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

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

11 Rose Byrne's Bob

WHEN: The SAG Awards on Jan. 29.

WHY IT MATTERS: She gave new life to Michelle Pfeiffer's 1983 Scarface 'do.

Byrne and her hairstylist Harry Josh's movie-watching weekend prompted the idea for the blunt bob and bangs that the 33-year-old showcased at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which resulted in her being pinned on Pinterest hundreds of times as well as named a "hair hero" on beauty blogs for having "one of the year's sexiest haircuts," according to InStyle magazine. The inspirations behind such a bold move for the star of Bridesmaids and FX's Damages? Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface and Anna Wintour in the documentary The September Issue. "No one does anything daring with their hair," explains New York City-based Josh. "A haircut like this makes you stand out in a crowd and gives you confidence and style." Even more daring: Byrne's plunging Elie Saab jumpsuit.

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12 Drew Barrymore's Ombre Hair

WHEN: The then-engaged actress rocked ombre to the extreme on The Tonight Show in February.

WHY IT MATTERS: Young Hollywood took notice and soon followed.

To Barrymore's satisfaction, her ombre look -- with a darker top that fades into lighter ends -- spawned a huge hair hit: "I'm glad it picked up," says the actress, 37, "because it's a fun thing, a flattering look, and I think women feel good in it." Adds her A-list colorist Tracey Cunningham, who also did Jessica Biel's: "It was just Drew saying I want something a little more natural, and Drew being rock 'n' roll, we got a little rock 'n' roll with it." Fans know that it also involves a note of practicality. "My clients love how low maintenance the look is and how wonderfully it works for all hair colors," says Denis De Souza, who did a similar color gradation for Rachel Bilson. Want it for yourself? "Bring a picture in for reference -- your colorist's perception might be miles away from the look you desire," recommends Cunningham, who is opening up Meche Salon with Neil Weisberg in Beverly Hills in the winter. But don't expect Barrymore, who just became a mom to daughter Olive on Sept. 26, to stick with the hair trend she sparked forever. "Oh, please, the minute we strike gold on something and feel really good about it, we go back to the well and scare the shit out of ourselves. That's Tracey's and my journey."

13 Keira Knightley's Romantic Palette

WHEN: For Anna Karenina, out Nov. 16.

WHY IT MATTERS: Her cheeks and lips are era-accurate but timeless and likely to resonate with moviegoers.

Before shooting, Ivana Primorac, Anna Karenina makeup and hair department head and mastermind behind Knightley's passionate high-society beauty in the film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's 19th century Russian novel, consulted with director Joe Wright. They looked at paintings from the period and zeroed in on a portrait of novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky's daughter, who was a contemporary of Tolstoy. "She has curly hair and looks more mystical than the blond Russians of the time," says Primorac, who made Knightley's flawless porcelain complexion a slightly darker olive shade (using a mixture of Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation and Sheer Illuminating Base). She used a rich chocolate-hued Chanel eye pencil to create a drawn-out doe-eyed look and longer brow lines and finished with a sweep of rose blush ("Armani does incredible blushes," notes Primorac) on the apples of the 27-year-old's cheeks. A swipe of custom-blended Creme de la Mer lip balm and sheer pink lipstick perfected her pout.

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14 Rihanna's Chameleon Hair

WHEN: Various.

WHY IT MATTERS: She continues to set trends, not follow.

The Grammy winner had as many hairstyles as chart-topping hits this year, from curly Flashdance-like brunette tresses to platinum Farrah Fawcett locks to an inky topknot with sharp sideswept bangs. "Why not mix it up? Your hair is an accessory, and it's great to change it depending on your mood, event and wardrobe," says hairstylist Ursula Stephen, who created the myriad looks out of the hip-hop singer's own hair plus some extensions. Her current dark pixie is a favorite for Rihanna, 24, and Stephen. "Ri is super in love with her short hair," says Stephen, who uses Motions Deep Penetrating Conditioner on her client "to keep her hair hydrated -- healthy hair is the foundation for a great style."

15 Amanda Seyfried's Veronica Lake Locks

WHEN: The 16th annual Hollywood Film Awards on Oct. 22.

WHY IT MATTERS: She shows that a young actress can keep it classy.

Actresses love to invoke old Hollywood glamour, but few capture the part as well as Les Miserables' Seyfried, 27. Suave Professionals stylist Jenny Cho did traditional pin curls by curling sections of hair, which she rolled up and pinned to the head while they cooled. "This technique creates the classic waves," says Cho, who recommends letting them cool for 15 minutes or more. When cool, she spritzed hairspray onto a paddle brush and gently brushed out the curls. Seyfried is an unabashed fan of Cho's work: "I know my hair is always going to look beautiful," she says. "It's nice that I can count on her not only as a hairstylist but as a friend." So what goes best with Veronica Lake waves? Bold red lips, of course. "My inspiration was French glamour with a beautiful bright lip," says makeup artist Monika Blunder, "and I kept the rest of the face superminimal." To complete the look, she used Cle de Peau products (Seyfried is the face of the brand), including the Enriched Lip Luminizer in Redcurrant Jam.

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16 Katy Perry's and Kelly Osbourne's Hair Color-Outfit Matches

WHEN: Sept. 23 Emmys for Osbourne, March 3 at Paris Fashion Week for Perry.

WHY IT MATTERS: Hair color dictated wardrobe choices, taking matching to a new level.

After first taking 28-year-old Osbourne gray to create a base, colorist Judd Minter added violet toners to get to the lilac she sported to complement her Zac Posen gown at the Emmys (and still rocks now). Minter recommended that Osbourne "not shampoo every day" and use Pravana Blue shampoo and conditioner to maintain her color. Meanwhile, colorist Rita Hazan took Perry, 28, from black to pinky-lavender to blue this year and says it's a huge compliment when the singer coordinates her outfit (as she did at Paris Fashion Week with her cobalt Viktor & Rolf jacket and at the Grammys with a sky-blue Elie Saab gown) with her Smurfette-colored hair. "I absolutely loved the blue -- bright and very rock 'n' roll," says Hazan. To keep Perry's ever-changing hair healthy, Hazan recommends a treatment mask -- like Ojon Restorative Hair Treatment -- two times a week.

17 Sarah Jessica Parker's Low-Key Glamour

WHEN: The Feb. 8 amfAR Gala in New York.

WHY IT MATTERS: Every actress aspires to make it look this easy.

The working relationship between Parker, 47, and makeup artist Leslie Lopez is one built on trust, though they've had to come to an agreement about lipstick (a little bit of lip, says Lopez; but not too much, counters Parker). "There are things Leslie does that I think are masterful, and I'm not super-well-versed at technically deconstructing it, but I will say it's the way she looks at a face," says Parker. For the amfAR Gala, Lopez, who has been working with Parker for eight years, used charcoal gray and silver shimmer on the eyes, minimal foundation where it was needed ("She has really pretty skin," says Lopez), a touch of bronzer and, yes, a very subtle Dolce & Gabbana nude lipstick. Parker is "not only a client, she's someone I care for. She's down to earth, fun and compassionate."

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18 Emma Stone's Bright Blond Hair

WHEN: For summer release The Amazing Spider-Man.

WHY IT MATTERS: Stone made platinum modern and worked it both on and off-screen.

When it came time to create Stone's shade for her character Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man, New York City-based colorist Marie Robinson got her direction from director Marc Webb and comic books. "Marc wanted Emma to be bright blond," says Robinson. "My job was to make this very light blond work with her skin tone." Stone's red-carpet team then made the new hue triumph at her various European premieres. In London, Chanel makeup artist Rachel Goodwin made the 24-year-old's eyes stand out by blending black shadow with a silver shimmer on the lid, while leaving lips simple with Revlon Soft Nude. In Paris, Goodwin made Stone's lips the star with Chanel Rouge Coco in Rivoli. "I wanted her makeup to have a romantic feel with mystery, like the city itself," says Goodwin. And in Berlin, her hairstylist Mara Roszak used lightweight serums to add shine: "Her blond can look angelic," she says. Goodwin played with color, adding green shadow and brown liner on the eyes and tangerine on the lips to complete the fresh, youthful look.

19 Dianna Agron's Grown-Up Goddess Look

WHEN: The Met Ball on May 2.

WHY IT MATTERS: She showcased a more sophisticated side and expanded her reach beyond Glee, looks-wise.

"It was a little sultry compared to what we normally do, a different side of Dianna," says makeup artist Georgie Eisdell, who created Agron's smoky eyes that emanated glamour -- a departure from her usual girl-next-door look -- for this year's Schiaparelli and Prada Costume Institute Gala at New York's Metropolitan Museum. "Her gown was so flowy, gorgeous and plunging that I wanted to sex it up a bit. But she has a pretty good canvas to start with, so it's not that hard," says Eisdell. Jokes Glee's Agron, 26, who counts the look as her favorite red-carpet moment: "I paid her to say that." Gleeks everywhere agreed, posting photos and adulations on Twitter as soon as she hit the Met steps. Eisdell, who also works with Carey Mulligan and Elisabeth Moss, used such Chanel products as a rust-hued shadow "Ebloui" on the lid and under the eye and a dark charcoal shadow "Mirifique" as liner, finishing with black Inimitable mascara for mega-watt lashes. To complement the style, hairstylist Creighton Bowman did a "modern take on '40s waves" by pulling hair up on one side. He notes, "It was disheveled elegance with a touch of cool."

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20 Connie Britton's and Hayden Panettiere's Southern Belles

WHEN: ABC's Nashville premiere on Oct. 10.

WHY IT MATTERS: The freshman series promises to revive the sun-kissed, big-haired look.

"Our inspiration comes from none other than Nashville itself, and bronzer is a must," says Erin Koplow, makeup department head. Upstart ingenue Juliette Barnes, played by Panettiere, 23, sports a glow that comes courtesy of Neutrogena Bronzer in Posie. Sara Vaughn works on makeup for Britton, 45, who plays country icon Rayna Jaymes, and starts with a skincare routine of La Mer gel moisturizer and Kerstin Florian hyaluronic serum. Her green eyes are accentuated with smoky shadows from Bobbi Brown and Armani Eyes to Kill mascara. To get big, bouncy, country music-appropriate hair, Garnett Burk uses a large-barrel curling iron on both Britton and Panettiere. "There's a tremendous range for the women of country music," says Koplow. "They are pulled together, polished and fabulous while performing yet keep it real on the surface."

21 Zooey Deschanel's Adorkable Manicures

WHEN: The Golden Globes on Jan. 15 and the Emmys on Sep. 23.

WHY IT MATTERS: Her manis single-handedly set off a social-media storm.

From playful black-and-white tuxedo-clad nails at the Globes (which spawned hundreds of YouTube tutorials) to melon-hued polish with Swarovski crystals and retro TV sets at the Emmys, Deschanel's manicures were her hottest accessory. Celebrity manicurist Tom Bachik, who created Deschanel's TV sets, gives the New Girl actress, 32, credit for coming up with both ideas. "I wanted them to be cute, fun and hip like Zooey," says Bachik, a L'Oreal Paris nail expert who used the brand's yellow "Tweet Me" polish topped with a coat of glittery pink "Sweet Nothings" for Deschanel's custom-blended Emmys shade. "When done right, nail art gives a cool vibe and shows your personal style."

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22 Ginnifer Goodwin's Retro Cool

WHEN: Sept. 23 Emmys.

WHY IT MATTERS: Her edgy Twiggy-inspired makeup had all eyes on her.

One look at the Once Upon a Time actress, 34, made it hard to believe her in-demand makeup artist Mai Quynh had more than one client to get red-carpet-ready for the Emmys. Quynh, who created Goodwin's look in less than 90 minutes, helped land her longtime client (they've worked together for more than five years) at the top of the beauty heap as one of the night's most gorgeous. "We talked about going for something dramatic and edgy since my [Monique Lhuillier] dress was so feminine," says Goodwin. Quynh used Mark cosmetics, including black shadow in the eye crease and top lash line, which she winged out for "a deep, dramatic cat eye" and finished with loads of mascara. Goodwin has raves for Quynh: "Mai minimizes the parts that make me insecure and plays up the parts that don't make me so insecure. She makes me look like a far better version of myself than actually exists!"

23 Michelle Williams' Marilyn Impersonation

WHEN: The Feb. 15 Paris premiere of My Week With Marilyn.

WHY IT MATTERS: The pixie-ish Williams demonstrated her ability to look like the mesmerizing siren.

Did makeup artist Sabrina Bedrani mean to invoke Marilyn Monroe from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with the 32-year-old Williams' blond hair-pink dress-bold lip combo? Actually, no. "I wanted her to remain chic and elegant but have a modern twist, which is why I chose this beautiful lip pencil by Nars called Mexican Rose [a raspberry shade]," says Bedrani, "instead of going for a traditional red, which would have been expected."

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24 Jennifer Lopez's American Idol Looks

WHEN: March 15 and March 22.

WHY IT MATTERS: Idol not only revitalized J. Lo's relevance but also showcased the former judge's style versatility.

Lopez's hair and makeup heads cast their ballot for their favorite look of the 43-year-old from season 11 of the Fox mega-hit. Makeup artist Mary Phillips' vote: the bronzed-beauty look she sported during the Top 12 live-elimination show. "A bold bronze eye with glowing skin is one of her signature looks," says Phillips. She adds that Lopez's good habits (exercise, healthy eating, drinking water, avoiding smoking and drinking) are the main contributors to the star's glow. She used Serge Lutens Blusher, Tom Ford blush in Savage, Tom Ford Cognac Sable for shadow, and YSL Golden Gloss. Hairstylist Lorenzo Martin's vote: The sleek ponytail J.Lo wore for the Top 10 live-elimination show. After blow-drying and flat-ironing the hair, he slicked it into a ponytail, secured it with an elastic and finished with L'Oreal Elnett hairspray.

25 Pop Stars' Pop of Lip Color on Album Covers

WHEN: Various.

WHY IT MATTERS: In 2012, songstresses highlighted their moneymakers -- aka their mouths -- on their album covers.

For Taylor Swift, 23, it was important that red be prominent on Red, 2012's biggest-selling album, which makeup artist Lorrie Turk accomplished with a rich lip balm, topped with CoverGirl LipColor in Hot. Also seeing red for Perry's album cover Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection was makeup artist Jake Bailey, who advises: "The key to the perfect red lip is liner." No stranger to red herself, Gwen Stefani, 43, had M.A.C makeup artist Gregory Arlt go classic for No Doubt's "Settle Down" video. Says Arlt, "She's known for a matte red pout, and we glossed it up to make it really pop on-camera." Veering off the red track was makeup artist Pamela Cochrane, who wanted orange red for Lana Del Rey, 26, on the cover of her debut Born to Die. She lined the lips with a M.A.C pencil, followed by two YSL lipsticks: one orange, one coral. "It's exotic and warm," says Cochrane of the punchy look.