2014’s Best New Beautifiers…So Far

Smell that, people? It’s the sweet aroma of a fresh new year on the horizon. With a new year comes the promise of a fresh start, the mystery of what ups and downs the next 365 days have in store for us, and, most importantly, a boatload of amazing new beauty products to look forward to.

Judging by the new stuff about to hit shelvesover the next few months, 2014 is going to be a stellar year for primping. Just when we thought the beauty industry couldn’t possibly surprise us anymore, they unleash a flood of new launches that promise to change the way we do our hair, makeup, and skin care. We’re talking new formulations, groundbreaking technologies, and covetable colors that we urgently need to add to our stash.

Here, we’ve rounded up 14 (seems appropriate, no?) of the spring 2014 launches that we are beyond psyched to try. From the next big thing in nail polish to a shampoo that promises to change the way you wash your hair, here are 2014’s best new beautifiers…so far.

1

Scented Nail Polish Grows Up
It’s baaaack: Scented nail polish, that early ’90s staple that had every middle-school girl runningaround with strawberry-scented tips, is making its triumphant return. But, this isn’t the sickly sweet, fruit-and-candy smells of days of yore. The new scented polishes feature grown-up fragrances that are closer to fancy parfums than Mr. Sketch markers.

We got a taste of these sophisticated lacquers with StrangeBeautiful’s launch earlier this year of its violet-and-leather-scented clear topcoat. But, the trend will hit its full momentum next month when Revlon’s new Parfumerie Nail Enamel starts to appear on drugstore shelves nationwide.

The 24-shade range of polishes uses fragrances and essential oils to create a scent “reminiscent of your daily perfume.” There’s an array of colors and finishes — from creams to glitters — and aromas that range from African tea rose and ginger melon to Italian leather and Bordeaux. Mmm, wine polish. Just be sure you wait until after the polish dries to start sniffing, mmkay, kids?

Revlon Parfumerie Nail Enamel, $5.99, avaiable in January at Drugstore.com.

2

Presenting The Dummy-Proof Peel
Look, we get it. Skin care can be confusing. The serums, the acids, the peptides, the prescriptions… It’s a whole lotta stuff to think about. Why can’t someone just spoon-feed us what we need for glowing smooth skin?

Well, consider our prayers answered by this development: Bare Escentuals’ brilliant seven-day peel, whose formulations change over the weeklong “detox” process. The first day is all about prep, the second day starts the exfoliation process, and so forth. In addition to chemically exfoliating the skin, the formulas deliver antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals along the way. So, if you want relatively quick skin-brightening results, but don’t want to overthink it, consider this your path to complexion clarity. 

Bare Escentuals BareMinerals 7-Day Skin Detox Mineral Brightening Peel, $75, available at Bare Escentuals.

3

The “Un-Shampoo” Makes Its Case 
What do you do after creating one of the world’s most buzzed-about hair-care brands? If you’re Michael Gordon, the founder of Bumble and bumble, you take a break. (Can’t blame the guy.) Then, you concoct a completely new brand aiming to redefine the way we wash our hair. 

The idea behind Purely Perfect is pretty radical: You don’t need shampoo or conditioner. (They actually make your hair worse, Gordon says.) Instead, a few pumps of the brand’s non-foaming Cleansing Creme will wash away grime and oil, leaving behind soft and shiny hair. Free of parabens, sulfates, and detergents, the Creme uses aloe vera and essential oils to cleanse and restore hair. Having tried other not-a-shampoos, we were slightly skeptical. But, after one use, we were converted — no frizz, no buildup, no fuss. The lack of foam takes a bit of getting used to, but now it’s NBD. (This stuff, however? Definitely a big deal.) 

Purely Perfect Cleansing Creme, $40, available at Purely Perfect.

4

Redken Gets A Major Makeover
Everyone’s favorite salon brand is undergoing a major image overhaul for 2014. The brand has completely revamped its styling range with hip new packaging, two brand new categories, and Sky Ferreira as a spokesperson.

We’re particularly excited for the new Pillow Proof line: a two-product range that taps into the blowout-bar craze. The Primer is meant to be used prior to your blowout to help speed up your drying time and protect your hair, while the Extender helps keep your style looking fresh for multiple days after.

Redken Pillow Proof Blowdry Express Primer, $22, available in January at Redken.

5

Alphabet Creams Get Even Niftier
While the frenzy over BBs, CCs, and their ilk may have died down a bit from last year’s craze, that doesn’t mean the all-in-one beautifiers are dunzo. It’s the opposite in fact: Brands are finding new ways to incorporate the concept into their product ranges. The first to unveil the metamorphosis of the alphabet creams is Almay, who will launch a luminizing CC primer in January.

An extension of the brand’s Smart Shade line-up, CC Luminous Primer is a pink-toned primer that helps color-correct dull, gray skin into a glowing complexion. As with all CCs, it has multiple benefits: It’s also a primer with sunscreen, a moisturizer, and helps to neutralize any discolorations. Use it before foundation to camouflage those imperfections that your foundation can’t cover alone, or use it on its own for when your skin just needs a little extra zhushing.

Almay Smart Shade CC Luminous Primer, $10.99, available in January at Target.

6

Skin Care Goes All Survival-Of-The-Fittest 
If you loved science class, you’ll be way into this: Miles up in the Swiss Alps, there are two plants that manage to flourish in some of the planet’s harshest conditions. Purple saxifrage and the alpine snowbell not only survive long periods surrounded by snow and ice, they actually thrive in them. So, the scientists at La Prairie wondered whether the plant extracts that handle extreme weather might be able to renew skin cells facing their own environmental conditions. (Think pollution, sunlight, and stress.) 

Years of R&D later, the result is the Swiss Ice Crystal Complex, which uses extracts from those plants and snow algae (which also responds well to brutal weather). In-house studies showed dramatic improvement in skin hydration levels and cell renewal, which leads to a fresher-looking complexion. This may be the first time that a harsh winter is actually good for our skin. 

La Prairie Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Cream, $300, available in February at La Prairie.

7

You Can Spray Your Hair Into Health 
Considering the damage we inflict on our hair — through coloring it, using heat to style it, and about a dozen other sins — you’d think most of us would do the whole deep-treatment mask on the regular. Real talk: While we like to treat ourselves when we have the chance, it’s rare that we find the time.

Our inner psychic suspects that cool-girl superstylist Sally Hershberger knows about this conundrum. Why else would she reformulate her already-stellar spray serum? As with its initial incarnation, this treatment adds a ton of shine while conditioning hair. What’s new? Its so-called SMART Keratin targets the dry and damaged parts of each hair strand. So, you get deep conditioning where you need it — minus the weight and time commitment. 

Sally Hershberger Hyper Hydration Spray Serum, available in March at CVS.

8

Your At-Home Hair Color Never Looked So Good
Whether you color your ‘do at home or at the salon, one of the biggest issues all women have with their hair color is fading. It happens to some faster than others, but it happens nonetheless and it’s hella annoying. The usual plan of attack was to try to prevent color fading before it happened — with minimal washing, sulfate-free shampoos, and conditioning treatments — but in terms of actually refreshing the color without re-dying it, there was not much out there.

Enter John Frieda. The brand’s Colour Refreshing Gloss is a new way to maintain your hair color in between dye jobs. The gentle process — it’s meant to be used as a weekly, in-shower treatment that you leave on hair for 3 to 5 minutes and then wash out — works by adding back the color pigments lost during fading, says the brand, so it helps restore vibrancy and tonal dimension. More importantly it not only counteracts fading, but it neutralizes color change — meaning no more brassy blonde or red-orange brunette.

It comes in six color-specific formulas: Warm Blondes, Cool Blondes, Warm Brunettes, Cool Brunettes, Warm Reds, and Cool Reds. At-home glazes have been on the market for a few years now, but the majority of those products worked on fixing dullness and shine. This is one of the first products that actually restores your original hair color without you having to totally re-dye your strands.

John Frieda Colour Refreshing Gloss, $12.99, available in January at Drugstore.com.

9

A Natural Mascara That Really Delivers
With all the scary stats in the news lately about mercury in mascara, we don’t blame anyone for taking a long hard look at their lash lengtheners and deciding to go natural. While there are plenty of natural options out there, we’ve always had a hard time finding one that really performed as well as our usual fringe enhancers. 

Not anymore: Neal’s Yard Remedies new Lengthening Mascara is the organic brand’s first foray into the mascara category and it is lovely. Featuring 100% natural ingredients and Soil Association certification, this little lash beauty is chock-full of lash-conditioning ingredients like argan oil, aloe vera, castor oil, coconut oil, and bamboo silk. Best of all, it provides length without clumping, helping to both thicken lashes and nourish them without flaking or caking.

Neal’s Yard Remedies Lengthening Mascara, $25, available in February at Neal’s Yard Remedies.

10

You’ll Have The Mousse — Trust Us 
Not even a year old, Marc Jacobs Beauty is continually impressing us with its formulations. The one we’re looking forward to most? This clever full-coverage foundation, which transforms from a mousse to powder in seconds. The brand calls it “melt-on technology,” but we call it incredible — mostly because it feels like nothing on the skin. 

And, in the continuing convergence of skin care and cosmetics, the formula includes coconut extract to help maintain skin’s moisture levels, Indian ginseng to calm, and amino acids to reduce redness. One last rave: It’s available in 12 shades from fair to dark. Bravo, Mr. Jacobs. Bra-vo

Marc Jacobs Beauty Marvelous Mousse Transformative Foundation, $55, available in January at Sephora.

11

The Naked Palette Gets Some Serious Competition
MAC’s Eyeshadow x 4 palettes are some of the most beloved products in the beauty game — they offer four expertly coordinated, yet sometimes unexpected, color combos that allow you to create a bevy of beautiful eye looks. Starting in January, the brand is taking things to the next level with the introduction of a 15-shade palette to their permanent collection. 

Available in two color collections — warm or cool — the neutral tones can be combined in an infinite number of ways for a mind-bogglings array of shadow creations. Think of it as MAC’s version of the Naked palette, but (blessedly) without the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it buying frenzy.

MAC Eyeshadow x 15 Eyeshadow, $100, available in January at MAC.

12

Full Coverage Finally Looks Like Skin
Here’s a funny thing about foundation. Chances are, you wear it because you want your skin to look flawless, right? But, to fake a perfect complexion, you might need full-coverage foundation. Which can look like, you know, heavy makeup. Womp womp. 

This is why, upon trying Shu Uemura’s The Lightbulb foundation in Japan, we damn near bought up the store’s entire stock. Made with a macadamia-based oil complex, this liquid foundation fully covers imperfections while imparting a natural-looking glow. In plain English? It fakes the kind of flawless skin we wish we had, all without looking like makeup in the slightest. (Oh, and we dig the application sponge, too.) No need to book a flight to Tokyo; this stuff hits the States in just a few weeks. Brilliant. 

Shu Uemura Lightbulb Fluid Foundation and Sponge, $55, available in February at Shu Uemura.

13

Lipstick Is Back — And Really Rich
Bold lip color looks to be one of this decade’s defining trends, and of course, lipstick is a big part of that. If you’ve ever complained that lipstick is too messy, wears off quickly, or dries out your lips, well, get ready to have your world rocked.

Estée Lauder’s forthcoming lip launch delivers everything we want from a lipstick: super-saturated color, six hours of wear, and a plush, velvety feel on the lips. The 20 shades have crazy pigment payoff, and a time-release moisture complex keeps lips hydrated. (Basically, it feels like a balm and cares for your lips like a balm, but you get to wear a traffic-stopping red.) Here’s what really has us stoked, though: These lipsticks are buildable, meaning that if you want to layer one on top of the other without blending them, you can. Possibilities — endless. 

Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick, $30, available in March at Estée Lauder.

14

Your Neck Gets In On The Sheet-Mask Game
If you’ve been neglecting your neck in your daily skin routine, 2014 is definitely the perfect year to get on board the decolleté-pampering train. This year will see a whole host of new products aimed at keeping the skin below your chin looking as flawless and protected as your face.

Our favorite is Karuna’s new Skin Regenerating Face Mask. It’s infused with a creamy oil-serum that features organic kendi oil, plus seabuckthorn fruit extract, rose geranium oil, and oat kernel oil to help reduce redness and inflammation, soften, smooth, and hydrate. But, what really makes it special is the fact that it’s made with bio-cellulose — a natural, biodegradable gel. This means it’s sturdier than paper masks, will conform to your skin without slipping around, and leaves a minimum amount of mess during the treatment process.

Karuna Luxe Skin Regenerating Neck Mask, $56, available in March at Ulta.

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