Makeup is all about enhancement, but Benefit Cosmetics Global Beauty Authorities, Annie and Maggie Ford, have a different approach: they aim for perfection.
While the products they create ultimately result in beauty enhancement, they also aim straight at the heart of women’s needs, crafting miracle-working solutions that sop up shine, shrink pores, and offer flawless finishes. Benefit’s customers are their paramount concern, and they offer a rich and diverse line that solves virtually every beauty problem you can think of. Cheeky packaging and a delightful sense of humor are also a part of the brand’s DNA, and the Ford sisters share the same funny streak. With an optimistic and confident outlook on life, the Ford sisters charm us with their history, their appreciation of Middle Eastern beauty and their favorite products from Benefit’s new Fakeup line in this intimate interview with our beauty editor, Huda Kattan.
What brought you back to Benefit after following different career paths?
Maggie: It was the right fit at the right time. Annie was just finishing up college and I wanted a change from my current job in NYC. It was a decision we didn’t make lightly, but we both knew it was our passion and where we belonged. We’ve grown up with Benefit our whole lives, so working here doesn’t really feel like work; it feels like home.
What Benefit Cosmetics has achieved in such a short period of time is incredible. What do you think makes your brand so unique?
Annie: I think our DNA is what makes our brand stand out from all the others. We believe that laughter is the best cosmetic. By that we mean that, when a woman laughs, she is confident and beautiful, and that is when she’s at her best.
What has been your inspiration over the years and what keeps you evolving?
Maggie: My inspiration has always been our customers. Jean and Jane taught us to never forget that the customer is the most important person. That’s why we make the products we make – because of customer needs.
Annie: Our customers are our biggest inspiration. They give us the energy and the ideas for new products. Our customers are so loyal and love the brand so much that it energizes us and inspires us to always do better.
What are you favorite products from the ‘Fakeup’ range?
Annie: I never leave the house without They’re Real, Porefessional, Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow, and Fakeup.
If you were stranded on a desert island and only had five Benefit beauty products with you, which would they be?
Maggie: Mine would be They’re Real, Benetint, Boi-ing, Porefessional, and Instant Brow. I wouldn’t need Hoola as I’d be on an island so would already have a tan!
Has your first visit to the Middle East changed or shaped your vision of beauty in any way?
Annie: Beauty in the Middle East blew me away. The women here are so gorgeous and proud of their beauty in a way that I have never seen before. It’s almost as if beauty is a tradition in the Middle East, like a rite of passage when you get older.
What is your favorite Middle Eastern beauty trait or habit?
Maggie: I love how women are so expressive with their eye makeup. It’s all about drama with long lashes, eyeliner, and bold brows. It’s glamorous and seductive. A lot of women in the US want that ‘no makeup’ makeup look, which is nice, but a bold, sexy eye is so feminine!
What do you think is the ultimate idea of beauty?
Maggie: Beauty is such a relative term. Each person’s beauty ‘ideal’ is so different, so it’s impossible to say what the ultimate is. However, I think we can agree that your appearance is a reflection of who you are on the inside. Sometimes, if I’m having a great day, I want my outsides to match my insides, so I might dress in something fun and flirty. Other times, if I’m having a bad day or I’m feeling down, I use my appearance to give myself a boost. A bright lip can really pick up my mood and act as my armor in a way. Sometimes, you have to fake it a little. No matter what, though, you have to reflect who you are. No one person is the same, and there is no ‘ideal’ appearance.
What’s on the horizon for Benefit?
Annie: The world is our oyster! I think that, now that we are in almost every country, it’s time to explode our brand DNA in those areas and teach our customers who we are and what we stand for.