The Best Beauty Advice We Were Given In 2017

It's our job to pick the brains of the beauty industry's most renowned makeup artists, dermatologists, skincare specialists and hair stylists, and deliver their vast knowledge straight to your screen.

This year proved a thrilling one for beauty, with new brand launches, diverse campaigns and environmental progress at the top of the bill. We were fortunate enough to chat with the legendary Sam McKnight ahead of his inaugural haircare range launch, and global model Natasha Poly about her beauty routine. We put dermatologists to the test by asking them to solve team Refinery29's skincare concerns, and we initiated a debate between the likes of Caroline Hirons and Alexia Inge on synthetic vs. natural ingredients in our favourite products.

Ahead, we've rounded up the most stellar pieces of beauty advice we received in 2017, from get-the-glow tips to a heads-up on the latest wonder tool. Click on to continue living your best beauty life through to 2018.

Go Under The Needle

We trialled a microneedling tool, which not only left our skin plump, fresh, and less red and angry, but significantly reduced our acne scarring.

"Though only very thin, the skin is made up of three layers: epidermis, dermis, subcutaneous. By penetrating the epidermis with very fine needles, the small wounds created encourage the body’s natural healing response and renew the skin cells," Kate Whitling, non-surgical training manager at The Harley Medical Group, explains. "As the skin repairs itself, the collagen production and elastin is triggered, giving an almost immediate plumped and rejuvenated effect."
Achieve Model-Esque Skin

When we sat down with Russian model Natasha Poly, she let us in on the skincare regime responsible for her glowing complexion.

"Cleansing with a Clarisonic, no face wipes! I don’t like to rub my face, I never use cream makeup removers, I only work with eye makeup remover because I wear a lot of black eyeliner so it stays for the day, but on the face I just like to wash it once. I have this theory that if you rub the face too much, you create redness and spots, it scratches your skin too much so I try to avoid that. I use an Odacité day cream and a night cream and they make a lot of serums too, which are amazing, no chemicals and lovely smells. I use the Youthful Glow serum and vitamin C too."
How To Avoid Spots Post-Hair Removal

When 10 members of team R29 put their skincare concerns to 10 of the world's leading dermatologists, we had a lot to learn. One particularly useful piece of advice? How to avoid spots post-eyebrow threading.

"For mild irritant reactions, a soothing aloe vera gel might be all you need (wash your hands before applying it!)," Dr. Stefanie Williams, dermatologist and author, states. "However, proper breakouts with acne-like spots or pimples can be bacterial folliculitis, which means bacteria have entered the hair follicle during or shortly after the threading and are causing the ‘breakouts’. To help prevent this, hygiene prior to and around the threading procedure is very important, so make sure you are visiting a reputable salon, your therapist doesn’t reuse thread and works as cleanly as possible. Also, avoid touching the area with your hands for a few hours after the threading."
Give Your Face A Workout

We spoke with celebrity facialist and skincare founder Su-Man about her at-home beauty remedies, facial massage techniques, and building up such an impressive client base.

"I demonstrate different massage techniques, stretches and how to use my skincare on my website I also share videos on my Instagram, including how to do facial massages on yourself and exercise tips to enhance your beauty and health."
The Natural Vs. Synthetic Argument Is Dead

We picked the brains of some of the beauty industry's leaders to debate the merits of natural vs. synthetic beauty ingredients. Lixir founder Colette Haydon taught us that it's all about the individual ingredients, not the overall bottle.

“There is a misconception that if you’re removing something you don’t want in your product, you’re replacing it with an effective natural ingredient. But actually, it’s just as good as a basket of fruit or some pretty flowers. Do you want natural in that you don’t want nasties? Yes. Do you want natural in that you don’t want nasties, but what you have got in there are not-terribly-effective plant extracts? No! There are good, safe, effective ingredients, and there are bad, harmful and unsafe ingredients.”
Get The Glow

Burberry Beauty artistic consultant, wellness author and Decléor's latest ambassador, Wendy Rowe, gave us the lowdown on achieving glowing skin.

"Before you apply makeup, it’s super-important to prep your skin properly to get it in the best place possible. I always start by massaging a cream cleanser like Decléor’s Aroma Cleanse Milk into the skin to remove any dry bits of skin, to boost lymphatic drainage and to remove any fluid build-up in the face. After cleansing, I tone using a mist and remove any excess moisture with a sheet of tissue. I always apply a moisturiser – that’s a total must for me – and the one I like best for this time of year is Hydra Floral Light. I always apply the Aroma Lisse eye cream to smooth out any fine lines around the eye and lip area, and then I finish with some lip balm. You could just do that on its own if you wanted to go makeup-free, spending a bit of time getting that right really makes a difference to the way the skin looks."
Eliminate This Ingredient From Your Makeup Bag

We took a look into the global impact of the widely used beauty ingredient palm oil. The message: Don't boycott, just use ethically sourced.

“Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil on Earth. It’s an edible and highly versatile oil that comes from the fruit of oil palm trees," Emma Keller, agricultural commodities manager at WWF, tells Refinery29. "These trees grow best in the tropics and are highly productive, producing more oil per land area than any other vegetable oil! Together, Indonesia and Malaysia make up around 80% of the global palm oil supply. These forests are home to over 10% of global biodiversity, including some iconic and vulnerable species like orangutans, tigers, rhinos and elephants. In addition, the loss of these forests releases millions of tonnes of climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions, and more recently has been linked to the burning of peat soils which has caused a dense ‘haze’ over parts of southeast Asia, which threatens people’s health."
Bacteria In Beauty Is Your Friend

An unlikely hero of beauty emerged this year, with French pharmacist Marie Drago teaching us about the positive impact of bacteria in our skincare.

“Now that DNA sequencing is becoming cheaper, we can really start to explore this world. Think of it as your own personal rainforest: huge, fragile and still being explored. We’re mainly concentrated on the gut microbiome (because it seems to be linked to so many modern plagues like obesity, depression and loads of autoimmune diseases), but the skin microbiome is now coming into focus, too. So on one hand you have this amazing discovery of this brand new microbial world living on/in/with us. On the other hand, we are discovering that antibiotics, pollution and our modern lifestyles might be destroying a very important part of our own ecosystem, with serious consequences. Probiotics used in cosmetics tend to come from the lactic acid bacteria family (lactobacillus). They have a soothing effect on the skin, as they seem able to modulate inflammatory response from the skin.”
It's Time To Rethink Beauty's Approach To Gender

When L'Oréal parted ways with Munroe Bergdorf, she came back fighting, fronting a gender neutral campaign for Illamasqua. She led us to rethink the way we discuss gender neutrality in beauty.

"I think the problem with gender neutral campaigns is sometimes they want to erase gender and I think it’s not so much about erasing gender, it’s challenging how we think about gender. Some people do identify as female and some people identify as male, and there's nothing wrong with that, but we also need to put into the consciousness that you can be both or that you can be neither, or you can take aspects of either and play around with it. So when it's gender neutral it doesn’t need to be boring."
A Surefire Way To Get Kate Moss Hair

We picked legendary hair stylist Sam McKnight's brains on his key collaborators – think Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell – and how to achieve cool-girl hair with his new line of products.

"[Cool Girl Hairspray] is rock’n’roll and sexy: the hair that everyone wants. A barely-there texturiser that gives style that lasts all day. Cool Girl gives you just enough to create that slightly undone feel. My signature look in a bottle."

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