2017's Biggest Moments In Beauty

2017 has proved an exciting and eventful year for beauty, for fans and industry players alike.

It was the year we embraced vegan products, weighed up the benefits of both synthetic and natural ingredients, and reached for the scissors to crop our hair. Blonde in all its shades – from cream soda to champagne – reigned supreme, as did sparkly, shimmery makeup.

We’ve had long-anticipated UK launches, bricks-and-mortar store openings, and landmark government bans, but while there’s been more diversity in campaigns and makeup ranges, the media has at times struggled to keep up, being called out for conspicuously altering images of women’s natural beauty.

This year was a thrilling one for all things skincare, makeup and hair – let's hope 2018 brings more diversity and representation, more creative techniques, and more innovative launches.

Click through to see our beauty highlights of the year.

Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
The Government Banned Microbeads

In a landmark ruling that signalled a huge step forward for the industry, the government announced in July that it was banning microbeads, with effect from early 2018.

Following calls from environmentalists for the tiny manmade exfoliants to be banished from our daily-use products – think toothpaste, face scrub, and body wash – Michael Gove announced the ban in his first speech as Environment Secretary.

The ban is only relevant to wash-off products, as they have a direct correlation to what's found in the world's oceans, with 300 billion pieces in the Arctic Ocean alone.

While we have a mammoth task ahead of us in tackling the world's plastic pollution – 8.3 billion tons of plastic have been produced since 1950 – nationwide changes like this can make a real difference.
Glossier's Triple Threat

In October, after years of anticipation from British fans, New York-based beauty brand Glossier launched in the UK. Having hosted a fleeting pop-up in London in July, the brand announced international shipping to the UK, meaning beauty fans could try every product we'd seen on our Instagram feeds.

The brainchild of Into The Gloss's Emily Weiss, the simplicity of the products – the motto is skin first, makeup second – and the millennial pink packaging has garnered a cult following. To add to the excitement, the brand announced another London pop-up soon after, giving fans a chance to try out the products for themselves, from the skin-saving Milky Jelly Cleanser to the brow-defining Boy Brow.

On top of this, Glossier launched its first fragrance, You, soon after. "The ultimate personal fragrance", it's designed to enhance your own natural smell, much like the makeup aims to highlight your natural beauty. 2017 truly was Glossier's year.
Courtesy of Fenty Beauty.
Enter Fenty Beauty

The same month, after three years of anticipation, Rihanna's Fenty Beauty finally launched. Available exclusively in Harvey Nichols in the UK (and Sephora in the US), fans queued for hours to get their hands on the star's makeup.

With a campaign that showed some of the most exciting and diverse faces, from Duckie Thot to Slick Woods via Leomie Anderson and Halima Aden, Fenty's tagline is "The New Generation of Beauty".

The campaign reflected the makeup's inclusivity, with 40 foundation shades sending customers wild – YouTube reviews proved that Rihanna had created products suitable for albino skin and very dark tones, plus every shade in between. Competitor brands then fell over themselves to boast their (not quite as wide) shade offering.

Since the initial drop, Rihanna's released the Holiday Galaxy collection, full of shimmer and shine, and the Stunna Lip Paint, a universally flattering red liquid lipstick. All hail Fenty.
Courtesy of Bleach London.
Bleach London Launched Makeup

Colour pioneers and the salon responsible for making us all experiment with sea greens, fiery reds and acid yellows, Bleach London expanded their signature hues into makeup in July.

The Dalston-based salon, headed up by Sam Campbell and hairstylist Alex Brownsell, launched the line with an in-store glitter press, encouraging customers to mix and match their favourite shades of iridescent, pearly and holographic sparkle to create gel eyeshadow palettes.

The brand's waste-not attitude (all products are vegan, too) led to their genius customisation palette, which allows you to buy individual colours and collect them in a magnetic box.

From pigmented eyeshadow to liquid lipstick that matches their Super Cool Hair Colours, Bleach London's makeup offering was a fun and creative breath of fresh air this summer.
Courtesy of Asos.
ASOS Launched Its Own Beauty Brand

Having played host to some of the biggest beauty brands for some time, it made complete sense for the e-tailer to expand its own brand to makeup, which launched in September.

With 46 shades of vibrant matte lipsticks, contouring palettes, iridescent eyeshadows and highlighting chubby sticks, the packaging was as Instagrammable as you'd expect.

According to ASOS, the collection, named to reflect certain moods ('Uncompromising', 'Overqualified'), "is about embracing and expressing the full range of who you are" and empowering "twentysomethings to confidently be themselves, however they choose to do so. We believe your face and body are a canvas, an adventure in individual self-expression, an opportunity to experiment and play."

The real highlight, though? Alongside the launch came a campaign to rebrand the site's beauty department, Face and Body. Featuring women of colour, plus-sized women, men, and gender non-conforming people, the ads showed what real inclusivity in beauty looks like.
Courtesy of Maybelline.
Gigi Collaborated With Maybelline

Creating her first ever makeup line, Gigi Hadid collaborated with Maybelline, channelling her international lifestyle into three drops: East Coast Glam, West Coast Glow, and Jetsetter.

The East Coast collection gave us everything we need to emulate the glamour of New York, with a smoky eye palette, eyeliner pen and three sultry lip colours. The West Coast look was all about a downtown LA vibe, with strobe highlighters, siren-red lipsticks, and a contour palette.

Finally, the Jetsetter offering was an all-in-one kit for those on-the-go, reflecting Gigi's own global lifestyle. The line was a near-immediate sellout. Will the model develop more makeup next year? Watch this space...
Courtesy of Illamasqua.
Munroe Bergdorf's Triumphant Return After Being Dropped By L'Oréal

We were thrilled when L'Oréal announced its landmark partnership with trans model Munroe Bergdorf. Just days later, however, the brand came under fire for parting ways with Bergdorf following a Facebook post she wrote calling out white supremacy and systemic racism.

Twitter rushed to defend Bergdorf and question L'Oréal's authenticity and ideas surrounding representation. Bergdorf also received death threats and violent messages during the furore.

The model came back triumphantly, though, fronting makeup brand (and longtime collaborator of Bergdorf) Illamasqua's Christmas campaign. Full of colour, creativity and individuality, the campaign, 'MERRY XMAS: Celebrate Without Chromosomes' was a breath of fresh air.
Pat McGrath Labs Finally Reached The UK

In the same week she announced she was joining Edward Enninful's line-up at British Vogue, industry giant Pat McGrath revealed that her innovative makeup brand, Pat McGrath Labs, was launching globally on Net-A-Porter.

Having been the creative vision behind the cosmetic launches of brands like Giorgio Armani, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana, it was only a matter of time before McGrath brought her experience, spanning two decades, to her own line.

From Metalmorphosis 005, a Midas-touch eye colour, to Dark Star 006, an '80s-inspired kit of electric shades, everything from Pat McGrath Labs has been a near-instant sellout.

It's been a great year all-round for the legendary makeup artist, who most recently was awarded the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator at the Fashion Awards. Here's to an equally game-changing 2018, Pat.
Courtesy of Sam McKnight.
The Legendary Sam McKnight Launched Haircare

Debuting back in February at Halpern's LFW show, Sam McKnight launched his eagerly awaited haircare line to the masses in June, allowing fans and beauty lovers alike to emulate Sam's styling at home.

Following a huge exhibition at Somerset House charting the stylist's 40-year career, Sam's line is made up of four hero products: Lazy Girl, a dry shampoo for longevity between washes; Modern Hairspray, a firm-hold brushable formula; Cool Girl, a texturising spray promising hair as rock'n'roll as Kate Moss's; and Easy Up-Do, a base for any kind of 'do.

On top of the pretty packaging, which you're bound to want to give pride of place on your bathroom shelf, the products' scent was conceived by Lyn Harris of Miller Harris perfume, waving goodbye to stale hairspray and dusty dry shampoo scents.
Misguided Photoshopping In The Media

Two incidents of misguided photoshopping took place later on in the year, the first from The Evening Standard. Interviewing musician and cover star Solange, who regularly uses her platform to celebrate her natural hair, the magazine curiously photoshopped her crown of braids out of the issue's cover image.

Solange, who clearly wasn't aware of the edit before it went to print, took to Instagram to write 'DTMH', an abbreviation of “Don’t Touch My Hair,” the name of a song from her much-lauded album A Seat At The Table. The second instance came from Grazia, which featured actor Lupita Nyong'o on the cover of a November issue.

Once again, Photoshop was used to edit natural hair out of the cover shot. Lupita remarked on Twitter: "Disappointed that @GraziaUK edited out & smoothed my hair to fit a more Eurocentric notion of what beautiful hair looks like. #dtmh."

Fans criticised both magazines for their wrongdoing, and important conversations were had about censoring black women, embracing natural hair, and the insidious nature of Photoshop. Both publications apologised for their editing of the photographs.
Photo Via @bellahadid.
The Many Faces Of Bella Hadid

She may have lost out to Adwoa Aboah for Model of the Year at 2017's Fashion Awards, but Bella was arguably the face of beauty this year. Fronting a series of major beauty campaigns, she was transformed from sultry to '70s starlet to slick siren.

Following in the footsteps of Natalie Portman and Jennifer Lawrence, she starred in Dior's ad for its Pump 'N' Volume mascara, with slicked-back hair and electrifying lashes. Next up, she emulated a rock'n'roll Joan Jett with a '70s shag and smoky eyes for NARS' Fall Colour Collection, which promoted the brand's Highlighting Bronzing Collection and Powermatte Lip Pigment.

Finally, she took a Roman Holiday for Bulgari, launching Goldea, a musky, fruit-floral fragrance. With this many huge campaigns under her belt, we can't wait to see her metamorphoses in 2018.
Huda Beauty's Sellout Products

Huda Kattan, makeup artist turned influencer turned beauty mogul, knows how to make products that will sell out, and fast. This year was a stellar one for her makeup brand Huda Beauty, with products rivalling our cult favourites generating a buzz among the industry and fans alike.

Desert Dusk, a pigment-rich palette made up of shades reminiscent of the colours of the Middle East, features burnt oranges, dusky neutrals and vibrant reds. With glitter-rich options to layer on top, it was the perfect autumnal drop. The #FauxFilter Foundation, comprising 30 shades of full-coverage velvet-matte formula, was an instant hit, with 11 of the shades selling out in just three days at Sephora.

But of course, Huda Beauty made its name with its lip products. A representative from Sephora told The New York Times that Kattan's lip liners were one of the biggest launches they'd seen in years. Her Contour & Strobe Set, a matte pencil liner, lightweight liquid lipstick, and gloss strobe to highlight, were an Instagram sensation, too. More product drops next year, please, Kattan.
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