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Beauty Icons: What Makes One, According to the Pros

What Makes a "Beauty Icon," Really?

Beauty Icons: What Makes One, According to the Pros

"An icon," "iconic behavior," "icons only" — those are only a few of the phrases you've likely come across as you've scrolled through your social media feeds. They're often used to describe the TikTok It girls of the moment or the models and socialites who head up the campaigns of everyone's favorite fashion houses. But like so many of the trends we seem to fly through, the term has become somewhat overused.

Now, this is not to say that the colloquial meaning behind the term is being lost. Icons are often regarded as cultural figures who move the needle in society via their respective avenues, whether it's music, (hello, Beyoncé), fashion, (Ms. Fenty, is that you?), or political figures. The term is used even more endearingly in marginalized spaces like the LGBTQ+ community to give flowers to the legends who have and continue to pave the way for a fair and equitable society. However, when it comes to the beauty industry specifically, what does the word "icon" even mean?

With the way beauty is currently consumed, many people look to influencers to figure out not only what products to use but also how to use them. While this has resulted in some pretty epic trends, for the most part, a lot of them have resulted in people looking a bit monotonous. Gone are the days when there was a pool of agreed-upon "beauty icons" people looked to for inspiration. Now, any look you want to achieve can be broken down into a few TikTok videos with links on where you can find the exact products used, via your ultracurated "for you" page. The question then becomes: who has enough of a hold on people to become modern-day icons? The answer, it seems, depends on who you ask.

Ahead, we asked some of the industry's top beauty professionals for their definition of the term, as well as who they would crown the beauty icons of this generation.

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