Bobbi Brown on What It Takes to Create a Sustainable Clean Beauty Brand

Jones Road proves that high quality doesn't have to equal high cost.

Photo: Courtesy/InStyle

If you've been searching for a clean beauty brand that performs and also won't break the bank, look no further than Jones Road.

Originally launched in Oct. 2020, Jones Road was birthed from the idea that even in the era of heavy Instagram looks and filters, makeup can be effortless — and used just to elevate your natural features. Its creator? None other than OG makeup artist Bobbi Brown.

"My idea was to create a brand that was simple for people to use ... without looking overly made up," Brown tells InStyle. "I really like a more natural [finish], and I felt like I had an opportunity to teach women how to look good with less, but the right kind of makeup."

On top of that, the brand is sustainable, most packaging is completely recyclable, and it's also gluten and cruelty-free.

Here, Brown takes us down Jones Road to share how she crafted the line and created a new beginning for herself.

InStyle: Where did the name Jones Road come from?

Bobbi Brown: Jones Road actually came from Waze — true story. [The team] was trying to come up with a name and no one could agree on anything. And if we saw something we liked, we couldn't get it. Then one day, we were driving — my husband and I — to the Hamptons and my head was down looking at directions and I see Jones Road. And I said, "Jones Road Beauty!" My husband said he liked it and that was it. It reminded me of the U.K., which I love, and it sounded like an old, traditional bespoke brand and I thought that was cool.

Tell me about the process of starting over as an OG beauty founder.

Well, it's funny. I started over, literally, with a clean slate. I was able to reimagine what I would want in a beauty brand now. So much of my being over the years has been about health and wellness. I went back to school and got my certification as a health coach. I cleaned up my diet, cleaned up everything in my house, and the makeup was the missing link. And I got to create products the way I like to wear makeup and the way I like to apply them as a makeup artist.

A lot of high-quality, high-performance clean products seem to come with a really high price tag, so a lot of people who want to get into clean beauty can't necessarily afford it. But Jones Road is very affordable and gives you great results. How did you manage to do both?

Well, it was really important to me to make sure that I didn't skip on formula — no matter what. It had to be effortless and it had to be efficacious. That's number one. But then I also thought, "How much money was wasted on over-packaging and marketing?" So when we started working on what this package would be, it was like, just show me stock packaging, show me what's out there. And we just picked the forms that I liked and we were able to keep the price down because the packaging wasn't expensive.

And it's also mostly recyclable!

As many as we could are, but they're not all recyclable. Stock packaging has not evolved the way it should, but the manufacturers are working on it. Our outer packaging is 100% recyclable.

How important was overall sustainability to you?

As a brand, we make sure that things are not over-packaged. When we send them out to editors and customers, we have a recyclable box and recyclable paper inside. We don't have any plastic — no bubble wrap, none of that. And we do as little [packaging] as possible so we don't waste anything.

Well, that's appreciated. Because there are so many mailers with way too much plastic.

Oh, it's terrible. And by the way, it's also your energy. You come home at the end of the day and you're like, "How am I going to tear this box apart?" When we launched The Face Pencil and sent it to makeup artists and influencers, I was like, "Alright, guys. I want no boxes, just the pencils." So the team went to the store and got stasher bags. 'Cause I imagined makeup artists just taking these pencils out of stasher bags and just throwing them into their kit, and not having to open up all those boxes that you just throw out.

Jones Road Face Pencil products

Jones Road

To shop: $25;

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I would love to hear more in particular about the mascara, because I know in clean beauty, they're especially hard to formulate.

I was very lucky that [before I started] I had met the founder of Credo, Annie Jackson, and she asked me if I was going to get back into makeup. I told her I was thinking about it, and she handed me the Credo list that said you can't put all of these 2300 things in your products. So we had to go find chemists because most of the chemists I knew from the old days didn't know the clean world. That's how I learned the most about what we should and shouldn't do. But honestly, I can't believe we made a mascara. Up until I launched the Jones mascara, they weren't black enough, they weren't thick enough — they weren't enough for me. Even though I like natural makeup, I like my mascara really, really black. So we worked with the chemist, and after a bunch of tries back and forth I couldn't believe we were able to make this mascara and make it clean. You know, I hand them the list of what not to put in it and what I'm looking for. I needed a mascara that's incredibly black, I need one that when it's on it looks really thick, I want it to curl, I want to be able to layer it, and I wanna make sure it doesn't flake or doesn't smear. But I also want it to wash off really easily [laughs]. Those are all really important to me, and we nailed it. It was pretty cool that we launched in October and by December we [were named] as one of the top 10 beauty products in W magazine.

Jones Road Mascara

To shop: $26;

What's in store next for Jones Road?

We have new products every month or every other month launching and we're working on getting all the out-of-stock products back in stock. We're not a brand who pretends to be out of stock, we're actually out of stock [laughs]. Our Miracle Balm, for example, which I think is our hero product, we were out of product for three weeks, and we thought we had six months' worth. But now we're back in stock, and as long as we don't open some big giant store somewhere, we're fine.

Jones Road Miracle Balm

To shop: $38;

So there are growing pains, but it's good growing pains. We're also talking about adding new colors in each category, we have more brushes coming out — so we have a lot of great things in the pipeline.

From non-toxic makeup and skincare to sustainability practices, Clean Slate is an exploration of all things in the green beauty space.

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