The Best Beauty Moments Of 2016, Because Good Stuff Did Happen This Year

Photo: Courtesy of CoverGirl.
The end of each year begs for reflection. As we close 2016, a year that we can all agree was pretty rough, it's easy to only see the bad stuff. But a lot of good and important moments did happen — and we've rounded them up, ahead.

Boys in beauty! Feminist spokeswomen with important shit to say! Inclusivity — from runways to shampoo ads! But there's more: Dads had a huge year (see ya later, outdated gender roles!); new studies showed us the silver lining of skin concerns; and meaningful, viral beauty moments were aplenty. While there is obviously still plenty of work to be done, these are a great start.

Without further ado, we give you the best beauty moments of 2016. Raise your glass and mascara wands, because we'll toast to that…
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Photo: Courtesy of CoverGirl.
Moment #1: Boys In Beauty

It was a big year for inclusivity across the board — including the rise of men taking on new and exciting roles within the industry. James Charles led the movement, thanks to his game-changing position as the first male CoverGirl.

What's more, male YouTubers gained more popularity and press than ever, cult brands, like Anastasia Beverly Hills, featured men in its ads, unisex color cosmetic lines like Milk Makeup hit the scene, and male-focused beauty mags were started. All proving that beauty knows no gender.
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Photo: Courtesy of Flirt Cosmetics.
Moment #2: Feminist Brand Ambassadors With More To Say

Becoming an ambassador, especially for one of the big cosmetics brands, is a heavily coveted honor in the industry. It's also one that pays quite well and comes with pretty tight media restrictions. Talk about the product and the product only...

Luckily, that shifted this year with an influx of strong women who used their position of influence to bring awareness to so much more. To wit: Amber Rose selling Flirt Cosmetics lashes while talking about body and sex positivity. Feminist scholar Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie bringing her message of empowerment to the makeup aisle as the new face of Boots No7. Ariel Winter silencing internet trolls alongside Dove. And UFC fighter Ronda Rousey and feminist actress Priyanka Chopra signing deals with Pantene to send a message to young women about strength and shampoo.

The moral of the story: We want brand faces with more to say, so keep 'em comin'!
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Photo Via: @rcarecords/Instagram.
Moment #3: Skipping Makeup — Because We Want To

For some reason, seeing celebs makeup-free was a big deal before this year — maybe because it was so rare. That changed in 2016, with stars going makeup-free for no other reason than that they damn well felt like it — including on red carpets, at fashion events, and on magazine covers.

Leading the charge was Alicia Keys. "I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing," she says. Check out the full story, here.

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Photo Via: @makeupbyalaha/Instagram.
Moment #4: In-Labor Beauty Moments

In "you do you" news, in-labor beauty routines were documented and went viral this year, spawning a mixed reaction online. Again, the idea was fairly novel to most of us, but at the end of the day, the idea of beauty being whatever the heck you want it to be — a creative outlet, a passion, or in this case, a distraction from intense pain — came through with gusto. Get it, momma.

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Photo Via: @chrishemsworth/Instagram.
Moment #5: Viral Beauty Messages Raise Awareness — & Millions Of Dollars!

The reach of social media is wildly unprecedented — and a lot of these messages used beauty to do some good this year. A few key standouts include a terminally ill Dutch boy named Tijn, who started a campaign to raise millions for sick children in the developing world by giving manicures. Meanwhile, the #baldandbadchallenge sought to empower those who have lost their hair fighting cancer.

Even celebs got in on the action: Here, Chris Hemsworth participates in the Polished Man Campaign, which brought awareness to sexual and physical assault. The best part about these inspiring movements? It's never too late to share or get involved, right from home...

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Moment #6: Models Busting Up The Status Quo

There is still a long way to go in revolutionizing the overly homogenous modeling world, but 2016 saw some great strides. R29's 67% Project aimed to better represent body diversity in media, while trans models finally got the moments they deserved.

We were also introduced to Katie Meade, a model with Down Syndrome who became the face of cosmetics line Beauty & Pin-Ups. In fact, a lot of really rad women who don't fit the tired ol' model mold hit the scene this year. Isn't it about time beauty was redefined to include everyone?

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Moment #7: Curly & Textured Hair Products Rule

In "it's about damn time" news, we saw product ranges for curly and textured hair expand in a major way — and placed front and center, where they belong (not in another aisle or on the bottom shelves). In fact, a leader in the space, SheaMoisture, launched a campaign seeking to desegregate the hair-care aisle.

Cosmetics behemoth Sephora joined in with a curly campaign and an uptick in the curly hair lines it carries, while mainstay brands launched more and more products catered specifically to curly and textured hair. But the best part? We anticipate even more growth next year.

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Moment #8: We Got Eleven, The Badass 12-Year-Old With A Buzzcut

British actress Millie Bobby Brown shaved her head to play Stranger Things' Eleven — a move that nearly broke the internet — and made us all realize that being a badass risk-taker knows no age. Her cool crop inspired tons of women to buzz their own...and we consider that worthy of a spot on the list.

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Moment #9: #BlackGirlMagic

We saw #BlackGirlMagic everywhere this year — from Solange's A Seat At The Table to pretty much every time Beyoncé did anything, ever. And it culminated at AfroPunk. Now in its 11th year, the New York gathering is a two-day celebration of community, self-expression, and music rooted in appreciating art and culture — and eradicating hate. And the beauty looks? They're just as amazing as the women wearing them...
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Moment #10: Selena Finally Got The Makeup Line She Deserved

What happened when the late, great queen of Tejano music got a namesake collection with one of the biggest cosmetics companies in the world? A major fan freak out, of course. The internet went wild for a limited-edition collection dedicated to Selena Quintanilla-Pérez — the line quickly sold out and was just restocked.

MAC Selena Lipstick in Amor Prohibido, $18, currently sold out at MAC.
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Moment #11: Dads Jumped Into The Beauty Game

There was the father-daughter hair school dedicated to teaching dads how to do their children's hair (even NFL players got in on the lessons). We saw dad makeovers, father-son makeup selfies, and dads that prove they have major beauty skills. All of these will pull yank at your heartstrings, but there was also comedy relief, too. To wit: This dad-narrated tutorial and this awe-worthy makeup brush fail.
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Photo Via: @kerrywashington/Instagram.
Moment #12: Celebs Embrace Their Natural Hair

We talk a lot about transitioning chemically straightened hair back to its natural state: what it takes, the motivation behind it, and how to make it easier with styling. It's something that many are passionate about, not only because of the health reasons, but because there's beauty and power in embracing your texture, no matter who you are or what that texture is. So when celebs like Kerry Washington step out with their natural curls, showing other young women — and the world — just how beautiful they are, we consider that a win for the cause.
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Moment #14: And So Does Victoria's Secret

Not everyone has long, cascading, sun-kissed waves. In fact, very few people do, at least naturally. So we were overjoyed when Victoria's Secret decided to include buzzcuts, undercuts, and loose curls in the lineup alongside its standard, signature blowouts. Sexy doesn't fit one definition — and this was the hottest year, yet.

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Photo Via: Benjamin Lloyd Art Collection/Facebook.
Moment #15: Kids Get Adorable (Faux) Tats

Here's how it went down: New Zealand artist Benjamin Lloyd posted an image on Facebook stating that he'd temporarily tattoo every patient at Auckland's Starship Children's Hospital if his post received 50 likes. 450,000-plus likes later and his body art is quickly winning over the hearts, and sleeves, of people worldwide. The results are downright heartwarming.
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Moment #16: Muslim Beauty Breaks Out

Last month, 19-year-old Halima Aden made history by competing in the Miss Minnesota USA beauty competition wearing a hijab — now, she's using the platform to raise awareness. And the organization fully supports her: "The organization continues to evolve as women evolve. The Miss Universe organization is proud to be the forefront of the diversity of beauty,” Denise Wallace, the director of Miss Minnesota USA and Miss Minnesota Teen USA told ABC7 Chicago.

It doesn't stop there: CoverGirl added Nura Afia, a Muslim beauty blogger, to its spokesperson ranks; Orly released breathable Halal nail polish; and Muslim vloggers continue to educate viewers on religious traditions through a mutual love of beauty. Progress looks damn good...
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Photo Via: @badgalriri/Instagram.
Moment #17: RiRi Got Dreadlocks

Dreadlocks had a hard year in the media, but it's important to remember that there's a right way to wear the rad style — and Rihanna took it upon herself to show us all how it's done.
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Moment #18: Miss USA Changed How We Talk About Beauty

During the competition, winner Deshauna Barber was asked to define what "confidently beautiful" means to her. She said: "To me, confidently beautiful means understanding that it's not always about your appearance. It's not always about who you're around and how they feel you look, where they feel you come from, or your economic background."

Barber reflected on her time serving in the U.S. Army and discussed how that influenced her perspective. "Serving in the military has taught me that being confidently beautiful is about being able to earn respect from people regardless of what you look like. As a woman in the military, people associate beauty with weakness and they learn very quickly that I'm extremely strong. And although I'm small, I'm powerful — and 'confidently beautiful' is being myself and being very happy with who I've become," she said.

Ding ding ding, we have a winner.
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Moment #13: Female Athletes Focus On, You Know, Athleticism

While there were plenty of people who clung to outdated ideas of what a female athlete should look like, more and more clapped back at the haters — and didn't let beauty even be a part of the game.

Take Russian tennis player Svetlana Kuznetsova. She was so distracted by her long braid that she, quite literally, chopped it off mid-match without batting an eye. Anyone who's ever been whipped in the eye with their hair during a game can relate. Guess what? She won.
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Photo Via: @comptonsveryown_/Instagram.
Moment #19: Makeup Is More Than Makeup

For many, makeup is more than the products in your cosmetics bag — it's a key part of who you are and how you express yourself. Proof: Doing makeup between chemo treatments has not only helped 22-year-old Amanda Ramirez look great, it’s also makes her feel stronger in her fight.

Ramirez was diagnosed with stage III Hodgkin’s lymphoma this summer. Rather than retreat from social media, the medium where many people present their most "perfect" selves, Ramirez chose to document her battle on Instagram — all while staying true to her glam sense of style. That means posting shots taken mid-treatment or with her oncologist, with a full face of makeup and rocking the hell out of a bald head. Talk about an inspiration.

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Photo: Via @traceeellisross.
Moment #20: Tracee Ellis Ross' Truth Bombs About Beauty Standards

Honestly, just watch it — you'll be glad you did.
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Moment #21: We Got A Ton of Promising Skin Studies

The science behind skin care just keeps getting better. This year, we saw some promising leads that could soon be a reality. Check out this innovative new way to treat rosacea or this good news for anyone suffering with acne. And, of course, there's been plenty of anti-aging strides, to boot. Thank you, science!

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Photo: Courtesy of Shalom Blac.
Moment #22: Inspiring Makeup Tutorials

When Shalom Nchom — also known as Shalom Blac on YouTube — was 9 years old, she was in a frying-oil accident that resulted in severe burns to her head, face, and neck. “Life after the accident wasn’t what I thought it would be,” the 20-year-old from Nigeria, who now lives in Maryland, says. “I was stared at by kids and older people whenever I stepped out. I felt like a living statue that people came to see. It pushed me to be rude towards anyone who stared at me. I cursed people out and cried on many occasions.”

Her life sure has changed since. Now, she's inspiring everyone by laying it all out on the table, sharing her makeup tutorials with a side of daily inspiration.

And she's not the only one. Plenty of YouTubers used tutorials as a means to share something more and connect with other users going through similar experiences.
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Moment #23: Ageism Takes A Beating

Senior citizens are one of the most under- and misrepresented groups in mainstream media — and have been for years — but many brands are trying to challenge that. Karen Walker used older women as hand models, while Urban Decay tapped Baddie Winkle, who is almost 90 years old, for a recent campaign. What's more? 67-year-old Linda Rodin, who started her beauty line at age 59 and then got acquired (read: sold big, but is still involved) to Estée Lauder Companies, entered color cosmetics with a bang.
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Photo Via: @zacposen/Instagram.
Moment #24: The Runways Became A Little More Diverse

There will always be room for improvement when it comes to representation on the runway — but this year, we got a little better with casting and styling that focused on the beauty of individuality — rather than an army of models that all look the same.

Zac Posen said it best: "I felt that it was a strong message on [our] runway, that the fashion world needed a little kick in the ass, a little wake-up. But it’s just what I see as beauty, nothing more than that," Posen tells us about his diverse casting, seen here.

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