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This story first appeared in the Nov. 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
Beauty in the eye of the beholder? No, today, beauty is in the eye of the Internet. This, 2015, was the year that beauty went fully social, when A-listers valued their looks according to their "likes" and one Instagram post could connect with millions of followers. Case in point: the Ali MacGraw-esque look created for Kendall Jenner (THR beauty moment No. 9) by hairstylist Jen Atkin. Jenner, 20, landed an Estee Lauder contract based partly on her social-media popularity (40.9 million followers on Instagram, 13.3 million on Twitter) as brands slavishly chase the Snapchat generation.
Other social-media slam-dunks? Lupita Nyong'o's fluffy donut bun at the Cannes Film Festival by hairstylist Vernon Francois (No. 2) garnered its own hashtag ("They're calling it a #fronut," the actress said on Instagram. "I like that"); THR cover star Taraji P. Henson's diva dynamism on Fox's Empire (No. 1) spawns thousands of YouTube tutorials on how to look like Cookie Lyon; and Cara Delevingne's 22.2 million Instagram followers just might have something do with high-end brow products flying off the shelves. Of course, today's hashtag culture has inspired several new beauty terms, from the hun (half-up bun, No. 12, worn by Jennifer Lopez) and the wob (the wavy bob, No. 15, on Kirsten Dunst and cut by hairstylist Cervando Maldonado) to strobing (or facial highlighting), the opposite of last year's contouring craze. Blake Lively (No. 7) used this trick to great effect at the New York Age of Adaline premiere in April.
Social media even can be used to test market a red-carpet concept, says Kate Lee, who did Keira Knightley's ethereal Oscar makeup (No. 10): "Instagram is a direct channel for people I don't know to let me know what they thought of a look." Finally, even as social media proliferates and language morphs, some looks remain timeless, including those of Reese Witherspoon, also on THR's cover, whose uber femininity on the red carpet (No. 3) comes courtesy of makeup artist Molly R. Stern. Jokes Witherspoon, "We bonded over a mutual love of blush." Turn the page for THR's fourth annual list of beauty moments, based on the year's biggest film, television and red-carpet looks as determined by social-media (and, yes, traditional media) impact.
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