Bobbi Brown On Why Primer Is Useless & 7 Other Tips To Transform Your Makeup

Photo by Morgane Lay.
Bobbi Brown is a beauty industry legend. You probably know her as the mastermind behind her namesake brand, famous the world over for its inclusive shade ranges, long-wearing formulas and focus on natural, nude makeup. But last November, Bobbi started a shiny new venture.
Enter: Jones Road.
Born in the US, Jones Road makeup already has loyal fans in beauty editors and makeup influencers alike, but it just landed here in the UK. As you can imagine, it was met with serious hype and has became one of the most Googled makeup brands this past month. The Jones Road tagline is simple: "clean no-makeup makeup" and boasts a capsule collection of fuss-free yet hardworking products from concealer and eyeshadow, through to mascara and lipstick. But Bobbi wants everyone to know that achieving flawless makeup isn't just about great formulas — rather your technique.
We caught up with Bobbi herself, and ahead, she shared all of her most valuable makeup secrets.

The best way to find your perfect foundation and concealer shade

Finding the right shade of concealer and foundation can be a minefield. Now that swatching and testers are back, it's a little easier to shop in store rather than online, but trying out colours on the back of your hand or your wrist might end up throwing you off track.
"There’s only one way," said Bobbi. Simply take the shade and apply it to your forehead, then blend. "If you don’t see it there, it’s the right colour. Who cares what colour your hand is? It’s your face!" Your forehead is often the first place to catch the sun, so matching it closely means you're less likely to appear washed out. Try Jones Road's The Face Pencil, £23, which is a creamy concealer that blankets blemishes, blends easily and doesn't contain any plastic.

How to nail an eyeshadow look on hooded eyes

The trick to creating an eyeshadow look for hooded eyes is to focus underneath the eye, according to Bobbi, who prefers neutral hues. "Think of it in tones: light, medium and dark," said Bobbi. "The lightest tone goes all over the lid first and gives a nice clean look. Then go for the medium shade, but apply this underneath the lower lashes," says Bobbi, as this opens up the eye. Then, the darkest shade simply lines the upper eyelid and wings out at the outer corner. "Depending how deep set your eye is, also apply the darkest shade very gently underneath your lower lashes," as this achieves a smoky effect that's more visible.

How to cover up dark circles and eye bags in seconds

"This isn't a trick," said Bobbi, "it's just the only way I know that works." First of all, you need an eye cream to hydrate the area. Bobbi mentioned that when skin is dehydrated, the darker the circle tends to be. "Putting on an emollient eye cream, which isn't too dense or greasy, is a great first step," continued Bobbi. Try the Jones Road Eye Cream, £31, or R29 favourite MZ Skin Depuff & Define, £95.
"Once that's absorbed, see where you’re most dark, take the lightest colour of concealer you have and apply it to the darkest area first. Then go underneath the rest of the eye with a lighter hand but, go all the way up to the lashes." Essentially, the trick is not to apply your concealer in large swathes or triangles like we've been taught on YouTube, rather to concentrate it specifically to dark areas — and very lightly. "A lot of people carry concealer down to the cheek," said Bobbi, "but the whole point is to give the illusion of the brightness coming from the darkest area."

Why you don't need primer for flawless foundation

While makeup primer might help minimise the appearance of pores or blemishes, Bobbi isn't sold. "I don’t believe in primers," she told R29. "I don’t believe in putting ten things on my face." Instead, she likes to use moisturiser, which can help foundation mesh better with the skin and appear more natural. "I apply eye cream and then I start my makeup routine with the Miracle Balm, £34, which is a hybrid moisturiser. Depending on which colour I choose, I can also use it as a skin tint or a blush." It can also be used as a subtle, shimmer-free highlighter, but you might also like the Jones Road Oil Stick, £24. "Every single thing I make in Jones Road is to make your skin look like skin. Just your best skin," said Bobbi. "I don’t use the Oil Stick until my makeup is done and I put it on top to diffuse everything. I put blush on, take a little bit of the oil and apply it for a nice glow."
Bobbi prefers eye cream over lip balm, too. "If my lips are dry, I put eye cream on my lips. Lip balm is more of a protectant and eye cream will absorb better."

How to conceal spots and acne scars like a pro

You've been covering breakouts and hyperpigmentation all wrong. "Concealer is not for either of these things," said Bobbi. "It’s too light and it’ll make them stand out more." Instead, Bobbi suggests using a product in the exact colour of your skin to tuck away blemishes, to ensure it's fully camouflaged, such as your trusty foundation. "Densely cover it, let it sit, blend it, add a little bit more and it’s covered."

Why you might not actually need foundation

Rather than layering on the foundation all over, Bobbi mentioned she's a fan of a touch of colour corrector. Green is said to cancel out redness, lavender counteracts yellow tones and peach minimises dark circles and hyperpigmentation. Once that's blended, she goes in with a touch of concealer. "It looks much more natural," she said. "People are so used to traditional ways of doing their makeup, like everyone needs a liquid foundation," but often it can look a little pale or flat. "Who needs foundation everywhere? If you have a lot of discolouration, there are other ways to correct it than a full face."

How to do winged eyeliner like an expert

Bobbi favours eyeshadow over liquid eyeliner pens. "You can get a dense look with an eyeshadow using a fine, damp eyeliner brush," she told R29. "To me, that’s the easiest way. I still like gel pots, but I use pencil for almost everything, like the Jones Road The Best Pencil, £20, which is super-dense. Simply start at the outer corner and smudge out any lines you create with an angled brush.

The makeup trends everyone will be wearing in late summer

According to Bobbi, bronzer is back in a big way as we try and hold on to summer for as long as possible, but finger painting is also a quick and easy beauty trend to try. "We have the Just A Sec Eyeshadow, £24, and we named it that because you put it on with your finger but it takes seconds." Also try 3INA The Cream Eyeshadow, £12.95, which is easy to blend using your fingers and lends lids a wash of sheer colour that can be built up. Then, there's nostalgic beauty. "What’s old is new again," said Bobbi. We're over the '90s; if TikTok is anything to go by, it's the noughties we're looking to now. "The classic trends are a nice strong brow, some great definition around your eyes and skin that looks like you haven’t put a thing on it," said Bobbi.
Try the Makeup By Mario Master Matte's Eyeshadow Palette, £41, for a sculpted eye look and Versed Luminizing Glow Drops, £14.99, which makes skin gleam and does away with any need for foundation or concealer.
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