Tough Girl Chic: The Hot New Beauty Moment

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The era of girly, sexy styles are over--enter the reign of the tough girl! Celebs that wouldn't have walked down Robertson Blvd. six months ago without waist-length extensions are now chopping their hair into razor-cut, downright boyish styles (hello, Michelle Williams!).  Gone are the sweet, restrained makeup looks of seasons past--right now, it's all about serious black liquid liner, super-dark, matte lips and lashes that could never be confused for "natural." With their motorcycle jackets, red carpet sneers, hard pompadours and shaved heads, a whole new era of starlets are enjoying presenting themselves in this strong, I-dare-you-to-mess-with-me way. And what's it all about? Beauty industry insiders believe that the rise of tough girl chic is directly related to a nation left feeling powerless in the face of the recession. Giorgio Armani International Makeup Artist Linda Cantello told WWD Beauty Biz, "Wearing red lips and having short hair is the new cool, a badge of confidence in unsettling times." There's definitely something to that. We're dealing with the constant threat of terrorism, our country's involvement in two unpopular wars, and a devastating economy--perhaps bad girl beauty is a type of style armor. Women like Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Solange Knowles actual look like warriors in their bold ensembles (there's nothing sweet about RiRi's "So Hard" video...Grace Jones is somewhere beaming with pride). These days, women are worried about paying the mortgage and finding stable jobs--they don't have time to fuss over long locks or apply painstakingly delicate makeup. The perception is that it's much easier to swipe on a slash of lipstick and rake your fingers through a choppy crop (news flash: short styles are actually quite high-maintenance. Its all fun and games until you have to figure out how to curl inch of hair). Also, traditional male/female roles are flip-flopping more than ever. In an interview with WWD Beauty Biz, Choong W. Park, marketing professor at USC's Marshall School of Business, said, "We used to think men needed to be very strong, but now society is more appreciative of their sensitive side. And now that women are competing with men for jobs, we admire those who are more independent." As your man starts making regular manicure appointments ("just for buffing, just for buffing!") and stealing your Kiehls toner, it makes sense that women flirt with androgyny and blurred gender lines in the same way. Whatever the reasons, it looks like bad-girl makeup and hairstyes are much more than a passing trend. From Rihanna to Amerie, check out our roundup of celebs who've embraced the new, tough girl chic. Read More: