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Benefit's Jean and Jane Ford

the back story behind the beauty duo who mask smile lines—and keep you laughing

Kate Hudson and Rachel McAdams don't use the same makeup artist, and Sarah Jessica Parker and Nicole Kidman aren't seeing the same holistic healer. So how to explain their similar rosy glows and collectively perfect bee-stung lips? No, the answer has nothing to do with Photoshop. They're all members of the cult of Benetint, the original lip and cheek stain from Benefit Cosmetics that's been making fans of celebrities—and the rest of us—for over 30 years.

The brainchild of twin sisters Jean and Jane Ford, Benefit thrives on a quirky sensibility—a "laughter is the best cosmetic" policy that's an extension of the founders' own lighthearted approach to life. After making for the West Coast to pursue a short-lived career in modeling, the Indiana-born Fords launched their beauty empire in the late seventies with the idea that makeup could provide both physical and comic relief for women who, as the sisters put it, "might be having a case of the uglies." Seven and a half million multitasking bottles of Benetint later, and the Fords are still doling out the pretty. "We don't follow trends," says Jean. "Our raison d'être is to create products to fix particular beauty dilemmas." Their latest venture is a new scent trio due out next month. Read on to discover the method behind their makeup.

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—Celia Ellenberg

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