This will be Bobbi Brown’s first visit to India, but her make-up line and reputation precedes her. At 61, Brown is one of the most successful women entrepreneurs who made a name for herself with her eponymous beauty line. In India, Brown will hold a make-up masterclass at the India Make Up Show, in Mumbai (April 12-13, at the Dome) and New Delhi (20 April, NSIC). She discusses the unreal beauty standards set by social media, how individuality triumphs trends and staying close to one’s skin. Excerpts:
Tell us your story, from being a make-up artist to starting a successful top-end beauty product line.
I fell in love with make-up and beauty as a young girl and decided to study make-up in college. I was a freelance make-up artist since 1980, living in the suburbs, and after starting a family, I realised that I didn’t want to travel for shoots; I wanted to create my own products. I launched my brand before there was social media, and magazines and TV shows really helped to drive growth.
In the early nineties, you started a natural skin tone and colour palette geared towards an almost ‘no make-up look’, as opposed to the bright hues in vogue then.
I wanted to show women how simple make-up could be. I designed a collection of lipsticks that actually looked like the colour of a woman’s lips and designed 10 brown-based shades that could be blended and mixed to create unique and individual hues. It was a simple concept but one that seemed revolutionary at the time. I was always a fan of the natural look that put healthy, glowing skin first.
In this era of globalisation, where trends in New York and Paris find mass implementation, are we losing the essence of individualism?
I’ve love seeing people put their own take on a trend. Whether it’s statement lipstick or glossy lids, there is always a way to make a trend feel fresh. I think there are a lot of brands and make-up artists who focus on celebrating individuality, so it’s never completely lost.
Last year, we saw women in South Korea throw away their make-up to challenge the high standards set for beauty in their society. Don’t you think make-up brands, at times, perpetuate unreal beauty standards?
The filters and retouching we see on social media set up unattainable ideas of beauty and can encourage the comparison game, which can impact people’s self-esteem. It’s important to remember that a lot of what you see isn’t real. If you find yourself feeling bad while looking at someone’s Instagram, remind yourself that what you are looking at is more art than reality. At the same time, there are so many brands and celebrities that celebrate individuality and speak out against the perfection we see on social media. These are the people worth following.
Make-up brands appeal to a working woman’s sense of ‘identity’. Your comments?
I see make-up as something you use to enhance your natural features because it makes you feel good, not because you’re trying to fit someone else’s ideal.
What is the next big thing?
I expect to see skin. Sheer colours and looking more healthy overall, but still with a glow and luminosity. Ethical brands will emerge as a direct result of the concept of beauty from the inside out.