Bobbi Brown’s educational background is in theatrical makeup, but you wouldn’t guess that from the natural-looking, ready-to-wear eponymous makeup brand that made her famous—Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. Brown started the makeup company in 1991, when ten natural-shade lipsticks under the brand “Bobbi Brown Essentials” first appeared at luxury retailer Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. Since then, Brown has taken her brand to the highest levels, and she remains CEO of her company.Brown, whose book Pretty Powerful: Beauty Stories To Inspire Confidence (Chronicle Books) comes out in October and who is a proud resident of Montclair, NJ, opened up to HudsonMOD about her beauty must-haves—who doesn’t love a Birkin bag?—and her expert advice about keeping skin youthful.
To me, the hallmarks of true luxury are things that are well made, classic and timeless, like a Louis Vuitton trunk.
What’s the one makeup item no woman should ever be without?
Concealer. It’s the secret of the universe instantly making you look less tired and more refreshed. I like to apply it first because I find that once I’ve put on my concealer, I oftentimes don’t need to apply as much makeup as I originally thought. When it comes to spending money on makeup, I always think it’s best to invest in products like concealer and foundation, as they set the base for the rest of your makeup.
What’s your must-have accessory?
My new cross-body Birkin bag. It was a gift from the president of my company (also a dear friend) for my birthday. It’s brown, which is one of my favorite colors, and I love that it’s a cross-body. When you’re constantly on the go, it’s nice having your arms free.
Tell me about Montclair.
Montclair is a great place to live. It has so much culture and is such a big community with great restaurants, shopping, gyms and concert venues. There are people of all ages, races, backgrounds and walks of life who live there, creating even more of an eclectic vibe. It’s like a mini New York City.
How often are you confused with the other Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston’s ex-husband?
All the time—especially by men! I’m used to it now, but in the beginning of my career, I used to have to say, “Hi. I’m Bobbi Brown, the makeup artist not the rapper.”
Tell us one thing American women are doing wrong about skin care?
I think the one thing that American women are doing wrong to keep their skin looking youthful is getting too much plastic surgery. It looks unnatural and actually makes women look older when they’ve done too much. One thing all women should be doing, and surprisingly are not doing, is moisturizing. It’s so important for women to wear a moisturizer with SPF in it each and every day to protect their skin from the sun, but also to provide your face with the essential nutrients it needs. A trick? To plump up the skin on your face and create a dewy, youthful glow, layer your moisturizers. Start with a lightweight, hydrating lotion and then layer on top of it a heavier balm to lock the moisture into the skin.
Talk a little about your new book.
For 21 years, I’ve listened to the stories of women I’ve met in my makeup chair. I’ve listened to their conflicts, their successes, their tragedies and what they’ve had to overcome. I was inspired to write the book because I wanted to join these women together and start conversations that would inspire other women to feel better about themselves.