Bobbi Brown

“I didn’t know I wanted to be a makeup artist until I went to college. Well, I went to three colleges. I graduated high school a semester early, went to University of Wisconsin, and then I went to University of Arizona, because that’s where all the Jewish kids went. After that, I transferred to Emerson College in Boston where I studied Theatrical Makeup and minored in Photography. And so I finished school there and stayed for a year and waitressed, and then I moved to New York. You know, the old story is I didn’t know anyone, but I picked up a Yellow Pages, and looked up models and agencies, and eventually I figured out how to become a makeup artist in fashion. I thought I was going to do makeup for movies, actually. But I did one movie—it was about teenage alcoholism, this kid kept getting bruised, so I had to do continuity shots. It was deadly for me to be focused on the same thing all the time. And I hated having the food all over the place while we would just sit there and wait! So that’s how I decided not to go into the movie business.

My first magazine actually was Vogue Advertising. I met some woman and she asked, ‘Can you do hair and makeup?’ And I said, ‘Oh yes.’ So I went to the store and bought every hair product I could think of—I do not know how to do hair. On the day of the shoot, the model showed up and she had this short hair. I was really lucky, because I would have been screwed! Buying expensive products or buying all the products doesn’t make you an expert. I thought that if you went to Bergdorf Goodman and bought the most expensive products that they would be the best. With the help of my dad—he gave me his credit card—I went and bought all this stuff. I got home, opened up all these beautiful boxes, and it looked awful. At the time, the style was like white skin, red lips, contouring…and I hated the way it looked. I wanted to do more natural-looking makeup. But I couldn’t find makeup that allowed me to do it easily. I would also go to theatrical makeup stores and buy Ben Nye foundation that was yellow and orange and red in order to fix the regular makeup I had. At some point, I discovered a yellow powder that actually fixed everything. To be honest, I wasn’t really a great makeup artist—I wasn’t one of these makeup artists who could transform a face. I just always had shortcuts to make things work because I loved it so much.

I did that for seven years until I reached my big goal, which was a Vogue cover. It was Naomi Campbell’s first cover, too. That same year, I got engaged. I was 30 and I realized because I was so happily in love with my husband that I really didn’t want to be a freelance traveling makeup artist anymore. So I kind of stopped doing those trips, I got pregnant, we moved to the suburbs in New Jersey…and I just got this idea. As a makeup artist, in order to prep for a shoot, I would have to literally lug bags and bags of stuff. Then I would lay it out on the floor and try to organize it and see, there’s 15 taupes! But you just need one. At that point, no one had done a great collection of edited, natural-looking makeup. Lipstick that just looked like lips didn’t exist. And one day, serendipitously, I met a chemist and I asked him to make me this lipstick I had been thinking of. I told him, I want to make the best red, the best orange, the best beige—and we did.

After we had produced a pretty small batch, I talked to a friend of mine who was a beauty editor at Mademoiselle, and she said, ‘Can I write about it?’ I thought, Why would you want to write about it? Now I know it’s called PR and Marketing. [Laughs] She did the story and we started getting phone calls. My husband would take the lipstick, put it in a manila envelope with a little sheet of paper with the ingredients and mail it to people. Then a friend of mine invited me to a party and I asked the hostess, ‘What do you do?’ She was a cosmetics buyer at Bergdorfs—so I pitched her. They were the first store to pick up the line.

We were in Bergdorfs and Neiman Marcus for four years when Leonard Lauder [then-Chief Executive at Estée Lauder] called. We weren’t for sale. But when he said, ‘What if I promised you that you could have total autonomy and do what’s important to you, which is raise your family, and do the fun things…’ I believed him. So we sold it! It’s been worth it 150%. We’ve been an Estée Lauder brand probably 21 years, and you know, just like any business, there’s good, bad and ugly, and tough, easy, great, but… if Mrs. Greenblatt from third grade, who gave me really bad grades in math, could see it, I’d be happy!

My number one favorite product—if I could only have one thing—would be Extra Balm. If I was that kind of a marketer I would call it youth in a jar. Because it’s like a miracle. And I really don’t like the term ‘ageless,’ but that’s not how I think of it. I’m much more about making sure that everyone has really good, even skin. I’m actually completely obsessed with a new product that’s not mine called the NuFace. It’s a handheld microcurrent tool that helps lift your face where you have signs of aging. It’s unbelievable and it works. I haven’t tried this yet, but someone I work with told me it works on hands, too. It’s great because I’m not somebody who believes in injectables at all. I think they make you look like you’ve injected something. Like, when do you stop? Where’s the line?

At night, I wash my face at night with Soothing Cleansing Oil, and I just rinse it off with water. It’s nice because if I’m too tired to put moisturizer on, I just don’t have to—the oil leaves a nice cushion. If my skin is super dry, I’ll put the Extra Balm on and I’ll put oil on top of it—I’ll layer. I don’t have to wash it off [in the morning], it’s just gone somewhere. But I’ll probably put on more moisturizer again.

We just launched masks and they’re awesome. I love the way they kind of crinkle in their tubes… You can either do them separately or you can do all three of them. Everyone’s nuts for Instant Detox, which is black and has Hawaiian sea water and clay. I love Skin Nourish, which is super moisturizing. I use it with the NuFace and barely have to wash it off when I’m done. And then there’s the Radiance Boost, too, which has walnut grains in it. It’s a scrub.

I almost always do my own makeup and never in the bathroom—I usually do it in the car. If I don’t do it in the car I do it at work. Sometimes I do it during the product development meetings. But whatever I do, I could do it without a mirror. There are different schools of thought on this, but I start with our Concealer and Corrector first because after that, I don’t necessarily need foundation. I use the shade that matches my skin exactly, which is Natural Tan. Then I have these products called Retouching—there’s a pencil and a powder—that literally make you look like you’ve been retouched. There’s six shades and it just evens things out, but you don’t look like you have any makeup on. I’ll draw the stick directly onto my skin, over my whole face. I don’t use a primer. I don’t like how they feel.

Our number one selling product is Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, which is a product category I 100% made up, from the name to the packaging. It all happened because I was in Telluride, Colorado, and someone was coming to shoot me for Architectural Digest. I went to do my makeup. And I opened my bag and realized, I have no eyeshadow, I have no brushes…but I have mascara! So I put mascara on, and because I wasn’t 22 anymore, I needed something else. When you get to a certain age, your eye shape is different. I feel like I need more to make me look awake. So I had this one waterproof mascara and I took a Q-tip, took off the fuzzy stuff, dipped it in the mascara, and I lined my eye. It worked so well! I did the shoot, and it was still on my eyes the next day because I had no eye makeup remover. So I called my head of product development, and I said, ‘Can you do me a favor and ask the lab if I did something really bad?’ She called back and said, ‘No, they said it’s OK because it has a gel base.’ Visually, I was thinking about what gel was, and I had this little inkwell on my desk that we’d been trying to turn into a product. I called her and said, ‘What if we pour this in to that inkwell, and what if we call it Gel Ink?’ And that’s how we discovered gel eyeliner.

In terms of color makeup, I think browns are the easiest for people to wear—but there are different types of brown. Personally, I like cool browns, but that doesn’t work for everyone. For instance, I have a bronzer that looks like the later afternoon sun in Telluride that I wear. But I had to make a special bronzer for my Rabbi’s daughter because she’s so white-skinned. It’s Aruba, and it’s kind of peachy for pale skin. Blush is also one of those things that you need to find your right color—and then it’s like a miracle. To find it, you pinch your cheeks and then look to match that. Mine is Sand Pink in the powder. I’ll usually switch to our Pot Rouge at the end of the day though, because it reminds me of my grandmother putting lipstick on her cheeks.

I usually don’t put anything on my lips. Instead of doing a lip if I’m going to an event, I’ll do a smoky eye with lots of sparkle—not shimmer. The difference is they’re bigger particles that are flat cut, and so they just look so cool. I always use three shadows—Brown Metal, Rock Star, and Slate. And then Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink and some Eye Opening Mascara.

My secret is that I have a big jar of Extra Balm from the lab that I use on my body. I’m not sure what that would cost, but it’s amazing. Or I’ll use this incredible-smelling body wash from Spain called Magno. When I take a bath, I love epsom salts, but they dry my skin out, so I scoop a ton of coconut oil into the bath too. I’ll just hang out in the tub and watch CNN. But God forbid you ever shave your legs in a coconut oil bath… You get such a bad ring around the tub that way. I shave my legs in the shower with our old Bobbi Brown Shaving Cream. It was discontinued but we’re bringing it back soon.

That’s the one thing where I don’t always wear my own. I wear Chanel No. 5 and Cristalle. The one in my brand I wear the most is Bobbi’s Party. It smells like Aunt Alice. I remember my Aunt Alice from Chicago… When she would get dressed up and go to a party, that’s what it smells like. And she loves it! She used to wear an old fashioned fragrance called Je Reviens… I’ve tried to buy it on the internet but they don’t make it anymore so it goes bad. And there’s a Tom Ford that I wear—Neroli Portofino. I mix it with patchouli and grapefruit and that makes a great combination.

I really love Oribe’s products. He actually did my hair for my wedding, but his products are amazing. I like to switch my shampoos in and out, so I also use Bumble and bumble. Right now my hair’s super, super dry, so I’m trying to hydrate it. I just found a conditioner called Olaplex, which is really good because I color my hair every two weeks. My hair is 100% white, and I’ve been grey since I was 25. Because of it, my hair is thinner than it used to be. To cover my roots or make my part look thicker, I use the Gel Eyeliner in Brown or the Natural Brow Shaper and Hair Touch Up when I need to. I find those easier than root sprays. And light goes right through powder—that’s why I hate HD!

So unlike how I do my makeup, I can’t do my own hair. I wash it almost everyday because I exercise everyday, and then I probably get it blown out three times a week. And I always feel so much better after that. I would love to be able to curl my own hair to get a wave, but I just can’t figure it out. I have a hundred curling irons—I have every one from Harry Josh to mini ones I buy at CVS. My friend got me one from QVC that you clip onto your hair and it rotates by itself. It’s cool but I totally had my hair stuck on this thing. I had to call my husband to get out of it!”

—as told to ITG

Bobbi Brown photographed by Tom Newton at her home in New Jersey on January 20, 2016.

Read on: Charlotte Tilbury shares your new favorite way to apply foundation, Deborah Lippmann explains why nail polish shouldn’t be serious, and Martha Stewart has a thing for Tom Ford (the makeup, not the man) in The Top Shelf.

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Expert Advice On Prepping Your Skin For Makeup

It’s the stuff of nightmares: lovingly massaging your best skincare into your face, only to watch it pilling off your skin the minute you go in with your foundation brush. Don’t let it happen to you! Follow the advice below to save yourself from a similar fate:

Fiona Stiles: “It really depends on the person’s skin and the situation. I love using a really rich moisturizer so the skin is gorgeous and glowy—a favorite of mine at the moment is Magic Cream from Charlotte Tilbury. Another favorite is the Priming Moisturizer from Glossier. (This is not pandering, I love this moisturizer!) Not everyone’s skin can take a very emollient moisturizer so when I want something lighter this is the one I reach for. When there’s time, I also like to sneak on Elemis Eye Patches or the collagen masque from Masqueology. It instantly smooths fine lines and plumps the skin. After moisturizing I always apply a lip balm to let it sink into the lips while I do foundation. I’ve been using Glossier Balm Dotcom and the Eight Hour Cream Nourishing Lip Balm from Elizabeth Arden. Sometimes I’ll throw By Terry’s Baume de Rose in the mix just to change it up, which I like to do.”

Maki Ryoke: “First, clean the skin with Bioderma Créaline H2O and follow with Chanel Gentle Hydrating Toner. Finish with moisturizer—what I choose depends on the skin condition of models…but usually I use Crème de la Mer, Darphin Hydraskin Rich, or Kat Burki Vitamin C Intensive Day Cream.”

Frankie Boyd: “I always like to start with a clean canvas. Using Bioderma Créaline and Cotton Clouds I give the face a refreshing cleanse. For residual stubborn waterproof makeup I use Lancôme Bi-Facil. I never use wipes on the face. I find them to be surprisingly rough and much too astringent—often they leave the face red and irritated. If I have the luxury of time, I’ll spoil my client with a Colbert MD Illumino Anti-Aging Brightening Mask. These mask are simply the best at rejuvenating tired skin. After 15 minutes with the mask, I like to give a firm facial massage with the remaining serum. If I don’t use a mask I like give the massage with a lot of moisturizer to really hydrate the face while waking up the skin. Cetaphil Daily Moisturizer SPF 15 works for this (be careful using this near the lash line because of the SPF). After the moisturizing session I like to blot the face with a tissue to remove excess oil.”

Joanna Czech: “My favorite tip for glowing beautiful skin for a night out is about 30-60 minutes before you apply your makeup to use Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 followed by their Crème Masque Vernix followed by their Serum Yall 02. Let the mixture sink in and voila!”

Dick Page: “The main thing for me is that makeup application gets more and more complicated with serums and primers. I’ll see some models put on all that stuff before they come to set, but it separates and pills on the skin. Then we just have to remove it anyway. I try to get my guys not to do a massage thing especially if the girls are being touched by 20 pairs of hands a day. Don’t bother the skin too much if you want to keep it calm. We do it as simple as possible—apply Shiseido Ibuki Refining Moisturizer and Lip Conditioner while they’re in hair. If we’re shooting outside, we use an SPF that won’t interfere with skin or makeup too much. La Roche-Posay makes a good one. Or the Shiseido Smoothing Veil on top.”

—as told to ITG

Photo via ITG.

Discover the career stories of Dick Page, Tom Pecheux and more in The Professional.

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Makeup Artists Weigh In On Travel Skincare

Traveling well is more skill than talent. Or perhaps it’s just about muscle memory—packing and repacking a roll-aboard with military grade precision to get it past the checked baggage-happy flight attendants. Makeup artists travel a lot (a lot a lot) and learn their packing tricks by rote. As such, their recommendations for TSA-approved toiletries tend to be the most reliable of the bunch. So we polled six of them for their best tips to not get dehydrated, sick, or otherwise worse off than you started when boarding the plane. Consider it our gift to you. Happy travels!

Dick Page: “I try to keep what I pack as simple as possible because it’s become so obnoxious to fly. The main thing for me is artificial tears without preservatives. I like the single-use packets because then you don’t have to worry about leakage. If you’re lucky enough to be in the front of the bus, they’ll give you some lip balm, but I prefer one that’s waxy in texture. Nothing can really add moisture to your skin, but you can stop it from getting out. If you’re bringing a moisturizer, you need something that doesn’t have a lot going on—like a Cetaphil or E45. Nothing anti-wrinkle or anything like that. And before take-off, put on foot cream.”

Fiona Stiles: “First, I decant everything into smaller bottles—save space in your luggage for souvenirs. One of my favorite things to decant is perfume, and I use these cute perfume rollers to carry around my favorite fragrances. I use a different color for each fragrance so I can carry a few and not get them mixed up. It comes with a little funnel to spray the perfume into. Also, the Ponaris Nasal Emollient has been a secret weapon of mine for years when I travel. It used to be included in astronauts’ medical space kits. I can’t remember how I learned about it, but I’ve been using it for over a decade every time I fly. It keeps the nasal passages moist when you’re traveling so you don’t get tiny fissures in the membranes, helping prevent viruses from getting in. It’s totally liquid gold.”

Maki Ryoke: “I only need to travel with three things: The Organic Pharmacy Collagen Boost Mask, Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist (they come in travel size!), and Alexandra Soveral Forever Young Face Oil. No specific routine—but those three products can fix any problem in the airplane. And they smell good.”

Gucci Westman: “I totally don’t care if someone looks at me funny on the plane. I just go for the sheet mask because I feel like your skin freaks out completely on the plane–especially on long flights–so I tend to bring the SK-II Signs Eye Mask and Facial Treatment Mask. Then I take an awful lot of flax oil when I travel…sometimes I even break [a capsule] open and put it on my hands and my face. Flax is a super, super powerful nutrient for your digestion, skin, and brain that I learned about in Sweden when my mom and I did this homeopathic seminar weekend together. So I don’t take two, I take like eight or 10 a day. To pass the time, I use the NuFace Facial Toning Device. I just sit there and people kind of look, but nobody cares. You see a lot of different things on the plane nowadays. I feel like it’s no big deal. I’ve been doing masks in the plane for years.”

Amber Dreadon: “I don’t buy very many things specifically in travel size as I keep it pretty simple in-flight. Good basics are the most important thing and most of mine–like lip balm or Caudalie Beauty Elixir—come travel-sized already. I do, however, buy dry shampoo in travel size. I don’t use it often, but it saves me every few days and is especially great with blond hair. Then I make sure to have Sisley’s Express Flower Gel Mask to treat the skin on really long flights and a lipstick like Marc Jacobs Georgie Girl that works as lip color and blush for right before you get off the plane. Muji also has cool little candles that come in ceramic pots with lids that are so great for traveling—you never know when you might need it!”

Jeanine Lobell: “The airplane bathroom is the best place ever to tweeze your eyebrows! The lighting is the most unforgiving ever, so you see everything and then some—it will be the best tweeze job you’ve ever had. I have several friends who confess this…It’s also the best place to pick at any black heads or pimples. I haven’t gone there yet but hey, good to know, right?!”

—as told to ITG

Photo via Getty.

Because Gucci Westman’s endorsement is as good as gold: Learn all about executing the in-flight mask here.

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Backstage @ The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

Here it is again. Like some sort of tsunami, it feels like the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show gains more traction every year. It turns more girls into social media stars, finds new fans, probably sells more Midnight Lover Body Spray…it’s unstoppable. This year felt bigger than usual, with a particularly exciting Instagram rollout to make up for the fact that they didn’t fly us all to London this time (also Rihanna’s regrettable absence). Gigi and Kendall both walked and judging by the amount of stories I’ve seen already talking about this, people are excited. I mean, the show only filmed yesterday—it hasn’t even aired on network television yet. Still, it’s fun for me to see Kendall’s first VS show after ITG shot her backstage before her first Marc Jacobs show a few seasons ago—and Gigi is always a treat. Honestly, I love seeing all the women backstage. Constance, Gorgeous Borges, Leila Nda, Valery Kaufman, Cindy BrunaCandice…it’s a bit like a reunion. A very sparkly, very pink reunion.

The beauty look in the past has always been pretty pared down. If you’d call extensions and spray tans pared down. But other than that, pretty low-key! Everyone usually just looks like the glowiest, most angelic version of herself. This year, though, Dick Page went for a little bit of a bolder look than last. There are fake lashes, for one. This decision apparently came about after he heard that, in seasons past, a few girls had gone and put on their own falsies in the bathroom pre-show. Instead of full-on bronzer, they cut to the chase by just using a darker foundation. The blush came up a bit in intensity as well—bright red on the apples of the cheeks and a bit on the nose. A pinky nude lip was customized for each girl using MAC Lipmix. Then there’s lots of shimmer all over coming from what I’ll assume is a Madina Stick (but no one was allowed to tell me). The eyes were finished off with a bit of brown Shisiedo Shimmering Cream Eye Color.

The hair was kept very simple: “VS bombshell waves” courtesy of Akki and her Beachwaver. They kept shorter hair short, which was nice (Hopefully no one went into the bathroom to attempt their own extensions—goes to show that even if you’re a VS Angel, when you’re in your underwear in front of the world, you just want things to be perfect).

—Tom Newton

Photographed by the author.

More models, makeup, and lingerie: Go behind-the-scenes at last year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show with Tom and makeup artist Dick Page.

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Earth Tones, By Hung Vanngo

There’s a reason Hung Vanngo is just about every Victoria’s Secret Angel’s favorite makeup artist. His beauty ethos is simply “I want to make women look gorgeous.” OK, got it.

And hey, why overthink it? Not everything needs to have a complicated, artistic end to be good. So when Hung came into the office last week (to do a story with the near-perfect looking Josephine Skriver), there wasn’t a ton of direction given pre-shoot. Just one goal: Make neutral makeup exciting. Earthy tones are the backbone of any universally flattering makeup look—as such, they should not bore you to tears. (Similarly, these looks are built on a foundation of the Glossier Phase 1 Set, a good backbone for any makeup or no-makeup look.)

Hung was game, and just as straightforward about it as one would expect. He said, “I’ll give you one strong lip, one strong eye and one combination of both” (plus one extra look you won’t find here—stay tuned).

The first look started with clean, clean skin and very minimal highlighter (Hung shoots from the hip and gets his glow from cleansed and exfoliated skin that’s heavily moisturized—Tatcha Revitalizing Eye Cream in addition to the Glossier Priming Moisturizer). The light base leaves room for not one but TWO layers of blush, specifically Stila Convertible Color in Camellia and Lillium. Next up was a dark, very dark, almost too-dark lip that was more flattering than goth. Hung picked Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Vamp. Why it works? “We maintained the color of the eye pretty consistent to her natural coloring—soft, no mascara, there’s no liner,” Hung said. For that, the Viseart Eyeshadow Palette in 01 Neutral Matte comes in handy.

Look 2: switching from lips to eyes. The smoky eye is a Hung/VS staple—and Josephine is no stranger to a full-on shadow job to the max, if you’ll recall from this summer. But smoky eyes and earthy reds are not usually synonymous. And yes, red near the eye can be tricky. The goal here is sexy, verging on editorial—not “pulled an all-nighter at the office and then got pummeled in a bar fight on the way home.” The key is looking for colors that verge on berry with a brown undertone. The CK One Color Neutrals Revealed Palette is a good example of that. This time, Hung added mascara (Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes). To let the eyes get all the attention, he nuded out the lips using CK One Color All Day Perfection Lipcolor. No need to divert attention elsewhere. You can highlight on the nose and the cheeks though. Never a bad plan.

The third vignette is at once the most subtle and the most unexpected. Because from far away, it looks like your standard “sexy makeup application.” That’s awesome, but for something a little less expected, Hung went for a greenish gold on the eyes (it looks cool, not sallow) with MAC’s Veluxe Pearlfusion Shadow Trio in Cool Companions. “Green can actually be in the same color family as bronze,” Hung says. Which is why the warm lip—also very bronze—pairs so well. The varied wonders of OCC Lip Tar, particularly the metallic Authentic shade, never cease to amaze.

“I hear a lot that women use the same colors that they used when they were 16 years old,” Hung mentioned while he was working. “And when older women use neutral colors, they tend to wear a lot of taupe. But sometimes if you add a little color, it gives a little youth to the face.” Or maybe it’s a little excitement just when you thought makeup was getting too dull to care about. Either way, “That’s something you should consider.”

Josephine Skriver (The Society) photographed by Tom Newton. Makeup by Hung Vanngo (The Wall Group). Styled by Anna Santangelo.

Josephine is wearing a By Malene Birger top and Arianne Elmy dress (look 1), a Matthew Adams Dolan t-shirt, Karen Walker skirt and stylist’s own hoops (look 2), and a Rodebjer top, Rosetta Getty belt, and her own pants (look 3).

Paint by numbers: when you’re done going natural, try six purple looks11 orange lips or 14 blue eyeshadows.

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