Anya Taylor-Joy on taking care of herself
Anya Taylor-Joy, who this month shares the cover of British Vogue with Queen Elizabeth II, has brought to Hollywood her talent (see: The Queen’s Gambit), fashion personality (she’s a global brand ambassador for Dior) and singular perspective (see: her tip on meditation). After a childhood spent in Miami, Argentina and London, Taylor-Joy, 25, is now used to moving around every three months or so for work. Recently she was in Ireland for The Northman, a historical epic opening on 15 April.
“My idea of home is so different,” she said of her travel schedule. But if her lifestyle is itinerant, she has embraced a few beauty and wellness rituals that center on comfort and self-soothing. See what she likes below.
Quiet morning time
I make it a priority to have an hour to myself in the morning. I’m usually around a lot of people, so I need at least an hour to charge up for the day. If there is any opportunity to steam wherever I am, I will be in the steam room.
Hair and skin for the day
I learned about beauty from my mum. I always had very long blond hair, so conditioner was a big part of my life. I would come out of the ocean as a kid and cry for hours as my mom untangled my hair. Now I absolutely love Olaplex. I use the shampoo, conditioner, treatment and then put in the leave-in. I always use the conditioner root to tip. People tell you not to put the conditioner on the roots, but I don’t believe that. If you’re as blond as I am – Tracey Cunningham does my colour – you need to put it on the roots. Just make sure you rinse it all out.
I came pretty late to the party with skin care. I was 22 or 23 before I started to pay attention. Now it’s my me time. It feels like an everyday luxury. I love the gua sha. I picked it up during lockdown – I got mine from Amazon – and I stick it in the freezer. Using it is one of those comfort moments of “I want to feel OK about the state of the world, so I’m going to do a facial massage.” It’s not just for contouring the face – it works if you have sinus issues. There are pressure points on your face that can release sinus pain. After, you have to give your skin a tiny minute to calm down.
‘I came pretty late to the party with skin care. I was 22 or 23 before I started to pay attention. Now it’s my me time’
I go see Shani Darden for facials. She’s an absolute skin wizard. She introduced me to her retinol product. I have very sensitive skin, and that’s the only one I’ve used that doesn’t break me out.
My daily skin care is pretty simple. I love the Dior Prestige line because it smells like rose. They have a beautiful sheet mask that I wear on planes, too. I have no shame at all. Then it’s the Dior compact with the SPF 50, and I’m out the door.
Loving a lip
In my day-to-day life, I really don’t wear make-up. Growing up, I definitely went through this very short-lived phase where I attempted to do smoky eyeliner. I looked like a raccoon. I leave that to the professionals now. And I do love a lip. Lips, I can do.
I remember seeing my mum applying lipstick. Once, playing around, I drew a kitten nose and whiskers with her lipstick. It’s still something I do on my birthday. I haven’t grown out of it! If it’s just a regular night, then it’s probably a bright red or a darker nude or mauve. Dior Addict in 8 or Chèrie are gorgeous. That’s a level of shine I’m comfortable with.
Otherwise, I tend to go more matte – especially with face masks. I have this trick: I apply, then blot it and then reapply again when I’m there. This way you’re not getting the stickiness inside the mask.
A bath is an important thing for me at night. Actually we’re a pretty big bath family. My mum loves a bath. When I was little, I remember we would take one together. I make my baths kind of fancy. It’s very Valentine’s Day, but just for me! I love to cover my body in coconut or almond oil before I get into the bath. Sometimes I mix in drops of lavender, rose or patchouli essential oils.
I’ll light some candles – I love Valkiria from Overose and Byredo candles in Tree House and Bibliothèque. The end of day is about tending to that part of yourself that maybe isn’t given a lot of attention during normal day-to-day interaction, and just asking what you need right now. For me, it’s 1950s jazz, a nice bath and a solid hour of reading.
Scent of a character
I’ve been experimenting with essential oils. It’s something I’ve been doing since I was 17. I like to make a scent uniquely mine but also tethered to an experience, so if I smell that scent again, I can associate that smell with, say, my 17-year-old teenage self.
I usually pick a fragrance to wear with a character. For Queen’s Gambit, Beth actually smelled like me. She is the character I gave the most of myself to. For Beth, I did rose, some patchouli, sandalwood, pink peppercorn and a few drops of vodka. Our girl was going through it. I really believe in the job I am doing – to give that person life. It’s important that their voice is different, the way they move is different and that they smell different. Then you’re creating a real person.
For The Northman, we were shooting in Ireland. The green there is unlike any green you’ll see. The character I played is very connected to nature. One of my favorite things about shooting there was how much time I spent outside. I would swim in the Irish Sea. I burned a lot of Irish moss around the house. I smelled like that – Irish moss and sea salt.
From dancing to boxing
I trained as a dancer until I was 15. When I finished dancing, I was quite rebellious. I didn’t want to be disciplined any more. For a long time I was eating comfort food – mine is butter and cheese. But my job is so fast-paced – it’s so adrenaline-fueled – that my body burns it up.
Now I really, really love boxing. It’s such an interesting way of meditating for me. If you’re not entirely focused on what you’re doing, you’re going to get hit. You begin class, and suddenly, an hour later, it’s “How did I get here?” Because time has just flown by.
Breathwork and meditation ups and downs
I started doing the Wim Hof breathing method when I was on a film that required me to be exposed to very cold temperatures. I love that man. I only know him from his YouTube videos. I call him Uncle Wim.
I’m trying to learn to meditate. Here’s a random challenge for people to try: go on a rollercoaster and try not screaming. I just did it, and you know how they snap the photograph? My friends screamed their faces off, and I looked like Yoda. That rollercoaster ride was game-changing. Everything is moving so fast, and your only job is to keep calm – the centre of the storm. Your breathing deepens in a way you’ve never experienced before. I have never felt more calm.
It’s a very random tip, but just give it a go.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.