Tanya Burr is a multi-hyphenate. You may recently know her as an actress, with roles in Twist and Hurt By Paradise among other films. But before the likes of Abby Roberts and Violette, Tanya was the internet's original beauty influencer. Prior to leaving YouTube to focus on Instagram, her real and honest makeup tutorials amassed millions of pairs of eyes as beauty obsessives everywhere logged on to learn how to emulate iconic celebrity looks and recreate burgeoning trends. It makes sense, then, that Tanya would eventually dream up her very own beauty brand, Authored. Those who have been following Tanya's story will know that this isn't her first foray into beauty products, having launched Tanya Burr Cosmetics into Superdrug in 2014. But Authored feels a lot different.
"The name 'Authored' comes from the journey that I've been on throughout my career, and gaining the confidence to go in the directions I want to go in," Tanya tells Refinery29. "We're not prescribing a certain image or saying you should be the best — or even your 'best self'. You hear 'be your best self' so often and it's exhausting. We can't possibly be our best selves all the time — I know I can't anyway." Tanya admits: "I have days where I don't want to get out of bed or I'm not feeling myself. But Authored provides people with easy basics to help them along in life. We're keeping it simple and not overcomplicating things. We're saying, 'Here are some beauty products that make you feel good' and you can create a look that's truly your own."
If you like Glossier, no doubt you'll love Authored. The Brow Gel, £18, is precise, long-lasting and so easy to use (giving Boy Brow a run for its money, actually) while the Tinted Moisturiser, £28, is the WFH alternative to foundation. Lightweight yet moisturising with the ability to make dull skin glow instantly, it's already a bestseller according to Tanya. "You put it on and you can still see beauty marks or freckles but it evens out your skin tone and has a blurring effect. I used to wear more coverage because tinted moisturiser wouldn't last on my skin, so I wanted to create something that would last all day."
There are currently only four products in the Authored range, including a Lip Balm, £16, and the R29-approved Mascara, £20 (there's scope to expand in the future) but the brand speaks to our times. "I think everyone wants to go back to basics, especially after lockdown," says Tanya. "We're looking at everything we used to do in life, even the amount of makeup we used to put on every day. I think most of us are looking to pare it back and that's what we're trying to do. They're your essentials."
Ahead, Tanya explains why Authored isn't like any other beauty brand out there right now, plus the makeup trends to keep an eye out for and the very best beauty advice she's learned throughout her career.
On the earnest narrative behind Authored
It's fair to say that beauty lovers were a little confused when Authored began posting to Instagram, mainly because the brand's narrative took centre stage over the products themselves. Tanya explains that the brand wanted to give consumers someone to look to for inspiration, rather than bombard everyone with beauty jargon. "That makes us different," Tanya tells R29. "At the moment, we're championing six people who we call our authors. If you head to our Instagram, you can see their stories being told." The 'authors' are people Tanya believes are authoring their lives, including Syrian refugee Maya, who taught herself English and now has both a degree and a pilot's licence. "Instead of talking about products all the time, we're driving home the message that society places pressure on all of us — but that you can be whoever you want."
On why she hardly ever wears heavy makeup anymore
Fans of Tanya's YouTube videos will know that strong makeup looks are what propelled her to stardom. But post-pandemic, skinimalism and natural looks are taking centre stage. "I'm not much of a foundation person anymore and when I wear it, I look too made-up. That's just a personal preference, though, as I don't feel like me. To me, 'natural' means not covering up your features and Authored helps people achieve that entirely." There's nothing in the product line that's going to hide who you are, says Tanya. "The mascara will simply make your lashes stand out a bit more and the brow gel makes your brows a little fluffier and keeps them in place. The tinted moisturiser has a lovely blurring effect to even out skin tone, so it's about highlighting your features without completely changing your face. Bold Instagram makeup is amazing and because I work in film I see a lot of prosthetics and brilliant things that can be done with makeup. But I think it's so nice to just feel like yourself day to day. Makeup artists over the years have told me to take more time doing less makeup, rather than piling it on. I've even ditched eyeliner and eyeshadow, and just wear the mascara on my top lashes."
On the importance of sustainability in beauty
"Sustainable packaging was so important to Authored," says Tanya. "When you're starting something from the beginning, you have the opportunity to ask, 'How sustainable can we make these products?' and 'How sustainable can we afford to make them?' It's a huge cost, but we wanted to provide people with products that were of the highest sustainable quality in beautiful packaging that feels cool, slick and fits into your life nicely — at an affordable price point, too." The brand mainly uses aluminium, which is infinitely recyclable, though everything feels very luxe. "Plastic can be recycled but it will eventually end up in the oceans," adds Tanya. "Aluminium is amazing and the brow gel and mascara are in a fully aluminium chamber. That's the first one ever to be done that way. There are still things that we're working on but the mascara wand is recycled plastic and you can detach it and recycle it separately."
On the best beauty advice she's ever been given
"Growing up, my parents taught me that beauty is more about who you are as a person. I always refer to that lovely Roald Dahl quote: [A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.]" When it comes to beauty tips, skincare is a must. "Definitely double cleansing," says Tanya. "I always do that but only at nighttime. Skincare is so important but all I do is cleanse my face and moisturise it [a moisturiser is currently in the pipeline for Authored]. I don't do anything else but sometimes I use an eye cream. If I have time, I love using a sheet mask or a clay mask, which we're also developing at Authored."
Her makeup routine is just as simple. "Day to day, I wear the tinted moisturiser, concealer, brow gel, mascara, lip balm (which can double up as a highlighter) and sometimes the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillowtalk, £25, pushed over the lip balm. That takes me five minutes. I also love to use a brow pencil because I have a couple of gaps. A tip I swear by is always using a very hard pencil, which allows you to create the look of hairs. If you opt for a soft one, your brows end up looking like a smudgy block. I then use the Authored brow gel in Shade 2. If I'm wearing blush, I take the brush that I used to put on my tinted moisturiser and blend round the edges for a very soft, natural look."
On how she deals with bad skin days
There's just one product Tanya relies on for spots, it's that good. "I get breakouts when I'm stressed or it's my time of the month and I've had that all going on at once. The only thing I use is Sunday Riley's Saturn Sulphur Spot Treatment Mask, £20. It's quite aggressive so I'd say only use it on the area. My breakouts usually take ages to turn into a big spot that would need to be squeezed, so as soon as it arrives, I put a little bit of this on and go to sleep. My sister recommended it to me after getting the kit at Space NK," she says. "I always feel overwhelmed by lots of different products so I like to have one new thing to try at a time," which is pretty much the concept behind Authored.
On why she'll never be against plastic surgery
"Someone asked me if I was against plastic surgery recently and I said no. If that's going to make you happy, and you're not doing it because of the pressures of society, and you're doing it for you, then that's fine. We want to encourage people to be comfortable in their own skin without subscribing to that perfect TikTok and Instagram image, but confidence is a funny thing and it comes massively with age. I'm 32 and I've felt the most confident in my skin that I've ever felt, but a lot of that comes with growing older," says Tanya. "I think the earlier that people can be comfortable in their skin and not keep covering it up, the better. It's so nice to feel that you don't look wildly different on your makeup days compared to no-makeup days."
On the makeup trends that are set to dominate 2022
"Cream makeup is going to be so popular," says Tanya. "I tend to look at trends for people my age and you just don't want to be putting a ton of powder on your skin. I think people love cream products because they're versatile and can be used for different things. Everyone's living busy lives again and we need easy products." That's why Authored will be branching out into lip and cheek products, including blush and bronzer. The brand is defined by multipurpose makeup and Tanya predicts that the monochromatic look will be huge in 2022. "I use the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer, £49, on my cheeks as blush or bronzer and if I want to wear eyeshadow that day, I take a smaller brush and dust it over my eyelids. I love when you can easily match colours on your face. There's something really nice about it and I often use the same product on my cheeks as on my lips, too. There are many more products in development and some which are ready to go, so next year we will be more focused on colour."
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