The makeup guru’s next move is all about inner beauty
Nearly thirty years ago, with an unstoppable drive and, incidentally, ten brown-based shades of lipstick, Bobbi Brown launched her namesake cosmetics label in Bergdorf Goodman. Her simple approach to beauty quickly revolutionized the industry— which was at the time oversaturated with boldly iconic 80’s shades— by bringing to the market a range of lipsticks inspired by natural lip colors. Since then, Bobbi Brown has expanded to encompass a full line of both skincare and makeup centered around modernity, and established itself as a leading name in the industry. Brown found her niche and filled it, and she has not stopped inventing since.
With growth comes inevitable change— a loss of footing and voice in Brown’s case— and after almost three decades of nurturing her eponymous brand, Bobbi Brown announced earlier this year that she would be departing. “The brand was my baby,” Brown explains, “and my colleagues were my family for 27 years. I was ready to be the boss again, be in charge, take chances and start something new.”
Brown’s decision to part ways with her now Estee-Lauder-owned cosmetics brand was no doubt a difficult one, yet she stands behind the fact that the timing, and her intuition, was right. “There is no road map or easy answer,” Brown says, “you have to be clever and know when you change directions.” Ambition is clearly something Brown has never lacked, and even after a milestone 60th birthday in April, her knack for business— and her latest ventures— are inspiringly contemporary.
Drawing on ideas from the thriving wellness industry, Brown unifies her penchant for beauty and her passion for health in her newest book, Beauty from the Inside Out, published in April. In the midst of the contour- and full-coverage-movements, Brown emphasizes that beauty ultimately comes from how you treat your body. “It’s simple,” Brown states, “your health shows on your face. If you take care of yourself—by eating the best quality foods possible, drinking a ton of water, and moving your body every day— it shows.” Her message not only echoes the very reason she launched her namesake cosmetics line, but resists the evolving conception of beauty constructed by social media.
“Focusing on looking and feeling your best all starts from what you put into and how you treat your body,” Brown says. “The pressures to achieve unobtainable levels of ‘beauty’ due to social media filters through plastic surgery, fad diets, and tons of makeup, are not sustainable or realistic.” Social media has undoubtedly altered the universal perception of beauty— from catalyzing extreme makeup trends to the explosion of FaceTune— promoting the idea that appearance, and a perfect one at that, is everything.
Yet beauty, to Brown, is not about hiding our “flaws” with makeup and filters— it is about being unapologetically true to ourselves. “So many women focus on what’s wrong, and not what’s right,” Brown states— a belief so in tune with her branding and approach to beauty from day one. “Beauty is confidence, and simply put, just feeling comfortable in your own skin,” Brown explains. “The most confident and beautiful women I know are the ones who make no apologies for who they are. They own it.”
Paralleling this unrepentant mindset, Brown is a dedicated advocate for women’s rights. “[Feminism] means supporting and empowering other women,” Brown states— and whether that be through her counterculture beauty mantra or her Pretty Powerful Campaign for Women & Girls, Brown’s magnanimity is truly refreshing. “I credit much of my success to the strong women I surround myself with,” Brown states— perhaps another reason why she so highly values giving back, and offering equal opportunity, to females around the world. Moving forward into her new business endeavors, Brown plans to keep this psyche at the forefront.
“I’m pretty open to a bunch of great opportunities,” Brown says, “[but] mostly starting a lifestyle brand that empowers women to lead a better life.” She has a range of projects in the works, from designing The George, a boutique lifestyle hotel in Montclair, to curating her Lord & Taylor-based concept shop, justBobbi, and creating a new content via Beauty Evolution and justBobbi.com. “I love what I do and love what I don’t know,” Brown says. “I’m curious, and open to what’s ahead.” Even with numerous decades of experience to work with, Brown keeps an open mind in both business and philanthropy.
With no plans for a work-free lifestyle anytime soon, Brown continues to look to the powerful figures around her, and her dedicated family, for daily inspiration. She’s driven by wholly unique individuals— specifically Bruce Weber, Yogi Berra, Susan Sarandon, Gloria Steinem, Jay Z and Ralph Lauren— to seek the motivation necessary to never stop doing what she loves. At the end of the day, Brown says what gives her the utmost sense of fulfillment is her family, and we can’t help but think they sing a similar tune about her.
“Life rarely goes according to plan,” Brown says. After launching a new business at an age most people consider retirement, Brown surely knows a thing or two about embracing new challenges and honing in on her passions. There is a pressure today for young people and millennials to strategize a career path early on— something Brown proves not completely necessary. “You need to be able to adapt and not be afraid of change,” Brown says. “The changing space around us is full of reinvention and opportunities.” Yet, regardless of industry or intent, Brown instructs, “Follow your passions and dreams, work really hard and be open,” and most importantly, “don’t be afraid—“ an eloquent practice Brown certainly embodies in all aspects of life.