When I was growing up, I would watch the Star Wars films and desperately attempt to twist my stubborn hair into Princess Leia's iconic side-buns. I occasionally sport the hairstyle to this day, but never quite nail the "intergalactic babe" look. However, thanks to this type of film-fueled beauty influence, movies can serve a purpose beyond Netflix procrastination binges. Everybody can find fresh inspiration in films for their hairstyles, makeup, and even manicures.
I find cult films in particular to be especially ripe for beauty inspiration because they tend to steer away from the norms of the society in which they were created, catering to a specific subculture instead. That means all of us beauty junkies get a peek into styles that we might not have ever even considered to before watching — broadening beauty horizons through the silver screen, if I may.
Whether it is set in a dystopian future, a cliquey high school, or even an imaginary world with David Bowie wreaking havoc, a cult-classic is a perfect source for beauty inspo. Here are a few cult films whose beauty lessons really take the cake.
1. Lovely Layers in Heathers
Winona Ryder is a beauty role model in many of her movies, but her Heathers hairstyle is absolutely killer. (If you've seen the movie, sorry about the pun.) This '80s flick is a bit like a twisted Mean Girls, and inspires major hair envy because of Winona's luscious layers and adorable bangs.
2. The Fearless Falsies of A Clockwork Orange
First and foremost, A Clockwork Orange should be recognized for making bowling caps and athletic cups look cool. If you can get past this classic film's violent content and strange instances of slow-mo, it can be majorly inspiring for edgy eye makeup. The protagonist, Alex, flawlessly demonstrates falsie-potential by rocking a full set of the lashes on just one eye.
3. "The Higher the Hair, the Closer to God" as Labyrinth's Mantra
David Bowie is an undeniable beauty icon thanks to his Ziggy Stardust face paint days, and his work in Labyrinth (as the Goblin King, Jareth) is no exception. His sky-high hairstyle is an inspiration to anybody who has ever dreamt of more volume for their locks.
4. The Enchanting Goth Glam of The Craft
The Craft doesn't waste time with basic witches. Nancy Downs, the leader of a high school witch coven, completely exemplifies '90s goth glam through her dark eye makeup and heavily lined lips. Her kohl-lined, perpetually rolling eyes might have you relating to A$AP Rocky when you realize, "I love bad witches."
5. Half Pony Hair Envy in Donnie Darko
While simple, Gretchen's half ponytail in Donnie Darko is the perfect inspiration for an easy hairstyle. After all, it landed her Jake Gyllenhaal, didn't it?
6. Marla Singer's Sassy Shag in Fight Club
Helena Bonham Carter is the queen of quirk, and her portrayal of Marla Singer in the Fight Club film solidifies it. The shag hairstyle that the character (a cancer support group connossieur) dons is totally enviable, giving her an effortlessly chic look despite all of her oddities.
7. Contour Envy and a Red Lip Revival in The Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Rocky Horror Picture Show has what is likely the largest cult following of any film in history. The movie is reenacted on stages worldwide, with enthusiastic fans donning the corset and tights of Dr. Frank-n-Furter, the film's main attraction. The flamboyant character is inspirational to more than just Rocky Horror devotees, however, with his bold red lips and expertly contoured cheekbones. Your makeup envy is completely understandable.
8. "Betty Bangs" and Killer Liner in Cry-Baby
Wanda Woodwards is an eyeliner inspiration. Her wings are sharp enough to kill a man, and perfectly accent the adorable "Betty Bangs" that she rocks in Cry-Baby. Sure, a young Johnny Depp is the main eye candy in this cult film, but Traci Lords' Wanda is certainly a close second.
9. Last But Not Least, The Mother Load of Beauty Inspo in Blade Runner
I mean, look at those brows! That blush! Those peach-colored lips! Blade Runner's Rachael is the picture of fierceness.
Pris, a "replicant" in the dystopian setting of the film, is also a major beauty inspiration. Her futuristic black eyeshadow, applied with an airbrush, is rad (in a villainous way).
Aside from demonstrating the importance of facial makeup, Rachael also inspires major nail-envy. Her perfect red manicure is classic, yet stands out in her dark world. The lesson to be learned? Never skip a mani, even if young Harrison Ford is there to distract you.