If you singlehandedly changed the beauty game with the simplest of tools.aren't familiar with the phenomenon that is the beautyblender you've probably been living under a rock for the last few years. Founder and CEO, Rea Ann Silva, has
I remember my makeup artist gave me one a few years ago and it sat on my counter for weeks. I didn't believe that something so seemingly simple could change my makeup game so fundamentally. One day, when I had a few extra minutes to play in front of the mirror, I picked it up, and my skin has looked photo-shopped ever since.
Yes, it's that much of a game changer. When I found out I was connected to the company through one of their consultants, Mark Jaffe, who helped beautyblender grow into the company they are today, I knew I had to sit down and help spread the word...and the makeup.
LM: Tell our readers about the moment you realized you had built a better mousetrap?
RAS: beautyblender was born out of necessity - so I knew pretty early on that it would be popular in the professional makeup community. But when buzz started building among clients, THAT'S when I knew it was really something special.
I was simply trying to cut down the amount of time I was spending in my makeup trailer. I was Makeup Department Head of the first show shot in High Definition ("Girlfriends" starring Tracy Ellis Ross) and I was challenged with having 4 lead female actresses look FLAWLESS on set without being able to roll out an airbrush machine or pull them back in my trailer.
I knew that Special Effects artists would cut foam sponges for certain looks so I took that same concept and started cutting up wedge sponges so they had an elliptical shape and showed no lines of demarcation while allowing me to get coverage in hard to reach places like around the nose and eyes.
I also knew that if I wet a sponge of the right consistency I could give the makeup a dewier, less cake-like look. I did the research and got my prototype made in the right shape with the right foam. I would hand them out to members of my team, but suddenly started noticing that these little pink eggs were popping up all over sets: artists would use them, their clients would "have to have it" and the demand grew and grew.
Soon, I was having my peers beg me to make more because they "couldn't do makeup without it". That's when I knew.
LM: When did you know you had a retail hit on your hands?
RAS: My dream had always been to see my product inside Sephora - to me that was the pièce de résistance of success. But, we had controlled growth - starting in professional makeup artist stores, then growing to online retailers like Beauty.com and even Sephora.com. We dealt with our share of "knock-offs" along the way - including Sephora.
Then, one day the phone rang and Sephora wanted to do an in-store test at a few locations. Apparently, people kept asking for beautyblender and were not satisfied with the version they were offering. Our opening PO flew off the shelves and from that point forward we have been running on all cylinders.
LM: How does it feel to know almost every woman in America has one of your BB's in their makeup arsenal?
RAS: It's really very surreal to know that most women pick up a beautyblender when they look in the mirror to do their makeup. To know that I have had that profound an impact on an industry I truly love is amazing. That trust that we have built with our customers is so special and so important - they know our product will always leave them looking their most flawless.
LM: What products are you working on next/what should we keep our eyes out for?
RAS: For me beautyblender has become a brand that helps women demystify makeup application. We like to say we are "makeup's best friend" because we enable whatever product you use to perform its best. So, the future holds more tools and solutions to help women explore makeup with confidence.
For example, we launched our Liner.Designer last year to help master multiple versions of a Cat Eye. This little tool was designed to gentle adhere to your skin (so you can use two hands to draw your cat eye) with different angled edges to effortlessly master a cat eye look.
LM: Why pink?
RAS: Pink was actually NOT intentional. The manufacturing company would send me prototypes of different types of foam to test. They would come in different colors so we could easily distinguish the ones I liked. Towards the end of this process they sent the foam and advised to IGNORE the color - only when I opened the box this bright pink color was shining through and I just had that lightbulb moment where I knew it HAD to be this color. Today it's iconic.
LM: What are your other favorite makeup tools?
RAS: I love my simplehuman Vanity Mirror - I love to be able to get up close and personal when I'm doing my own makeup. In addition to all the different sized beautyblenders, I really can't live without my Liner.Designer.
As a makeup artist, I can draw a cat eye on a client with basically my eyes closed. But on myself? Not so much! I created that tool for completely selfish reasons.
LM: If there were 3 tips/tricks you would offer beauty fanatics, what would they be?
RAS: This may sound cliché but "less is more". Pick one trend and commit to it (if it's a bold lip, go with a neutral eye, if it's a cat eye go with a soft lip, etc.)
And a great look starts with great skin - don't neglect your skin! You have less to cover up when you take care of your foundation - your skin!
LM: At a retail price point of around $20, the beautyblender might be one of the most cost effective and efficient products on the market I've seen in a long time. beautyblender has created an iconic brand for the 2000's and in a saturated beauty market, that's a big deal.
As for me, a girl who always attempts to apply fake lashes and ends up sticking them on the mirror in frustration, if I can do it, anyone can. I want to personally thank Rea Ann for making the world just a little more beautiful.