The most defining beauty moments of 2016
2016 might forever be remembered as being one of the most politically turbulent years, but in beauty land at least it's been an exceptionally good year for business.
From celebrity's hair transformations and the launch of new up-and-coming brands, here are the defining points of this year that have changed the beauty landscape...
Face masks became beauty's biggest new category
Face masks have continued to rise in popularity. For the past couple of years they have taken the skincare sector by storm and in 2016, they showed no sign of slowing. Celebrities, including Cindy Crawford and Chrissy Teigen took to social media to share their appreciation for face masks, while brands such as L'Oreal Paris and Nail's Inc unveiled Instagram-friendly designs.
Brands to join the sheet mask team and worth exploring included, Erborian, Lancome and of course, Nail's Inc fun designs.
Perhaps the most exciting launch though was Nannette de Gaspe’s dry sheet mask, which uses ground-breaking, mind-boggling technology to infuse your skin with nutrients for line-smoothing, radiance-enhancing results. It's rumoured that several brands will be employing the same technology in their own sheet masks next year, so watch this space...
Everyone embraced the #nomakeupmovement
Instagram was responsible for several of the most talked about beauty trends this year. Remember the ab crack phenomenon? And, the mermaid thighs hashtag that inevitably followed? Not to mention the #nomakeupmovement that Alicia Keys started back in April and a bucket load of celebrities that have followed suit since.
Brands are also looking to social media influencers rather than celebrities to front their campaigns. This year, L'Oreal Paris signed up five British beauty bloggers with a combined reach of 5.5 million to create engaging content around key events, including fashion week and Cannes festival. And, with shoppable posts already being tested in America and coming to the UK very soon, it could only be a matter of time before beauty bloggers, vloggers and brands are encouraging us to buy as we ‘like’ on-the-go.
Fringes staged a comeback
There is always one stand-out hair trend and this year was no different. Katie Holmes has had one since the summer, while Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Rihanna and Karlie Kloss to name just a few, have all experimented with one on-and-off throughout the year, so it’s safe to say that fringes were the hair look of 2016. They were also seen across the spring/summer 2017 catwalks proving that they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.
Beauty giants launched business takeovers
The merging of Coty and P&G was confirmed this year, making Coty the third biggest beauty company, behind L’Oreal and Estee Lauder - both of which made several new purchases this year. Estee Lauder went on a spending spree and acquired Becca Cosmetics, Too Faced and three niche fragrance brands, including Le Labo, Byredo and By Kilian. In its largest acquisition in eight years, L’Oreal bought It Cosmetics over the summer. While it’s relatively unknown here, the skincare and make-up brand that promises to help alleviate skin problems is huge in the US.
Unilever has also upped its game in the luxury sector. Last week, it announced it had bought Living Proof, the premium hair care brand that was previously affiliated with Jennifer Aniston. Living Proof joins Murad, Ren, Dermatologica and Nexxus.
What does this mean for you? In the next year or so, not a lot. Brand mergers usually take between one and two years to settle. However, with the bigger brands buying up successful smaller ones popular, it will be interesting to see how it affects the industry as a whole in the next five years, especially the long-established grande dame brands.
Skin boosters became the new lunchtime treat
Forget luxuriously long, stretched out facials where your skin is pampered and preened to within an inch of its life. 2016 was all about the quick, practical and results-driven skin treatments. From LED and laser to ice-cold cryotherapy, a host of speedy skin-changing facials are fitting conveniently into our lunch breaks.
For regular maintenance: Skin Laundry is big business over in the US and the 15-minute laser treatment opened its first UK salon in Liberty’s this autumn. While lasers used to evoke all kinds of goosebumps and cold shivers, this treatment is virtually painless, has no downtime (or even redness) afterwards and your first session is free. For long lasting results, you’ll need around six sessions.
For problem skin: Skin expert Debbie Thomas is renowned among beauty editors for her clever mix of lasers and potent skincare, which soothes the most severe acne and rebalances breakouts. At the beginning of December, she also launched her new express treatment service, D Thomas Illuminate in Harvey Nichols. From eye brighteners to neck smoothers, the menu offers something for everyone using a blend of LED, laser and massage.
For radiance revival: 111Cryo also launched at Harvey Nichols this year. The ice-cold treatment isn’t necessarily the most relaxing, but it does boost circulation and recharge your skin, leaving you with the most incredible glow.
Beauty finally got honest
From The Ordinary's affordable serums to Beauty Pie’s price transparency, 2016 has seen the unveiling of some impressive and game-changing brands that are likely to shake up the industry for years to come. While you might still be enticed by the luxury packaging and status that well known brands offer, Beauty Pie certainly gives you food for thought, while the Ordinary's £5.10 hyaluronic acid is a complete no brainer.
We found ourselves diverse rather than divided
Perhaps one of the beauty industry's most embarrassing yet powerful moments happened at fashion week back in February when British model Leomie Anderson tweeted about her frustration that black models had to bring their own foundation to the shows because many make-up artists didn't cater for them.
Since then Anderson has appeared in Topshop's beauty campaign when the high street brand brought out more foundation shades. L'Oreal Paris has also enlisted the help of various celebrities and influencers with different skin tones to illustrate its shade range. With the likes of Lancome and Chanel both set to unveil more shades early next year, there's no doubt whatsoever that diversity will be a key focus for all brands - amen to that.
Natural, organic, environmental are now more than just buzzwords
Thanks to advances in science and technology, natural beauty is no longer seen as less effective or efficient in its results. In fact, market research company Mintel pinpoints this as an important trend that will continue to grow until at least 2025. It's no surprise that US brands, including Farmacy, which has cult coconut gel sheet masks, are branching out to the UK.
The environmental impact of our beauty products also made the headlines several times this year. Concerns over the use of microbeads in face scrubs and toothpastes reached parliament, where it was agreed that they would be banned by October 2017.
The amount of plastic in our face wipes was also revealed. Brands, including RMS Beauty and Yes To, which use environmentally friendly fabrics put the major beauty brands to shame. And, with more of us concerned about the size of our eco footprint, there's no doubt that this isn't so much of a passing trend, but rather a new, refreshing approach to beauty that will continue long into 2017...