Bobbi Brown Adds Clean Skin Care to Her Buzzy New Makeup Brand

A few months ago, as Bobbi Brown beamed onto my Zoom screen from her home in Sag Harbor, New York, we exchanged pleasantries and marveled at the absurdity of the moment: To get the best lighting and camera angle for our call, we were both sitting on the floor in our respective homes—she in black-rimmed glasses of her own design and layers of black performance wear from Outdoor Voices and the French brand Base Range; me, in an outfit not fit for description here. Neither of us were wearing makeup, nor had we had our hair done in months. “I can’t believe I’m doing this again, talking to a Vogue editor,” remarked the now 63-year-old beauty legend, who created the “no-makeup makeup” category thirty years ago with the launch of her namesake line of natural-hued lipsticks that beget a full-fledged color line anchored in ease. “Back then,” she recalled of that post-disco climate in Manhattan, which favored heavy contours and formality, “you had to be very fancy. Now,” she laughed, “I can be myself.”

Brown was speaking as much to the collective casualness of the COVID era, as she was to the freedom she feels at the helm of Jones Road, her first new beauty venture since leaving her eponymous brand in 2016. Named for a small street in East Hampton that she discovered via Waze while driving with her husband, the collection of edited essentials launched in October—exactly 25 years after her non-compete expired with Estee Lauder, which purchased Brown’s company in 1995—and includes an ultra black mascara with a never-crunchy texture Brown describes as “soft”; a melt-on-your-mouth lip gloss; two different eyeshadow formulas; the best eye pencil that is literally called The Best Pencil; a new ultra blendable Face Pencil; and the already best-selling Miracle Balm, a light-reflecting tinted cream in four different shades that can be worn anywhere/everywhere. Perhaps most impressively, the entire line-up is formulated using the Credo Clean Standard, the California based-retailer’s rules of engagement, which prohibits the use of over 2,700 ingredients (formaldehyde, phthalates, methoxyethanol, et al) due to safety and/or sustainability reasons and also accounts for ingredient purity and sourcing, none of which is currently regulated by the FDA. “I’m not one of these people who says you need only clean makeup,” insists Brown, who is refreshingly non-monastic about ingredients, and who has always tried to live “well” long before “wellness” was a trillion-dollar industry. (“This is an extension of what she’s always done,” confirms New York-based functional medicine pioneer Frank Lipman, M.D., Brown’s longtime doctor, who has helped her lean into an intuitive approach to what she puts into her body that has organically lent itself to a similar approach towards what she puts on it.) “I just want to make good products that people want to use, that make them look better,” Brown says, which happens to be an apt description of Jones Road’s newest category: skin care.

Launching today, the four-piece collection offers a suite of hydration boosters that arrives just as indoor heating systems and the biting cold that is gripping much of the U.S. wreaks havoc on skin. “It’s the best goo I could come up with,” Brown says of standouts such as her Miracle Cream, an intense dose of shea butter, sunflower seed oil, and avocado oil which was inspired by the barrier creams her husband and son, both avid skiers, apply to face the elements. It’s the kind of thick, cocooning product that works when nothing else will, both on its own or dotted with her Miracle Balm—or a few swipes of her innovative Oil Stick, a portable roll-on solid of apricot, jojoba, rosehip and sunflower oils that takes the mess out of traveling with similar elixirs and provides a great mid-day refresh for parched skin. An emollient eye cream and the genius Hippie Stick—a universal balm that smells like the Taos, New Mexico bohemia where it’s produced—round out the line that is “not trying to be anything more than it is,” says Brown, who has purposely shied away from formulating more active products with farfetched wrinkle-reducing and spot-correcting claims that she thinks are generally overhyped anyway. “Except Augustinus Bader,” she laughs, touting the high-end German brand. “That stuff makes a big difference in my skin!”

Eventually, Brown hopes to add “something to take makeup off” as she readies the launch of new eyeshadows and brow pencils in June. But for now, she’s content not to pack Jones Road with unnecessary products. “These things just make my skin look really good and feel really good,” Brown reiterates in a way that undersells both their appeal to many (many) other women—and their impact on the industry at large. “To have the OG in the beauty space and a total trailblazer and badass give such credence to the clean beauty movement is huge,” says Annie Jackson, the co-founder and COO of Credo Beauty. “Bobbi Brown is back!” adds Jackson emphatically—and she just might be better than ever.