Jean Ann Ford, who co-founded Benefit Cosmetics with her twin sister Jane in the 1970s, has died at the age of 71.
Announcing Jean’s death via Instagram, the company (which is now owned by LVMH), said:
“It is with great sadness we share that our beloved co-founder, Jean Ann Ford, has passed away.
“Jean leaves behind a makeup dynasty, a legacy of creativity, and the belief that ‘Laughter is the Best Cosmetic’.
Jean and her sister Jane opened their first makeup shop, The Face Place, in San Francisco in 1976 after a short stint working as models.
Just one year later, the sisters created their first product – a rose coloured ‘nipple stain’.
According to Jean and Jane, an exotic dancer called Rosie walked into the shop looking for a product to turn her “areolae pinker for customers at the back of the room”.
Jean and Jane told her to come back the next day and spent that night boiling rose petals to create a nipple stain called Rose Tint.
Today that rose tint, renamed Benetint after the Face Place changed its name to Benefit Cosmetics in 1990, is still one of the brand’s most popular products.
Since then the sisters have created numerous innovative products with its famous bold and quirky packaging and marketing materials.
In 1999 they sold the majority of Benefit to LVMH but stayed with the company until 2012 when LVMH bought the remaining share.
Today Benefit is distributed in over 45 countries and “shapes over five million eyebrows every year”.
Jean is survived by her sister Jane Ford and her daughters Maggie Ford Danielson and Ann Ford Danielson who work as Benefit’s chief beauty ambassadors.
Annie told WWD that her mother was “a force”.
“She always believed in doing the right thing − in making other people’s day,” she said.
“She spent her whole life creating a world where women could find joy and happiness in themselves. She truly believed when you make someone look good and feel good, they will be good…
“She was the best woman I will ever know.”