What a way to start the day. Fifteen minutes with Ms. Bobbi Brown, a legend in the beauty world (and a serious contender for the title of Queen of the Natural Makeup Look). Whenever I wear Bobbi Brown cosmetics, I feel put-together, ya know? But never over the top.
This morning I spoke with Bobbi over the phone about the hottest new spring and summer makeup trends, some of her favorite makeup tips, tricks and products (among them, her secret to glowing skin, which — here’s a hint — involves vegetables) and her new book, Pretty Powerful Beauty Stories, available this fall.
The following is an interview with Bobbi Brown, Chief Creative Officer of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.
What are some of the hottest makeup trends this spring and summer, and your favorite ways to wear them?
For the spring, we’ve seen a lot of neon and nude looks, which are basically nude shades that we saw on the runways, but to make them kind of trendy, more trendy than modern, we paired them with a very bright neon lip.
We had, and I have to say “had,” [a neon lipstick] called Atomic Orange [it's sold out now], which I’ve heard you can only get online at eBay for over $100 because it was such a big hit. I’m sure we’ll eventually bring it into the line because people loved it so much. But we also have [Neon Pink], and that, I believe, is still on counter. So that’s definitely one really big look.
Bobbi’s Ultra Nude palette, from the Neons & Nudes collection
Bronzy nudes and pinks are going to be really big in the summer. You start with bronzer first to give a nice warm glow, and then add a little bit of shimmering pink on top of it. Maybe add a little bit of sparkle on the eyelids, but keep it to two parts of the face for the sparkle. So if [the sparkle] is on the eyes and cheeks, don’t put it on your lips and your nails, or it will just be overkill.
With warm weather around the corner, do you have any tips or tricks to get the look of flawless skin?
Corrector Concealer is a great way to get rid of dark circles, and our Corrector Concealer is actually long wear. We didn’t design it that way, but our testing shows that it’s an 8-hour long wear, which is incredible. Particularly when you put powder on top of it. That’s the secret. It locks it in place and stays on all day. That’s number one.
Number two, if you do have a blemish, make sure you cover it up, not with a concealer, because that would be too light, but with a touch-up stick or a foundation stick in the color of your skin. So you touch that up, put powder on top of it, and that will last most of the day.
I usually just take it out of the stick, put it right on top, and then use my finger when I’m on the go. Certainly, if you use it with a brush, it’s much more precise, but you could do it either way.
A few of Bobbi’s limited edition Long-Wear Cream Eyeshadows from 2010′s Beach Club collection
On days when I have to get up at 5 a.m. for the Today Show and do a black tie at night, I absolutely go to my Long-Wears, and I barely have to touch-up in the evenings.
What’s the best way to prevent concealer from creasing and settling in fine lines?
I recommend using a hydrating eye cream, and the reason, because it’s really hydrating, so it’s wet, so it will absorb and leave a very smooth finish on your skin, but it won’t be too greasy wher the concealer kind of wears off.
Often, on days when I haven’t had enough water the night before, or had an extra cocktail at dinner, and I’m drier the next day, I’ll put on my concealer, and I’ll look in the mirror and say, “Uh oh.” I’ll take a touch of eye cream and put it on top, and it works just as well.
What’s the secret to your beautiful skin?
I was complimented on that same thing this morning after a spinning class by two girls who were literally five years younger than me, and they looked at me and said, “Okay, what cream are you using?” And I said, “I gotta be honest, as much as I think I make the best cream, it’s not the answer.”
I swear, the answer is that I’ve really cleaned up my diet, and the majority of my foods are fruits and vegetables, and it helps my skin.
It’s not an overnight thing. I’ve been slowly changing my eating habits. Where I used to be, like 80% good, now I’m kind of 95% good. The 5% I go off, it’s usually for things like a martini, dark chocolate, pizza — pizza’s probably the worst thing, but I just don’t do it that much because it’s not worth it to me. But it takes time to make changes.
How do you feel about women over 40 wearing brighter colors?
You want the truth? The truth is, I love bright colors, and I wear neon t-shirts and neon scarves, but I will not wear neon makeup. I find that when someone of a certain age wears bright colors, it isn’t modern.
I prefer a bright pink over a fuchsia. I think there are ways to wear bright colors that aren’t extreme. I think that’s the difference.
When my son’s girlfriend, who is 21 or 22 years old, wears [Neon Pink] and nothing else on her face, she just looks absolutely adorable, like she just stepped out of a J. Crew catalogue. And that’s trendy and great.
But when someone my age wears it, because you have other makeup on your face, it almost doesn’t work as well.
But say you are older and want to explore bright makeup. What are some ways to wear brights successfully?
There are a few girls in my office who are very fashionable over 40, and they do wear bright colors. And the ones that look best, they’ve got concealer, corrector, maybe a very light foundation or tinted moisturizer, soft blush, and everything is very soft.
Bobbi’s Cosmic Pink (bottom) and Ultra Violet (top) lipglosses, from the Neons & Nudes collection
On their eyes, just Bone Eye Shadow and mascara, and then they put the bright lip on, and it looks really pretty. You’ve just got to make sure that the rest of your makeup is pretty natural.
For gals who like more natural, everyday polished looks, what are your must-have products?
If I had to choose five, I’d say concealer under the eyes; tinted moisturizer all over the face; a blush, because it just makes you look really pretty; an eyeliner, because that defines your eyes; and then just a little bit of a lipgloss.
What are some of your favorite Bobbi Brown products that you reach for over and over again?
My number one favorite product is Extra Balm, and it’s because my skin is really dry. And if I’m ever feeling kind of tired and run down, I put it on, and instantly I’m awake. It’s my biggest beauty secret, the moisturizer.
As far as blush, I love the Pale Pink Powder Blush. It’s easy, and it looks great on everybody, even though it’s super bright.
And I love Mahogany Eyeshadow, because I can use that to fill in my brows and line my eyes.
Last, Brown Lipstick, because it’s kind of a peachy nude, absolutely looks good on everybody, and it was the first thing I ever designed. It’s probably our number one selling lipstick.
Do you have any drugstore beauty favorites?
Always! I love Bullfrog sunscreen. I like to get brown Goody hair elastics, because they match my hair. I certainly buy old fashioned Chapstick from time to time. And I love Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soaps. That’s a great one.
Are there any current beauty trends that make you cringe?
Well, when I look at Women’s Wear Daily, and I see Fashion Week, sometimes, I just can’t believe that the designers or the makeup artists thought it was attractive to make people look so weird, like washed-out makeup, and over-strong eyebrows, without anything to balance the face. That certainly makes me cringe.
What exciting things do you have lined up for fall?
Well, first of all, if you haven’t seen it, I have a new blog, and it’s called Everything Bobbi. But my husband wants to rename it “Enough Bobbi” [laughs].
It’s literally every single thing that’s happened to me over the past six months. Pictures from the embassy, and how to do smokey eyes, different celebrities that I’ve met. That’s been really fun. I love blogging.
I’m also launching my newest book, Pretty Powerful Beauty Stories, which is based on our ad campaign, [the idea that] women look really pretty without makeup, but powerful with makeup. Women — both well-known and not — talk about what their issues are how they make them feel. Hopefully, it starts a lot of good conversations.
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,
P.S. Thanks so much for taking the time to chat, Bobbi!
P.P.S. Heads up, Bay Area Bobbi fans! Bobbi will be in the area next week, hosting a master makeup class at the Macy’s Valley Fair in San Jose, on Thursday, March 15. And after the class, her beauty team will be offering makeup lessons.
The class starts at noon, lasts an hour, and is open to the public. There is a pretty sizable $250 enrollment fee, but it’s redeemable in products, if you decide to go.
Need to stock up on any of your favorite products from the line (Bobbi Brown Beach perfume, anyone)? Could be a good opportunity to pick up some new products and some valuable tips and tricks from Bobbi herself.
If you can’t make the master class, there will also be free lessons led by other members of the makeup team (no fee involved), the same day, March 15, from 11-5.
For appointments, call the Macy’s Valley Fair Bobbi Brown counter at (408) 248-3333.