Estee Lauder's Susan Akkad on Beauty: "It's Very Much Defined By Your Culture"

Beauty & Style | By Justin D Joseph | 03/20/2013 | 09:00 AM EDT

The veteran beauty exec talks diversity, embracing aging and beauty tips.

For over two decades, Susan Akkad has been a trail-blazing figure in the on-going conversation of diversity in the business of beauty. As Senior Vice President of Local and Cultural Relevancy, Corporate Marketing and Research Development for Estee Lauder companies, Akkad has worked to forge a path that effectively shows that the definition of beauty isn't monolithic, but rather a celebration of differences made to be enhanced with great cosmetics.

How do you go about creating diversity in the field of beauty?
Well for me, Im really focused on the diversity of the consumer. So Im focused on the multicultural consumer in the United States, the UK and France. Its just so incredible how much the beauty industry is really embracing women of color and embracing the beauty of women around the world. I feel really proud that my company really has such a commitment to making every woman around the world feel more beautiful.

How would you define beauty?
I think no one can define it for someone else. I think its an extremely personal journey. I think its very much defined by your culture, by your family and thats what makes it interesting. I dont think that theres a standard of beauty. I dont think there ever was one and theres definitely not one now.

What should women do to embrace aging?
I think its all about how you feel, how beauty makes you feel. You see women that just radiate beauty in everything they do and its their sense of style. Theyll put on a lipstick or an eye shadow or a dress and theyll just look like a million bucks. Someone else will do it and they dont have that same kind of confidence and it falls flat. So I think its really about seeing the beauty in yourself and using things like cosmetics to enhance it. I dont believe in correction, I only believe in enhancement.

What is the best beauty advice or the best beauty tip you can give a woman?
Always have a good concealer and a good lip gloss.

Additional Reporting by Danica Daniel

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