The change of seasons is a great time to freshen up your look, and so is the change of life. When makeup artist Bobbi Brown turned 50, she decided to address issues facing older women in her new book, "Bobbi Brown Living Beauty." Founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, she offers a great combination of information and inspiration, as well as sage advice for any age.
Q: In the book, you talk about being less caught up with looking young and wanting to look great for your age.
A: What "great" means is that you look yourself but amazing. You haven't done anything to alter your face, to change the way you look. You are fit and healthy and vibrant. You don't fall into that trap of saying, "Oh my God. I want to look like Lindsay Lohan" and run to your [plastic surgeon] who's making women look horrific these days. To me, the women who are not doing these things to themselves are looking better. I just want women to stop.
Q: You don't completely dismiss plastic surgery in the book.
A: I have done Botox. That's the only thing I've ever done. And I've had both good things and bad things happen with it. Of course, I was the one that, you know, when I had it done the first time, I had the eye droop for a month, and it was really bad. So I shied away from it. Then I was talked into it again. It just looked so weird to me. I haven't done it since. I'm on the fence with it because it's poison. You know, I eat organic, so why would I want to shoot poison in my head? But I like looking good.
Q: You've seen models and movie stars without their makeup, so what features do you look for?
A: Great models that are makeup faces have wider faces. Fuller lips, fuller eyelids and just really smooth skin. Those are people who can really wear a little makeup or a ton. For the rest of us there's no question that makeup makes you look so much better.
Q: As we age, it seems you need more makeup to look fresher, but more doesn't look better.
A: As we age, it's not that you need less. It's not that you need more. You just need the right stuff. You need real problem-solving items. Something that will even out your skin, brighten your eyes and give definition where you need it. What colors you choose depend on your style. I like to choose colors for myself that look as natural to my skin tone as possible. That doesn't work on everybody.
Q: The face of beauty is always changing, and women are constantly trying to keep up with a manufactured image.
A: Right, I think that's probably why my company, my philosophy, kind of hit a nerve. I'm saying, "Stop. Don't look at that. Look at yourselves."
Q: Women face a lot of problems with aging skin, loss of elasticity, dryness. The lines get deeper and the dark circles get darker.
A: You know the circles definitely get darker. I mean, I never really needed concealer. Just never. Now I cannot go anywhere without it. The trick is for me and for everybody else is making sure you have the right moisture under the eyes, which is just a little bit. I'm obsessed with concealers. I think I've done the best that is out there that is even possible.
Q: How important are your looks to you?
A: Well, you know what? The secret of my happiness is just being comfortable with myself. I'm not trying to look like somebody else. I'm just trying to be comfortable for me. I'm not a gorgeous knockout, but I think I'm, you know, really attractive because I take good care of myself.
Q: Being petite must compound the struggle to keep slim.
A: I am petite. I'm short. I'm 5 feet tall, and I really do struggle with my weight. I work really hard at it. I definitely have the kind of figure that if I one day eat something that is not healthy ... I will instantly have to wear something bigger. I'm little. I'm Jewish, and I just have that kind of body. I exercise a lot.
Q: You don't count calories?
A: I'm really bad at math (laughing). I'm a visual person. I just started Spinning classes, which I love. At this point, I think it's more important for me to burn more and not be like "Oh my God! What did I just eat?" I'm petite, but I want to be tight. I don't think, "OK, I'm 50, let it go.' I think the opposite. I'm like, 'This is my time. If I don't do this now guess what? I'm not going to do it at 60."
Q: Men and makeup -- will it ever become common, and do we even want it to?
A: I hope not. I think it's one of those silly trends where cosmetic companies see it as a piece of the pie. I don't think men should wear makeup. But I do think there are beauty things they could do to look better. You know, moisturizers.
Patricia Sheridan can be reached at email@example.com or 412-263-2613. First Published September 17, 2007 4:00 AM