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10 Beauty Trends That Dominated 2017

Sure, there were a lot of beauty trends in 2017 — from the oddball ones (wavy eyebrows and fake freckles, anyone?) to the unsurprising (wine-stained lips, architectural eyeliner, and Twiggy lashes) — but the ten phenomena listed here not only captured our collective attention, but they held our interest and kept us talking (and, in some cases, swooning). Here’s the beauty year in review!

  1. WE BELIEVED IN THE MAGIC OF UNICORN BEAUTY

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The mythical creatures we all wanted to encounter as kids inspired a makeup frenzy this year, as our eyes widened at the sight of rainbow-colored highlighters, holographic top coats for lips, glittery face decals, makeup brushes resembling unicorn horns, and iridescent pastel shades seemingly plucked from a fairy tale montage. The Tarte Magic Wands Brush Set (sold out), pictured above, prompted a buying frenzy, as did the Wet N Wild Color Icon Rainbow Highlighter ($5.99 at select drugstores and mass market retailers), which sold out everywhere before finally reappearing in stores around the holiday season.

 

2. WE GOT PHYSICAL — AND KEPT IT PRETTY —THANKS TO THE SURGE OF ATHLEISURE SKINCARE AND MAKEUP 

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As we all look for ways to incorporate more physical activity into our routines, we’re also hoping to make the transition from the gym (or barre, aerial yoga, pilates, and trampoline fitness classes) to the street a bit more seamless. The idea of having to shower at the gym before heading to work or to a dinner date, for instance, can be enough to dissuade women from heading to that spin class — as can the idea of having to remove all of one’s makeup only to reapply afterwards. But what if women could wear makeup to the gym without risking massive breakouts, smudged liner and mascara, and melting blush? What if they could have breakfast with friends then sneak in a quick workout without needing to remove every trace of tinted moisturizer and mascara. Well, those are the very needs that the beauty industry sought to address in 2017 as the athleisure beauty niche continued to grow. Back in January, Tarte introduced an Athleisure Skincare line that incorporated skin-loving products designed to offer lightweight coverage, add a pop of subtle color, and keep skin looking fresh as a daisy. In the fall, meanwhile, Clinique launched its CliniqueFit collection ($14-$29.50 at Clinique.com), which incorporates a medium-coverage, sweat- and humidity-resistant, non-comedogenic foundation designed to be worn while working out, as well as a smudge-proof mascara that can withstand even the sweatiest of cardio sessions.

Makeup aside, there are also brands tackling the skincare and body care needs of active women. The YUNI Sweat, Refresh, Go Kit ($32 at Sephora.com), for instance, includes YUNI’s Shower Sheets, which are large, pre-moistened body wipes that remove any sweat and dirt, refresh the skin, and naturally deodorize — a perfect hack for those days when taking a shower immediately post-workout just isn’t feasible. The kit also includes the: Chillax, a muscle recovery gel formulated with plant-based ingredients; My Om World Aromatic Body Mist, designed to create a sense of serenity; and  Flash Bath No-Rinse Body Cleansing Foam, which is a bit like the dry shampoo of body cleansers.

This is only the beginning, folks! Expect to see way more innovations in this realm in the year ahead.

3. HONEY EMERGED AS A BUZZ-Y SKINCARE INGREDIENT

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Cleopatra and Nefertiti both famously relied on honey to keep their skin looking youthful and radiant, so this golden substance is hardly a newcomer in the beauty world. And yet, with all the hype over more exotic fruits, seeds, grains, and herbs (think goji berries, quinoa, spirulina, and chia seeds), it was comforting to see the beauty world circling back to a tried-and-true natural healing substance. Thanks to its antibacterial and antiseptic properties, honey can be helpful when treating everything from acne to psoriasis and dandruff, and it’s a natural humectant so that it draws moisture to your skin (or your scalp) and locks it in there. FARMACY’s honey-centric launches this year won my heart, and they stood apart from other offerings because they were formulated with Echinacea GreenEnvy honey (meaning that the honey was produced by bees living in the farmland where FARMACY cultivates its plant-based ingredients and that these bees exclusively pollinated the antioxidant-rich Echinacea GreenEnvy flowers therein). FARMACY’s oh-so-sweet offerings include the Honey Potion Antioxidant Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask, a warming mask that leaves the complexion glowing, and the FARMACY Honey Drop Lightweight Moisturizer with Echinacea Green Envy ($45 at Sephora.com), which nourishes and hydrates the skin while giving it a smoother and plumper appearance thanks to a combination of Echinacea GreenEnvy honey, royal jelly, cupuaçu butter, tsubaki oil, meadowfoam seed oil, and a triple hyaluronic acid complex.

In the haircare category, the Not Your Mother’s Naturals Royal Honey & Kalahari Desert Melon collection ($9.99 per product at drug stores and mass retailers) stood out as a great regimen for parched, color-treated, porous, and unruly strands.

Honorable mention goes to The Body Shop for its indulgent and skin-softening Almond Milk & Honey Body Lotion and Hand Cream.

4. LIGHT THERAPY LEFT THE DERMATOLOGISTS’ OFFICES AND ENTERED CONSUMERS’ HOMES

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For years, dermatologists have touted the benefits of light therapy treatments in tackling everything from sagging and wrinkly skin to acne-prone complexions. But, until recently, these treatments were only available inside doctors’ offices. In 2017, however, light therapy devices made their way into the hands of eager consumers. One of the most remarkable launches of the year was the Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare SpectraLite EyeCare Pro LED Device ($159 at Sephora.com), a hands-free, wearable, ultra-lightweight device that treats fine lines and wrinkles around the eye are — from crow’s feet to the “elevens” between brows. Each device features 72 LED lights that stimulate the production of collagen, and each treatment takes just three minutes!

To treat acne, meanwhile, Neutrogena saved the day with its Light Therapy Acne Mask ($39 at drugstores and mass market retailers), which emits blue light to eliminate acne-causing bacteria and red light to reduce inflammation, helping to treat and prevent breakouts with each 10-minute treatment session. Later in the year, the brand unveiled its Light Therapy Acne Spot Treatment, boasting a sleeker, pen-like, wand design and aimed at those who only have the occasional breakout and want to zap away any pesky pimples the second they emerge.

5. THE ANTI-POLLUTION BEAUTY MOVEMENT GAINED MOMENTUM

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As it turns out, UV rays aren’t the only environmental factor leading to premature aging signs (think dark spots, sagging skin, a dull complexion, and brassy or straw-like strands).  We also have to worry about wind-blown dust, smog, smoke, blue light from out electronic devices, and infrared radiation. Luckily, scientists have started researching different plants and minerals that they believe could mitigate the effects of these pollutants on hair and skin — or, at least, better protect us from them. Murad launched its City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 ($65 at Murad.com), a 100% mineral sunscreen that offers broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection and which is formulated with iron oxides that defend the skin against infrared radiation, as well as lutein, a carotenoid pigment extracted from marigold petals that has shown to defend the skin against blue light. In the spring of 2017, it also introduced its City Skin Overnight Detox Moisturizer, designed to help prevent the formation of free radicals. Harnessing the power of the antioxidants found in Marrubium plant stem cells, this moisturizer helps to neutralize any toxins to which the skin was exposed throughout the day — from car exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke to infrared heat from charcoal grills

In the realm of hair care, meanwhile, Nexxus schooled us on the importance of protecting our strands in humid conditions — after all, humid air is better able to hold onto pollutants. As if frizz and fly-aways weren’t enough of a reason to dread humid conditions, it turns out that the air could also contain a higher-than-average concentration of potentially damaging toxins that could dehydrate and weaken strands.  Designed to defend the hair from humidity, UV rays, and pollution, the Nexxus City Shield collection ($12-$22; visit Nexxus.com) is comprised of three products formulated with  a phyto-protein complex that contains hydrolyzed wheat protein and Indian Lotus flower extract. Together, these ingredients create a protective shield against humidity, keeping strands smooth, frizz-free and safe from the icky stuff lurking in the air.

To learn more about the developments in the realm of anti-pollution beauty, click here.

6. SCORCHED, ROASTED & REDDENED EARTHY EYESHADOW HUES BROUGHT THE HEAT

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The most in-demand eyeshadow palettes this year tended to incorporate spicier earth tones rather than the classic assortment of sandy cream, fawn-y tan, taupe, espresso, and terracotta shades. Case in point: the Urban Decay Naked Heat Eyeshadow Palette ($54 at Sephora stores and Sephora.com), which took classic neutral shades and cranked up the sizzle factor on them so that they looked like roasted, incandescent, paprika-soaked versions of their prior iterations. Similarly, the HUDA Beauty Obsessions Eyeshadow in Warm Brown ($27 at Sephora.com at ShopHudaBeauty.com) features colors that seem to nod to the fiery glow of Utah’s Red Mountain, to the assertive red of Japanese maple leaves, to the warm oranges and yellows in a desert sunset sky, and to the bold colors of reddish spices like cayenne pepper, Tandoori masala, and turmeric. In other words, neutrals were given a major kick, and we were left craving more makeup spice.

 

7. NEW FACE MASK CATEGORIES RAISED EYEBROWS… WHILE GIVING FACES A LIFT!

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You couldn’t scroll through your Instagram feed in 2017 without encountering a few photos of women pampering themselves with an anti-aging, hydrating, brightening, pore-tightening, or acne-busting face mask. Sheet masks remained ubiquitous, but we also saw new types of face masks — from bubbling masks to rubber masks, gold foil masks, and more. Korean beauty brand Dr. Jart+ popularized the rubber mask with offerings like the  Dr. Jart+ Hydration Lover Rubber Mask ($12 at Sephora stores and Sephora.com), which involves a two-step system whereby a highly concentrated ampoule serum is applied to skin and then a hydrating rubber mask is placed atop the skin to prevent the active ingredients in the serum from evaporating and thereby ensure complete penetration of these ingredients.

Magnetic masks also drew us in, with the Dr. Brandt Skincare MAGNETIGHT Age-Defier Skin Recharger Magnet Mask ($75 at Sephora stores and Sephora.com) blazing the trail for similar products from e.l.f. cosmetics and MDMA. If you’re still a bit fuzzy about how magnetized masks work, then here’s a brief primer: regardless of the specific ingredients in their respective formulations, what all these masks have in common is that they’re infused with iron particles so that, once it’s time to remove the mask from the skin, one can simply use a magnetic device (included with the mask, of course) that will attract the iron particles in the mask, thereby lifting the mask off the skin’s surface.

Gold masks — like the GLAMGLOW Power Rangers GRAVITYMUD Goldar Firming Treatment ($21 at Sephora stores and Sephora.com) — were also particularly popular and had the added benefit of making us feel like we were channeling Solange in her “Cranes in the Sky” music video.

 

8. OUR POUTS GLISTENED THANKS TO HIGH-SHEEN METALLIC LIP COLORS

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While matte lips remained ubiquitous in 2017, the hottest lip trend was metallic pouts — whether they had a foil-like sheen, a glittery finish, or a molten metal feel. I’m particularly fond of the Touch in Sol Metallist Liquid Foil Lipstick Duo ($25 at Sephora.com) since they’re easy to use and allow you to pull off a runway-worthy look. Each dual-ended tube features a metallic lip color on one side and a matching gloss saturated with glitter on the other end.

 

If you prefer a lipstick bullet that deposits color in a single pass, then the Maybelline ColorSensational Matte Metallics Lipstick ($7.49 at ULTA stores and mass market, food, and drug retailers) might have caught your eye. In addition to their metallic finishes, these lipsticks caught our eye thanks to the edgy hue options — from Gunmetal to Serpentine, a green color named after the mineral group comprised of basic silicate of magnesium, iron, aluminum, nickel, zinc, and manganese (antigorite, lizardite, and nepouite are all substances classified under the serpentine category).

Liquid lipstick lovers, meanwhile, can rely on the L’Oréal Infallible Paints/Lips Metallics ($9.99 at ULTA stores and mass market, food, and drug retailers), which offers full coverage and boasts a glossy metallic finish.

9. WE LIVED ON THE EDGE (AND LOVED IT) WITH THE EMERGENCE OF AT-HOME DERMAPLANING

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Did you ever think you’d be pressing a sharp blade against your face? Probably not. And yet, once the term “dermaplaning” entered the mainstream beauty vernacular and we discovered its many anti-aging and glow-boosting benefits, we were totally down to live on the edge.

Until recently, dermaplaning was a treatment offered only at medical spas and dermatologist offices whereby a trained professional used a scalpel to gently remove the top layers of dead surface skin cells, thereby revealing a brighter, more luminous, more firm complexion. Now, however, thanks to the Dermaflash Facial Exfoliating Device ($189 at Sephora.com) and the Michael Todd Beauty SonicSmooth ($99 at MichaelToddBeauty.com) women can enjoy the benefits of dermaplaning from the comfort of home. Both of these devices not only gently exfoliate the skin, but they also remove peach fuzz (and no, it won’t grow back thicker or darker) so that your complexion will look and feel smoother and softer than ever before.

10.  WE TASTED THE RAINBOW OF HAIR COLOR OPTIONS

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We no longer bat an eyelash when we encounter someone with hot pink, cobalt, emerald green, lavender, teal, or baby blue hair — that’s how mainstream these once-unconventional hair color hues have become over the last few years. So what set 2017 apart from other years? Well, for starters, the variety of colors multiplied and many more options were offered in regards to saturation, longevity, and application type. Women who wanted to break away from their normal routines for a single day could reach for a bottle of the L’Oréal Paris Colorista Spray One-Day Color ($9.99 at ULTA.com) and try rocking a pale mint or pastel pink mane with just a few spritzes, then wash it off once they were done with their adventure.

Those looking for a mess-free, portable, goof-proof, and transfer-resistant option could paint the town (and their strands) flamingo pink, Pacific blue, powdery lilac, or ballet slipper pink with the new statement shades of the Bumble and Bumble Bb. Color Stick ($26 at Sephora.com). Designed to resemble a twist-up jumbo crayon, this color stick can therefore be used to target roots or to add a pop of color to specific sections of hair, and there’s no drying time required.

A longer-lasting (yet still temporary) alternative introduced this year was the JOICO Color Intensity Color Butter Color Refreshing Treatment ($19.99 at ULTA stores and ULTA.com), which actually delivers high-voltage color to strands while strengthening them thanks to the incorporation of arginine and a potent peptide complex. Each treatment lasts up to 10 shampoos, making it a fun way to experiment with bold tresses.

 

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