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The best beauty looks in the films of 2019

TextOliver Lunn

From Joaquin Phoenix in Joker to Timothée Chalamet’s fuckboy hair in The King, we reflect 2019’s on-screen hair and make-up looks

The best thing about films? You get to live vicariously through characters. Specifically, characters you wish you could be IRL. Take Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction, for example, or Timothée Chalamet in everything he’s ever been in. For two hours, in a weird way, you’re inside these characters. That means their wardrobe is your wardrobe. Their beauty signature is your beauty signature. 

 Then, alas, the credits roll and you’re left acutely aware that you’re no longer a film star glowing in 35mm film stock. But hey, you can totally steal the looks on screen. And this year, there’s been a tonne worth pinching. Here’s a handful of beauty looks that left our jaws hanging in 2019. 


There’s plenty of wild hair featured in The King, some of which we detailed earlier this year, but Timothée Chalamet’s London fuckboy bowl cut was the stand-out. He’s not in Dalston, though, he’s in 15th-century England, with Supreme gear swapped for heavy armour. Chalamet’s chop is sharp and dramatic, exposing his ears and highlighting his pale complexion to match those overcast skies. Viewed from the front it looks completely horizontal, as if his fringe ran straight round, but glimpse it from behind and you’ll see it curves down slightly. Basically, it’s not as extreme a monk-style as you thought. It is made all the more dramatic following his earlier hairstyle in the film, a greasy mop parted down the middle, as if he’d emerged from a grunge gig in Seattle circa 1993. With the bowl cut, the rebellious prince’s transformation into a young Henry V is complete.


Say what you like about the Joker, but he’s pretty adept at applying make-up. That iconic look he dons right before his famed dance on the stairs is everything. His swamp-green hair is combed back, subtle curls falling behind his ears. A powdered white face. Red eyebrows painted way up high on his forehead. Two blue diamonds smeared over his eye sockets. A red dab on his nose. And of course, that deep red painted smile that extends up his cheekbones. Phoenix flicks his cigarette from his mouth and kicks out his legs like a deranged cabaret performer. He’s the very picture of a psychotic villain.


Losing her trademark blonde locks, Scarlett Johansson sports a short, low-key red hairstyle for Noah Baumbach’s gut-wrenching Marriage Story. Parted to one side, with the slightest bounce, Scar-Jo looks every inch the suburban LA mum. It’s a haircut that says, “I’m a professional, I get shit done, and I can pick up my kid in my 4x4 while drinking coffee.” Not only that, it’s practical. No constant sweeping your hair from your watery eyes during conversations with your ex. Pretty apt for this weepie of epic proportions. To top off the look? A cream-coloured cardigan and light red-hued lipstick. And a Starbucks in hand, obviously.


In Jim Jarmusch’s idiosyncratic zombie film, Sevigny plays Officer Mindy Morrison. Her shirt is buttoned up to the collar, her hair scraped right back. Wielding a shotgun, you know she means business. But what really ties her look together are those 50s-style specs with cat-eye frames. Wearing them, she looks smart and studious, a seasoned zombie hunter, but with a tinge of cool that befits Sevigny. Peering out from them are her grey-blue eyes, highlighted by subtle blue eyeliner. 


Elisabeth Moss channels her inner riot grrrl in Her Smell, a film in which she plays the lead singer of a fictional punk band called Something She. Her character feels loosely connected to Courtney Love, partly because of the Hole-esque music, partly because of her unhinged antics and self-destructive rockstar lifestyle, but mainly because of her look. She has wild blonde hair, worn down for extra headbanging effect, thick smears of black eyeliner, a spiky necklace, and gold glitter eyeshadow. All of which becomes increasingly messy as the singer comes off the rails. It’s all part of this rough-around-the-edges look, though. In the Alex Ross Perry-directed drama, Moss is the antithesis of a glossy LA cover girl. Look out, too, for Cara Delevingne’s blue and green short crop and armpit hair.


In Tarantino’s tale of Tinseltown in the late 60s, Margot Robbie is transformed into Sharon Tate. In her black turtleneck sweater, with her long blonde hair parted down the middle, she personifies the spirit of the 60s. Then, of course, there are those long, dark lashes. She reportedly used a Talika lash growth serum before and during filming that helped accentuate her already impressive lashes, combined with Chanel mascara and individual false lashes for extra wispiness. It’s actually quite a subtle look. Tate herself had stopped dying her hair around this time, opting for a more natural, bohemian look. Robbie’s skin, too, has a soft, natural glow like a throwback filter come to life.

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