While the beauty world looks almost unrecognizable from what it was three decades ago—or even a few years ago thanks to the rise of social media—there is one constant: Bobbi Brown. In fact, it’s largely thanks to the makeup artist, whose eponymous line had a meteoric rise in the ‘90s before becoming a status symbol for women and girls alike throughout the aughts, that the cosmetics industry has become as culturally dominant as it is. The idea of using quality makeup rather than drugstore go-tos? That’s Brown. The no-makeup makeup trend that’s become increasingly dominant? Brown again. The merging of health and wellness with beauty and, specifically, the idea that what we put into our bodies is as important as what we put onto it? Even Brown has led that movement. While she bowed out of her self-titled line in 2017 after selling the now-billion dollar company to Estée Lauder, Brown has remained at the forefront of the industry, now focused on a health and wellness extension of beauty called Evolution_18, which consists of probiotics and protein powders, among other things.
The pivot is part of a larger movement that’s been happening in Brown’s own life, as she’s pared down her own makeup use and, now, her high heel collection in favor of more comfort-centric sneakers by GREATS—a symbolic decision, as she explains. “I think the biggest trend of 2019 is to be comfortable in your skin,” as Brown explains over the phone, in between discussing why she chose to sell most of her high heels in favor of sneakers and donate 100 percent of the proceeds to Girls Inc., which helps young women thrive professionally. “Wearing sneakers allows you to walk places that you normally wouldn’t and try to find your natural beauty.” Outside of wearing sneakers, Brown is also rejecting many of the superfluous beauty trends that fill Instagram’s explore page. Here, Brown’s take on many of those things, as well as why thin lips are better, and that time she taught Meghan Markle to do her makeup in the back of a moving car.
What led to the decision to give up heels in 2019?
Well, I’m not going cold turkey, I’ll be honest. There are still events that I will have to pull out a high pair of shoes for, whether its red carpet or black tie—I don’t have a choice because I’m five feet tall. So I went through my closet and really decided to save a small handful of my higher shoes and give the majority of them away. That said, sneakers are my go-to shoe. I don’t even think of it. I did my last book tour 100% in sneakers. I was seated on a couch, no one knew I was five feet tall, and it was perfect.