What is cool factor, exactly, other than a severely overused phrase in the entertainment industry? Is it the ability to start trends, or the way clothes effortlessly drape over someone's frame? Or is it something inherent that defies explanation or reason? We think it’s a combination of the two, paired with a tinge of attitude—that DGAF vibe the rest of us secretly covet.
In the beauty world, there are certain cool girls we know we can count on for endless beauty inspiration (hi, Alexa Chung and Zoë Kravitz). But we’ve also noticed a new crop of rising stars—girls with otherworldly hair, luminous skin, and a penchant for smudged, sultry eye makeup. Ahead, you’ll find seven models, actresses, and It girls we’ve dubbed beauty’s new cool crowd (for a multitude of reasons, which we’ll explain ahead). Ready to meet your new beauty muses?
Keep scrolling to meet beauty’s most exciting, inspiring rising stars.
Who: Alicia Vikander
Vikander is well on her way to becoming a household name. The star of award show circuit–favorite movie The Danish Girl has that doe-eyed look that’s at once arresting yet somehow relatable. We fell in love with her in Ex Machina, a futuristic film where she played a humanlike robot, and we’ve been blown away by her elegant and feminine red carpet looks ever since. (This sleek pony is one; this romantic makeup is another.)
Who: Kacy Hill
Few people would just get up and leave in the middle of the Yeezus tour—but that’s exactly what model-musician Kacy Hill did, with the intention of pursuing her own music. The fact that West himself called her afterward and asked to sign her to his label is proof of her talent (and that sometimes, maybe, it’s okay to walk away from “god”). Since then, the redheaded muse with sky-high cheekbones has launched her debut EP, Bloo, on West’s label; been featured on Vogue.com; and somehow managed to make a nose ring look utterly elegant. We’re looking forward to what Hill does next—and we will be listening to her crooning voice in the meantime.
Mario Testino for Burberry
Who: Ruth and May Bell
Beauty times two—aka Ruth and May Bell. The fashion world is currently fawning over the two genetically gifted twins, and for good reason: Both possess that wide-eyed, otherworldly look in the vein of Gemma Ward, and, well, they’re twins—twins so pretty it hurts. Ever since Ruth shaved her head for an Alexander McQueen campaign, the sisters have been getting booked on more and more jobs as a duo (see Burberry’s latest campaign shot by Mario Testino). Their beauty style is covetable yet effortless (they are models, after all). We may not shave our heads quite yet, but we do love looking at someone who makes it look so good.
Who: Kenya Kinski-Jones
Kenya Kinski-Jones has a face you don’t forget. The daughter of legendary producer Quincy Jones is the face of Calvin Klein’s Fall 2015 campaign, as well as the company’s soon-to-be-released 2016 watch and jewelry campaign. With her perfectly sculpted face and perpetually post-beach strands, we predict big things for fashion’s rising star—meanwhile, we’d just like to know her hair routine, please and thanks.
Who: Fernanda Ly
“Who was that girl with the pink hair?” was the question on everyone’s lips after Louis Vuitton’s F/W 15 runway presentation. That would be Fernanda Ly, the Australian model who stole the show with her otherworldly strands and mile-long legs—not to mention a face that you’d happily stare at forever. Since then, Ly has appeared in Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2016 ad campaign and become a street style favorite with her unabashedly goth-inspired style—a stark contrast to her cheery hair and disposition. The fact that we’re considering dialing our stylist and asking exactly how long it would take to go pink ourselves seems proof of her power.
Who: Lion Babe
Jillian Hervey is one half of neo-soul duo Lion Babe, and she will be your new favorite hair icon. The singer (who counts Tina Turner and Erykah Badu as influences) is set to release her debut album with producer and musician Lucas Goodman on January 22, and she has kept busy working with the likes of Disclosure and Childish Gambino. As we eagerly await the album release, we’ll be perusing the group’s Instagram for plenty of hair (and red-lip) inspiration.
The Sunday Times
Who: Saoirse Ronan
You might not be able to pronounce her name, but if you’ve been keeping an eye out on the film circuit, you definitely know who she is. The Irish actress got her start in Atonement, and she has gone on to star in The Lovely Bones and, most recently, the critically acclaimed Brooklyn. We’ve been admiring her red carpet beauty style—understated and romantic, but with the occasional pop of color—and predict big things for her in 2016.
To copy Ronan's textured waves, spritz R+Co's Death Valley Dry Shampoo (£27) throughout your strands to add volume and separation.
Who do you predict will rise to beauty-icon status this year? Sound off below!