Spotlight on Bobbi Brown: Saying Goodbye to a Makeup Icon

Amid the frenzy of holiday gift buying, travel preparations, and party plans, it’s quite possible you missed the news that Bobbi Brown has retired from her cosmetics brand. In fact, the always so humble makeup icon even opted to forego any formal announcement or definitive explanation for the bold decision. It was just time to move on.

But stay calm. Although Brown has stepped down, her makeup line Bobbi Brown Cosmetics isn’t going anywhere. Estée Lauder Companies Inc., which acquired the line in 1995, will conduct business as usual absent Brown.

As we say a tearful goodbye to this makeup pioneer and now legend, let’s take a quick look back at Brown’s evolution from modest beginnings to cosmetics mogul:

  • Brown begins her career by earning a theatrical makeup degree from Emerson College in 1980, landing her first major gig with Glamor magazine just one year later.
  • In the next few years, Brown works as an editorial makeup artist while developing her own brown-based shade lipstick collection that actually looked like (gasp!) natural lip colors.
  • After selling her lipstick line out of her home, word of mouth eventually catches the attention of Glamour magazine, which quickly endorses her products.
  • Continued exposure allows Brown to debut her lipstick line at luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman in NYC in 1991.
  • Four year later, Brown sells her line to Estée Lauder and becomes Chief Creative Officer.

Since then, Brown’s reputation and success has exploded with the launch of endless makeup products, skincare merchandise, best-selling novels, beauty campaigns, and even sunglasses.

Although her brand has reached over 60 countries and remains the top makeup artist brand created by a woman, perhaps her biggest legacy is inspiring woman to embrace themselves. Her mantra, as simple and timeless as she is, remains “be who you are.”