Stylist Spotlight: Tracy Murphy

Tracy Murphy is a top makeup artist who has worked on countless international runway shows and contributed to magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, W, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, Marie Clare, Allure, Cosmopolitan and D. We sat down with Tracy to discuss her inspiration and share her makeup secrets.


1.     Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into makeup.

I am from Flint, Michigan and have been obsessed with makeup since I was a kid. When I was 11, I made a magazine called “Eleventeen”. It was full of before and after pictures of me and a friend. At 17, I won the first Sassy magazine reader produced issue competition for hair and makeup. I was thrilled beyond belief, and it changed the course of my life. I came to NYC with my Mom and got to work on 2 photo shoots. It was then I realized this could be an actual career. I moved to NYC to attend The Fashion Institute of Technology and it all went from there. To this day, I am still fascinated with beauty and the transformative powers of makeup.

Tracy Murphy explains how you can recreate Kate Upton's makeup in People magazine.

Tracy Murphy explains how you can recreate Kate Upton's makeup in People magazine.

2.     You’ve painted the faces of top cultural icons, and your work has been featured in major fashion publications. What’s next for you?

I continue to be inspired every day by human beings. I would love nothing more than to keep working with lovely people and making beautiful pictures. I am also in the very early stages of working on a makeup project, so check back in for details!

3.     Makeup is an art, and like any art, is full of options—color, texture, shape, etc. That said, what are the essentials of a great makeup kit?

There are so many important things I have in my kit. Color! I love to have a variety of colors to work with and be inspired by. My way of working is from palettes, and I love to mix and blend. I adore my Hakuhodo brushes--they are divine and make all the difference in the world in terms of application. Having choices and also creating your own options are where the magic of makeup happens.

4.     Wellness has made its way to beauty, and a bevy of natural, vegan, and organic makeup lines have emerged and become mainstream. What are your thoughts on this? If we had to “go natural” with just one product, what should it be?

Oh how I wish all of the products I work with were 100% organic, vegan, cruelty-free, etc. We are slowly on our way, but not there yet. There are some amazing existing lines and new emerging lines that are going to shake up the beauty industry in the near future. I have to say I am obsessed with facial oils, and that would be my “just one” product. There are so many wonderful versions out there, it is a treat to wear them, and what they do for the skin is incredible.

5.     What’s the biggest makeup mistake you see every girl make, and what would your advice be?

I have always been the go to makeup and beauty person since I was a kid. And I have doled out plenty of advice over the years, and while it was mostly greeted with welcome ears, it wasn’t always solicited. But I learned a mind blowing lesson a few years ago. I offered to remove a friend’s mustache, assuming she was unaware it was there and of course did not want it. But when I offered, she warmly smiled and assured me that she kind of enjoyed having it, and didn’t want to remove it. I was embarrassed that I forced my opinion of beauty onto hers, and now I remember that everyday. So really, I am not sure how to answer this question? I think the biggest mistake every girl makes is letting society dictate unrealistic standards of beauty on women, and then absorbing it and trying to emulate it.

Tracy Murphy for FitFlop's 2014 Autumn/Winter campaign

Tracy Murphy for FitFlop's 2014 Autumn/Winter campaign

6.     Any trends in makeup we should know about? Product lines?

Sunscreen is my favorite makeup trend! Anything that is SPF 50+. That is the best beauty advice I can give.

Tracy Murphy did the makeup for Kate Upton on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit

Tracy Murphy did the makeup for Kate Upton on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit

7.     Who do you most admire?

Compassionate, kind and patient people…..And amazing musicians…..

8.     What's one thing no one (or very few people) know about you?

That’s a tough one, I am an open book.

9.     Product you can't leave home without?

Sunscreen and mascara, of course….