In the Hot Seat With Benefit’s Maggie and Annie Ford Danielson


Benefit Cosmetics is undeniably addicting. Be it the fun, flirty and cheeky packaging, bright succulent product colors or just the candy store appeal of this line, the San-Francisco based makeup brand is anything but bland. We can just about guarantee that the first Benefit blush, lip balm or highlighter you purchase will not be your last. Playful, lighthearted and with a definite “of the moment” air, Benefit’s mission from the beginning was to provide a smoke-and-mirrors affect for every woman’s irksome problems, all without taking itself too seriously. With such a fresh and frisky take on the beauty world, we here at BN couldn’t pass up the opportunity to speak with Maggie and Annie Ford Danielson – daughters of co-founder Jean Ford and Benefit’s makeup trend artists and brand authorities. The duo, who consider themselves the luckiest girls in the world (let’s face it, they totally are), share an inside look into the family business, their must-have products and the best beauty advice they’ve ever received.

If you had to sum up Benefit in three worlds, what would they be?
Maggie: Feminine, fun and timeless.
Annie: Fun (again!), inventive and effective.

In your opinion, what Benefit product should every woman own?
Maggie: Definitely Benetint or Posie Tint. Also, Erase Paste or our new lip gloss.
Annie: Benetint and Boi-ing.

What was the best beauty and makeup advice you have ever received?
Annie: The beast beauty advice I have ever received was from my mom (shocker) and it happens to be the Benefit motto, “Laughter is the best cosmetic, so grin and wear it!” I love this because it is so true. You can’t take yourself too seriously in this business; beauty should be fun and playful.
Maggie: Also, Mom taught us to always wash your face before you go to bed no matter what and if you only have time to do one thing, throw on some mascara.

What beauty product can you simply not live without? Favorite Benefit product?
Maggie: I cannot live without Revitalash. I am a beauty junkie and I try a lot of stuff. This is the first product in a long time that has blown me away with how well it works. My lashes have grown dramatically since I started using it. I tell everyone about it. My favorite Benefit product is Brow Zings. I won’t leave the house without my brows on.
Annie: My “can’t live without” product is the Clarisonic. I use it every day; I even bought my mom one for Mother’s day! As for Benefit product, I can’t narrow it down like that! I can do my best and narrow it down to three. Every day, I use CORALista on my cheeks, High Brow, and the fragrance, My Place or Yours Gina! I can’t live without those three!

Benefit has such a fun, young and flirty appeal. Is this your audience? What type of woman is this brand for?
Annie: Our brand is for every woman. It is a cross-generational brand that lends a hand to teenage girls, to mothers, and grandmothers. Our products are made for the everyday woman who needs instant beauty solutions! Of course we like our products to be fun and playful but they also have to work well. Benefit isn’t for the young – it is for the young at heart!
Maggie: A lot of people who aren’t familiar with Benefit think that because we have such lighthearted packaging, we are for the younger generations. The fun names and colorful packaging hearken back to the roots of what make Benefit special. We try to inject the beauty industry with humor and playfulness but just because we are fun doesn’t mean we’re not serious about beauty. First and foremost our products work!

If you had to pick one item of makeup that a woman should never leave home without, what would it be?
Annie: Cheek color. This may sound bizarre but if you put a little cheek color on, your face will instantly come to life. It makes a world of difference.
Maggie: Mascara, for sure. It opens your eyes, which makes you look more awake and alert. Also, eyelashes are just so feminine! You can fake a rosy glow by pinching your cheeks and biting your lips but there is no substitute for full lashes.

What new trends should we know about coming up for fall or spring?
Annie: I always like a clean fresh look, no matter what time of year it is. That is why I feel that for fall or spring, as long as you have the right concealer and cheek color and – of course fragrance – you will be set.
Maggie: Along with a timeless fresh look, I think with the tough economic times, people want a little fun and playfulness in their lives. I’d look for pops of color in gloss and shadows. Nothing too serious!

How do you predict trends in the beauty industry, and create products to match them?
Maggie: At Benefit we don’t really think of trends so much as what women want and what they need. Trends come and go but beauty problems never really change. It will always be about concealing, brightening and highlighting and we try to come up with products to meet those needs.
Annie: We create products that are missing from the industry. We make products are fun, have instant beauty fixes, and are easy to use. As long as they do all that, then they will never go out of style.

Available at Sephora Stores and

Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Annie & Maggie, forbidden love


Subscribe to our Beauty News NYC Newsletter.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x