Rant & Rave: Bobbi Brown

Tell us what you love and hate about...

Bobbi Brown

I’d like to see more innovation in the range, and I’d like to see a lot less of the same types of palettes releasing each season–why not create a few really great, core palettes instead? I love the Luxe Lip Colors, High Shimmer Lipglosses, and highlighters!

— Christine


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Kat Avatar

I think they have great formulas in their core products, but they don’t tend to branch out and take a risk, even with limited edition collections. On the other hand, that’s kind of the appeal of Bobbi Brown, that they have nice, basic, dependable products for people at any age range. My mom is a huge Bobbi Brown fan, makeup as well as skincare, and yet they have stuff that appeals to me as well. Asking Bobbi Brown to put out a rainbow palette would be like asking Sugarpill to only sell neutrals! I think the brand just has a different kind of goal or aesthetic than a lot of other brands, where they want to put out more workhorse products rather than anything new or exciting or wild.

Because of this kind of reputation, though, I agree that they should put out some basic, permanent palettes and lay off of the substandard, limited edition palettes that all kind of look the same.

Michele @Binxcat4ever Avatar

Reading our minds now? Hahahahahaha – we were just ranting about BB the other day! agreed – would love to see some innovation from the brand. I mean literally her recent “innovation” was adding a single bright pink lipstick to a collection…..wow. Would also like to see some decent quality; especially for the prices. As an example, I received her matte shadow in Mulberry the other day. Not only was the shade not even remotely close to pan, but it swatched terribly. I haven’t purchased a BB product I liked since her limited edition cool palette that released several years ago. While certainly her lipsticks are good, they are IMO, nowhere near worth the price she charges as compared to other competitors in the same price range.

Tracey E. Avatar

I agree that some BB prices are high and I wonder if they want to be considered in the luxury brand category. I’m lucky to almost always buy BB products at 15-35℅ off retail due to Bon Ton stores semi-annual Goodwill Sale (15-20℅ off cosmetics) and the odd discounted gift card (and the CCO), so a large percentage of my lipsticks happen to be BB because I can defray the cost considerably.

Virginia Avatar

I’ve tried several Lip Colors and Luxe Lip Colors — they all have a really terrible taste! So bitter and gross. I read your reviews saying that they had no taste. Curious.

Rachel R. Avatar

Rave: I love her lipglosses. Her Skin Foundation Stick in Alabaster is HG for me (the cost and smaller amount of product in sticks keep me from using it on a daily basis, though). The lipsticks I have are really nice. I’ve tried the Shimmer Bricks, and they’re amazing.

Rant: Her color range overall is very neutral and boring to me. I don’t get excited by her eyeshadows. Her prices run on the higher side.

Anime Avatar

I love that Bobbi’s brand and range doesn’t seem to be greatly affected by all these recent beauty fads that the other brands (UD, Too Faced, Tarte, etc.) are always so caught up in. It’s almost like the issue I have with Smashbox, which is really more of a non-issue: The brand itself /should/ appeal to me, but for some reason I tend to gravitate toward others. I’d say that my main issue is that, for the price point, there are more luxurious brands (or maybe even just brands that APPEAR to be more luxurious, such as Kevyn Aucoin, for example) that maintain the same level of consistency/performance that Bobbi’s line does. I also have this weird thing, where if I don’t already have a brand on my table, I will almost assuredly never buy it — especially if it’s a more costly brand. I feel like my first 3 years of makeup were more based in brand experimentation — now that I’ve gotten all that done and I know which brands really perform well for me, it seems a waste to throw money at a gamble.

Katherine T. Avatar

*Rave – I do like her Luxe Lipstick – Your Majesty is one of my go-to shades
*Rant – the shadows, OMG, please stop issuing the same 50,000 shades of brown !! And please work on the formula too.

Fashn Avatar

Love the formula of their long wearing eye shadows, but like others who have commented they need to branch out with a bit more excitement to their palettes and colors.

Lauri Avatar

I really like Bobbi Brown. Always have. I always use her skincare and love it all. I feel the skincare does a great job. I like the eyeshadows and lipsticks and lip glosses. It is a more conservative line that’s for sure but that is what she is known for I think.

MacKenzie Avatar

I don’t know if the brand still does this, but I know when my mom used BB (probably a decade ago) she said all of the face products were way too yellow toned, and she had to pile on the pink concealer to keep from looking jaundiced. So I wish they would expand their range of undertones in their products. Also, in general, I think their products are really expensive considering they don’t do anything innovative ever really. I agree that that’s probably some of the brand’s appeal; solid products, neutral, always appropriate, but I feel they could step out of the box just a teeny bit more with LE collections and keep their main collection the way it’s been for years. I mean, do they even sell a red lipstick?

Susan Avatar

I read an interview with Brown herself where she said that everyone has a yellow-toned complexion. Everyone. I don’t think that’s true and that’s partly why I don’t buy her products — that and the price.

AB Avatar

I respect that the brand helped to establish neutrals as a real choice for polished look. But, like my answer to the rant/rave on Smashbox — I’ve tried to find something that interests me at counters, but nothing really draws me in. I do like the couple of high shimmer lipglosses that I got based on reviews here. Just nothing past that has stood out to me.

Cherie Avatar

Rave: I really like her line. Her makeup really gives a clean, professional, polished look which I love. It’s simple. I own a couple of lipsticks and I absolutely love her blushes and shimmer wash shadows and her gel-liners are in use by me almost daily. I like her skincare for that something extra when my skin really needs it – it’s thick and really helpful.

Rant – Overpriced. I’m not inlove with her foundation formulas (I love Dior and Nars). Her eyeshadows can be mixed – some are just lovely to apply and some look like I smeared chalk on my eyelids.

Lea Avatar

I used to wear a lot of Bobbi Brown; I like the esthetic of the polished Hepburn type look. My issue is with her philosophy that all skin tones need some yellow – I really don’t. I can pull off peaches and cream and some more neutral foundations, but not yellow. Even her alabaster which supposedly is more pink than porcelain is too yellow for me. I eventually went back to my Asian foundations that break down the yellows and pinks better. I do like her Extra skincare line and lip balm – it’s what I wear to bed and it works really well. I will defend her lip color options a bit though; she has been doing more pinks and she does do a lot of reds. She’s known for her brown tones, but she’s expanded beyond that. I do know she has a liquid lip coming out – mimicking the look of the Art Sticks – can’t recall if it’s a gloss or liquid lip, but it looks intriguing enough to take a peek.

Claire L Avatar

I’ve never bought any BB products, I think the original line put me off as it was very yellow toned. It’s better now but the only things that interest me are the Luxe Lip lipsticks and cheek products.

Erica Avatar

Lovely very pigmented blushes

Overpriced and nothing overly justifying the price. A lot of terrible fragrance used I her products which irritate the skin

Kind of boring

Mariella Avatar

I don’t have a lot of Bobbi Brown stuff but there used to be a mascara I LOVED but which is no longer available (at least not at Sephora, the only BB outlet I know of). I have a lovely little Points Perk palette from several years ago and I realized from it that while some of her shadows are fabulous, some of the shimmer ones are almost transparent pans of glitter – no meaningful pigmentation. Of the good ones in the palette, only 1 or 2 are even available to me at Sephora; the rest aren’t carried there and it always struck me as odd that they’d have a Points Perk palette containing product they don’t even sell. Personally, I’d also say “enough already with the Shimmer Bricks”. Mind you, some people might feel the same about MAC’s MSFs (the shimmery ones) and yet I like seeing new ones of those.

Bibi Maizoon Avatar

Well, I have very warm yellow toned skin and I used to love BB for being the first line to come out with truly warm shades of foundation & concealers.
I was very disappointed when I last visited a BB boutique in Delhi though. I asked the SA for a concealer that didn’t augment the fine lines around my eyes. She tried 5 different products and they all made my undereye area look worse- CREPEY. C’mon BB you were known for your foundations & concealers that began the ‘your skin but better’ trend, WHAT HAPPENED? If IT Cosmetics can do it for less $ why can’t BB? Innovation please!

Emily Avatar

I had a really bad experience with one of the SAs at a Bobbi Brown counter in my teens. I asked her if she could recommend a natural looking concealer for me and she didn’t even get up, just gave me the up and down look and said “I’m so sorry, I don’t think we have anything suitable someone like you.” This was in Singapore. Anyway, subsequently a white woman came in with her tween daughter and the SA started fawning over them. I just left, went to MAC where the SAs have always been friendly and nice to me, even if they haven’t always matched me correctly.

That Bobbi Brown experience left such an impression on me that, to this day, 10 years later, I won’t even consider a Bobbi Brown product. If I see one recommended, I write it off – not even consciously but I guess her words stuck in my head. I’m sure some Bobbi Brown products are great but I will never purchase from them.

I mentioned the Singapore thing because in Asia, sadly, there is still a culture of deference paid to white people (‘ang mohs’ as the locals call them). These are mainly expats and many get used to the fawning treatment they receive while living abroad, even as they disparage the locals and the local culture. I’m mixed (half white/half Asian) and get treated differently as well – hard to describe, I wouldn’t say it’s negative but I’m acutely aware I’m not viewed by either whites or Asians as one of them.

Anyway, I may be wrong and maybe it was just because I was a teenager – however, I was in my late teens (17 or 18), well dressed, etc so I just don’t know. I do think that teenagers in general are often treated by SAs either in a condescending manner or just misled about what they need. This is regardless of race. I think companies would be wise to remember that pesky teenagers happen to be their future customers. Steer them in the right direction and you potentially have a loyal customer for life. Do the opposite and you lose potential revenue both in the short term ((pocket money spans a VERY wide spectrum) and long term, when those teens grow up, get well paid jobs and have deeper pockets.

Tracey E. Avatar

I had a negative experience at a Dior counter as a young adult. I bought a lipstick, it burned my lips, and was looked down upon by the SA as though their lipsticks – a luxury brand – couldn’t possibly do that. I never gave Dior a second thought until 20 years later when I started reading reviews and learning more broadly about brands and their products. I wore little makeup – foundation and lipstick – but the experience was off-putting. I’m sorry for your experience!!

Shannon. N Avatar

I’m biracial as well (secwepemc native and white!) And I totally agree with you, regarding your comments on how you’re treated!!

It’s a weird experience navigating the world when you’re half and half!!

Gamze Avatar

In have more han twenty shades of BB gel eyeliner and they changed my whole look since any eyeliner would smudge on my extremely hooded eyes. I love the shades.

However, their lipsticks stink. Terrible pastel crayon smell and taste in spite of the silky formula. I’ve thrown away a few GWP lipsticks thinking they were rancid, but even those I purchased are difficult to wear. And as a final point, their eyeshadow palettes leave a lot to be desired.

Susan Avatar

Wow, just read the news yesterday that Bobbi Brown is leaving the brand! Let’s hope that whoever/whatever company takes it over reinvents it for the 21st century and takes constructive criticism to heart. We are not all yellow-toned. There is more to life than brown and bronze.

na Avatar

I read today that Bobbi Brown is stepping down from her own makeup brand. The brand will go on under Estée Lauder. I can’t imagine the brand without her influence. I love the natural makeup look, so I tend to gravitate to her makeup. Her bronzer in Golden Light is the only one I can use with my skin coloring. I use it not to look tan or change my skin color, but use it very lightly to add a little warmth.

Tracey E. Avatar

Rave: I’m a big fan of this brand. I’m so fond of BB skincare (esp. the Extra line), correctors & concelors (my HG), foundation sticks, brightening bricks, finishing powders, Art Sticks, lipsticks (love the Luxe line but any formula works for me in general), mascaras, and retouching wands. BB does Christmas like no other. I like the ‘Be Yourself’ philosophy. I love how Hannah Martin showcases the brand and products in a fresh, more current manner.

Rant: Eyeshadow palettes, in general, lack pigmentation, have an over-reliance on glitter and shimmer shades (and their terrible fallout), and have not been terribly creative. This is the weakest part of the line. There seems to be little interest in showcasing more vibrant eyeshadow shades or looks while being true to purpose. I dislike Bobbi’s rant to stop contouring and her jumping on the ‘strobing’ bandwagon when she does not believe in fads and her products were nothing more than subtle highlighters.

Susan Avatar

I actually like (Rave!) her statements about contouring, mega-brows, and lip fillers. I think contouring done poorly does look like dirt, and yes, I mean on myself too.

jenna Avatar

I *want* to love bobbi brown but when I browse through their products I’m never intrigued. And the prices are too high for me to pick something up ‘just to try’

Lulle Avatar

Bobbi Brown is one of the first high-end brands I experimented with when I started getting into makeup. I have to say that the quality of their products seems to have gone downhill since then, especially their LE eyeshadow palettes.
There are still gems in the permanent collection (Shimmer Bricks, Pot Rouge – as blushes only, concealers, some lipsticks) but I feel like the brand has a really hard time remaining relevant. They just do more of the same every season. I’d rather see them keep promoting their permanent products than coming up with yet another nude eyeshadow palette of subpar quality 4 times a year.
They’re not even able to successfully leverage trends when they were way ahead of the game: 5+ years ago BB was one of the only mainstream brands to offer a whole range of highlighters, long before they were all the rage, with their Shimmer Bricks. Why didn’t they seize the opportunity to heavily re-promote their range when the highlighter hysteria hit the beauty world? Offer new shades, maybe a packaging update, or just market them as the great highlighters they are? That is a mystery to me, and a huge missed opportunity to become relevant to a younger audience. Oh well, we’ll see how the brand evolves now that Bobbi herself is leaving!

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