Boots Seventeen is closing and we’re gutted

Photo: Boots Seventeen advert from the 80's

The cult make-up brand, which introduced fun, accessible beauty to the pocket-money market, is being discontinued

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By Frankie Graddon on

Eight weeks ago came the sad news that Claire’s Accessories – home to the fluffy hair scrunchy – had shuttered. It came just after reports confirmed that Toys R Us was also closing stores. As they say, two’s company, three’s a trend and today The Pool office has learnt that Boots Seventeen, the cult 90s make-up brand, has been discontinued. Which, for anyone whose teen years were made up of getting the bus to HMV, buying tops from Bay Trading and wearing hair mascara, is very sad news.

Making the formal announcement at the start of this year, the brand posted the following message on Instagram:

“All good things must come to an end and today, SEVENTEEN is one of them. Over the next few months we’ll be available @bootsuk online & in-store while stocks last but once it’s gone, its gone.”

It then went on to announce that Boots would be holding a clearance sale, with several pieces up to 70 per cent off. “We know this is going to be emosh… grab your favourites before they sell out.”

Emosh indeed. Seventeen, or 17 as it was known way back when, was one of the first beauty brands that offered fun, bright, accessible make-up at a pocket-money-friendly price. Launched in the 80s with the tagline “Make yourself nice for a real low price”, the nail polishes and lipsticks in mini sizes and “at mini-sized prices” introduced the idea that one could “change your colour to suit your mood”. During the 90s, its message that “It’s not make-up… it’s ammunition” saw purple lipsticks and rainbow-bright eyeshadows fill the shelves as tweens, teens and twentysomethings used the brand as a playground for affordable beauty experimentation. With the YouTubing selfie age came a different demand for make-up, and Seventeen lost out to newer, whizzier brands with Insta-friendly packaging. Launched last year, Boots’ millennial-focused CYO brand is set to fill the gap that Seventeen once served.

But, for many of us, the departure of Seventeen is a tug on the nostalgic heartstrings.

My first foray into make-up was via Seventeen, by way of a pale yellow eyeshadow swatch called Banana Split.  

For Pooler Jade, it was “white eyeshadow and white nail polish, because I was OBSESSED with Angelina Jolie in Hacker”, while Deb recalls “Pinking Shear lippy” as one of her first purchases.

Lucy remembers spending “hours trying out all the tester pots” in her local Boots branch and cites “the fake tan (watery stuff you put on with cotton wool), bright blue eyeliner and a frosted pink lipstick called Twilight Teaser” as her beauty staples.

With products on shelves until the summer, if you want an excuse to buy one last piece of beauty history, then here it is, courtesy of Pooler Amy Jones: “Seventeen Stay Pout Lipstick in Date Night is still my favourite, my go-to, for a red day. It has been for five years. It goes on well, doesn't cake or flake or go chalky, lasts ages. I am going to bulk-buy them, because it's a huge part of my life and I CAN'T LET IT GO.”

RIP Seventeen. You will be missed.


Photo: Boots Seventeen advert from the 80's
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