Exclusive: Q&A With Topshop’s Makeup Artist Hannah Murray

Hannah Murray is one of those women you’d just really like to be. She is every bit as cool as the models she makes over, and she has been the makeup consultant for Topshop since it launched its own beauty line. So for that we thank her. Ahead of the Topshop Unique show tomorrow—for which Hannah travels to London from her New York home to create the look each season—we grabbed five minutes with her to talk everything makeup. Keep scrolling for our exclusive Q&A with one of our favourite makeup artists.




Byrdie UK: Who is the Topshop Unique girl?

Hannah Murray: I think there’s always an element of cool for the Topshop girl—that’s really important for me and the Unique team. You have to really believe her; she must be accessible but definitely with a little edge—we have carried that on from the beginning. It’s also nice to play up her character; for example, last season she was Courtney Love at a garden party, so she had that naughty edge to her. We’ve done many other variations of that too, so I think the underlying feeling is that she has that certain attitude.




Byrdie UK: What gets you through fashion week?

HM: Definitely white tea—I always have that in my bag with a bar of dark chocolate. I travel a lot, so I take care of myself health-wise. I always have vitamins, good food, and water, and I try to see my friends when I’m in London, which helps to have a nice balanced life.

Byrdie UK: What inspires you as a makeup artist?

HM: A mix of everything; I love it when I come to London. I’ve only been here 24 hours but I’ve seen such cool looks on the street. I love seeing real people and what they’re doing. I went to the National Portrait Gallery earlier so that was fun! I take inspiration from old books, old films and what’s happening on the street. It’s a mix of things really.

Byrdie UK:  You live in New York so what are your in-flight essentials when you’re travelling to London?

HM: I wash my face! The other night I put on a SkinCeuticals mask when I flew over, but generally I just take care of my skin with a hydrating moisturiser. I cleanse my skin, put the moisturiser on and try and get lots of sleep. It’s all about the skin and lots of water, too.

Byrdie UK: What do you need in your kit at all times?

HM: Cotton buds for a start! I use a lot of Decléor skincare products like the Aromessence Neroli Face Oil (£29), and I use an SPF 50 moisturiser on myself every day. In my kit, Bioderm Sensibo H2O (£11) is a must—all the girls love that. I use Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant (£42) all the time on shoots because it preps the skin perfectly. And in terms of tools—my fingers!


Byrdie UK: It’s early days we know, but do you have a feeling as to what the mood or vibe for the beauty will be this A/W 16?

HM: It is early days but I feel that there’s still that feeling of bringing a toughness, almost a bit gothic. In New York I saw lots of black—gothic lips and lots of graphic black on the eyes—but who knows where that will end up by Paris…

Byrdie UK: What’s your one hero makeup application tip that all Byrdie readers should adopt?

HM: I like to feel the makeup so that it’s not too precise or perfect. I love to smudge Topshop Beauty Kohl Liner (£4) with my fingers, maybe add a little Vaseline (£2), so it feels more real and lived in and less perfect. I also love putting a bit of Vaseline on the cheekbones so that the skin looks really juicy and fresh. I like an easiness to the makeup.


Byrdie UK: What is your daily makeup routine?

HM: For me, it’s all about my eyes. I take care of my skin first, so I either use a facial wash or my Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant (£42) and then Astalift products—I ship them in! I couldn’t live without the Firming Serum (£54). Then I use some SPF. I curl my lashes with Shiseido Eyelash Curlers (£19) because they’re wide enough for my eyes and I use Chanel Inimitable Waterproof Mascara (£25), which I bulk up with Topshop Beauty False Intense Lash Mascara (£10). I like to layer them and I like them when the wand is a bit dryer so that there’s not too much wax on my lashes. I do a couple of layers, top and bottom, and then I use either my Topshop Beauty Magic Liner (£7) or the Topshop Beauty Kajal Kohl (£7). It depends if I want more of a smudgy eye or if I want a nice clean line along the top. I don’t use foundation often on myself, but I like a glow so I use Topshop Beauty Glow Stick (£10) for that.


Byrdie UK: At the end of the day makeup has to come off. What’s your cleansing routine in the evenings?

HM: I take my makeup off with Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm (£22) because all my mascaras are waterproof. Then I just wash my face and sometimes at night I put on my SK-II LXP Ultimate Perfecting Cream (£275), it’s just a richer cream, as when my skin is dry it needs a little more love.


Byrdie UK: Finally, do you have any beauty makeup books that you think every woman should read?

HM: The books that I love are more extreme like Heads: Hair by Guido (£32); it’s his first one but it’s more of a photographic reference. I love old '90s things like Juergen Teller’s photo book. I tend to go more towards those than more technical makeup books because that’s not my style.

What are you go-to beauty favourites for life on the go? Let us know in the comments below!