April 28, 1997 12:00 PM

TWINS JANE FORD AND JEAN FORD Danielson, creators of the BeneFit Cosmetics line, aren’t shy about sharing their know-how. “If you meet us on a plane, watch out!” warns Ford, who on a recent flight whipped out her Oasis mist (to hydrate the skin) and spritzed a stranger seated next to her. “I just can’t help myself.” Not that her surprised subjects seem to mind. “People always pop up from behind, saying, ‘Do me! Do me!’ ” says Ford, laughing. “We have a ball.”

Making makeup fun is the 49-year-old twins’ specialty. With some of the goofiest product names around, the line—which is sold in department stores, three of their own California boutiques and through the BeneFit catalog—draws fans like Gwyneth Paltrow ($13 Cream Puff lipstick), Helen Hunt ($16 Boi-ing! concealer) and Daryl Hannah ($22 Aruba in a Tuba self-tanner). “It’s about putting a grin on when putting on makeup,” explains Danielson. “We take the snore out.” Says Yvette Jirau, an assistant buyer for Macy’s: “People get nervous when they go to a makeup counter because it’s so serious. These guys are like, ‘Let’s relax and have a good time.’ ”

Former models, the twins—Carmel, Ind., natives—used proceeds from their 1974 Calgon bath-products commercials to open San Francisco’s Face Place makeup shop in 1976. They went national in ’93, renaming the company BeneFit (after the Italian word bene, which means “good”). This year sales will hit $20 million. Ford, engaged to a property developer and living in San Francisco, handles finances; Danielson, divorced and the mother of two in Mill Valley, Calif., is the marketing whiz. “We work very well together,” says Danielson. Ford is less generous. “I keep her around for her parts,” she laughs, patting her sister’s knee. “She’s my donor.”

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