When it comes to ladybosses, there isn’t anyone that embodies the title quite as beautifully as Bobbi Brown. Her story is now one of beauty industry lore, having sold her line of 10 natural lip colors to Bergdorf Goodman after sitting next to the buyer at a dinner party and later selling her company to industry behemoth Estee Lauder. Following her gut and going against the bold colors of the 80s, Brown was the pioneer of the “no makeup makeup” look that made her a household name. In addition to being a world renowned makeup artist and founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, Brown is also the author of eight NY Times Bestselling books. Her latest book, Beauty from the Inside Out is a gorgeous, colorful how-to guide, full of tips and tricks that Bobbi herself has picked up over her years in the industry covering makeup (of course!), wellness and developing personal confidence. With access to some of the wellness industry’s leading experts, Brown shares her secrets to leading a beautiful life and feeling great while doing it. Read on…
You have written eight best-selling books. What inspired your latest book, Beauty from the Inside Out?
I’ve been a health nut since I was in my early 20s, but I was always on and off some new program. I’ve tried and followed them all, and what I learned is that every plan is not for every person. It’s about maintaining a healthy balance to fit your lifestyle. I wrote this book as a journalist interviewing experts and women who have also discovered health and wellness as a bridge to beauty.
You are a champion of every women, no matter what their nationality and while you were running your company, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, you engaged in several inclusive campaigns. Your mantra “Be Who You Are” and your “Pretty Powerful” campaign is a testament to this. Was it difficult to convince corporate America to follow your lead and how did you do so?
I have always followed my heart and did what I thought to be right. I knew developing campaigns to help women feel more confident was something people could get behind. It’s what I believe in, and what I want to celebrate. We all want to feel good, look good, and be respected. While we all have insecurities and frustrations, the secret is to move on and be comfortable and confident in your own skin.
You started your line by creating a line of “no makeup, makeup,” which highlighted a woman’s natural beauty instead of camouflaging it. What are your thoughts on what young girls perceive as beautiful today? Can you give any advice to moms who are starting to talk to their daughters about self-perception, confidence and beauty?
As a kid, I spent too much time trying to look like other people. Years later, I would be on sets with models from all over the globe, and surrounded by cool, chic editors, stylists, etc. I realized I could not go through my life fixating on what I was not. My advice to kids today is to be who you are, and focus on what’s right and not what’s wrong. With social media being as prevalent as it is today, it’s important to understand that filters, and retouching, and the unattainable ideas for beauty that we are surrounded by, affect your self-esteem. Follow inspirational women who rock their individuality and see their imperfections as assets, instead of flaws. And celebrate you.
My greatest advice for those who are starting their own business is to never give up.
You are the ultimate “lady boss”, having started your company from your home and building it into mega-brand that it is today. What is your advice for women wanting to start their own business?
I could never have imagined that the line I started with ten lipsticks, would grow into what it became. That being said, I’m blessed by being able to start another company. My rules, and my way.
My greatest advice for those who are starting their own business is to never give up. And never take no for an answer. I think of the word ‘no’ as an opportunity because when one door closes, it just means you need to find another way in.
What is your philosophy as a business woman and as a boss?
My philosophy is to work hard, be open and try new things. I expect my team to do the same.
You left the helm of your company at the end of last year. What has been the biggest surprise since leaving?
I never imagined how good it feels to let go of things that I didn’t even realize were making me unhappy. It is so much fun and so interesting to do things my own way.
We know that confidence comes from within and that translates into beauty. How do you boost your confidence and project positivity on the daily?
By realizing that confidence comes from being comfortable with who you are. I find drinking water, listening to my body, and moving it every day, allows me to be comfortable and confident.
I accept myself for exactly who I am. And I am married to a great man and have a great team of people that work for me. Surrounding yourself with people who build you up and are there when you need them, is everything.
What is the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of beauty?
Once on a shoot, I realized I didn’t have any eyeliner. I used my mascara to line my eyes. It lasted all day, and inspired me to create one of my best-selling products at the brand, Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner.
You include a chapter in your book called, Beauty Breakthroughs. Which of these breakthroughs are you most excited about?
The laser treatments that are available. They are non-invasive procedures that tone, firm and even out your skin, without altering your looks. Laser treatments give you fresher, clearer, plumper, and smoother skin.
I knew developing campaigns to help women feel more confident was something people could get behind.
You’ve spent most of your career helping women look beautiful on the outside but half of your new book talks about what you put on the inside. If you could inspire each one of us to take away three new habits to practice self-care, what would it be?
I know it’s old news and you’ve heard it before but, drink more water. Try adding a pinch of Himalayan Sea Salt to your water so that your body absorbs even more of it.
Move your body, every day. Even if it means just taking a brisk walk to get your heart rate up. It will give you more energy and give your face a natural flush.
Get rest. You have to replenish yourself in order to look and feel your best. There is a direct link between stress and beauty. That means taking time for yourself to restore so you can be more energized and productive.
What’s your beauty secret/obsession right now?
Moisturizing. Nothing plumps up the skin like a great moisturizer which will also leave your skin looking dewy and fresh. I like layering two, one on top of the other. I start with a lightweight, hydrating lotion and then pat a thicker, denser balm over it to lock in moisture. I am kind of interested in micro-blading but waiting to learn more about it. And who doesn’t secretly obsess over all of the fat reduction lasers?
What is your morning routine? Evening routine?
After two cups of warm water when I wake up, I have an espresso with a splash of coconut powder, while I read the news. I like to work out right after. Then, I have a shake that is packed full of vitamins/nutrients, fiber, and protein, which gives me the strength I need for my day. My snacks throughout the day consist of protein-packed foods like almonds and hard boiled eggs that will be sure to keep my energy level up. For lunch, I eat quinoa, protein and avocado; Foods that contain healthy fats are a great way to nourish your body and keep you fuller, longer. Dinner is usually a combination of fresh vegetables and a lean protein, plus a tequila, or vodka on the rocks.
Do you have any daily mantras or affirmations?
Whenever I get overwhelmed I try to remember to ‘just breathe’. I also say, ‘I got this’ a lot.
How would you spend a perfect day in New York City?
After a SoulCycle class, I take a quick shower, get a blow-out and then see my boys for breakfast. Then, I like to walk The Highline, and go shopping or visit a museum before eating dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, like Balthazar.
Your life has been full of incredible accomplishments, experiences and talented people. If you could choose just one lesson you have learned to pass on, what would it be?
Treat everyone with kindness and respect. It doesn’t matter if you’re speaking to the President of the United States, or someone that works at your local grocery store, you have to treat everyone like you’d like to be treated.
Food photo by Sarah Elliott
3 pearls of wisdom
Lead by example, sometimes they don’t listen but they do watch.
Spend alone time with each of your children, and especially your partner.
Enjoy every moment. It goes way too fast!