It seems like just last week that we were reflecting on crackle manis and cotton-candy colored hair. Is it just us, or has 2012 just flown right by? We’re afraid we might crop a wrinkle just thinking about it.
Well, unfurrow that brow. As we looked back on this year in beauty, not only did we pull up some of the past months’ craziest antiaging treatments, we also reminisced on some of the surprising moves made by public figures, discovered a few game-changing products, and looked ahead to what the New Year has in store.
Gang, our beauty future is so bright, we’ve got to wear shades — but in the meantime, here’s the best of 2012.
Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza
Clear Mind, Juice-Cleansed Body
Though juice fasting and similar cleanses
have been around for decades (your mom’s cabbage soup diet, anyone?), this year everyone was so crazed over the liquid lifestyle that we were on the verge of floating away. Whether you swear by them or swear at them, it seems like the obsession is starting to slow somewhat — but if the Madison Avenue pop-up shop of Organic Avenue has anything to say about it, we’ll still be hearing "I can’t have that, I’m on a cleanse" in 2013.
Photo: Via Wellandgoodnyc.com
Natural Hair Has A Hollywood Moment
Don’t get us wrong; we love a wacky and wild red carpet look as much as the next girl, but it’s totally refreshing when a celeb keeps it real. Viola Davis ruled this year’s Oscars when she chose to go au naturel with her ‘do, making her even more fabulous (if possible!) in our books. We’d seen a sneak peek in her gorgeous LA Times spread, so we were excited to see her show it off on the red carpet. Haters aside (we’re looking at you, Wendy Williams!), embracing and celebrating what makes you an individual is something to be praised.
Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages
Presidential Beauty Products
This year featured what may well have been our country’s most important election yet — so can you blame a few beauty brands for getting in on the action? Bliss offered its bestselling lotion in two limited-edition scents
: Obama Orange for Mr. President or "Mint" Romney. Le Metier de Beauté released a trio of patriotic polishes (red, white, and blue, natch), available exclusively on Obama’s website. No matter who you voted for this November, you have to admit that electing to launch products is a cool idea. Capitalism at its prettiest?
Photo: Via Shakeyourbeauty.com
Estée Lauder Unleashes Their Inner Joan
We thought that Mad Men could make us swoon no more, but this year Don Draper wasn’t the only thing making our jaws drop. Estée Lauder and Mad Men got together in the hottest beauty hookup of the year, releasing a lipstick and cream blush housed in classic '60s packaging from the Lauder archives. From the fluted gold tube to the blue gemstone clasp, this duo was lustworthy down to the last detail (just like a certain ad exec).
Photo: Courtesy of Estee Lauder
Lady Gaga Takes The Term Fame Whore VERY Seriously
For all the crazy hype (remember all that talk about blood and body fluids?), we expected the Mother Monster's first scent
to be completely cray. Shockingly, it was actually rather tame and quite pleasing to the nostrils. That said, the innovative, opaque black fluid that sprayed on clear didn’t fail to disappoint — nor did a star-studded launch featuring a sleeping Gaga in a bubble. "Slutty" perfume or not, we couldn’t help but be seduced by its unusual appearance and gorgeous bottle. We have to admit, though — we’re so excited and kind of scared (in a good way) to see what’ll be next from the Haus of Gaga.
Photos: via Nordstrom; courtesy of Coty
Celebrities Discover That Whole Nail Art Thing
We know that our readers are on point when it comes to nail trends, and you guys were leagues ahead of celebrities when it came to fab fingers. Delayed reaction aside, there were still a handful of super celebrity manicures that are worth noting. Early January saw the manicure that launched a thousand repins: Zooey Deschanel’s terrifically twee tuxedo nails
. Though Lana Del Rey gave a particularly painful performance on SNL
, her fearsome talons are as equally unforgettable. And Katy Perry got patriotic with her Obamanicure, which still leaves us a little weirded out, though we know she has nothing but good intentions. Side note: Does that mean she has the most powerful fingers in the free world?
Photo: via Instagram
BB, CC, & The Rest Of The Alphabet Creams
These multitasking moisturizers have long been makeup-bag staples in Asia, but BB creams blew up Stateside with their multiple magic powers, leading nearly every skin care and cosmetics brand to flood the market with their own version of the potent potion. The advent of a BB cream spinoff, the even more dynamic CC cream
, has got us a little overwhelmed, but we’re positive that we’ll be seeing more of them come spring. We’re curious as to how far this double-lettered phenomena is going to go. Is anyone else kind of hoping it stops now before the launch of the awkwardly titled DD cream?
Photos: courtesy of Rachel K; via Sephora; via Walmart
Cat Marnell Confuses Us, Herself
Love her or love to hate her, this polarizing beauty editor made headlines
around the world when she left her post at xoJane, forsaking loose powder for something a little more intense. We admit to rubbernecking at her new work at Vice
, but we truly miss reading her once well-written beauty articles — the product expertise coupled with the tone of someone terrifyingly chic made for a great read.
Photo: courtesy of Paper Mag
Hollywood Isn't The Only One Obsessed With 3D
While we saw something of a lag in innovative nail art over the second half of the year, that doesn’t mean that manic manis were nowhere to be seen — this year was all about 3D digits. We’d gotten glimpses of the funky styles before on the catwalk, but caviar bead-covered nails, leather finishes
, and velvety flocked fingertips became a major thing thanks to British brands Ciaté and Nails Inc. We’re excited to see what’s next!
Photos: via Sephora; Shefinds.com
Sexy Old Lady Hair
Alright, hear us out on this one. Last year saw a bumper crop of pastel coiffs, and this trend trickled into 2012 with the bizarrely beautiful appearance of lavender and gray locks. After seeing it on stars like Kelly Osbourne, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Amanda Bynes, we think it's cool to see women not only accepting, but embracing the gray. Silver fox, indeed!
Photo: Rex USA
Weird Beauty Goes To New Extremes
Many of us here at R29 are willing to try pretty much any beauty-related remedy, no matter how unusual or crazy it may be, but a few of this year’s treatments seemed more harmful than helpful. The master of Goop herself, Gwyneth Paltrow, shared her fairly freaky secret to a radiant complexion — bee venom — which had everyone abuzz, including that majestic mummy-to-be, Kate Middleton. Not to be outdone, Kim Kardashian pulled a Bella Swan, choosing to get her glow on via vampire facials. And don’t forget bagelheading! While beauty is, of course, in the eye of the beholder, this Japanese trend left us scratching our heads — and its followers blowin’ theirs up.
Photos: via Storify.com; via Kiwi-sheepskins.com
Luxury Beauty Makes A (Somewhat) Triumphant Return
As the country starts to recover from this seemingly endless recession, prestige beauty products have begun their tentative creep back onto the shelves — but could it be too much, too soon? Celeb favorite brand Cle de Peau Beauté launched a highly limited-release eye cream available for purchase at a casual $13K. Sound like chump change? At this year’s Emmys, jewelry designer Azature selected Kelly Osbourne to rock a mani made of black diamonds valued at $250K. While the value of those products are roughly the equivalent of a new house or both a college and medical degree, the fact that obscenely snazzy beauty treatments are available once again to those willing to spend the cash has got to be some kind of good sign…right?
Photos: via Barneys; via The Huffington Post
Miley Embraces Her Edgy Side
Judge her music all you want, but we couldn’t help but admire Miley this year for drastically chopping her hair several times over
. From that mile-high pompadour in September to the micro-mohawk just two months later, her brazen blonde mane made us take a second (and third) look. Whether you think she’s going through a crisis, trying to stand out, or leaving her teenage years with a splash, don’t forget that no matter what, she’s just being Miley.
Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages