Before given the Bobbi Brown MasterClass on make-up technique, I was lost amidst the sea of make-up and skincare products that I owned. It was fun at the same time, don't get me wrong – but I identified way too heavily on make-up and its masking effect.
I thought about how make-up always had an impact on my life somehow. My mom would warn me not to pair red lipstick and black eyeliner at age eleven when I started doing it; I would try smoky eyes at fourteen only for me to look like a raccoon.
After I had mastered the smoky eye at sixteen, my friends would ask me to do that trend for them. One friend had mesmerizing hazel-green eyes while another had large blue ones. They saw my technique as their coming-of-age. They wanted to be a woman.
When I took Bobbi Brown's MasterClass though, everything changed.
At the time, I was doing black eyeliner wings like my mom. Contouring my round face into submission with bronzer. Sometimes, I would also have a bold lip. I didn't think about how all of this looked together. I just wanted to be a woman.
Bobbi Brown's technique is all about enhancing your natural beauty. Using the natural light to pick up on your best features. I didn't know what it was at age eleven when I first started putting on make-up; I just followed trends.
Bobbi Brown's technique though isn't just a philosophy – it's almost a lifestyle choice. Bobbi takes her inspiration largely from French women who emphasize skincare maintenance in their beauty routine.
When I realized that it's about embracing the skin you're in, that's when I saw my hugest mistake in viewing make-up. Yes, it's definitely a rite-of-passage for little girls to experiment with make-up; but I never felt that I had a basic understanding of it. I inherited my mom's self-educational perspective of beauty – I self-taught myself my beauty routine and skipped a lot of preparational techniques in the process.
A lot of women teach themselves their beauty routine – and so, I know that I'm not alone. They either didn't like their mother's or wanted to be different than her in some way. Beauty and your perception of make-up is passed down – but it also is something that evolves over time.
As a result of Bobbi Brown, I started to appreciate my skin more. Not many women have my acne-free pallor as well as dark features. My multiethnicity showed through these things – so why wasn't I embracing that more often?
When I recognized that, I kept my moisturized foundation in a back drawer for a rainy day. My daily beauty routine was definitely minimized – all I need now is a concealer for my red spots, bronzer for my neck, a tinted lip balm, and dark mascara.
Every woman is different though; my mom can't go a day without her black, bold eyeliner wings because she grew up in the eighties and that was her go-to look as a sixteen-year-old. Some women need foundation to cover acne scars. And even still, we see women mask themselves with make-up to affirm their identity as a woman.
I've always loved the understatement of French beauty though. I remember back in the day, when I was moving around a lot, I would go weeks without make-up. Of course, I would post it with a #iwokeuplikethis hashtag on Instagram, thinking that people needed to see my natural beauty.
Now my natural beauty is about embracing my skin more for myself than anyone else. Bobbi Brown doesn't mean to discredit the trends – "find what works for you," she says, "and remember not to pair a bold trend with another bold trend."
It's a basic, minimalist understanding of make-up that she preaches. She also believes that women have their own unique beauty and need to embrace that more often. Whether it is your freckles, your large blue eyes, your cheekbones – appreciating those facial features in your make-up routine shows through.
You can still experiment with texture, colors, and other make-up products while embracing Bobbi's minimalist philosophy. There's a whole video devoted to editorial make-up for fashion shoots. But I feel that the take-away is that as long as you know what your best features are and you use your make-up to show it, you're one step ahead.
So you can still wear black eyeliner wings and contour your face. No one will judge you for it. But for me, a minimalist approach to make-up and skincare was what I needed. And I believe that most women need it too, to at least experiment with it at one point in their lives.