthday girl Hanna Schlager, right; makeup artist Elizabeth Keiser works on Logan Greene’s eyes; the girls’ appetites were satisfied with boatloads of sushi from Montclair’s Sushi Hana; makeup artist Kimberly Soane puts finishing touches on Katya Poliakoff.
At the age when girls start spending more time in the mirror than at the American Girl store, Hanna Schlager got to celebrate her 15th birthday surrounded by oodles of lip gloss, mascara, and eye shadow palettes in every imaginable hue at Bobbi Brown—the Studio. Located at Lackawanna Plaza in Montclair, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics’ first stand-alone store, which opened in 2007, offers individual makeup lessons, applications, and parties, while serving as a training ground for makeup artists to learn Brown’s tips and techniques.
Escorted by dad Ken, editorial director for Park Place, and mom Robin, Hanna and sixteen of her closest gal pals from Montclair High School and her junior-varsity softball team gathered for every teen girl’s fantasy: a day of glamorous makeovers, photo shoots, and serious girl talk. (Hanna’s older brother, Steven, understandably sat this one out.)
“It’s hard to plan parties when they get to this age,” Robin said. “We just tried to do something she would like.”
It wouldn’t be a party without music—the latest from the Black Eyed Peas was playing on a loop—and food: salad and sushi served in boats from Montclair’s Sushi Hana. For dessert, a birthday cake speckled with 15 cookie lips and lipsticks from the Flour Patch Bakery in Montclair was the perfect treat.
The Friday afternoon festivities began with the girls posing for “before” shots and getting their creative juices flowing at a make-your-own lip gloss station. Presented with a variety of pigments and mini-containers of clear gloss, the girls gabbed about school, softball, and cute boys as they mixed and matched the colors to produce a shade that perfectly complemented their complexions.
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” Hanna’s friend Claire Hentschker enthused while sampling the chicken tempura. “The whole day is about having fun with makeup. What could be better than that?”
Not all of the girls were well-versed in the art of makeup application (“I really don’t wear much makeup,” friend Sarah Sherman said.) That’s where Brown and her team of artists came in.
“I grew up on Bobbi Brown’s cosmetics, and I know how much makeup means to young girls,” said Stephanie Sidnam, one of the Studio’s makeup artists. “At this age, it’s all about teaching them how to enhance their natural beauty with fun colors and sparkles.”
As each girl climbed into an artist’s chair, they received age-appropriate makeovers using pink blushes and pastel eye shadows. They even were given take-away Bobbi Brown makeup charts with instructions for their personal skin care, cleansing, and hydrating regimens and tailored advice on everything from bronzers to brow shaping.
“They showed me the best colors for my skin, and all the right things to do,” Sarah said.
Brown, a Schlager family friend, applied the birthday girl’s makeup. She highlighted Hanna’s eyes with a lavender shadow, mascara, and eyeliner, and filled in her lips and cheeks with shimmering pink shades.
“There’s a fine line between wearing something that’s a little stronger, like a dark eyeliner, and still keeping everything fresh and pretty,” Brown said. As everyone gathered to “ooh” and “ahh” at the beaming Hanna’s new look, the cosmetics guru took the opportunity to offer the girls a valuable skincare lesson: as softball players, Hanna and her friends should always wear sunscreen during the day, and use a bit of bronzer to even out sun-kissed skin in the evening.
The girls gushed over Hanna’s makeover, and she agreed; she loved her new look. “It’s so glam,” she said. “She’s really growing up…time is flying by so quickly,” lamented her mom.
After Hanna and her friends got glamorous, they hammed it up in a photo shoot for Brown’s new book, Teen Beauty Rules, and compared their before-and-after shots on the photographer’s laptop.
Brown’s latest release serves as an update of the 2001 Bobbi Brown Teenage Beauty: Everything You Need to Look Pretty, Natural, Sexy and Awesome, which remains the best-selling of her five books on beauty, skincare, and makeup techniques.
“It has been a bible for girls on self-esteem…about feeling good about their braces and freckles. Girls have to learn how to accept who they are; there are certain things they can’t change, so they should focus on what they can. That’s the amazing thing about makeup,” Brown said.
She hopes that the new book, which hits stores in October, will inspire teens to confidently embrace their youth and beauty. “Fifteen-year-olds are much more sophisticated than they were ten years ago when I wrote my last book—they’ve seen so much on television and in magazines,” she added.
Later, Brown upped the ante by giving the girls runway makeovers with smokier eyes, glossier lips, and, of course, a little bit of sparkle to show them how to go from day to night. Brown wiped away Hanna’s first look and substituted grays for purples on her eyes, liberally applying black mascara and eyeliner. “It’s about the makeup you use and what it shows about a girl’s personality—Hanna still looks sweet with black eyeliner,” Brown said. “It’s no different than when a little girl puts on her mother’s high heels.”
“I’ve never seen my friends wearing this much makeup!” Hanna exclaimed. “We’re all having the best time.” The girls were wowed by the full-glam makeup, and Brown was quick to remind them to table that look until after their Sweet 16s—at least.
“Some girls have a big formal party or go out to dinner for their birthdays, but this is something that’s really different and fun,” family friend Amanda Seaman agreed.
Whether the girls are getting ready for a day at school, their BFF’s birthday party, or the junior prom, Bobbi Brown makeup artist Amanda Maxfield touted the importance of proper skincare, and recommended focusing on applying just three products: lip gloss, concealer or blush, and mascara.
“You want to keep their skin glowing, and they don’t need a lot of color on their faces—they’re still so young!” she said. “Teenagers should just keep it simple.”
To schedule a makeup lesson, application, or party, call Bobbi Brown–the Studio, located at 8 Lackawanna Plaza in Montclair, at 973-783-3506.
Bobbi Brown’s makeup tips for teens
Cover Up. When pimples and blemishes are as common as homework and final exams, teens should identify the makeup that precisely matches their complexion. At this age, rely on cover sticks and tinted moisturizers rather than foundation to camouflage imperfections and even out skin tone.
Colors. This is the one time in a girl’s life when shimmer and sparkles are age-appropriate. “Experiment with natural, sheer colors in products for your eyes, cheeks, and lips,” Brown says. Look for pretty pastels, and stay away from shades that are too strong or matte.
Skin. Girls are never too young to start learning about skin care, especially if they’re spending a lot of time on the soccer or softball fields. Not every teen needs an eye cream, Brown says, but be sure to wash your face, use sunscreen, and—if needed—apply moisturizer daily.
Go-To Products. Brown says nothing is more valuable than black mascara. But teens should also stick to multi-purpose products, like Shimmer Bricks or blush sticks, which can be naturally blended on cheeks and eyes with your fingers.
Balance. If you’re daring enough to sport something bold on your face, keep the rest of your makeup simple. Pair smoky eyes with pale pink lip gloss and blush, or red lipstick with a neutral shadow and black mascara. Reserve your more dramatic looks for special occasions.