Q&A: Kai Vinson of Bobbi Brown

THE TOOLKIT: Kai Vinson's favourite products.
THE TOOLKIT: Kai Vinson's favourite products.

Kai Vinson is the Director of Artistry for Bobbi Brown. Based in Hong Kong, the makeup artist has been with Bobbi Brown for seven years. On his recent visit to New Zealand, Bronwyn Williams quizzed him.

How would you describe the Bobbi Brown brand?

"As a brand we keep it to three core words - clean, fresh and modern. Bobbi Brown is all about enhancing a woman's natural beauty as opposed to recreating something else. No one has everything, but everyone has something, so it's about enhancing the beauty that you have and looking best.

THE PRO: Kai Vinson of Bobbi Brown.
THE PRO: Kai Vinson of Bobbi Brown.

"Bobbi is big on a simple approach to makeup - she believes that any woman can become her own makeup artist with the right tools and the right techniques. We are a learning brand - we do makeup lessons every day at every Bobbi Brown counter".

You describe Bobbi Brown as a 'learning brand'; does this mean it is orientated at youth?

"Not at all. The brand caters to every woman no matter your age or skin tone. As a brand we have every product for all ages and skin types. (Actually our number one selling book is catered to women 40+ - it's called Living Beauty.)

"We call it a learning brand because we not only sell makeup - we teach. It's about great simple basics, but it keeps up with the trends so it's not scary or boring". 

How does one take on this simple approach whilst still keeping on top of makeup trends?

"I find a lot of women get confused when it comes to makeup trends. Makeup trends you see on the runway don't always look good in reality. You should never try to reinterpret it [these trends] exactly; just take an element - for example a bold lip, a nice eye, or blush. Just take an aspect like one bold lip and add it into your existing makeup routine".

What are some of the makeup trends that are exciting you at the moment?

"I think the biggest trend right now has been going on about a year now, but it's getting stronger. It's bold lipstick - hot pink, orange, reds. I love it because bold lipstick looks amazing even if you have no makeup on - women notice your lipstick and don't notice the rest of it! It's a look that's very French - a lot of French women wear no other makeup, just lipstick.

"Another trend is glowing skin, hydrated skin, well treated skin, it's fresh. It's why BB Creams are so big right now.

"And the eyeliner trend. At the fashion weeks eyeliner was worn in two ways. It was either a soft powder line blended right out so it just resembled a shadow, or really strong cat eye or liquid line - bold and strong across the eyelid."

What are some makeup tips for achieving a professional look at home?

"The biggest tip is the same as in the hair industry - you have to have the right tools. In makeup this means brushes. Get yourself some good brushes. Invest in the best you can afford and they will last you years.

"Another tip (and a mistake that many women make) is the colour of your foundation. Most women get it wrong. Our skin changes a lot throughout the year, in summer it darkens and in winter it gets pale. Most women need a minimum of two different foundation shades to get them through the year, plus a bronzer to help in between the seasons.

"And concealer; concealer makes a huge difference, it makes you look awake and refreshed, and it also corrects the skin tone. It's important to pick the right colour for your skin."

Share your top five products:

Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Serum ($160). "It boosts hydration and is anti-ageing. Perfect for anyone who travels a lot. I do, so it's an important part of my routine. It adds hydration - when I'm in dry climates I partner it up with a rich moisturiser, and in a humid climate I just use it on its own."

Bobbi Brown BB Cream ($75). "It's just really easy. Women are always looking for that great product that's very simple. It's basically a hybrid tinted moisturiser, except it has more coverage, more skincare benefits, anti-ageing benefits, it's lightweight and easy to use and also has high sunscreen protection. And you can build more coverage as you need."

Bobbi Brown Longwear Gel Eyeliner in black ($52)."As a makeup artist it's the number one must-have item in my makeup bag. Gel liner gives a crisp dark, fine line, and it stays on all day."

Bobbi Brown Extreme Party Mascara ($57). "This is amazing as it doesn't clump, you can apply as many coats as you like throughout the day, and it continues to look good and build."

Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Colour ($54). "It has almost no texture, so it doesn't feel like the lipstick is on at all, and the bold colours are so rich. You often see a lip colour on someone else that you love, and then it looks different on your lips because your natural lip colour is different. This is essentially a clear lipstick base with pure pigments, so it looks the same on everyone. And you can layer it up for different intensities".