Kristen Stewart, Katy Perry and Rihanna: THR's Top 25 Beauty Moments of 2012

Sarah Jessica Parker

The hairstylists, makeup artists and stars behind the big business of getting gorgeous in Hollywood.

This story first appeared in the Nov. 23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Conventional Beauty? It doesn't exist anymore -- especially not in Hollywood. Gone are the days of copycat Farrah Fawcett and "Rachel" hairstyles, pastel eye shadows, pink lips and uniformly blond, big hair. Finally, in 2012, the order of the beauty universe has shown signs of being upended. Yes, this year, there still were conventionally gorgeous looks: Emma Stone leapt from Easy A to franchise babe in The Amazing Spider-Man by going several turns lighter and brighter on the hair color wheel (no. 18); Charlize Theron stunned at the Golden Globes with a modern take on a pretty pink palette and flapper-inspired updo (no. 4). But there also were Rooney Mara's severe bangs (no. 1), Jennifer Lawrence's girl-next-door-goes-goth moment (no. 6) and Katy Perry and Kelly Osbourne's blue-and purple-hued locks (no. 16).

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As it's been for nearly a century, Hollywood's style ripples become waves in the firmament. On her way to the Golden Globes, Zooey Deschanel tweeted a picture of her tuxedo-painted nails (no. 21) and sent the Twitterverse into overload -- "how to" tutorials on beauty blogs and YouTube soon followed. The no-makeup makeup look on the young female cast of Downtown Abbey (no. 9) immediately captivated the fashion and beauty world and resulted in softer palettes and fresh-scrubbed faces all over the runways and red carpets.

All that buzz translates quicky into bucks. A celebrity who nails just the right look can garner million-dollar paychecks ($1 million to $5 million a year) for product endorsements, with their makeup artists and hairstylists not far behind. Top stylemakers can command up to $6,000 per red-carpet event and, according to one industry insider, can themselves make five and six figures a year as brand ambassadors. And that's not even counting the beauty stars who take it one step further. Julie Hewett used her eponymous cosmetics brand on Scarlett Johansson for Hitchcock (no. 2), while Drew Barrymore, whose A-list colorist Tracey Cunningham gave her an edgy ombre red-carpet look (no. 12), is said to be in talks to develop her own line of cosmetics for Wal-Mart. Who needs movie money when you can make mascara?

With such big business at stake -- 20 of the following actresses in this story have won contracts from such brands as CoverGirl, Revlon, L'Oreal, Dior and Balenciaga -- it's no surprise that making a memorable beauty impression can be as dramatic as any starring role. "I've been in a hair chair since I was 6 years old," says Barrymore. "It's so aspirational -- it's also heartbreaking. The most screwed-up diversions can happen -- and the greatest triumphs."

1 Rooney Mara's Bangs

WHEN: first cut for 2011's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, her look engendered a press mania that culminated at the Oscars on Feb. 26.

WHY IT MATTERS: Mara's stark dark hair sparked a fringe frenzy.

When it comes to the year's most memorable beauty moment, Mara did a fierce job. The Dragon Tattoo actress and her Pantene hairstylist Danilo started a craze over her blunt cut that was also spotted on Jessica Biel, Beyonce, Carly Rae Jepsen and Today show anchor Natalie Morales. Similar styles popped up on runways in Europe (at Gucci, Versace and Elie Saab), and Vogue dubbed it "the Rooney Mara effect." Danilo's inspiration for Mara, 27, was clean and simple: "I always aspire to make her look classic, but with a modern twist. Rooney doesn't require bells and whistles." Adds hairstylist Adir Abergel, who cut Biel's thick fringe for her upcoming role in Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes (and also worked on Beauty Moments nos. 3, 8 and 10): "Today's bangs are all drama. The look is thick, bold and totally chic." Abergel and Biel pulled images from the 1950s and 1960s for inspiration, including those of their "hair heroes" Betty Page and Jane Birkin. "You can either have bangs cut across or wrap them around where the edges are longer for a '60s vibe," says Abergel. "It's all about attitude."

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2 Scarlett Johansson's Hitchcock Blond

WHEN: For the movie, out Nov. 23.

WHY IT MATTERS: Her retro-chic helmet transformed her from hipster bombshell to 1960s Janet Leigh.

"This was a total 360 moment," says makeup department head Julie Hewett, whose previous gig on Oscar winner The Artist was all about turning color into black-and-white. "For Hitchcock, I needed to turn a black-and-white film to color." Before creating Johansson's Leigh, the makeup pro screened 1960's Psycho several times, especially the spine-chilling shower scene. "I wanted to pay homage to all the details of Janet's makeup, but I also had to soften it for HD," says Hewett, who spent time with the actress and hairstylist Martin Samuel to perfect the look. Adds Johansson, 28, "We wanted a look that represented Janet's character while still looking natural for me." Hewett used classic Revlon lipstick shades ("they're from that period but still sold today") along with "Belle Noir" and "Rouge Noir" lipsticks -- both retro reds -- from her own beauty line. And Revlon Colorstay foundation proved to have the long-lasting power needed when it came time to turn on the water. Samuel, who styled various wigs for Johansson in the film ("She wanted the short blonde hair but didn't want a haircut," he says), admits that he was nervous about the shower-scene wig withstanding the water pressure and the thrashing around. But Johansson wasn't worried for a second: "Martin has all the experience in the world to calculate the exact amount of spirit gum to water ratio!"

3 Anne Hathaway's Pixie

WHEN: For Les Miserables, out Dec. 25.

WHY IT MATTERS: Her dramatic yet vulnerable chop started a trend among young Hollywood actresses.

As Fantine, Hathaway had her hair cut with a blade on camera, which left it deliberately misshapen as it grew out until stylist Abergel cleaned it up. "He shaped and perfected the pixie to how it is now," says Chanel makeup artist Kate Lee, of the pixie the 30-year-old has maintained six months after filming has completed. Lee says she tweaked her usual techniques to bring out more of Hathaway's face that was exposed by the crop. Lee adds that the two keys to working with short hair are an undetectable foundation that blends seamlessly, since hair can't cover it (she uses Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua on Hathaway), and an emphasis on a fuller, more dramatic brow (she's a fan of Anastasia brow gel).

Other stars undergoing similar cuts this year include Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss, Charlize Theron (for Mad Max) and Girls' Lena Dunham (she famously tweeted a photo). Moss' hairstylist, Tommy Buckett, who works at Marie Robinson Salon in NYC, was inspired by Michelle Williams and Edie Sedgwick "and some of the early bobs that were popular in the 1920s."

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4 Charlize Theron's Modern Flapper

WHEN: The Golden Globes on Jan. 15.

WHY IT MATTERS: Her look singled her out as the night's most glamorous.

"We saw an image of the dress weeks before the Globes and wanted a look that would complement it," says hairstylist Enzo Angileri of the delicate blush-hued Dior couture worn by Theron, 37, that served as inspiration for her glam squad. Angileri started with dry, naturally wavy hair that he swept back into a "slightly messy and wispy" side bun and sprayed with Moroccanoil Frizz Control to keep the hair in place. He topped it off with the piece de resistance: Cartier's vintage platinum and diamond headband (circa 1920). Theron's makeup artist of 11 years, Shane Paish, whom she has collaborated with on red-carpet and film moments, used an all-pink palette on her eyes, cheeks and lips including Dior blush in "Pink in Love" and Rouge Dior lipstick in "Tulip Pink" for romantic "pastel softness." Says Paish, "It was effortless glamour."

5 Hollywood's Bunheads

WHEN: Various.

WHY IT MATTERS: Buns have become the reigning chic hairstyle among Hollywood A-listers.

Cases in point: Marion Cotillard's off-kilter 'do at the Rust and Bone Toronto premiere on Sep. 6; Lily Collins' classic ballerina bun at the Oct. 25 CFDA Awards; Olivia Wilde's boho updo at the Vanity Fair Oscar party on Feb. 26; and Demi Lovato's perched-on-tippy-top knot at The X Factor's Nov. 5 finalists party in Beverly Hills. Ted Gibson says he wanted an "updated Gibson Girl with a twist" for Cotillard, 37, while Sebastian Professional brand ambassador Thomas Dunkin decided on soft and gracious for Collins, 23, to "get the hair up and away from a neckline that high and intricate," he says. Davy Newkirk went for an undone 1970s vibe for Wilde, 28: "I had in my head a glamorous, cool chick from Studio 54." As chic as the look is, sometimes the rationale for a bun is as simple as "getting hair out of my face," says Lovato, 20. "It's easier. I don't have to deal with it."

Each stylist started with styling products on damp hair before blow-drying, then pulled the hair into a ponytail where the bun would be placed and secured the hair before twisting it around and holding it in place with bobby pins. "The right bun can make an outfit," says Newkirk. "From sleek and tight to undone to various placements, a bun can cater to almost any look."

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6 Jennifer Lawrence's Dramatic, Neo-Gothic Look

WHEN: Sept. 8 at the Toronto International Film Festival.

WHY IT MATTERS: Her locks, darkened for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, revealed a grown-up, glam side.

Is that you, Jen? The Toronto premiere of Silver Linings Playbook (out Nov. 21) generated plenty of buzz for the barely recognizable Lawrence. The actress, 22, who had just dyed her blonde locks to begin shooting the Hunger Games sequel (courtesy of the film's hair department head Linda Flowers), chose the Canadian premiere to debut her new hue, causing bloggers to call it "shocking" and "bold." Says Los Angeles-based hairstylist David Babaii, "I wanted a high-fashionista look for the unveiling of Jennifer's dark chocolate tresses." He used a smoothing balm from his own line, blow-dried the ends straight with a large round brush and gave her an off-center part. Adds Chanel makeup pro Rachel Goodwin, "It was a fun opportunity to show a different side of Jennifer -- a bit less bombshell and a little more sleek and sophisticated." Goodwin (also a part of moment no. 18) complemented Lawrence's darker hair with a Chanel scarlet lip gloss and a rich "Deep Plum" shade of Ellis Faas lipstick, saying, "It was dramatic."

7 Jessica Pare's '60s Seductress

WHEN: Season five premiere of Mad Men on March 25.

WHY IT MATTERS: Her sultry-songstress look instantly became a watercooler topic.

"It takes me anywhere from 10 minutes to five hours to get into Megan Draper hair and makeup," says Pare, 29, who kicked off season five of AMC's Mad Men with a sultry rendition of "Zou Bisou Bisou." Her scene-stealing moment, which included cat-eye makeup and a 1960s bouffant, sealed her character's transformation from Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce's pretty secretary behind the desk to Don Draper's fearless, sexy young wife. For the look, makeup department head Lana Horochowski says she drew inspiration from a young Sophia Loren, Twiggy and Elizabeth Taylor's Cleopatra. She used M.A.C cream liner in "Pure White" all over Pare's eyelids and added a touch of color with Nars frosted blue "Heart of Glass" eye shadow. Hairstylist David Danon channeled Vidal Sassoon's "Nancy Kwan cut" ("one of my favorites," he says) but kept the hair loose to accommodate Pare's movement and dancing in the scene. "There was a whole lot of hairspray used in the '60s, and it would have been easy to plaster Jessica's hair in place for a 14-hour day of shooting, but I wanted it to look hot and sexy and still move really well," says Danon. As to whether the bold 1960s style could be pulled off today, Horochowski believes a "refined version" would work: "I look at pictures and think, 'I could rock that with the right outfit.' "

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8 Gwyneth Paltrow's Minimalist Chic

WHEN: The Oscars on Feb. 26.

WHY IT MATTERS: She redefined Oscar glamour to be clean and modern.

Makeup artist Leslie Lopez and hairstylist Abergel were inspired by the simplicity of Paltrow's cream Tom Ford column gown and cape for the Oscars' red carpet. "Less is more," says Lopez (who also worked on no. 17) of the minimalistic makeup, which THR led the media pack in calling "flawless … the night's best look." Lopez says, "I wanted to give Gwyneth a fresh look that wasn't too overwhelming or loud. The dress spoke for itself with the cape." She used St. Tropez Skin Illuminator Gold -- a moisturizer that imparts a glow -- to make the 40-year-old's complexion "sun-kissed yet natural." Abergel applied Frederic Fekkai straightening balm before blow-drying Paltrow's hair and pulling it back into a smooth, low ponytail with a strong side part. Abergel, who had planned on doing a bun, went with the sleek ponytail after seeing Paltrow in her dress. "The dress was modern and chic, and I think we achieved the same with the hair."

9 The Natural Beauty of Downton Abbey

WHEN: The PBS drama picked up steam with its second season, which debuted stateside Jan. 8.

WHY IT MATTERS: The no-makeup look ignited an obsession among the fashion crowd.

Not only did Downton's makeup and hair head Anne Oldham win an Emmy for hairstyling this year, but the no-makeup makeup look she and her team created for the Crawley sisters -- Mary (Michelle Dockery, 31), Edith (Laura Carmichael, 26) and Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay, 23) -- is having a modern-day impact. "It's all about clear skin and peachy complexions," says London-based Oldham, who used Dermalogica and Dr. Hauschka products on her stars to cleanse and hydrate, and lots of Lancome sunblock to maintain porcelain skin ("We encouraged the girls to wear SPF on their days off, too," she says). Oldham applied nude-hued liquid foundations by Armani, Chanel and Laura Mercier "that were very light and translucent" and topped them with soft, peachy-pink color on lips and cheeks (Laura Mercier "Shy Pink" lip stain and Stila "Gerbera" lip/cheek cream) -- never setting the looks with powder, which tends to sit on the skin and look cakey. "It's a very fresh look. It's almost as if you pinched their cheeks and nothing else," says Oldham, who also steered clear of any eye makeup, including mascara.

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10 Kristen Stewart's Classic Updo With a Twist

WHEN: At a May 29 Los Angeles screening of Snow White and the Huntsman.

WHY IT MATTERS: Her look combined punk and polish.

"I was never OK having a 'do' -- I always wanted my hair to look like it fell perfectly, but not perfect," says Stewart, 22, who credits her longtime hairstylist Abergel with creating her "undone" style. Even this updo looked disheveled and effortlessly cool. "I wanted to give a punk edge, but still keep softness like an old-school Victorian updo," says Abergel, who first created volume and texture at the roots, then did a partial French braid at the top of the head. From the base of that braid to the nape of the neck, he executed a Mohawk look by twisting sections of hair into knots and creating a line of them down the head. Then he finished the braid at the nape and twisted it around to create an elaborate-yet-undone updo. "No matter what we do, Kristen's wearing the hair and it's never wearing her," says Abergel, who met the star of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (out Nov. 16) eight years ago on a magazine shoot. "I fell in love with her immediately and was inspired by how passionate she was at such a young age."

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