Q&A with Hair + Makeup Artist Taylour Chanel

We interviewed one of our favorite, most inspiring Hub makeup artists – Taylour Chanel. Taylor tells us a little bit about her untraditional way of starting hair styling + makeup artistry, how she prepares for upcoming shoots, and more!

Q: How long have you been a HMUA and How did you get started?
A: It’s been a little over 5 years since I started doing full-time HMU! My story is a little interesting- so I’d been passionate about makeup since I could remember. I’d been introduced to drag queens early in my life and was fascinated by their transformation and the power of makeup application. I took theater makeup classes at 12, and wanted to pursue it at 18 out of high school. Plans changed, and at 22 I found myself having to take medical leave and eventually leave my job at a major retailer that I’d devoted almost 2 years to due to being diagnosed with severe clinical depression and anxiety with panic disorder. This was a period of time where I was so anxious I was unable to leave the house for almost 2 months. During this time, I devoted my time to re-reading my favorite makeup books, (most by Kevyn Aucoin, more on that later) watching every YouTube of professional MUAs, reading every interview or panel from industry professionals trying to grow and understand the industry. I slowly started building my portfolio and went from bridal, boudoir and senior portrait clients, to eventually growing my business to solely include Commercial, Editorial, Celebrity and Red Carpet makeup clients 5 years later.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being a HMUA?
A: I’d say the unique connection I’m lucky enough to get to make with my models and team. Being able to connect with a team of people to create something we’re proud of is so special. But it is worth mentioning that making a person feel beautiful or exposing someone to their new favorite product are also fun and rewarding parts of the job as well.

Q: Where do you find your inspiration? Who are some people that have inspired you throughout your career?
A: Inspiration is literally everywhere for me. I feel like a lot of people say that, but truly, I’m so inspired by my friends and their wacky imaginations, creators on The Hub, my favorite magazines, places I get to travel, and fashion. Especially fashion. Certain designers can create and evoke such a powerful story about who the person wearing the clothes could be that I then am so wildly inspired by creating the beauty concept for this imaginary person. That usually leads to me contacting my favorite photographers with an annoyingly urgent and heart eye emoji-filled text asking to shoot soon, haha.

As for people who’ve inspired me throughout my career, I absolutely have to acknowledge the artists who’ve inspired me- Pat McGrath, Danessa Myricks, Lottie and Kevyn Aucoin. Kevyn’s books are timeless and I still take something away from them every time I pick them up. Pat and Danessa are both women of color, absolutely slaying and changing the makeup world, with Pat being behind some of THE most iconic makeup looks in the last twenty years. Lottie’s creativity and vision is in another stratosphere.

Q: How do you describe your style and what sets you apart from other HMUA?
A: I’m not sure how to describe my style, but if I had to say, it would be anywhere ranging from glowing natural beauty to edgy conceptual beauty.

As far as what sets me apart, I would LOVE to say my skill, but I think it’s more than that if we’re being honest. I realized early on that being a makeup artist has more responsibility than you think. When a model or talent leaves their house the day of a project I’m on, who knows what they’re dealing with personally. And for the first hour after arriving on set a lot of times if they don’t need to try on wardrobe they get sent straight to my chair. It’s a makeup artists responsibility to set the tone for the rest of the day. It’s a makeup artists responsibility to get them comfortable, relaxed, and feeling confident to do their job. It isn’t just about putting on makeup, and if you choose to truly try to make those responsibilities a priority it changes your clients experience. I just try really hard to listen to the people in my chair and have a genuine connection and interaction.

Q: What are your go-to products to use on shoots for hair and makeup?
A: For hair, it’s pretty simple. I LOVE R+Co. R+Co has stunning packaging, the most amazing smell, and products that just flat out work. Some favorites are the Trophy Shine + Texture Spray, it’s like a shine spray, hairspray, and dry shampoo had the perfect love child and gives beach waves an unrivaled messy texture. Vicious Strong Hold Flexible Hairspray is a kit staple for me, and Chiffon Styling Mousse is equally as holy grail title-worthy as the last two. Toss in when hair is damp and then blowdry- you’ll witness actual magic.

Some of my go-to makeup products are NARS Radiant Creamy Foundation, Sigma Beauty Brushes (their 3DHD Line is incredible, as well as their sponge! Fenty Pro Fltr Foundation, Danessa Myricks Luxe Cream Palette, and YSL Eclat Blur Primer!  

Q: How do you prepare for an upcoming shoot? How important is it to communicate with the photographer before the shoot?
A: So a lot of the time (though certainly not always,) I get a photo of our model or talent ahead of time, which is super helpful. Then, if there’s no set look and I get to be a little creative, I’ll reference styling notes and get an idea of color palette, then I usually plan out looks ahead of time. Even down to the potential products and write them down the few days before a shoot so I have it for reference.

As far as communicating with the photographer, SO important! Especially if there’s no producer or art director you’re interacting with. Being able to have a general understanding of their vision, the location, how many looks they intend to shoot, do they want any tight portraits on any of the looks, what style of makeup they’re looking for- it’s all essential to creating something everyone is excited about.

Q: What advice would you give to those who are trying to get into hair and makeup?
A: I would say, to first figure out where you want to start out, whether that’s bridal, senior portraits, special events, or e-commerce, film, television, fashion…and then start reaching out to photographers and building your book to cater to the part of the industry you want to get into. You can do more than one eventually obviously, but starting with one as a goal in mind for your portfolio is a good starting point. Reach out to other artists you admire and ask if they’d let you assist them for free a couple of times- and then ask questions! Don’t be afraid to ask questions to people you respect and look up to. You never know, they might just answer and give you the guidance you’re looking for.

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