‘The truth is we are all basically the same’

Anjali Jhangiani
Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Make-up expert Bobbi Brown, who is on her maiden visit to India, talks about her concept of beauty, inclusivity in the industry and so on

Bobbi Brown must not have coined the phrase ‘less is more’ but she sure did express it in her work. At a time when everyone was using bright colours on their faces to stay in vogue, this make-up artist took a 180-degree turn from this trend and came up with a range of nude lipsticks with the help of her chemist friend in New York. And today, top make-up artists swear by her brand. 

The founder and ex-COO of her eponymous brand, Bobbi Brown, will be visiting the country to participate in the India Make Up Show curated by Brothers Incorporated to provide a platform for people in the industry to network, educate themselves and inspire each other. 

“I am teaching a class on make-up technique and sharing my story of becoming a make-up artist,” says Brown as she talks about her upcoming trip. Since it’s her maiden visit, she has a list of things she wants to experience. “I can’t wait to see everything — the food, the people and all historical sites. I’m really looking forward to eating at Bombay Canteen. My friend Floyd Cardoz owns the restaurant. And of course, go to the Taj Mahal,” she adds. 

Tips from the top
The expert believes that everyone has a different routine for doing their daily make-up and it is all about personal preference. “I’ve always been a minimalist myself. I usually do my own make-up in 10 minutes or less. My basic routine is a little black eyeliner, a coat of mascara, and a touch of blush. It adds a little more definition and colour to a nude face. You’ll look healthy, natural and ready to go,” she says.

Buying make-up can be tricky too, but Brown breaks it down for you. “Hydrated skin is the key to your make-up looking its best. Test products where you’ll actually be using them. You won’t know you’ve found the right foundation shade from a swatch on your hand. If you want it to look natural, you have to try it first,” she says. 

Talking about hot trends this summer, she says, “Sheer colours will give your skin a glow and luminosity. But the trend is to have more healthy looking skin overall. And more clean brands will be emerging as a direct result of the concept of beauty from the inside out.”

Brown recently launched a new line of supplements from her mass production brand Evolution_18. “It’s all designed to target your beauty concerns and we are partnering with one of the largest retailers in America. We have an effervescent tablet made with hyaluronic acid to boost your skin’s moisture. 

There’s a collagen and protein powder that benefits hair, skin, and nails, and also gives you energy. It’s all about supporting beauty from the inside out. All of the products are available on evolution18.com and at Walmart stores in the United States. I am also back in the studio creating and curating content for my online magazine www.justbobbi.com as a working make-up artist,” says she, adding, “I am creating content around my podcast Long Story Short and working on curating new experiences for our guests at our hotel The George in Montclair, New Jersey.” 

Inclusivity in the beauty industry
Brown believes that inclusivity means going beyond just adding a few more shades to the palette. “I became a make-up artist in the heart of the fashion industry where models were emerging from all over the world and I understand what it took to include a range for all skin colours and textures. I hope all brands are discovering that you can’t just put the bestsellers in. You need something for everyone. And it goes beyond having an expanded shade range. You have to represent diverse voices through campaigns and on social media, and also consider them when you’re running a focus group and collecting feedback. Just because you have 55 shades of foundation, doesn’t mean you’ve solved the bigger problem of inclusivity,” she says. 

With millennials more woke than previous generations about equality, body shaming, and other such issues, the concept of beauty is moving beyond the conventional stereotype. As a beauty expert, what is Brown’s take on shaming women/ men who aren’t conventionally ‘beautiful’ and don’t try to fit into this category? “I have always believed in individual beauty. It’s not about someone else’s ideals, but about being healthy, happy, and unique that makes someone beautiful. Find your own style and appreciate who you are. The truth is we are all basically the same. We want to feel good, look good, and be loved. 

People often share with me not just their beauty issues, but also their insecurities and frustrations. While we all have insecurities, and it feels cathartic to talk about them, the secret is to move on. When you stop fighting yourself and society, you can then let go. The most confident and attractive people I know are the ones who are comfortable in their own skin. They make no apologies for who they are. My advice is always to be who you are,” she says. 

With the rise of the beauty-conscious males, who no longer need to feel ashamed of stocking their cabinet with beauty products, cosmetic brands have a whole new category of customers to attend to. Sharing tips on how males can work on their make-up, Brown says, “I’m not a huge fan of make-up on men, especially when you can see it. That being said, a little well-applied concealer can work if it looks natural. My father wears a gel bronzer that makes him look healthy, but doesn’t sit on the skin. Find natural looking products and from there you can add in statement colours and products that make you feel your best.” 

Making companies more adaptable to the gender fluidity of their customer base is vital in the current environment. Sharing tips on how to do this, Brown says, “It’s important to recognise your customer base and be open to sharing their unique voices. Maybe you feature them on your Instagram, work on a product collaboration or film a how-to video together. You have to acknowledge the people who are making your business successful, it’s the only way you’ll continue to grow.”

ST Reader Service
The India Make-Up Show will be hosted at Dome in Mumbai on April 12 and 13, and at Hotel Pullman in New Delhi on April 20

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