20 Head-Turning Moments & Trail-Blazing Beauty Trends

These head-turning moments and trail-blazing trends of the past 20 years caught the retrospective eye of beauty editor Janetta Mackay



Audrey Tatou’s short fringe and stacked bob had us crushing when the French film actress starred in Amelie in 2001.

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SPRAY TANS: Once reserved for UK footballers’ WAGs, now any North Shore teen will tell you they’re as essential as a school pre-ball.

NAIL ART: When Auckland’s eastern suburbs matrons start fancying a feature nail to round off their weekly manicure, then it’s all in.

FALSE LASHES: From Karangahape Rd drag queens via Kardashians to party people all over town, suddenly loading on the lashes wasn’t so outre.

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Soon after the GHD hair straightener launched in 2001, women wouldn’t leave the house without doing their ironing. Poker straight hair, a la Donatella Versace, became the order of the decade. Stylists used the hair tool on celebrities, garnering endorsements from the likes of Victoria Beckham, Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow. Sales soared and soon GHDs were being sold in a rainbow of shades.

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When hit song ‘Royals’ took her global, Ella Yelich-O’Connor’s dark lips and cascading curls were a much remarked-upon signature style.

The following year, in May, 2014, Viva headed to New York for the launch of her Lorde x M.A.C makeup collaboration, where she parried questions about gothic influences, laughingly saying: “New Zealanders like black.” Fans worldwide were soon practising their flicky black eyeliner and wearing bright purple lipstick or the plum dark Pure Heroine shade, named after the first Lorde album.

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Balayage is the subtle sun-kissed, hand-applied antidote to clumsy foils and dip-dye ends. That’s why the French technique has lasted. Done well, it frames the face flatteringly. Super-model Gisele Bundchen might have been mousey, but she was magnificent, thanks to the play of light from her balayaged hair.

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When it comes to celebrities, brands fawn over their offspring, elevating them into the public consciousness in a way feudal overlords would have understood. Are we so gullible as to swallow the anointing of every second daughter of… as the next big thing? Let the kids go forth and find themselves — without PR puffery.

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Sienna Miller (and her London cohort of cool girl friends) had the tousled hair and the thrown together ‘I’m just back from Ibiza’ wardrobe down pat. The actress has gone a bit Hollywood glam these days, but her glowing hippy deluxe look of the mid-to-late noughties sent chain stores crazy and had women everywhere seeking out sea salt spray, bronzer and clear gloss.

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No time to get in a lather, then dry shampoo will have become your best friend. Once found only on pharmacy back shelves, now every salon sells the stuff. Texturises, volumises, soaks up oil… sorted.

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Appearance medicine has gone from near-zero visibility to clinics offering services all over town. Attitudes have changed with more public awareness of what’s on offer. Botox and fillers are commonplace. Local practitioners take a cautious “natural-looking” approach, rather than dispensing pumped-up Kardashian-style contours. Aside from needles, laser, IPL light therapies and clinic-prescribed skincare are all being used more routinely to freshen faces.

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Like Bella v Gigi, everyone has a favourite, but on some days, just like the Hadids, wearing your hair out is easier than choosing. Did we mention braids — the other style that has become a standard — which brings us to fishtail v Heidi. Floral headbands have had their moment, but the ultimate tidy up may be the return of the 1970s-style turban.

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History does repeat, just be on the right side of it.

Exhibit A: Overplucking as modelled by Rihanna on the US Vogue’s latest issue, in a temporary look some may take as literal inspiration.

Exhibit B: Look around for microblading gone mad, as the quest for “on point” brows veers from infilled and defined to scarily hard-edged. The reason brow products have become such a big thing is one part fashion and, one large part brow rehab. Luckily, the new normal is naturally full and not excessively arched brows.

Photo / @badgalriri


Beauty communities online are booming, providing diverse views and reveiws and endless contouring videos. A band of beauty boy YouTubers has emerged, but more noteworthy here is how the internet has allowed a girl from Palmerston North to find her voice. Shannon Harris, aka Shaaanxo (pictured), has in nine years built a business, acquired millions of viewers and last year was rated fifth on Forbes list of top global beauty influencers.

Photo / @shaaanxo


Before Georgia Fowler and Stella Maxwell became Victoria’s Secret Angels, and after Kirsteen Price caught Helmut Newton’s eye and Rachel Hunter rocked Rod Stewart, the supermodel that best flew the flag for New Zealand was Kylie Bax.

With an amazing 20 Vogue covers to her name, she also starred in an era-defining campaign for Clinique’s Happy fragrance (pictured). Her angular frame and infectious grin were all over billboards and magazines. There must be something sunny in the air, because Clinique is about to reboot its Happy franchise.

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It’s 10 years since argan joined the panoply of plant-based oils that have entered the beauty lexicon. We reckon it stands out the most (not just for this Swarovski-encrusted Moroccanoil birthday bottle), because it kickstarted the widespread use of oils in hair styling. It took a bit more convincing than using oils in skincare, but when applied sparingly to hair argan offers moisture, light control and shine.

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In a world awash with scents shaped as much by marketers as by perfumers, boutique and niche fragrances are growing in popularity. Their appeal is individuality and authenticity. Serge Lutens and Frederic Malle led the charge, with Malle’s Edition de Parfums set up in 2000 after the French fragrance critic offered free rein to some of the very “noses” who had created big brand blockbusters. Since then experimental perfumers creating quirky conceptual aromas have emerged and natural fragrances are developing in sophistication.

READ: 10 Natural Perfumes For Fragrance Fans To Try

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The selfie generation has helped propel skin primers and high-definition makeup from studio specialty products to everyday ways to cheat the perfect close-up.

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Blowdry bars, nail bars, brow bars, waxing bars, lash bars — 20 years ago few outside of Los Angeles or New York City had heard of such places. Now paying for speedy specialty services is one of the fastest growing regular outlays of time-poor women in our increasingly non-DIY society.

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Vegan, raw, cold-pressed, gluten-free, probiotic — we’re talking about skincare not dinner. But the focus on ingredients, their origins, sustainability, handling and packaging is remarkably similar. Natural, organic, fair trade — same story and one that shows no sign of ending. New Zealand is well-positioned with natural brands and conscious consumers, but there’s a world of issues out there. And greenwashing is one of them.

New Zealand Skincare Brands For Those Who Like To Shop Local

Photo / Frankie Apothecary


In the summer of 2016 the world was awash with candyfloss hair. Helen Mirren showed age was no barrier to experimenting. Blame Instragram in full mermaid mode and celebrity singers Katie Perry, Nicki Minaj, Gwen Stefani and Rihanna for all showing up in blush shades in quick succession.

Photo / @katyperry


Nars Orgasm Blush launched 1999

Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara launched 2014

Tom Ford F***ing Fabulous eau de parfum launched 2017.

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