10 Musicians Who Are Busting Up Beauty Standards

In the '90s and 2000s, there was an almost cookie-cutter image of a pop star. Think: big, long hair, glossy bubblegum lips, shimmery shadows, and an overall girl-next-door vibe. It had its appeal, for sure, but it was also pretty homogenous. We had a hard time telling apart all our Britneys, Jessicas, Mandys, and Xtinas.

But in this decade, the idea of a strictly defined trending look for all artists seems quaint. We'd like to think you no longer have to fit into a narrowly prescribed box to become a major musical force. Which is why you'll notice that the singers of today have very little in common aesthetically, other than the fact that they all deliver individualized, unique, beauty boundary-pushing looks.

From singer Yuna to rapper CL to the now household-name Zendaya, these are the women changing the way we listen to and look at musicians. Whether it's their signature makeup or bold hair statements, they couldn't be farther from mainstream — and we couldn't be more excited to watch them grow. Click through to see for yourself. And once you're done clapping for all their cool beauty looks, we highly recommend adding their tunes to your Spotify playlist.
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Photo: David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock.
In the short span of two or so years, Zendaya has become a household beauty name. She's managed to snag contracts with both Chi and CoverGirl, shows off more hair and makeup changes than we can manage to keep track of, and turns beauty expectations and stereotypes on their heads. A beauty renegade through and through.
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Photo: Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock.
When we asked singer and the new face of Stella McCartney's Pop perfume Grimes why she likes to experiment with her beauty look so much, she chalked it up to boredom ("I mean, why not?"). And it's clear she's not the shy type, either. We're talking about the same person who displayed her haircutting saga on social media for all to see.

She ascribes to an all-natural, beauty-starts-from-within, healthy lifestyle (choosing to skip deodorant altogether), and lists Frida Kahlo and several androgynous celebs as her beauty icons. As for her secret to great skin, hair, and everything else? "Lots of avocados and oil and sleep," she told us.
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Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images.
FKA Twigs
FKA twigs has been on our radar for quite a while now. When it comes to both beauty and music, she refuses to conform to society's standards and is truly comfortable in her own skin — she pretty much single-handedly brought back baby hairs.

"How I look is not how I am," she told Rolling Stone. "If you're going to get to know me on the body that God gave me, then you're going to get a shock at some point." We'd ask why she doesn't have a beauty contract yet, but then again, she's not someone who loves being in the public eye.
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Photo: Han Myung-Gu/WireImage.
When singer and rapper CL's label told her to get plastic surgery, she was adamantly against it. For someone hailing from South Korea, the plastic surgery center of the world, that wasn't exactly an easy feat. "I love CL, but I still want to be Chaerin," she said in an interview with Elle. "I love the natural way I look. I said no [to getting plastic surgery] and I’m not planning to.”

Since then, she's blown up stateside as the "Hello Bitches" lavender-haired badass. Friends with Alexander Wang and Jeremy Scott, she's becoming a mainstay in fashion (you know you've made it when you're featured in a Vogue video alongside a bevy of models), and we hope beauty is next on the horizon.
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Photo: Courtesy of Chloe x Halle’s YouTube.
Chloe X Halle
Sister singing duo Chloe x Halle may be new to the scene but, being signed to Queen Bey's label, we can almost guarantee they'll be household names in no time. And can we talk about those ethereal dreadlocks?

We'll forever remember this beautiful shot of the sisters' locs intertwined in their music video for "Drop." Talk about peak #hairgoals.
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Photo: Chelsea Lauren/REX/Shutterstock.
Halsey was sick and tired of having her hair define how people viewed her, so she did something many dream of but don't usually follow through with: She shaved it all off. "This whole year I was my hair in every article. The girl with blue hair. The girl with the pixie cut. And now it's. all. gone! Feels good," she tweeted in December. (She has continued to change up her hair since the above tweet, and eventually went back to a teal color).

She's one of many singers to collaborate with MAC, but she might be the only one to dream up a gray, matte lipstick as her product of choice.
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Photo: David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock.
Laura Mvula
It's hard not to take notice of Prince's British protégé Laura Mvula's color-changing buzz cut. But, for her, her image is so much more than her looks (in a very India.Arie "I Am Not My Hair" way). In an interview with London's Evening Standard, she spoke about her decision to shave her head: "It’s like when Black women come up to me and go, 'Sister, your natural hair, man, I love that, it’s amazing.' And I’m like, 'It’s just my natural hair — why is that revolutionary in 2016?'"

And it's not. But natural hair on someone in the spotlight is still fairly rare — and something we'd like to see more of.
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Photo: Mike Pont/WireImage.
Hijabs aren't exactly a mainstay in the world of music, but we hope singer Yuna can help gain more visibility for those who do wear them. Hailing from Malaysia, the 29-year-old R & B singer wears her headscarf proudly, stylishly, and elegantly. And she doesn't give a damn what you think about it.

"It’s just kind of weird when people say, ‘Take off your hijab and be you’ because this is me, I’m being myself. I’m not oppressed," she told The Cut in an interview. "This is very liberating that I get to do this and be in the music industry. I like that I don’t have to conform to the normal women-in-music-selling-sex-appeal thing."
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Photo: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.
Brooke Candy
Don't let this Brady Bunch-inspired look fool you: Brooke Candy is as far from the '50s-housewife type as one can get (hi, have you seen the promo video for her latest collaboration with MAC?). Her beauty looks have ranged from finger waves paired with red eyeshadow to long, dark hair and pink, diamond-shaped bangs. Safe to say: She's not afraid to push the envelope — refreshingly so.

"[Beauty] plays the role of a challenge," she told us in an interview. "I'm inspired by the idea of challenging the conventional beauty norms. I like to play with what is truly beautiful and what is grotesque."
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Photo: David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock.
Lion Babe
Singer Lion Babe first caught our attention with her, well, lion-esque, honey-blond, curly mane. Being the daughter of actress and singer Vanessa Williams, it's no surprise that she's a stone-cold fox. She was, appropriately, recently named Pantene's latest spokesperson — but she didn't always love her hair.

"I grew up in a town of basically just white people, so I never really felt like my natural hair was good enough. It just didn’t fit in," she told Racked. "But once I got to New York and started dancing, I started seeing a bunch of beautiful people of color wearing their hair naturally. It made me want to do the same. It really was one of those defining moments."
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