Q&A: Drew Barrymore, Founder of Flower Beauty

By Briony Smith

Budding beauty mogul Drew Barrymore

The Hollywood royal turned makeup magnate shares the story behind her flourishing cosmetics line

Drew Barrymore isn’t the celebrity face of Flower. Drew Barrymore is Flower. After witnessing the 39-year-old actress’s intense passion for beauty products in person, I can’t help but wonder if her decades-long film career wasn’t just some entertaining preamble to her true calling: makeup mogul. “My head has been there for a few years,” Barrymore says when we meet at one of her favourite restaurants in Nantucket, where she regularly summers with husband Will Kopelman and their daughters, Olive, 2, and Frankie, six months. “I’ve done a movie here or there, but it’s not where my head is at in general. I’m much more into building this company. I love it so much; it really has my heart and attention. It makes me very happy.”

After launching in the U.S. in January 2013, Flower arrived in Canada this October, exclusively at Walmart. The vast range includes more than 180 items across categories—eye, face and lip makeup, nail polishes and fragrances—almost all priced at $5 to $14 each.

Barrymore’s brand began in the wake of her tenure with CoverGirl, where she initially served as a spokesmodel and later became co-creative director of her own ad campaign. After a lifetime of sitting in makeup chairs, she yearned to branch out on her own. To stand out in the crowded market, she saw her niche: prestige quality at mass price points. So she partnered with L.A.–based beauty design company/manufacturer Maesa, which has also done products for Benefit Cosmetics, Oscar de la Renta and Vera Wang. Barrymore decided to eschew all advertising, instead sinking that budget into product development. This means that Flower spends two to three times more on formulation and packaging than the average mass brand.

“I find inspiration in odd places and you can apply that to makeup,” says Barrymore of her fascination with pigments and formulas. “It’s like, This is the most gorgeous shoe—what is this colour? And I’ll take it to the lab and match it for an eye chubby. It’s a lot of work, but there is such a playful aspect to it.”

The star brings her signature approachability to the accessible line, which features double-duty products such as a dual-ended eye marker/eyeshadow, lip and cheek chubbies, and an adjustable mascara with three brush settings (lengthening, curling and volumizing). They’re designed for ease of use, catering to women who don’t have time to lavish on beauty routines—like Barrymore herself. This fall, she’s also expanded into fragrance with a trio of floral (naturally!) spritzes: powdery-soft Cherished, sparkling-fresh Radiant and patchouli-laced Sultry. Developed in partnership with Givaudan “nose” Stephen Nilsen, who has worked on perfumes for Sarah Jessica Parker, Tom Ford and Madonna, the scents can be worn alone or layered together.

As boss of Flower, Barrymore has the flexibility to excel at another “job”: being mom. Far from the whirlwind of Hollywood life, she can often work from home and be with her family. “I had to really prioritize,” says Barrymore. “I want to be spending more time with my kids and then fighting to work, rather than being at work and feeling like I’m not with my kids enough. So I had to change a lot of things.”

These days, she revels in playing with her daughters on the beach, watching them learn how to do new things, and teaching them about true beauty—which isn’t about products at all. “Having a positive exchange with another human being is going to make you feel better than any makeup in the world: a smile is better than any lipstick you can buy,” says Barrymore. “I think everything pretty lives on the inside and it affects the outside so much.”


Drew Barrymore’s Beauty Picks:


Photography: courtesy of Flower Beauty


This article was originally published in the November/December 2014 issue of Cosmetics magazine. For more, download our iPad edition.