When Michelle Obama took the stage at the 2019 Grammy Awards, she was positively glowing. In fact, since leaving the White House, the former FLOTUS has sported an omnipresent, lit-from-within radiance that'd make the women in a Vermeer painting jealous. And while a devotion to a healthy lifestyle is partly to thank, Mrs. Obama's glow also has a secret weapon: Jennifer Brodeur, the Montreal-based "skin guru" who's been working with Obama since 2014, and just recently tagged along with Obama's makeup artist Carl Ray on the Becoming book tour.
With 20 years of experience, Brodeur specializes in skin strategies for her many clients (Oprah Winfrey included), mixing custom serums and prescribing facial regimens that will continue to improve their complexions for years to come. Ahead, Brodeur shares her tips, tricks, and favorite memories working with the most recognizable face on the planet.
"It was all through Ms. Winfrey, and we actually met during Mrs. Obama’s 50th birthday. We first did a few facials together at a private location. Then I got a callback a few weeks later from her team, who wanted me to meet with her again, and we came up with a six-month strategy for her skin. What was beautiful about the first meeting was that she was a true believer of not just a healthy lifestyle and self-care and self-love, but also being as natural as possible and aging gracefully.
"The most memorable time with her was the first time I was in the White House. I was just doing my job and it was when I left the White House that I realized, Oh my god, I just gave a facial at the White House. Then going to the DCA airport and seeing all these magazines around me with them on the cover and thinking, Oh my god, I just did that. "
The FLOTUS Face
"I thought her skin was amazing, considering the circumstances. The makeup is constant and they always have to be camera-ready. But there are a lot of challenges with darker skin. My whole thought process was: How do we make your skin more even, in regards to the coloring and pigmentation?
"I’m not a big believer in peels or exfoliation. We started with an anti-inflammatory system and then it was about integrating more vitamin Cs and then vitamin A in the evening. There are times when I'm mixing up bespoke serums or potions that show up to her door with no name in little strange pots. There’s a trust there. After we helped that hyperpigmentation, it was about making sure the skin was as hydrated and dewy as possible.
Her Product Entourage
"Usually before a speaking engagement, I love to give her a collagen-based vitamin C facial. I use a gel-based collagen in which I’ll infuse vitamin C and then I'll use oxygen to make sure the skin absorbs as much as possible. And then I always incorporate our LED device, which is called Max. Often I'll use the yellow light [setting], and it really helps with that glow of the skin.
"The one thing I always make sure we have on hand is withinUs — it’s a collagen supplement that’s vital for flying. It has great electrolytes and hydrates from within. I always recommend to fly without makeup on; even if the planes are private planes, there’s environmental pollution that clogs up the skin. And then our favorite go-to is the Peoni L'extrait oil. It’s an anti-inflammatory and makes sure the skin stays very hydrated. She can even use it on her cuticles."
The Real Glow Secret
"She learned from a very young age that she needed to put herself first. The whole gesture of cleansing your skin and applying your serums and creams, all of those things you can do for yourself and it’s the best display of self-love — it’s not vanity. If there’s one thing [Mrs. Obama] taught me from the first day I met her was, It’s OK to stand up tall. When you’re around her, you want to stand taller. That’s the grace that she exudes. It’s about being your best self. I'm so proud that I'm on this journey with her, especially because she's showing us there's no age limit on becoming who you want to be."