The beauty hits and misses of 2017

Squiggle eyebrows, lip kits and pink-clay masks – Tory Frost considers which of this year's biggest beauty trends worked (and which didn't) 

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By Tory Frost on

Call them trends, fads or massive mistakes, but when it comes to beauty, there’s always something ridiculous to try. This year hasn’t failed to deliver; almost every trend has been for the hardcore Instagrammer only – squiggle brows, holographic highlighter and nose-hair extensions, I’m side-eyeing you. But hidden among the thousands of press releases I get about lip kits and glitter tits, I’ve spotted a few actual step-changes – different ways of looking at beauty that might improve self-confidence, rather than selfies; that make the industry more exciting, rather than homogenous. So, here are those I can’t wait to see go mainstream – and some I’m happy to leave in 2017.

Mad Brows

Hold tight, because here just a few of the so-called brow trends of 2017: feather brows, barbed-wire brows, braided brows, squiggle brows, foil brows, monobrows, crown brows, penis brows (yup), carved brows, McDonald’s brows, dragon brows and, more recently, Christmas-tree brows. It was the year brows went barmy and I’m over it. In fact, there’s just one brow trend worth taking note of – microblading. Incredibly natural-looking, tattooed brows that can give anyone with bare brows (and a wad of money) a whole new set. Ideal for children of the 90s.


2017 was the year we all went bonkers for clay masks. Not any old clay – pink clay (fancy), thanks in no small part to Sand & Sky's Brilliant Skin Purifying Pink Clay Mask, £39.90, which dominated Instagram feeds and shifted over 50,000 units in its first eight weeks. It's one to take with you into 2018 on account of its ability to soak up impurities and brighten skin, but there's no need to spend a fortune. Lot's of brands like L'Oreal and Una Brennan's Superfacialist range do the job just as well and both for under a tenner.



You’ll start to hear this bandied about more in 2018 and for good reason. Vegan-friendly means something doesn’t contain any animal products at all, including honey, beeswax and gelatine. Although I can’t claim to be vegan in either diet or beauty habits, I’m all for our industry taking the lead in eradicating unnecessary animal products. The fact that budget-friendly brands are leading the charge – Superdrug’s B range is 100 per cent vegan (as is all their own-brand skincare), Barry M and Sleek produce a wide range of vegan products and Garnier is launching vegan-friendly products in the new year – means the premium brands have no excuse not to follow suit.


Garnier Ultimate Blends Argan Richness Conditioner, £3.99 (launching in January)



OK, I might have sneered at glitter tits (I’m not about to dress up as a mermaid either), but 2017’s obsession with glitter everything has had a surprisingly positive effect on internet body image. Instagram artist Sara Shakeel’s gorgeous pic of stretchmarks Photoshopped with gold glitter, which she posted in October, had a fast ripple effect. Cue online retailer Missguided featuring models with visible stretchmarks on their site a month later. Anything that shows that stretchmarks are perfectly normal is a yes from this proudly rippled rump owner.


Step aside, Kim – there’s finally a new beauty icon for the ages. Since that engagement announcement, nude lippy sales have soared by 65 per cent, according to cosmetics brand MEMI (although Meghan apparently prefers Charlotte Tilbury’s Very Victoria). Scoff all you like about the Markle effect, but if this new royal can do anything to encourage more natural-looking brows, skin-like foundation, freckles and a visible lack of contour and highlight, I’m her new biggest fan.



For me, slapping on a lippy is a cheering process that adds a bit of colour when I need to distract from my unwashed hair or the Dr Oetker pizza remains on my breast-shelf. It is not a two-stage process, involving drying time and leaving my mouth so parched of moisture it resembles a bumhole. Avoid lip kits and get on board with one of next year’s lip trends…


Anyone who saw Adwoa Aboah on the cover of #NewVogue in November cannot have failed to notice that lip gloss is back. Make-up maestro Pat McGrath used the Liquilust 007 clear vinyl gloss from her own collection to give Aboah mirror-shine lips. Here’s why I’m into it: a swipe of neutral gloss finishes off a make-up look without the maintenance of strong lipstick. Anyone can apply gloss without a mirror. It makes lips look bigger without the carry-on of overdrawing a new mouth. The right lip gloss will give your look a little bit of polish (plus 70s Jerry Hall glam vibes – yes, please). Just avoid at all costs on a windy day (hair glued to your cheek = fail).


Whether it’s the natural-hair movement that sees a shift towards embracing natural hair texture, or the return of the perm – curls are back. I had a perm at the age of 12, in the start of my lifelong quest for volume. Actually, I lie – I had six perms in as many months, because my defiantly straight hair relaxes into wiggles within a few days and I was ultimately left with something akin to Monica’s Dudley Moore look in Friends, after a hairdresser chopped away my remaining ramen-noodle bonce. Dark times. But I think I might be ready to give the perm another go, guys, because Luke Hersheson – he of Victoria Beckham lob fame – is on a one-man crusade to bring back the perm, including the braid perm, an innovative wave that leaves flat hair with that Moss-esque bed-head vibe I’ve always been desperate for. I’ll report back.



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