Taylor Swift Mystery: Why Is Her Glam Team So Secretive About the Star’s Makeup?

From the moment the Eras Tour movie premiered on Oct. 11, savvy PR teams kicked into overdrive, sending out dressing releases highlighting the head-to-toe elements of Taylor Swift’s fashion choices. At the film’s high-profile L.A. premiere at The Grove, Swift paired an Oscar de la Renta gown with Cartier jewels and Giuseppe Zanotti shoes; 11 days later, she wore Nike Air Force 1 sneakers and a vintage 1990 Kansas City Chiefs sweater (courtesy of Toronto-based vintage store Ellie Mae) to an NFL game between the Chiefs and the San Diego Chargers. (In case you’ve been living in a closet for the past two months, Swift and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce have been dating since September.)

Swift’s 274 million Instagram followers devour every tidbit doled out by fashion publications and Swift’s stylist, Joseph Cassell Falconer. But in the age of viral Instagram and TikTok style trends, where stars like Kim Kardashian and Rihanna as well as their glam squads are monetizing celebrity with product sales, Swift’s beauty team, which includes hairstylist Jemma Muradian and makeup artist Lorrie Turk, remains uncharacteristically mum on the megastar’s beauty details. Fans on social media repeatedly beg her glam team for info: “Which eye liner. It does not budge,” one fan asked of Turk on Instagram when The Eras Tour kicked off in March, while another lamented, “It’s so sad she never lets us know the products used!” Indeed, a Reddit discussion from a few years back is titled: “Why is Tay so secretive about her makeup?”

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Amid the deluge of Swift news coverage in the past few months, Turk’s last Instagram post was in March. In the same period, Muradian posted three shots of Swift but did not reveal anything about how she styles the singer’s hair. Swift’s publicist did not respond to requests to speak to the singer’s glam squad (who appear in the concert film’s credits).

“Compared to all the superstars in her stratosphere, Taylor is quiet on the beauty front,” notes Jenny Fine, executive editor, beauty for WWD. “She’s the one superstar without any beauty deals, and that’s something we’ve been tracking closely over the last few years amid an explosion of celebrity beauty brands. But the way Taylor has crafted her whole image, it’s very clear she’s thinking about that image head to toe, and that includes beauty. It’s part of the message of her music, so the fact that [details aren’t readily available] is really interesting.”

Fine points to Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez and Jennifer Lopez as high-profile stars with hugely successful beauty brands of their own; just today, Beyoncé announced her new fragrance, Cé Noir. “Beyoncé has been teasing her fragrance drop all summer, J.Lo has gone into Sephora, Lady Gaga has her makeup line, and Selena Gomez has had a huge success with Rare Beauty,” Fine explains. “When you look at the celebrity beauty sector, what does well and what creates a lasting business tends to have a deeper message and a deeper meaning; Selena Gomez’s brand and message of mental health is a great example of that. So when you look at Taylor Swift’s canon, it’s clear she’s a storyteller, so perhaps it’s a matter of, ‘How does she use beauty to tell a story and to transcend an idea of just the product?’”

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift and her signature red lip at the 2023 Grammys.

Fans and beauty editors alike lately have been engaging in deep-dive detective work to suss out the makeup brands Swift currently favors, on or off the Eras Tour stage. Pat McGrath Labs is chief among the most obvious revelations: McGrath — named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2021 by Queen Elizabeth II, the first makeup artist to receive the honor — has long been mentioned as a favorite by Swift. In fact, McGrath channeled a royal vibe of her own when she appeared as the queen in Swift’s Cinderella-inspired video for “Bejeweled,” released in October 2022. “I was thrilled when my dearest gorgeous Taylor asked me to create looks for ‘Bejeweled,’” McGrath said in an Oct. 25, 2022, Instagram post. “When Taylor also proposed that I play this role in front of the camera, I was beyond nervous. I’m most comfortable behind-the-scenes. Thank goodness Taylor is a superb DIRECTOR. She made it all so joyful — it was truly a DAZZLING experience.”

One week later, McGrath released a Swift-approved makeup collection, dubbed “Taylor-Made” kits and priced from $58 to $220. With the exception of the “Taylor-Made” Eye Kit of FetishEyes Mascara and Perma Precision Liquid Eyeliner, both in McGrath’s Extreme Black, all kits in the collection are sold out.

Pat McGrath Labs The 'Taylor-Made' Eye Kit

Swift’s love of a cat-eye effect with eyeliner may only be surpassed by her devotion to a classic red lip. Both are details that immediately evoke thoughts of iconic Hollywood glamour, and that may be no accident, says Rachel Felder, author of the 2019 book Red Lipstick: An Ode to a Beauty Icon (Harper, $19). “Taylor’s classicism, her elegance, and the links to film stars like Rita Hayworth or Marilyn Monroe definitely seems like a way to channel confident feminine glamour,” Felder tells The Hollywood Reporter. “The thing about Taylor’s look is that it’s sexy without being too sexy; it projects a strong woman in charge, and a red lip, as opposed to magenta or fuchsia, definitely says ‘I’m in charge and I know who I am.’” In the Eras Tour movie, Swift also wears pink sparkle on her eyelids, but it’s not clear what product was used for the look.

Of course, it’s likely that Swift simply doesn’t have any interest in promoting other companies in which she has no stake; she’s also such a megastar that she hardly needs to do so.

Swift has had beauty campaigns in the past. In 2010, Swift signed on as a Cover Girl brand ambassador and inked a fragrance deal with Elizabeth Arden, deals that were no longer in effect as of 2012 and 2014, respectively. Felder offers an intriguing theory about why Swift thus far hasn’t pursued a subsequent beauty line, eponymous or otherwise. “There’s an egalitarian aspect about Taylor’s beauty signatures, especially the red lipstick,” she says. “The thing about red lipstick is that you can spend a lot of money or a little money; you can buy it at the fanciest store or your neighborhood drugstore. So if you’re one of her fans, any age, anywhere in the world, you can relate to it and have a taste of Taylor’s beauty style pretty easily.”

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift on tour this year.

For anyone seeking to duplicate Swift’s signature red lip, Felder advises seeking out a blue-red shade in a matte finish, or a satin finish for anyone hesitant about matte. “Taylor tends to stick with a blue-red lipstick, which is the most classic, and a matte or matte-ish finish, which seems to suit her extremely well,” Felder says. “The good news is that blue-red looks good on literally everyone.”

Before Swift aligned herself with McGrath, she reportedly often wore MAC Cosmetics’ Retro Matte Lipstick in the brand’s ultra-popular Ruby Woo hue and may still reach for it occasionally. The classic blue-red shade launched in 1999 and is MAC’s undisputed best-seller; the brand notes that it sells four Ruby Woo lipsticks every minute around the world.

How many of those are purchased by Swifties, of course, cannot be measured. But just as Swift loves to inspire her fans with her music, perhaps she’s doing so with her beauty style, as well. “When I started researching the book, I learned that it’s scientifically proven that red lipstick is a magnet for people’s eyes,” Felder says. “Scientists had researched and discovered that if you wear red lipstick, people pay more attention to your mouth. It emphasizes and underlines what you’re saying — or maybe what you’re singing. Perhaps there’s some of that appeal for Taylor as well.”

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