Bobbi Brown needs no introduction. She is a force, with a globally successful business (that she started out of her home) and several beauty books under her belt. If that isn't enough, she's recently taken on the role of Editor in Chief at Yahoo Beauty. We had the privilege of spending a day with her at her beach house, where we learned about how she works, lives, and entertains. Despite all of her success, and how intimidating it makes her seem, she is easy to talk to, gracious, and one of the most inspiring people we've had the pleasure of meeting.
What are some new things you’re working on (that you’re allowed to tell us about)?
Yahoo Beauty is a new project I’ve been doing, and officially we’ve launched three months, so I’ve been doing it for four. It’s a work in progress. What I love about it is it’s a combination of images and inspirational stories, teaching women to be confident and feel good about themselves, and how to put their makeup on, and how to live really healthy lives. That’s been really fun, and very creative. At Bobbi we’re currently working with Kate Upton. Everything at Bobbi is about confidence and learning how to be your best self.
How does being the Editor in Chief at Yahoo Beauty compare to being the woman in charge of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics?
I see it as an extension of what I do, which is storytelling, but now at Yahoo Beauty I get to do it on a bigger scale, and I get to interview a lot of incredible women and men I wouldn’t necessarily be talking to just on the brand. And I have this great team who deals with products, so I don’t deal with competitive products. I really don’t touch makeup at this Yahoo Beauty job, which is kind of cool.
What’s the process like when you decide on a new collection?
When I start thinking about the season -- and now because our brand is getting so big and we are part of a very big portfolio of brands, and we are required to do things earlier than what I was used to -- we have to think about it really far in advance, and often it changes while we’re doing it. Normally it’s a thought or a feeling, it could be tied to a reform -- like we just reformulated all of our blushes, it was a chance to make them very clean, and I realized how much I love that healthy glow on the skin so we did a whole season about flushed colors. Another fall we talked about gorgeous browns, and so we went to Dean and Deluca and bought chocolate, every color chocolate we could think of, and we did The Chocolate Collection. Other times we listen to market requests and figure out how to make it very Bobbi.
What do you think is a common mistake people make when putting on makeup?
I think a lot of women don’t understand that makeup can be used to make you look like you’re not wearing it. The right concealer is everything, the right foundation should not look like foundation, and I think when women try to cover up things they don’t like, that’s a mistake. I prefer looking at someone without makeup. As a matter of fact, I watched Modern Family last night and there was a scene where Gloria was striking against her husband, and she came out with no makeup on, and I've got to tell you how good she looked. He referred to her looking washed out, and you know, “you can’t go out like that,” but she looked so adorable with no lipstick on and just kind of a no makeup look -- I’m sure she had some makeup on, but nothing apparent -- and I thought it was so flattering on her.
Is there any kind of universal instant fix?
There’s a lot, honestly. The right moisturizer gives you that amazing glow, people look great with the right shimmer brick on their cheek, we came out with a CC cream that has just enough highlighter in it. I personally like subtle things, I think they look the best.
What are your favorite beauty products, and the extra steps (if any) that make you feel especially polished?
My tinted moisture balm, because it’s three things in one and I’m always in a rush. It’s a moisturizer, a foundation, and a sunscreen, so I can put it on and I’m finished. And then I couldn’t be anywhere, ever, without my corrector, not just concealer. And honestly, the older I get, I need definition, so a dark brown shadow -- line your eyes, fill in your eyebrows, put it in your hair between touch ups. And black black black mascara, and maybe a pencil, it really does make a big difference. I often don’t wear lipstick.
What are your wardrobe staples? Your treasured pieces?
I pretty much organized and cleaned out my wardrobe and figured out what really works on me and what doesn’t. I figured out it’s good to have a couple sizes of your favorite clothes because some days you wake up and think “wow, I’ve lost weight,” and other days you wake up and think “what did I eat last night?” I’m pretty much down to my favorite jeans, I do everything around my jeans, my AG’s, the thin pencil ones with a little bit of stretch. I mean, I’ve worn them to the White House, I wear them at the beach, my jeans are a staple. If you look at my closet, you see a lot of sneakers, that’s the majority. My high heels, which I wear when I’m being photographed, or when I’m getting honored. And I am a fan of platforms, I buy as many platforms as I can get. My dream is to be 5’2”, I’m five foot, so…
So my other staples. I’m in love with anything Celine. I’ve been investing in a couple silk shirts, a couple sweaters, a couple handbags, and then I fill it in with J. Crew, and I love Zara. And Jewelry. I’m a huge jewelry person. My jewelry drawer at home is primarily Ted Meuhling — all the different pearls and necklaces. And then I have the kids’ charms I wear a lot [points to charm necklace], they are from Helen Ficalora, and then I have some vintage heads I found. Right in the middle of all the kids I have peace sign, for me.
What are the extra fancy things you splurge on?
Well, the jewelry is always a gift from my husband. I think my splurges are either Saint Laurent or Celine, and those are the pieces I never give away. I clean out my closet quite often and give things out. I also realized my colors. I am rich colors -- I do navy, I do dark chocolate, I do black, I do that maroon color that’s really popular, and I do white in the summer. Powder blue, pink -- I’ve given up trying. And no light gray, I can do really dark slate gray.
What are some special pieces/objects in your home?
These Crate and Barrel couches are probably the most comfortable thing in the world and in our normal life in this house, every couch is filled. It’s my three sons, my two nephews, my husband, girlfriends, it’s a lot of young people. We always have a two hour dinner that we all cook together. We don’t go out here. And then there’s some sports game, or some movie, and a bunch of tequila involved. It’s always really fun here.
What’s your tequila of choice?
I have two. I have Casamigos, which is owned by George Clooney. I also have Casa Dragones, which is a fine sipping tequila, but that is for very special occasions. And I do Tito’s vodka. I go back and forth.
What's your favorite way to entertain?
My favorite way to entertain is really casual. I entertain here at the beach a lot and usually it’s local. What I love about where I am at the beach is it’s very low-key, there’s really not much to do, and we have a couple good friends down here. It’s just fun for my friends and me to hang with our kids, and now that our kids are in their twenties, it’s really fun.
Name a favorite travel destination, and some noteworthy places there.
There are so many, but Paris, of course. That’s one of my favorites. I love going to the Tuileries Gardens, for sure. It’s not a place, but I seek out the best steak tartare, that’s always my plan. Last time I was there I stayed at the Hôtel Costes but what I loved mostly was the meals there, it’s very people-seeing. And I love the flea market.
What do you never travel without -- the objects, products, and rituals that make your travel experiences more enjoyable.
I never travel without my small electronics -- my iPad, my phone -- never. And I never travel without my fanny pack. I have a Prada fanny pack that my kids make fun of me for, but when I travel, it’s so fantastic because I just put everything in it and it’s just easy. Usually when I travel, my husband and I wake up in the morning, we put our sneakers on, and we don’t come back until dinner. We see the city, we walk the city, we get our exercise, we eat long lunches, stop at museums, and we don’t look chic. We look comfortable. I have to work on it because we often stop into my stores and if it’s hot in the summer I’ve got, you know, little shorts on and I don’t look chic. I have to work on my casual wear.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Oh my god, I have so much advice to my younger self, it’s not even funny. I would tell her first of all, continue with the weights, it’s not all about aerobics. Build as much muscle as you can in your body. Do a lot of yoga. Learn how to breathe. And don’t be so hard on yourself.
If you weren't doing this, what do you think you would be doing?
If I wasn’t doing this, I think I would either be a nutritional coach or a healthy food entrepreneur. I still see a hole in the market, and I still think someone’s got to come up with the right vitamins that you can eat, whether it’s in a potato chip form or a candy bar. I often carry my vitamins with me all day long and if it was something you could eat, it would be easier.