On celebrity beauty ruts (I’m looking at you, Taylor Swift) vs. risk-taking (a la ScarJo)

Taylor Swift Today Show 2010

Isn’t it ironic that celebrities—who have entire TEAMS devoted to the upkeep of their appearance—are dangerously prone to falling into beauty ruts?

A perfect example is the current beauty protégée of my dreams: Taylor Swift. How I would love to get my hands (okay, flat iron and makeup remover) on this girl. (And psssst! This just in: a Taylor Swift fragrance is in the works… if you’re into that sort of thing.)

Now, first let me say that I totally get why someone like Taylor would fall into a beauty rut.

All celebrities have an image to maintain (whether it’s the Sultry Brunette, Sexy Redhead, Cute Blonde, etc.) and a lot of money rides on that. And contrary to how it might seem when you read all those gushy celebrity profiles, most stars actually do not have a great sense of style (they’re actors, after all—not fashion people), and with the exception of sometime makeup artist Hilary Duff, I have to assume that goes for beauty, too. This is why they pay stylists, hairdressers and makeup artists to help them craft “a look”—and once they find it, they’re sticking to it, dammit!

But then, seasons pass, trends change, and people like me become bored… so very bored… with seeing the same darn thing every time they’re photographed. Case in point: these pics from Taylor’s appearance on the Today Show last week:

Taylor Swift Today Show 2010 2 On celebrity beauty ruts (Im looking at you, Taylor Swift) vs. risk taking (a la ScarJo)

I am fairly sure I’ve talked about this before, but it bears repeating: Am I the only one who imagines Taylor going through this checklist every single time she appears in public:

Side-parted wavy hair? Check. Exaggerated cat-eye liner? Check. Rosy red lip? Check.

Now, don’t get me wrong—I am not actually against this look per se. In fact, it was one of my absolute favourites at the Met Ball earlier this year:

taylor swift the met 2010 On celebrity beauty ruts (Im looking at you, Taylor Swift) vs. risk taking (a la ScarJo)

However, there is a time and a place for this makeup (and hair), and during the day, with a casual outfit is not it:

Taylor Swift daytime makeup On celebrity beauty ruts (Im looking at you, Taylor Swift) vs. risk taking (a la ScarJo)

Of course she still looks great, because she is an incredibly pretty girl, but this is just a whole lot of artifice for a 20-year-old. Do you agree?

Someone, once (I’m not sure which magazine this is from), managed to straighten her hair. And get rid of that eyeliner, which I think has become a crutch:

taylor swift straight hair On celebrity beauty ruts (Im looking at you, Taylor Swift) vs. risk taking (a la ScarJo)

Doesn’t she look like a DIFFERENT PERSON? I would love to see more of this Taylor. Wouldn’t you?

Meanwhile, you know who we need to give props to? Scarlett Johansson.

Recently, she went from this:

scarlett johansson 2010 mtv movie awards On celebrity beauty ruts (Im looking at you, Taylor Swift) vs. risk taking (a la ScarJo)

To this (at the Mango Fashion Awards in Barcelona):

Scarlett Johansson yellow eyeshadow On celebrity beauty ruts (Im looking at you, Taylor Swift) vs. risk taking (a la ScarJo)

And you know, if I looked like ScarJo—all busty and blonde bombshell-y—I’m not sure I would be so brave as to cut all of that hair off and go for an edgy “lob.” (Heck, I’m still coming to terms with my Ombré from last week… still sort of mourning the lack of blondeness around my face. I’m not very edgy myself.)

So I have to admire Scarlett for her beauty fearlessness—although probably it’s because she wants to be taken more seriously as an actress… and this is what they do. (Truth be told, I would love to see this cut a tiny bit longer… but I know many people are huge fans of it just as is. Told you I’m not very edgy.)

Another thing that’s pretty awesome? She is wearing yellow eyeshadow. Yes, yellow. Here’s a better pic:

scarlett johansson yellow shadow On celebrity beauty ruts (Im looking at you, Taylor Swift) vs. risk taking (a la ScarJo)

Annnnnd she pulls it off without a hitch. I’m not sure I would be so bold as to use this particular colour (I’d probably swap it for a silvery shade), but this has given me ideas, people! I totes want to do a smoky, taupe-y eye with liner all the way around the waterlines and with this gorgeous explosion of shimmer at the inner V’s. Thanks, ScarJo!

So, tell me:

Do you agree that Taylor is in a beauty rut or am I just a sad, basement-dwelling hater?
What do you think of ScarJo’s new look?
Might you have any beauty crutches of your own? I know I personally rely Far Too Much on the half-up/half-down hairdo. (But I am aware of this—and admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?)


Monday, November 1/2010 at 1:46 pm

Amen! I am beyond bored with Miss Swift, I almost find it painful to see pics of her. Yes, it’s a cute look but holy hell girl switch it up a bit! I am liking Scarlet’s new cut. The length in the front is awesome, I just wish the length in the back matched :P I’ve been debating doing just that to my hair after seeing this but I’m not sure I want to go short again right now.


Monday, November 1/2010 at 2:13 pm

Co-sign on that Nicole, re TSwizzle! She is YOUNG. She looks sooo old with her current look. As a young person she SHOULD switch it up! When she gets older it’s not so easy or forgivable, lol. Take a page from Kristin Stewart…she’s had different hair colour and style, and although her make is almost always on the edgy side, she’s at least mixing it up. Taylor, there’s nothing more aging than looking dated! Have some fun with your youth and look!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, November 2/2010 at 9:56 pm

OMG T-Swizzle! Why didn’t I use that in my headline?
Anyway, yep – she could definitely learn a thing or two from K-Stew.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, November 2/2010 at 9:55 pm

Right? Glad you agree :-)
Re: Scarlett’s uneven cut – maybe that’s why something doesn’t sit quite right with me. Don’t get me wrong, I think she looks good, but something about the choppy ends reminds me of the cuts I gave my Barbies when I was 7.


Monday, November 1/2010 at 1:48 pm

I have too many opinions on Taylor Swift’s hair, none of which are good.

Speaking of switch-ups; just made the cut from long to short and now I’m not feeling it. The cut itself is not bad (it would look great… on someone else) it’s just that the afterglow is gone with the first wash and I feel doomed. Any chance on a post about dealing with a cut that’s not exactly what you hoped for?


Monday, November 1/2010 at 8:19 pm

What I did when i cut my hair short (and hated it) was went to a different stylist. I paid another $50 to get it cut again, and she made it a lot shorter. it started out initially with my hair halfway down my back, then the first cut was a katie holmes blunt bob (i looked 6 years old), and ended up at carey milligan short. And you know what? I loved it when it was in the carey milligan stage!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, November 2/2010 at 9:59 pm

Wow, you are brave! I’ve cried over bangs that were too short. :-)


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, November 2/2010 at 9:58 pm

Oh no – I wanna see…can you email me or Twitpic it? How short are we talking?


Monday, November 1/2010 at 2:13 pm

I see where you’re coming from here, but I feel like I’ve gotta stick up for Taylor just a little. Yes, she does tend to stick to the same thing all the time, but I think it works for her. AND, it seems to me that the one thing everyone seems to want to do to ‘switch up’ Taylor’s look is to straighten her hair. Seriously? Am I the only one who thinks she looks completely generic in the ‘after’ picture of her above? I’m happy that she rocks the curly hair.


Tuesday, November 2/2010 at 11:41 am

Yes to this. Commenting on Taylor brings out the Mom in me.

I hate to think she would feel the need to do that blow dry and I think she is making the most of her curls. She is too young to be in a rut and is finding her own style. Red lips with casual clothes in the day? Do it while you can I say!

Perhaps with the whirlwind of fame she is experiencing, she is holding on to her “self”. I like her too much to judge her looks. Actually I don’t judge anyone under 30. They don’t know who they are until at least then….


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, November 2/2010 at 10:08 pm

Aw you’re probably right – please know I say all of this with the full awareness that I would look like a dumpy little troll next to Taylor!

So not judging… just offering up helpful beauty advice? :-)


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, November 2/2010 at 10:06 pm

I hear you Alana. I’m just wondering if rocking those curls is any easier than just whacking them with a straightener… to me they look like they’ve been fixed with a curling iron anyway. (But I could be wrong – my understanding of curly hair is limited.) And, you know, even if she stuck to curly, she could maybe part her hair down the middle… wear a side braid or ponytail every once in a while. Mix it up a bit. It would be so pretty!

And yeah… don’t get me started on that eyeliner. I LOVE cat’s eye liner but she is making me hate it.


Monday, November 1/2010 at 2:36 pm

You totally captured a thought I had not yet fully formed. I was looking at a picture of Taylor Swift the other day and feeling mildly disappointed by the overall predictability of her look. I quickly flipped the magazine page to a more visually interesting celebrity. I agree – it’s time that she lived a little and experimented with her looks. She’s gorgeous and could do something totally different once in a while without sacrificing her lovely curls. I wonder if her makeup artist has made any suggestions…


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, November 2/2010 at 10:09 pm

Haha! I wonder if the problem is that she’s holding on to the same hair/makeup artists she had when she was doing the country circuit in Nashville. No offense to Nashville, but that might explain some things…


Monday, November 1/2010 at 3:25 pm

I agree with Alana on this one. I love Taylor’s curly locks, and most days would KILL for those!!! I’m not a huge fan of the straight tresses on her. At least give her a bit of a beachy wave. Actually, come to think of it, I think the Ombre look might suit her if she loosened her waves a bit. Hmm ….. BUT … her face needs a pick-me-up. The cat eyes look good on her, but c’mon. It IS getting a wee bit old. I think every time I’ve seen her she’s rockin’ the winged out liner. You’re young! Play around a bit :)

I *hate* ScarJo … and by hate I mean love :) She’s so bloody perfect it makes me sick … and so jealous. The girls. The tummy. The tush. Bing, bang, BOOM! I like that she’s not afraid to mix up her look. She’s done it a few times and I don’t think she’s suffered from a colossal failure yet. Loving the eyes too, Michelle!! I’ve gotta try that one out soon!! And did she get her locks cut off, or is she rockin’ the faux bob?



Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, November 2/2010 at 10:12 pm

Well, back in July Daily Makeover said it was a lob, not a faux bob (see here: http://www.dailymakeover.com/blogs/beauty-trends-and-news/scarlett-johansson-short-hair-makeover.html) so it must be true. But let’s face it: ScarJo would look good BALD.

And Taylor Swift with Ombre? I would pay good money to see that, actually.


Jill D (29secrets.com)
Monday, November 1/2010 at 9:29 pm

ok, i’m going out on a limb and sticking up for Taylor! i actually love her makeup. Her eyes are so tiny that she needs that definition to look a little older. the hair needs some help, i’ll give you that. But i like it when she brushes it out. I wonder if maybe she feels her career is so hot that she can stay the beauty course and be just fine? (beauty deals out the wazoo, dating hotties and writing hit records), unlike ScarJo, who’s career is tepid right now


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, November 2/2010 at 10:13 pm

Good point Miss Jill D! Taylor prob has a ton of pressure to stick with her “look” right now…cha-ching!

Still think the eyes are too “stage makeup” though…


Tuesday, November 2/2010 at 8:48 am

First off, since this is my first time commenting… I love your blog and will read it for years and years to come! (or as long as you publish it I guess..! ;)

I just had to say that I -absolutely- agree with you about Taylor Swift. She’s gorgeous, young, she knows who she is, and she’s a fun-loving person, I absolutely DO NOT understand why she wouldn’t take hints from that makeover photoshoot. She looks absolutely stunning, like a cross between Nicole Kidman and Alicia Silverstone… and she got the best of both, sorta! Props to her for not straightening her hair for over a year, but what’s the point if you’re gonna use a curling iron instead?! Change it up a bit, sista!

As for Scarlet, loving the messy bob! It frames her face so well, he chin looks even more perfect, and that yellow eyeshadow is just so rich and pigmented! It looks like solid gold, love it!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, November 2/2010 at 10:15 pm

Oh my gosh thank you Katy!

You’re right about the Nicole Kidman/Alicia Silverstone combo. (Although I think more Nicole… have you seen Alicia lately? I don’t think veganism is working for her.)

Oh and I just said the same thing above about the curling iron before I read your comment. What is the point indeed!


Monday, November 8/2010 at 6:17 pm

Awe.. I bought Alicia’s book this summer, and am almost a vegetarian now too. It did -wonders- for my complexion to cut back on meat and dairy! (although I do cheat sometimes.. a life without cheese and chicken is just so dull!) Maybe it’s the macrobiotics?! Food for thought.

I’m actually more concerned about Alicia’s acting than I am about her looks lately.. Scary stuff. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxdoOs1-DEc


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, November 22/2010 at 7:25 pm

Wow – that is some bad acting there! I here I thought she had moved on from Clueless!

Re: diets – I think vegetarianism is definitely more healthy than hard core veganism because there are certain nutrients you can only get from animal products (eg most vegetarians still eat dairy, eggs, butter). I’m particularly thinking of vitamin A, which is amazing for skin but is not absorbed by the body nearly as well when you get it from veggies vs. animal products (liver, butter, cod liver oil).

There is a great blog called Let Them Eat Meat, written by a former vegan… he used to post photos of “sickly vegans” which I found quite enlightening. He actually did a post on Alicia Silverstone: http://letthemeatmeat.com/post/172124681/i-met-alicia-silverstone-in-the-summer-of-2002
These ones are also interesting:


Tuesday, November 2/2010 at 9:38 am

I cannot believe that Taylor is the same person in the magazine side-by-sides. It’s like those weight-loss ads where you can’t really see the “before” in the face of the “after”.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, November 2/2010 at 10:17 pm

I know – totally unrecognizable! I guess to Jill’s point that’s why she sticks with “The Look”… otherwise the paparazzi—and fans—wouldn’t pay any attention.


Monday, December 13/2010 at 6:07 pm

i know right


Tuesday, November 2/2010 at 2:56 pm

Btw…love your blog! It’s such a fun read :)

Totally agree with everything you said about Taylor Swift…you were bang on!

And yes, I’m also loving ScarJo’s new look….it absolutely suits her….

Thanks for sharing ;)


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, November 2/2010 at 10:17 pm

Thanks Sher, and glad you agree! :-)


makeup morsels
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 3:21 pm

I agree! Every single time I see her, she looks exactly the same. She’s definitely very pretty, and her look works for her, but I really want her to switch up the makeup a little bit.


Monday, November 22/2010 at 10:31 am

How funny is this. Just a few weeks after you write this, Taylor re-invents herself … and I like it


This is the only pic I can find online right now, but I’m sure there will be tons later. Anyway, the bang really makes this look work for her I think. The straight hair pic you included is too … teeny bopper/girl next door for me.


Monday, November 22/2010 at 10:36 am
Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, November 22/2010 at 7:25 pm

Thanks for all the links! I feel a post brewing… Taylor must read here! :-)


Monday, December 13/2010 at 6:05 pm

hey she looks really coll with her new hairstyle taylor swift


Saturday, July 23/2011 at 5:51 pm

I agree, Taylor is definately in a beauty rut. I think that black eyeliner she wears all the time make her eyes look much smaller. Not good.


Thursday, November 3/2011 at 1:50 am

I think Taylor Swift looks just fine. I hate her hair when it’s straight though! And that silver dress didn’t do any good for her.


Wednesday, March 19/2014 at 3:04 am

Help!! I am obsessed with Scarlet’s gold/brown/gray eye look in the last photos! The brownish gray shadow is to die for. Do you have ANY recommendations or suggestions for shades similar to that? I’d do anything to find out. Absolutely stunning shades. So glad I came across this (4-year old!) article.

I just discovered your blog today and have been poring over every article. You do amazing work. My favorite part is that you provide the EXACT products utilized to create certain red carpet looks. I don’t know how to obtain that information, but I am so grateful for it! I always search for websites or articles with those details, and the best I can get are drugstore recreations inspired by the look (not what I want!). THANK YOU.


Leave a Comment

Sites that link to this post