Bobbi Brown was my wellness coach for a week—here’s what I learned


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Photo: Courtesy of Bobbi Brown

In her second act, Bobbi Brown’s confident, poised, and can rattle off anti-inflammatory foods just as easily as you’d expect her to name lipstick shades. I’m talking with her about my acne, and she’s more concerned with what’s on my plate than which concealer I’m using. As such, I enlist her as my wellness coach for the week to see if she can do for my skin with food what she did decades ago with makeup.

After all, teenage Rachel used to wander the cosmetics sections in department stores and stare wide-eyed at the countless options of perfectly lined-up powders and foundations. One name, emblazoned in white block letters on black compacts always stood out: Bobbi Brown. Fast forward a decade or so and the namesake makeup artist behind the brand is shifting her focus to a more holistic approach to beauty. But let’s be real: Health always been at the center of what she does. “It’s not something I all of a sudden thought of,” she tells me.

“No matter what you do with makeup, it’s not easy to make it look like you are healthy.” —Bobbi Brown

So slowly but surely she’s been building the test case. Last year, she published Beauty from the Inside Outwhich is primarily about wellness and not beauty (as her previous eight titles have been). Then, in April she launched Evolution_18, a wellness brand with a line of products that includes probiotics and collagen powders to boost your skin’s glow, as well as a wellness lifestyle site called JustBobbi.com. “No matter what you do with makeup, it’s not easy to make it look like you are healthy,” says Brown. So where makeup falls short, veggies and spinning can make all the difference. And that’s probably the reason she’s been studying to become an licensed health coach. Somehow, I get her on the phone and *amazingly,* become her first client.

Keep reading to experience my week of health coaching by Bobbi Brown.

bobbi brown wellness coach
Photo: Stocksy/T Rex Flower

Day 1: What’s the root of my skin woes?

The conversation starts where you’d figure it would: “How much water do you drink?” she begins. “About 64 ounces a day—at least I try to,” I respond. Brown proceeds to pepper me with questions about my typical habits, from diet to exercise. And while she learns that I’m not someone who needs to make huge changes, we next land on the topic of my skin (because: of course).

“What are your main concerns?” asks Brown. I tell her I’m pretty much consistently working to remedy my hormonal acne, and I proceed to give her the laundry list of what I’ve done—and am doing—to address it, which includes everything from doubling down on the topicals that I use on my skin to cutting out dairy. Even still, she guesses that I might be eating something that’s affecting my skin without me realizing it.

“Try to go makeup free for a bunch of days and see if that helps,” she says. (Yikes, I think to myself.)

“When something’s off balance, you’ve gotta try one thing at a time,” she says. “It’s like the elimination diet—try different things and see what makes a difference. It could be a weird food allergy.” And without knowing exactly what, she calls my attention to any number of culprits, including the oat milk in my lattes or the eggs in my salad. “You can certainly look at what you’re doing regularly and see if that’s something that might have an effect,” says Brown.

As for my skin care itself, I point out that I’m a beauty editor—so, even though my skin’s misbehaving, for the most part I know what I should be using. Nonetheless, Brown advises me to go barefaced. “Try to go makeup free for a bunch of days and see if that helps,” she says. (Yikes, I think to myself.) “Even though you’re using clean products, sometimes just letting your skin breathe isn’t a bad thing.” Touché.

bobbi brown wellness coach
Photo: Stocksy/Cameron Whitman

After a week on the elimination diet

My skin’s clearing up. Throughout the week, I aim to maintain a philosophy of WWBE (What Would Bobbi Eat?).  Her main staples? Vegetables and protein. After intermittent fasting until 11 a.m. (which I sort of do, minus coffee), Brown has a shake (also my typical breakfast) or organic yogurt and some fruit. “I’ve learned that by doing intermittent fasting it just gives my system more time to relax,” she says. “Yogurt’s so gentle on my tummy. But then I struggle with lunch because salads are tough to digest.”

She’ll typically have something like salmon with quinoa and avocado, steamed kale, or spinach. “Dinner and lunch are similarly based around vegetables, protein, and occasionally a little bit of a carb,” she adds. Throughout the week, I follow her lead, eating kale, avocado, and quinoa salads with chicken. I also ditched the staples of my diet that my newly minted health coach suggested could be problematic: oat milk (used a touch of almond instead), eggs, and (for the most part) added sugar. It seems as though they were culprits, but I can’t say for sure which one of these eliminated foods made the biggest impact to me.

I aimed to maintain a philosophy of WWBE (What Would Bobbi Eat?).

Now, for all my best intentions, my weakness is takeout food. Brown *brilliantly* has a wellness tip for that, too. “I like to order plain things from restaurants and add in my own salt and pepper and condiments,” she says.  I follow her suggestion and don’t feel guilty for getting Chinese at all (something Brown’s husband loves, so she eats it too). The only downside is that the dishes aren’t as delectable—but I feel so much better.

As for going makeup-free: That did not come easily for me—especially because there were still zits to hide. Since my health coach said I should do it, I bared all during the weekend (except during a night out) and wore my best no makeup-makeup look to work. It did feel good to let my skin breathe, and it seemed to help with how long those pimples stuck around.

Why Bobbi Brown’s lifestyle feels so good

Brown’s now on a mission to teach women to go with their gut. “From day one, I’ve always been someone who’s taught the importance of what you put in your body and how it’s more important than what you put on your face.” And like her makeup brand—which was founded on principles of inclusivity and empowerment—she’s dead set that her latest venture will bring health to all who choose to tune in.

But for reasons that are more than skin deep: “I really love to feel good, and I want to empower others to feel the same way,” she says. In this newly minted position, she’s well poised to bring a States-wide revolution. One in which she uses her position to help women walk into the grocery store, and walk out feeling good about what’s going into their bodies. Good skin as a result? That’s just the sugar-free icing on the cake.

If you’re thinking about cutting certain foods from your diet, you may be wondering if quitting dairy will make you lactose intolerant. Also consider trying Whole30 for a healthy gut

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