Two years ago, The Fashion Informer interviewed makeup maven Bobbi Brown for a shopping story. During the several hours we spent together, we asked Brown what we could do to to get rid of the fine lines that had begun appearing at the corners of our eyes, which we crinkled for demonstration purposes.
"Umm, don't go like this," the pint-sized brunette laughed, crinkling her own eyes and pointing at the lines that appeared when she did so.
"Seriously," she said, with a wave of her hand. "You can't worry about that stuff. Just take care of yourself....eat well, exercise....and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize."
Easy for her to say. At the time, she was 48 and looked ten years younger - and was obviously practicing what she preached.
In her new book, “Bobbi Brown Living Beauty” (Springboard Press; $30), a self-help beauty tome for women over 40, Brown, now 50, is still preaching the benefits of moisturizer, healthy eating and exercise. The preternaturally youthful cosmetics guru also advises readers on a host of other beauty topics, from tweaking one's hair color to offset the sallowness that can beset aging skin to the miracle that is Retin A (Brown’s a big fan) to the pros and cons of plastic surgery, fillers and Botox (Brown is not a fan), to learning to love - and make the most of - what Mother Nature gave you - all recounted in the down-to-earth, no-nonsense manner we’ve come to expect from the woman who made her fortune on natural-looking foundations, eye shadows and lipsticks that make women look like themselves, only prettier.
After opening with “Words of Wisdom” from a slew of equally age-defying celebrities (including Susan Sarandon, Vera Wang, Ann Curry, Mary Steenbergen and Vanessa Williams), and extolling the benefits of finding a good dermatologist and Rx skin treatments designed to remedy specific problems, Brown gets to the meat and potatoes of her beauty sermon in a chapter entitled The Makeup Face-Lift: Surgery-Free Ways to Wipe Away the Years.
Sounds like hyperbole, to be sure. But the before and after photos made an instant believer out of us, with page after page of near-miraculous transformations, in which, yes, years - and in many cases, decades - are removed from the faces of the women pictured, with nothing more than the right skin care routine (moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!) and the right combination of under eye concealer, foundation and skin-brightening cosmetics. Using easy-to-follow instructions, Brown offers step-by-step advice on a host of age-related beauty issues, from banishing extreme under-eye circles to minimizing fine lines and wrinkles to fixing uneven texture to filling in sparse browns and thinning lips.
Because the book is written in Brown’s trademark chatty/informative style, it’s like having your best friend sitting beside you - one who just happens to be a world-renowned makeup artist - giving you pointers as you primp in front of the mirror.
Brown also offers advice to the Menopause Set on cultivating the perfect wardrobe, BHRT hormone replacement therapy, the importance of diet and exercise (duh), and easy ways to modernize your look (ditch the mom jeans and Farrah Fawcett ‘do, ladies!). And she closes with advice from additional high-profile women who embody the notion of aging gracefully, including “O” editor at large Gayle King, photographer Kelly Klein. and Burberry vice chairman Rosemary Bravo.
But "Living Beauty"'s bookended chapters of famous faces sharing their views on their lives and looks aside, it’s Brown’s own positive, empowering take on aging and female beauty - and her user-friendly makeovers - that will have readers singing the praises of this feel-good, look good guide.