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2012's best beauty discoveries (Photos)

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With the year drawing to a close, it’s the perfect time to review the beauty trends and products that we loved as well as the those we hope to bid farewell as we ring in 2013.

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Statement nails were the biggest beauty craze of 2012 with so many trends popping up this year it’s hard to keep count. Some of the most popular nail trends included textured “caviar” nails, magnetic nails, metallic nails, ombre nails, glitter nails, French manicure with color, stiletto nails and adhesive nail appliqués. My favorite nail trend in 2012 was the French manicure with color as this is a statement nail that is conservative enough for every day wear and a look I have been wearing since 2010. My choice for the worst nail trend in 2012 was the stiletto nails rocked by some of Hollywood’s biggest divas, Rihanna and Lady Gaga. What about you, did you sport the stiletto nail this year?

There were so many great new products launched in 2012, I found it extremely challenging to pick just one product and instead selected products based on category.

2012 introduced me to a few new beauty brands in both the luxury and mass market with my two favorite discoveries being Hourglass Cosmetics for the luxury market and NYX for the mass market category.

Hourglass Cosmetics
I had the opportunity to work with Hourglass Cosmetics this year through freelance training services offered by SpaDelic, my beauty consulting service. I had no prior knowledge of the brand until March of 2012 and was pleasantly surprised by their premium color cosmetics that are fused with advanced skincare ingredients. In addition, the brand is one of the cleanest lines on the market with all of their products being free of controversial chemicals and ingredients.

Hourglass was launched at Barneys NY in 2004 and Sephora in 2007 by Carisa Janes, hailed as “the world’s youngest beauty biz veteran” by Glamour magazine in 1999. Ms. Janes is admired and respected by some of the industries leading beauty sources including Women’s Wear Daily who honored her as one of the industry’s leading indie-entrepreneurs in 2012. My bet is that you will be hearing a lot more from this brand in 2013!

NYX Cosmetics
Having been involved in color cosmetics since she was a teen, Toni Ko always had a desire to create a line of high quality cosmetics that were affordable to all women and founded NYX Cosmetics in 1999. NYX is known for intensely pigmented products that produce high color payoff at a fraction of the cost of prestige brands.

NYX has obtained a devout following that includes seasoned make up artists. Several products sold under the NYX brand are so similar to products offered by MAC that they are considered duplicates. For example, carbon eye shadow by MAC is a staple in every make up artists’ kit but I recently compared MAC carbon to NYX single eye shadow in black and found it difficult to see a difference between the two swatches. The biggest difference in these two products is price point with NYX single eye shadows costing a mere $5.50 compared to MAC’s single shadows which command a price tag of $14.50. Out of all the make up products I purchased both personally and professionally, NYX was a clear winner especially in the eye product category.

Speaking of eyes, let’s talk about the top beauty trends and products in the eye category this year which included color blocked lids, untraditional smoky eyes, colored lashes and new twists on winged eye liner. Eyes were my favorite category for makeup this year which made it extremely difficult to pick just one favorite.

If you have reviewed my slideshow, you may have noticed that there were more drugstore/mass eye product picks than prestige brands which came as quite a shock to me. I have always purchased premium brand cosmetics and suppose I am a bit of a makeup snob. (I took peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to school in the 7th grade and saved my lunch money so that I could purchase Elizabeth Arden and Lancome products at our local department store!)

Kelly’s new discoveries/favs by category:

Best eye shadow discovery in 2012:
Maybelline 24 Hour Color Tattoo eye shadow
This cream/gel eye shadow comes in 9 vibrant on-trend shades in a long last, crease proof formula. Tough as Taupe was a staple in my eye regimen this year as this pretty matte gray/brown shade can be worn alone or layered under shadow as a base for a deeper, smokier look. At a price of around $7.00, you can’t beat this product if you are looking for a long-last cream eye shadow. (Note: I also recently discovered and absolutely adore Laura Mercier Caviar sticks but given their price point of $24, chose the equally beautiful Maybelline 24 Hour Color Tattoo shadows as my favorite for 2012)

Best eye liner discovery in 2012:
NYX slide on eye pencils are a dream come true for makeup lovers. The creamy formula glides on easily and last for hours without smearing or smudging even when used on the watermark.

I love a lush, thick lash line and the best way to mimic this look is to apply dark eyeliner to the top watermark(the pink rim at the base of the lash). The challenge is finding an eye liner that stays put and doesn’t transfer to the lower lash line. NYX slide on pencils have now replaced one of my long time makeup staples, Laura Mercier’s tightline cake eyeliner which works fabulously but is a multi-step process and more than 5 times the cost.

Best skin care discovery in 2012:
Skin care has always been a passion of mine and I have been creating natural and organic products for several years. I was given samples of Bioelements products at an industry trade show in September and saw results within a week. For someone whose skin is in excellent condition due to the fact that I have been diligently using targeted skin care products for more than 10 years, I was not expecting results so quickly especially with a more natural based skin care line. Bioelements Quick Refiner is my top skin care pick for 2012 with their Eye Area, Sleepwear for Eyes and Sleepwear Anti-aging Cream for the face being some of my best discoveries all year!

Best discovery for face in 2012:
If you have been reading my blog/articles for long, you are no doubt aware of my aversion to powder products, especially for women over the age of 35. I worked as a trade show artist for Mirabella Beauty this past fall when they were launching several new products, including Perfecting Powder, a finely-milled, translucent silica powder that increases foundation wear while perfecting skin appearance. All artists on the trade show team were given samples of perfecting powder during show set-up as the company wanted us to wear it during the show and talk about the launch. The next morning I applied the powder using a powder brush and was not a fan and in fact, mentioned it to several of the girls on the team. It wasn’t until I returned home and applied Perfecting Powder with my Mirabella Face Blender brush that I fell in love with the product. I was working on a tutorial for the jewel-toned eye trend and finished my make up application with a light dusting of this miracle product. When I reviewed the photo that I had taken of myself for the article I was amazed at how beautiful my skin looked. It was as if I had used the “pretty skin” or soft focus mode on my camera. This product is a definite keeper and if you haven’t tried it yet, run, don’t walk to your local salon or spa that carries Mirabella Beauty or visit my website to purchase!

Best make up tool discovery in 2012:
This is a tough one as I discovered several beauty tools this year that I can’t believe I ever lived without. To narrow down the list, I excluded products for professional use and only considered products that I also use personally on a daily basis. (The Ott lite is a must have for traveling make up artists and would be my pick in that category)

The clear winner in this category, Mirabella Beauty’s Face Blender brush as mentioned in the segment above. This brush is the most amazing brush that I have ever used! This face blender brush gently buffs primer into the skin, when used as a finishing brush during foundation application skin looks natural, very similar to an air-brush finish and it also picks up and distributes just the right amount of highlighting and bronzing powders to subtly warm the face. In fact, when I am working with a client I will use the brush to buff in one side of her foundation and then hand her a mirror so she can see the difference. Needless to say, 99% of my clients purchase this brush when they purchase foundation.

Best primer discovery of 2012
I recommend primer to every client and would not dream of applying foundation or tinted moisturizers to my own skin without the use of a primer. This is the toughest of all categories to call because I discovered three new primers this year and all of them are spectacular.

For my personal use, my favorite would be No. 28 Primer by Hourglass Cosmetics because it fits my skin care needs for the majority of the year. No. 28 primer is a silky, luxurious oil made from 14 essential oils, 10 lipid-rich carrier oils and 4 rejuvenating vitamins (hence the name #28). 1 pump of No. 28 is more than enough to cover the entire face and leaves the skin feeling moist and supple while minimizing the look of fine lines and providing a water-resistant finish to makeup.

I also discovered Veil Mineral Primer by Hourglass this year and it is hands down the best primer for oily skin and the only primer that I use on summer brides due to it’s ability to create a water resistant, sweat proof layer under make up. Many celebrities including Kate Beckinsale, Cameron Diaz, Demi Moore and Angelina Jolie have worn Mineral Veil under their make up during red carpet events to eliminate the need to touch up make up and carry blotting papers. It is truly a miraculous product and keeps my face shine-free during the sweltering summer months in “Hotlanta”.

The last category is best lip product for 2012 which was also a tough one but there was one product that I use more frequently (almost daily) because of its ability to provide color to my lips hours longer than any other lip product, Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick.

Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick by Hourglass was launched in August and designed to be applied to naked lips and worn alone for a matte finish. Contrary to product directions, I apply No. 28 primer to my lips so that it fills in any visible fine lines, apply the Opaque Rouge then using the pad of my ring finger, go over the lipstick to remove excess and make sure product is evenly distributed then follow with a lipstick shade that closely resembles the Opaque Rouge. I discovered several new shades of red lipstick this year including Laura Mercier Crème Smooth Lipstick in Red Amour, Mirabella Beauty Lip Colour in Bellisima and Hourglass Femme Rouge Lipstick in Icon and regardless of which of those shades I choose to wear, I always prep the lip with Opaque Rouge to create a layering effect. Even though my lipstick does transfer while drinking or eating, I am left with a hint of healthy color throughout the day that is still visible as late as 10:00 pm.

In addition to giving my favorite beauty product picks for 2012, I ran a contest on my SpaDelic facebook page to see which product readers would select as their favorite. Sheryl Lance Edwards was our winner and she chose Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer as her favorite beauty discovery this year. Read below for picks from Kandee Johnson, Emily Foley, Amber Bowen and Tracy Everett.

Picks from some of Kelly’s Favorite Beauty Gurus:

Tracy Everett, Atlanta Territory Manager, Laura Mercier selected Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella because it’s the perfect shade of red for everyone. Tracy also loves Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks and Radiance Primer which are also two of my favorite products.

Kandee Johnson, YouTube Guru and Beauty Blogger said she was "kinda obsessed" with L’Oreal’s Magic Skin BB cream and Too Faced Perfect Eyeliner in Black

Amber Bowen, Creative Director Mirabella Beauty is a perfectionist when it comes to cosmetics, always on the lookout for the latest and greatest technology in the cosmetic industry. For her, 2012 was all about a new technology out of Italy called Prismatech, which was used to create one of her latest launches for Mirabella, Bronzed and Brilliant Mineral Bronzers and Highlighters. "I love this formula for the lightweight shimmer that is truly reflective rather than frosty and heavy" Amber Bowen

Emily Foley, Freelance journalist and beauty expert frequently featured on CBS's Better Mornings Atlanta morning show and regular contributor to Jezebel Magazine chose Big Sexy Hair Voluminizing Dry Shampoo as her favorite hair product discovery for 2012 and said it was "the best hair styling tool out there" and called it "life-changing". That's a lot of love for a hair product but she says she tells everyone she knows to buy it and they always end up loving it too. She recommends using BSHV Dry Shampoo to rough up hair texture and help it stay in any updo or braid as well as to provide volume at the crown. Emily loves that it keeps hair from looking greasy and although it's called a dry shampoo she uses it on freshly washed hair as a styling tool.

Emily's pick for best beauty product for the face is Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream. Being a fellow makeup junky, Emily has tons of beauty products but rarely uses any one product on a daily basis with the exception of Maybelline's newest BB cream . She loves that it evens out her skin tone without looking heavy, keeps her from getting shiny throughout the day and provides her with SPF. (Emily uses and recommends using sunscreen under BB creams or makeup if you are going to have prolonged exposure to the sun)

I hope you have enjoyed reading about some of our favorite beauty discoveries for 2012 and would love for you to share your favorite pick in the comment section below.

See you in 2013!!

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