Makeup mogul Bobbi Brown on her first Mumbai store and why her make-up is best on Indian skin.
From producing just 10 shades of lipstick in 1990, you now have almost 40 stores worldwide. How has the journey been?
When I first started the brand, I had no idea that it would be this successful. Today, I retain creative control at Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and work two days a week from our office in SoHo, a trendy neighborhood in New York, and the rest of the time I work at our studio in Montclair, New Jersey. The plan for the future is to continue to develop effective skincare that uses only modern technology.
How did you choose to make natural skin-tone make-up — yellow-based foundation — when the beauty business was all about colour?
After graduating from college with a degree in theatrical make-up design, I headed to New York to fulfill my dream of working as a professional make-up artiste. It was the ’80s and the look of the moment was loud, garish and overdone. I soon became frustrated by the lack of flattering make-up in the market. A chance meeting with a chemist at a magazine photo-shoot changed that. I had an idea to develop a flattering lipstick, and it became a reality with the creation of Brown Lip Color. Nine other brown-based lipstick shades followed.
There are several excellent make-up companies around today, but few of them have a commitment to quality like you. Why is this no-compromise rule so important for you?
Before we launch a product, I always make sure to test it out myself. I’m a real woman who’s balancing a career, family, exercise and I want to make sure that my products work.
Your Pretty Powerful range is aimed at empowering women economically. Why is this cause close to you?
In 2010, I started a campaign that documents inspiring stories of real women — my friends, neighbours and co-workers. I want to show women that there isn’t just one definition of beauty. The campaign is about being comfortable in your own skin, knowing what’s important to you, and doing what makes you happy.
You’ve opened your fourth store in India in as many years, have you met many Indian women?
I have yet to travel to India but I’ve met many Indian women in New York at shoots, dinner parties and on the street. A couple of years ago, I worked with a young Indian woman who worked as a hostess at one of my favorite restaurants in Montclair, New Jersey, where I live. She was smart and pretty and had great style. What I particularly love about India women is that they share my Pretty Powerful philosophy of less is more.
How do your make-up products cater to Indian women?
We offer skin-tone correct shades of foundation for the most natural look. Foundation is meant to even out skin tone, not create a new one. We also offer a wide variety of formulas from tinted moisturisers and stick foundation, to liquid foundation, and mineral powders. It’s important to choose one that is right for skin type (dry or oily), personal style and has a consistency.
Five beauty items that Indian women must use everyday
Moisturiser: When skin isn’t well moisturised, it looks dull, tired, and older than it really is. It also ensures that concealer
and foundation go on smoothly.
Concealer: Concealer is the secret of the universe. Yellow-based concealers are designed to lighten darkness under your eyes and make you look as if you’ve had eight hours sleep when you’ve only had five.
Foundation: It should look like skin, not make-up. Skin Foundation Stick is my favorite formula.
Blush: The right shade enhances the skin tone, makes the eyes look brighter, and gives the face a lift.
Mascara: Black mascara for eyes that stand-out.