Showcasing the game-changers behind the scenes in beauty, Style Notes presents How We Beauty, turning to British make-up artist Zoë Taylor to kick things off. Sharing an insight into her personal beauty regime, along with expert techniques and tips on how to achieve two key trends – the Smudgy Eye and Draping – watch Zoë in action as she hydrates, buffs and blends her way through three exclusive videos...
"To be a true beauty muse, it takes more than just a pretty face," says Zoë Taylor, the power make-up artist behind a raft of beauties including Karen Elson, Cara Delevingne and Keira Knightley. With a portfolio that reads like an industry Who’s Who – think Rankin, Arthur Elgort, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Love Magazine – Zoë’s approach to beauty is instinctive and organic. "Originally I wanted to be an artist, it all seemed so romantic and free," she explains, "but somehow, after art school, I found myself training as a beauty therapist, which then made me realise I could paint faces instead of canvasses, so I attended the Glauca Rossi School Of Make-Up" – Charlotte Tilbury being among its glittering alumni and a former mentor to Zoë.
Zoë’s beauty roots run far deeper than just her education, however. "My first sense of beauty was my mother, who was – and still is – the most beautiful woman on this planet. Her spirit has always been free. Throughout my childhood she wandered around in a haze of hairspray, scented wonderfully with YSL Rive Gauche, with long red nails." Tall, svelte and striking in her own appearance, with a polished-yet-undone, gracefully edgy style, Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney, Alexander Wang are some of Zoë’s go-to labels. "My look is a nod to the '60s, when women piled on so much black kohl they were completely unrecognisable once they’d taken it all off. My relationship with black eyeliner started as a pre-teenager; I thought a slick of liner in my tear-line would change my world. The liner has just got thicker and blacker and more waterproof over the years. I team this with a blunt fringe, pretty dresses and always like to stack up on statement jewellery."
And while her personal style is of a specific era, inspiration for her work draws from a much wider net of decades and disciplines. "I love Frida Kahlo; her spirit is what makes her such a beauty, her talent and strength is immeasurable. Mariel Hemingway is such a raw, boyish beauty – I love that. David Bowie is key, absolutely, as he’s been such an influencer across so many creative platforms. His ideas never seemed to run out and he was afraid of nothing. And, of course, Kate Moss, who has such magnetic energy and is so transformative in every way."
One need only glance at Zoë’s Instagram to be intrigued instantly by her art and influences in action. Fresh, flawless faces – each striking in their own natural beauty – gaze out beyond the page, exquisitely shot and set in among snapshots of her enviable, ever-expanding beauty kit and the occasional peek of her two daughters.
Looking to the canvas of her work is, she explains, fundamental. No surprises then that she confesses a complete addiction to skincare. "Good skincare is vital. Sometimes it comes from the genes but I think you can certainly help push things in the right direction with a bathroom cabinet full of products." She adds, "I’m all about starting anti-ageing early, it’s hard to turn back time but it’s easier to stop it in its tracks. For my kit, I mix a lot of my own creams up using oils I collect on my travels. Models and celebrities seem to love them as they’re so fresh, pure and massively hydrating."
The Smudgy Eye
"A smudgy eye can be quite a rebellious look, but if it’s worn with no mascara it can seem a little more innocent. Playing around with blending in other colours to enhance the natural eye colour is fun and certainly makes it more wearable. The key to this look is making everything else immaculate: the skin, the lips, everything. To vamp it up, a smudgy eye teamed with a deep matte rouge noir lip is impossibly beautiful. I like to use my fingers to give it a really imperfect finish, but blending with brushes – the Charlotte Tilbury Eye Smudger Brush is made for this look – can keep it looking more beautiful than painterly."
"If you want your liner to look really black it’s good to add in a bit of blue because you really get the intensity of the colour."Zoë Taylor
"Otherwise known as blush layering, draping is such a pretty and natural way to add architecture to the face, helping to create a healthy glow rather than any hard colour lines. I love that it’s also a bit of a nod to the '80s era, when pink was a tougher colour.
"It’s all about building the colour to create a deep intensity; start with the palest shade and build up to the greatest pigment product. Be thinking all the time about sculpting your face with the structure you desire, in the prettiest possible way. I always use a CHANEL blusher brush and then add the deepest colour with a broader brush. Although it may seem a little counterintuitive, don’t be afraid of adding the remnants of colour from your brush as an eyeshadow or even brushed over your lips.
"I love to see this look with a perfect red, glossy lip – very much like a '70s Guy Bourdin woman, or maybe with a lick of mascara for a more wearable day look. Most of all, experiment and see what shades work best for you."
"The idea is that you’re contouring your face with blusher, instead of browns and taupes, so you end up with a much more natural glow."Zoë Taylor