Pinning down Lauren Murdoch-Smith is tough, following the brightest hair and makeup stars from city to city during Fashion Month is part of her job as Deputy Beauty and Health Editor at British Vogue. With stints at Marie Claire UK and Grazia UK before British Vogue, she’s been a reporter for over a decade, but a beauty obsessive much longer. She started begging her mom to buy Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser in bulk at fifteen.
We’ve run into each other backstage dozens of times over the years and even at her most jet-lagged she’s not only a total professional but a really, really nice one. She also lives in the English countryside so her son Sebastian can pet ponies on a regular basis which we also think is pretty cool. We’re expecting an invite any day now.
Until that comes (ahem ahem), we grabbed a moment with the stylish-as-she-is-sweet journalist to chat favorite females in the biz, her travel essentials and the secret to her perfect “bronde” hair hue.
Banking on it
When I went to university I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, I just knew I wanted to be in media. I studied public relations and between my third and fourth year I did an internship at a bank and I knew straight away I did not want to do that. My friend was doing beauty pr and she met my current boss Nicola Moulton who was looking for an intern at Marie Claire and she asked me if I wanted to do it. I thought magazines, love them, beauty, love it. Where I went to school, you weren’t really given magazines as an option. It was a bit more of a serious environment. On the first day of my beauty internship, I knew that it was what I wanted to do. I was quite lucky to figure that out and never really deviated from it. I just needed the universe to point me in the right direction. I spent about a year as the receptionist for Marie Claire and InStyle which are owned by the same company in the UK and that is where I worked with both Nicola and Zanna Roberts (Zanna is now an E! Correspondent and Senior Fashion Editor at Marie Claire USA). I then got hired as the beauty assistant for Grazia and I spent nine years there before I got to British Vogue.
Early on, from Nicola I learned the writing and researching components of beauty journalism and from Zanna I got a great styling education. I also did both styling and writing while at Grazia.
Nicola and I were reunited when I came to Vogue. She is unlike anyone in our industry. She has the time of day for anyone be it an intern or an assistant. She’s down-to-earth and super intelligent but not in an arrogant way.
UK vs. US
British beauty editors are more casual in their style than US beauty editors. We used to not bother to get a pedicure in the winter but that’s changing. We are more into giving ourselves that time now.
Luxury organics are happening in the UK but also woman want to top that off with a bit of retinol, product cocktailing is popular.
Beauty Pet Peeve
People that don’t cleanse. Cleansing is just a glam way of referring to washing your face. You have a shower why wouldn’t you wash your face?
Gucci Westman: She has a 360 degree approach to makeup, she always makes skin look amazing and if you can make skin look great everything else just works. Backstage at Marchesa she prepped the skin with SKII sheet masks and used a bit of luminizing cream and massaged it in. Also she’s just so nice! She’s so excited about what she’s doing and that just seeps out of her.
Diane Kendal: Her makeup is incredibly sophisticated but she never turns out a look that isn’t of her style. She doesn’t do anything to shock and I respect that. Her brow artistry is just unreal.
Talent to watch
Nausheen Qureshi of Elethea Luxury Beauty: She’s a biochemist who employs only women in her lab. Her formulas feature materials sourced from her native Kenya. I just really believe in her products. (Ed. Note: Nausheen not only creates effective products but seeks to empower the people who source her ingredients through community education.)
Beauty Mart: It’s a website that offers a really beautiful edit of products that you just trust are going to be special and worth a try. They have a store within a store at Harvey Nichols. It reminds me a bit of Violet Grey. Cult Beauty is also really great.
Linsey Alexander: She’s a Scottish makeup artist who has just been named the British ambassador for Estee Lauder
I treat my skincare like my wardrobe. I love to test out different products when I travel as my skin reacts to the change in environment. It’s a really good opportunity to try new products. In New York my skin gets really dry and quite hot. I always have an oil in my bag, I bathed my skin in one last night. The one I am currently trying is Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil. I also have an overnight mask called This Works No Wrinkles Time Dose Mask, Sisley Cleansing Milk because its really gentle and the Omorivizca Instant Plumping Cream . I also have the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser as it’s non offensive and I know it will never irritate my skin and it feels like you are getting a bit of a facial. I have been using it since I was fifteen. My skin just drinks moisture so these are all hydrating products. I am a tinted moisturizer/ foundation type of girl but I am obsessed with Hourglass’s Ambient Lighting Powder. It’s incredible and I don’t need to wear anything else other than concealer. Hourglass is one of my favorite brands at the moment.
I always quite enjoy seeing my hairdresser, Adam Reed. He’s a fellow beauty junkie and a great source of inspiration. He gives my hair an all-over tint and then just paints a few lighter bits. Each time I see him he adjusts the tint but what’s special about it is that he puts a subtle bit of pink in it that can only be seen in certain light.
Advice to her 20-year-old self
Don’t worry so much about everything. I realize that’s easier to say in hindsight, but I do give my interns similar advice. If you really really want something you will get it. It just depends on how long you can last.