Beauty Talk with Bobbi Brown’s Kai Vinson

To me, interviewing a makeup artist can be a little daunting. Will he judge my look? Will he give me critical stares for my eye makeup? But not with Kai Vinson, international makeup artist and Bobbi Brown Director of Artisty Asia Pacific, who was on his second visit Indonesia earlier this month.

The former New Yorker, who showed up that day with his checkered shirt, navy blue pants, and flat cap, was friendly, chatty, full of smiles and—although he works for one of the most well-known cosmetic companies in the world—very down-to-earth. Definitely far from judging, and represents Bobbi Brown’s humble philosophy well.

After I managed to steal Kai from the ladies who swarmed him for makeup advices, I sat down with him for a while and talk about beauty tips, upcoming products, and Hong Kong.

You mentioned before [in his short talk with host Nadya Mulya] that Indonesian women are savvy and polished, but aside from that, what advice can you give us Indonesian women?

I think… While being savvy and polished, sometimes I find some Indonesian women would take looks too literally or directly out of a magazine. Even though we see models wearing amazing looks that are very couture, it’s important to tone down that same look. Take maybe the same colors, but wear them a little softer, not quite as extreme. We can look too overdone when we want to look exactly like the runway.

What products would you recommend to Indonesian women to accentuate our features?

I think the first important things are, of course, concealer and foundation, because I find that sometimes due to the warmer climate, our dark circles show easier, so brightening up the dark circles is really important. Having the right concealer is going to make that difference. It makes us look less tired and more brightened.

Then, my two core structural face components would be eyeliners and eyebrows. Sometimes we’re being neglectful and forget to fill our eyebrows, but we shouldn’t. (Using) eyeshadow is the best, because it’s not going to wear off with the humidity. Use a little bit of eyeshadow—that matches the color of your hair—on your eyebrows to frame the face. Complete it with the right eyeliner

You also can’t forget a good lipstick. Not everyone should wear a bright color, although it’s a popular trend now. Finding a lipstick that matches your natural lip color is the best option, because then you can use it anytime. That’s Bobbi’s idea for the perfect lipstick.

What’s the most important beauty tips or tricks that you can share us?

Moisturizer. No matter what’s out there, no matter what you find, there’s nothing that makes bigger difference than moisturizer. And I find so often that moisturizer is the product that people skimp on the most; we’ll spend extra money for the right eyeshadow or foundation, but moisturizer is what makes the biggest difference. So it’s all about finding the right moisturizer for your skin and the climate. Here it’s definitely very humid, so you have to find an oil-free moisturizer that still gives you hydration, because we tend to lack water on the skin. And! Eight hours of sleep. [laughs]

Most definitely. So what’s your favorite moisturizer?

My favorite is Bobbi Brown’s Hydrating Face Cream, because it’s water based so it’s like the perfect infusion of water for your skin. I find that it makes your skin looks really refreshed, as if you’ve had eight extra glasses of water. My other favorite product is our Extra Repair Eye Cream, which is an eye cream that really reduces eye lines and wrinkles, and it also brightens [dark circles]. So even after a few weeks of using the products, you’ll notice that your eyes would look brightened and lifted.

In the past, Bobbi Brown has released several Asia-exclusive products, such as the BB Cream and the Pink Oyster Shimmer Brick. Are there any others that we can expect in the near future?

Currently yes. The BB Cream has been a huge success and we’re getting ready to launch it globally. It’s gonna go around the world because it has done so amazing throughout the Asian market. We’re launching it in UK in Spring and then US next summer.

We’re also going to launch a new collection in the middle of Spring—I believe around February or March—and it’s our Brightening collection. It’s a color story, though, it’s not just about brightening the skin. It’s really fun, beautiful colors, and we have a few Asia-exclusive powders that are gonna be in there, along with a few exclusive shades as well. The face powder is kind of face illuminating that really brightens the skin and makes it look amazing.

Last question is a bit of personal one. I heard that you just moved from New York to Hong Kong. How did you find it there?

I like it a lot! It reminds me so much of New York—it’s like the Asian New York! It’s very fashion-forward, very busy, everybody’s always in a hurry to go someplace. It’s also like a shopping mecca. Every store you’ve ever wanted to shop at is there.

And I think because in Asia women tend to be so much more fashion conscious, I found a lot of exclusive products that you don’t commonly find in American shops. Well, maybe in New York’s flagship store, but that’s just one or two pieces, while in Asia you can find more.