Betsey Johnson on aging, her love for drugstore skin care and relaunching her new makeup line at Walmart

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Betsey Johnson is a 79-year-old woman in a 20-year-old body. She’s bubbly, she’s bright, she knows how to strike up a conversation and she loves a good party. “You’re having lunch while I drink champagne honey,” she says, live from London, where she’s looking for a new apartment. “I come here to get my hair extensions done – my hairdresser has lived in London for 35 years – so I always go back and forth. I’m finally looking for a place here and starting my life over again at the age of 79. But finding an apartment isn’t the only thing on a designer’s to-do list. She is also busy running her fashion line and launching the second collection in her makeup line called LUV Betsey – the first collection launched in November 2020 – which debuts in Walmart stores today.

After ringing the doorbell to the room service door of her hotel, where she has lived for two months, Johnson tells me everything from her favorite product in the five-piece line to how she adjusted her makeup routine as she got older. . Read on for all the details.

What was the inspiration behind your line?

“I am very involved with the nose ring of my two granddaughters. Between the two of them, I know the whole spectrum of what they like to play with. They gave me a whole new perspective on getting funky with makeup – it’s a creative outlet and makeup, in particular, is accessible and affordable. Everything in the line is under $ 15. It makes you want to play with it because it doesn’t leave a hole in your pocket! I also want to add that expensive products aren’t always the best products – they don’t have to be expensive to be good, and they don’t have to be cheap to be awful. Maybe before, people were brainwashed into thinking that if the products cost more then they are better, but I’ve tried that stuff and it’s great. With that, I wanted young girls to be able to access these products so that they could try and play with them. Make-up is a wonderful indulgence and a great form of personal care.

Has affordability always been a major pillar for your brand?

“I never wanted to do anything more expensive than a round trip ticket or a three night stay in Mexico. I thought, “How can anyone want to spend more on a dress than going on a three day vacation?” I didn’t grow up with money – most of the women in my small, rural Connecticut town neighborhood sewed their own clothes. So, I always wanted things to be affordable because designers who can make expensive things do it easily because they can use any fabric or material. On the other hand, designers who focus on affordability have a harder job because they have to keep tabs on everything to get their clothes to end up at $ 99. This whole idea goes back to my goal of keeping things fun. When things are affordable, you can have fun without worrying too much about buying it back or damaging it.

What made you want to launch a beauty line after so many years in fashion?

“I had a chance to perfume in my own retail stores, which I still wear, and I had a quick make-up chance last year. But, oh my god, will I jump for joy when I walked in? at Walmart this year and seeing a full flaunt of my makeup on display. I consider my customers to be girlfriends, and I have girlfriends as old as me, so I hope this collection is for everyone, be it young girls who don’t want to take life too seriously or older women who want to have fun. Just like in the fashion world, I think you have to feel good to be beautiful, and so it does. the same goes for my makeup. I just wanted it to be a creative little toy box of colors and stuff to try on and the good thing is that it really looks great. Plus, offering makeup makes me fuller as a as designer.

What is your favorite product in the range?

“Out of all the products – there’s everything from a 56-piece color collection ($ 15) to an eyeshadow palette ($ 10) – I’d choose the hot pink lipstick from the Lip Gloss Shimmer Trio ( $ 10). I still love red lipstick, but want to branch out and use pink more! Glad to use it because I just got stuck in my red world. I want to be bright and shiny but I’m a bit stuck in my ways. I will say, however, that I am very happy with my lips although I did have a little adjustment here and there for sure. I am a firm believer in anything that makes you feel better. Anyway, this is not the first time that I have worked with the company that makes the products, so I know they are doing it well.

What is your skin care routine?

“Anything in the pharmacy!” At night, I start by holding a hot towel over my face for a few minutes. Then I use exfoliating wipes and wait a few minutes before cleaning. Then I put on a moisturizer, any kind of moisturizer! I have always been an Olay user because it reminds me of growing up. My mom used it and I’m just a huge fan of the brand. I also like Nivea. If I have to spend more than 10 minutes on skin care, I won’t.

In the morning, I think my face is clean enough, so I use my hot towel, moisturizer, and any old foundation. My daughter still recommends the La Mer Soft Fluid Long Wear Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 20 ($ 135) but I’m also a sucker for Maybelline. I only wear makeup in upward movements, I never rub down. I’m also all about shading and contouring – I love to recreate my face. I switched from liquid eyeliners to powders because I have too many wrinkles. I buy a lot of MAC Cosmetics eyeshadows and it’s so much easier and so much better. It’s the only time of the day when I really relax. Because I know what I’m doing; putting on makeup is not scary. It’s a fun thing to do instead of a worry. However, I will say that I am so happy with the way I look which is weird because I am older.

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