Interview: Kai Vinson, International Artist for Bobbi Brown

If you keep your ear to the proverbial ground, you may know that Bobbi Brown is launching an exciting new long-wear line that is all about convenience, and taking you “from coffee to cocktails without smudging.” This line will be launching in Australia on the 17th of June 2012, so you’ll have to wait a little while longer to get your hands on it.

As part of the launch, Kai Vinson, International Director of Artistry and Education for Bobbi Brown paid Sydney a visit, and while he was here I had the opportunity to sit down with him for a chat.

Bobbi Brown Event 1

Me: The new collection looks really beautiful. Out of all the new products, which one are you the most excited about?

Bobbi Brown Event 2Kai:

I would say the pencils, and that’s for a couple of reasons. One, I do find that being a makeup artist, I love gel eyeliner, I will push gel eyeliner on every person I can imagine, but you still have regularly, every single day I have women saying “I can’t do that” or she can’t use the brush, or she’s bought it, she’s tried it and just doesn’t feel confident with using a brush for her eyeliner. Having a product like that is going to relate to so many people, because it’s easier, it’s better.

I also love the pencils as a product to go from day to evening, because creating a smoky eye doesn’t have to be hard, and yet so many cosmetic brands make smoky eyes seems so difficult for a woman to go home and do on her own. These pencils are a really easy way, there’s no fallout, they don’t smudge. Just take it over the top of your eyelid, smudge it out a little bit, rock on 2 or three coats of mascara and there’s your look for nighttime. I think they’re a fun, really flexible item, and they’re something new.

Cream shadows are my favourite product from our line, but we’ve already had them for a little while so their new colours are amazing but it’s already a formula I’m obsessed with, so I think the pencils are a great new option.

Me: What would you say are the three most important products that a woman can carry around with her?

Bobbi Brown Event 3Kai:

I think moisturiser is the most important thing there is, but you’re not going to carry that around with you! But if you’re not going to moisturise and take care of your skin, makeup can only help so much.

But the carry around thing… some type of a blush product, I like our pot rouge, because you can put it on your cheek and your lip. As the day goes on we always start to look a little drab. Blush is the first thing that disappears. Throwing on a bit of blush or bronzer instantly makes you look more refreshed or a little bit more awake. So blush is one.

A great lip colour, because again, refreshing lipstick makes a big difference. I think if you have the right eyeliner and mascara then you shouldn’t have to refresh that, so that’s not one I would say.

So a good blush/bronzer, a lip product that really pops your look open, and maybe a pencil to keep in your purse to change up your makeup throughout the day.

Me: When you mentioned about the moisturiser being the most important product, that made me wonder – I’m not overly familiar with the whole Bobbi Brown range. Does the Bobbi Brown brand promote the use of primers? Or do you prefer to simply start with a really hydrated base?

Bobbi Brown Event 4Kai:

Bobbi definitely believes that moisturiser is the key – your foundation is only as good as your skin underneath, but your moisturiser is the first step to that.

Bobbi’s really big on making things simple, so we actually have primer, but our primer is built into every single one of our moisturisers. So when you buy a moisturiser from Bobbi Brown, you’re getting primer and moisturiser in one. So it’s about making it quicker, less steps, but you also don’t have to buy the separate product, so she’s made that really easy.

If you have really really bad skin, like you need to retexture it then maybe a second primer can help, but I think if you have the right base and you learn how to take care of your skin then you shouldn’t have that problem.

Me: Talking about makeup on a larger scale, what would you say are the key identifiers for modern makeup that fits the Bobbi Brown brand aesthetic?

I think the first thing definitely goes into having the right basic items like concealer and foundation, and are the two items that I think are hardest for women to get right.

No matter where you are in the world, women are still choosing foundation based on the colour they want their skin to be, not on the colour their skin is. The one thing that Bobbi does that makes this so easy, is we have foundation in so many shades and in so many formulas that you really can find the one that’s perfect for you.

If you have a foundation that looks exactly like your skin, but is also the right formula to make your skin look better, that does more for you than any eyeshadow or any lipstick does. I think that’s the biggest, most important starter.

Then it’s finding the perfect basic things – a great blush that just enhances your cheeks, I think eyeliner is the next most important thing. Eyeliner really makes your eyes look more awake. Then mascara. Eyeshadow is more fun, but it’s not as important as liner and mascara is.

The other thing is to find a lipstick that’s your personality. Something that’s really big right now is bright lip colours (which are) are really fun. You can have no makeup on, throw on a bright lipstick and you’ll look great. But also that’s about your personality. If you’re not confident choose one that looks exactly like your lips. Those are some easy things to have a really perfect look.

Me: What would you say are the key trends in fashion makeup, moving forward?

Bobbi Brown Event 5Kai:

The biggest trend I’ve seen lately is the return to colour.

I think for so long nude, nude, nude has been kind of the hot thing. And I don’t think nude will ever leave again, I think it’s become like a little black dress. If you have great nude makeup you always look great, but I think women are getting less afraid of experimenting with colour, whether it’s with lipstick or eyeshadows or things like that. So I think that that’s one of the fun things about makeup – you can embrace trying something new.

My only caveat to that is be cautious about not putting on too many at one time. If you’re going to try a bold colour, it’s best to try one bold accent colour, with everything else being neutral. Like a really bold lipstick with nude makeup, or a really bold eyeshadow with nude makeup. I think that’s the biggest trend that’s been changing, and just seems to get stronger and stronger.

Me: That’s all the questions I had. Thank you for taking the time to sit down with me, it was lovely to see you work and to hear a bit about the range.