12 beauty trends that are going to be HUGE in 2017

Who would imagine that 2017 is already here. And thank God for that. Between Brexit, Donald Trump, India’s demonetisation, the bombings across Europe, the acceleration of the refugee crisis and multiple other national and international issues, 2016 is a year we would soon like to forget. Then there was George Michael’s Christmas swan song, Princess Leia finally succumbing to a greater force and her mother Debbie Reynolds following in grief a day later, and other screen and music legends like Zsa Zsa Gabor and Prince bidding us goodbye… 2016 couldn’t get over soon enough.

Which is why, I guess, we are happy to put on our nostalgic glasses and turn back to the 1980s, when life was a lot more rocking. So bring on the side parts, party glitter, lipstick-bright blush, color-pop lips or lids (or both together – whatever, who cares!) and that reborn love for the ’80s rave scene is going nowhere in a hurry. As an informed opinion, I would say it’s the overarching trend that will inform most of 2017. And here’s how to can incorporate it in your own beauty arsenal.

Color shock

Yellow eyebrows, bright orange lips, violet eyelids, even emerald green earlobes… it’s the time to celebrate color in all its hues, views and avatars. The easiest way to wear it is big and bright, popped onto one feature at a time. Subtle just doesn’t cut it any longer.

Daring lips

Speaking about our new found abhorrence for the subtle, lips are the easiest way to make a statement with bold color. For added fashionista points, go ombre or two-tone: An orange-red combo is the easiest to pull off; try a red-fuschia when you crave more drama! Pair with clean, crisp makeup everywhere else for a modern effect.

The smudgy eye

This one’s my personal favourite: A smudgy, messy, the-morning-after-the-night-before eye that doesn’t require the skills of a cartographer. There are no neat lines, only free-hand application with a lived in feel. Think cigarette ash smudged into the countertop (that was the literal inspiration at Christopher Kane). Powdered kohl and creamy kajal work best. For a more amped up effect, top with a bit of MAC Studio Eye Gloss.

Lipstick = blush

Draping is the new contouring: Applying blush from high up on the corners of your cheeks to the side of your eyes. It lifts up the whole face and makes you appear younger and brighter. The key in draping is to use a bright blush, with additional points for a creamy texture, which is where makeup artists have been putting pinkish lipsticks to double duty. So, you don’t need to invest in a whole new cream blush – just swipe a bit of your lipstick across your cheekbones and blend lightly.

Glitter all the way

Glitter, glitter and more glitter… whether you call it the Pat McGrath effect or attribute it to our reborn love for the ’80s, glitter is the most important product in your party beauty arsenal for the coming months. Pat it onto lips and lids, sprinkle on your hair, rub some into your ear lobes… everything works!

Clean skin

With lips and lids this bold, fresh and clean skin is practically de rigeur. And with celebs going bare faced all over town, this look is set to rule 2017. Keep it creamy and dewy, with concealer only on trouble spots, then play up one feature if you are stepping out for an event or formal dinner. That’s. It.

Pick your plait

From super-tight plaits to the hastily braided topknot, this is clearly the overarching hairstyle of 2017. And it plays well with no-heat hair, so bonus points for going this route.

Quick tip: Rub some styling cream between your palms before braiding to add grip and keep the plait going longer.

Blunt hair

Forget the layers… this is the time of the all-one-length blunt cut. It’s a statement within it’s own simplicity. Pair with…

… deep side parts

Ditch the middle parting for a slick side part. It’s more authoritative than pretty and will polish up your look instantly!

… and no-heat hair

Hair dryers, straighteners, curlers, crimpers… our hair has had it with all the torture and pledged to go heat-free in 2017. Simply work in some leave-in conditioners or styling cream and leave your follicles to recover their health this year.

A photo posted by Sam McKnight© (@sammcknight1) on

Focus point: Ears

This year is going to be all about the year, with attention grabbing earrings ruling the roost. How in the world do you make up your ears, you may well ask. If you want to go the extreme designer route, try painting them with silver glitter (Giamba) or coating them in yellow pigment (Proenza Schouler). For a simpler take, sweep and tuck back hair to leave ears exposed, then dress them up with an ear clip or statement earrings.

Chrome nails

Nails are going super-smooth and mirror-like with a special chrome pigment that’s buffed into nails and sealed with a top coat. For an at-home take on the trend, try one of the new nail polishes that recreate the chrome effect without the buffing.

WTF of the week: Beauty spells. As in spells to make you more beautiful. Yes, really!

Want to look prettier? Want to banish acne? Or maybe chase away those fine lines that are slowly creeping up under your eyes? Or turn your tresses blonde? Try a beauty spell, the coolest or craziest (depends on your perspective!) beauty trend to hit our shores this season. Beauty spells? As in one of those Double, double toil and trouble things? To make you look prettier in some form or manner? Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

beauty-spellA beauty spell? That would be $900. Only.

Apparently, yes. Seems that beauty spells are not just amusing quirks but big business. Some go for as much as $900, like this Cleopatra spell “…based on ancient Egyptian lore that was used by sorcerers and priests to the great Pharaohs thousands of years ago.”

It involves 113 batches of rare ingredients and materials, a hex eradicator and  a 14 layer spiritual shield. Much? Don’t worry, everything is arranged by the spell caster and managed online (eMagic? iMagic?). You only need to send in 3 pubic hairs (!!), 14 hairs from your head or eyebrows, 7 tears dropped on a paper napkin and one small piece of toe nail from your right foot.

Oh! And the $900.

We accept credit card and PayPal.

beauty-spell-3Save money, go DIY

If $900 seems a little steep, you can go the budget route and pay under $10 to buy a beauty spell “to become more attractive, more beautiful or to cause someone else to become more attractive and beautiful”.

Stingy, much? Just opt for DIY, as there is no dearth of information on beauty spells that can be done at home. No fairies or witches required.

I stumbled across one that promises to change the colour of your hair. This is how it goes: On a Friday during the waxing moon, go to a place where you can be alone for at least 15 minutes. Light 3 orange or red candles and place them in a triangle on a flat surface. Visualize the color of your hair fading and becoming white as the color drains from it. ‘Hold’ the color within your hands. Slowly lower your hands above the candles and focus on the flames. Raise your hands above your head and imagine the colour you desire pouring into your hair and turning into that colour. After all of this say the following:

Fire warm and fire red
Charm the hair upon my head
Fire dance and fire shine
From [the current colour of your hair] to [the colour you want it to be] this wish is mine.
As I will, it now shall be
By fire, water, wind and tree.

While I haven’t personally tested it out, sure seems to be a neat way to save salon fees! But what would one do if you also wanted highlights? Or maybe an ombre effect? Sigh… the Egyptians were obviously content with much less.

There is another one for acne. It goes hence: Get an apple and cut it in half horizontally across the middle. Once you cut it you will see a 5-pointed star. Rub one half of the apple over your face while saying: “Apple, sacred fruit of the Goddess; with this gift, I do caress; The pimple that brought me shame; I banish this zit in your name.” Get another apple and cut it vertically from top to bottom. Rub one half over your face as well. Say this: “I love and accept myself as I am today; clear skin I summon to come my way; By my will so mote it be three times three times three.” Bury the first apple by a tree, bush or flower that is outside. Bury the second apple by water. If you can’t find a place like this, just bury it anywhere and pour water over it.

Well, doesn’t sound much more bizarre than the claims of some skincare companies nowadays.

And like all witchy matters, you can curse someone else into losing their beauty prowess. There is one for hair loss and another for premature ageing that would be perfect for at least 17 people in my life right now.

beauty-spells-2History? Magic? Science? Balderdash?

Kidding aside, my digging throws up another interesting fact: Beauty spells are historically some of the oldest charms known to mankind. They are scattered through scores of papyri and clay fragments dating to ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt. Incantations and charms for looking more beautiful are also found throughout literature, going back to the Middle Ages. And every major world religion has prayers and rituals for increasing one’s attractiveness.

Not surprising actually, considering how the human desire to look prettier, glossier and thinner is all-encompassing. After all, that’s how we developed eye makeup and body butters and nail colour – all those ancient Greek, Egyptian, Chinese, Indian, Arab and American women experimenting with pots and potions of indigenous ingredients.

So, do I believe in beauty spells? No. Not because I don’t believe in ancient rituals and recipes. This blog is inspired by gypsy wanderings, after all. And natural ingredients are often more powerful than anything that Lancome or La Mer could bottle into $500 glossiness.

It’s just that I like my rituals and recipes underlined by reasoning and rationale. Witch hazel tightens pores because of its tannin content. Apples clear out acne because they have high levels of immunity-boosting pectin. Turmeric tackles premature ageing because it is a strong antioxidant. Basically, show me the underpinnings and I will follow you to the cauldron. Till then, let’s just have some fun.

What’s your take? Do you believe in beauty spells? In witchcraft? In magic? Will you be trying any of these charms and incantations?

Makeup trend: Is matte lipstick the new black?

Lip glosses have had their moment and the next few months completely belong to matte lipstick. But fear not, the matte formulas of 2016 bear no resemblance to the chalky, dry lips of the 1990s. This time round, matte lipsticks are flattering, velvety and feel super-comfortable on the lips.

And while they might not be quite as easy to apply as a slick of gloss, matte lipsticks last longer, suit all skin tones and look super-gorgeous. This look is for girls who are all grown up!

Why matte lipstick rocks!

  • Matte lipsticks have more pigment than other formulas, which means strong colour straight from the bullet.
  • Matte lipstick lasts for ages and tends not to feather into creases around your mouth unlike a gloss or cream formula.
  • While there is a lot of pink gloss, matte lipstick comes in a medley of strong colours, ranging from berry pinks to scarlet reds to caramel browns and back again.
  • Matte lipstick is less girly than gloss and instantly creates a sophisticated aura.

matte lipstickHow to wear a matte lip

There is no room for sloppy application with matte lipstick. This one both draws and holds attention, so you have to apply it right.

  • The key to pulling off matte lipstick is to make sure it’s impactful. A neutral shade or one close to your skin tone can make you look sickly pale. Instead, opt for a strong pop of tangerine, red or fuchsia – especially since, like matte lipstick itself, they’re vintage-inspired and completely on-trend.
  • Skip the lip balm before applying a matte lipstick as it adds sheen, thereby diluting the effect. Instead use a lip primer – like MAC Prep + Prime for Lips – for hydration without the added shine.
  • Line your lips with a shade that matches your lipstick perfectly to avoid the dreaded, ’90s-inspired two-tone look. Even better, fill in your entire lips with the liner and then apply the lipstick on top.
  • For a softer look, fill your entire lip with liner, then pat lipstick on using your fingertip.
  • A matte lipstick usually takes longer to wear off around the outside of your lips (due to lack of moisture), so you’ll be tempted to re-apply. Don’t do that: since coats will only sit on top of each other, you’ll get an uneven look. Instead, wipe off the existing lipstick and then apply a fresh coat.
  • One single texture across your face looks dull and ageing, so contrast a matte lip with dewy foundation, highlighter on the cheeks, or shimmer on the eyes.

Convert any lipstick to matte

Rather than buying a new lipstick, simply matte out your current stock with translucent powder. It’s easy: after applying the lipstick, blot your lips with a tissue. Then use your fingertips to dab a translucent face powder on your lips to eliminate the shine.

For added effect, double up on the powder application in the centre of your lower lip – this play on centre sheen will create a more fashion forward pout.

The ultimate guide to taking a good selfie (yes, it’s possible!)

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat… As we live in the age of self portraits (aka selfies), twitpics, avatars and profile snaps. In fact, there are now entire gadgets devoted to this particular art form (well, it’s been in existence since Vincent Van Gogh’s self portraits!), such as the Coolpad Mega 2.5, whose 8MP front facing camera and Smart Beautification are perfect for nailing this defining photograph.

And as I am constantly learning, the difference between a good and bad shot lies in preparation and practice. After all, how else will you capture that perfect just-after-a-haircut moment or the amazing coral lip for posterity? Behold then, the top tricks to take your #selfies from #simple to #stunning.

Make sure you are camera ready

First, the clothes. Voluminous outfits, like billowy tops and loose tunics, don’t make for good selfies as your proportions are not balanced out by taut legs in the limited frame. Instead, look for a more streamlined top. Also avoid loud prints as they don’t translate well in this medium. Basic blacks, pale denims and crisp whites are what work best. Try to show just a touch of skin, maybe with a scooped neckline, as it adds softness.

And wear sunglasses. For some reason, most people look phenomenally better in sunglasses. So do a selfie in sunnies if you are going for an extreme close up.

#coolpadselfie

#coolpadselfie

Then comes the #makeup

This is pretty important (unless you’re going for the #nomakeup look) as closeup selfies wash you out, while playing up every line and blemish. Your saviour? Try these tips.

  • Start with smooth, toned and moisturised skin by treating yourself to a face scrub and hydrating facial. This minimises uneven makeup application and promotes a healthy, glowing effect.
  • Mattify your skin: A dewy complexion is attractive in real life, but in photos it will look like an oil slick. Try grease blotting products for a flawless, shine-free finish.
  • Skip mineral foundations and powders as they tend to give a white cast when light bounces off them, leading to the dreaded #FlourFace. Similarly, opt for a powder with a yellow tint, rather than a translucent one. The latter also leaves a white cast when the flash goes off.
  • If you plan to wear undereye concealer, blend very, very well to remove any harsh lines. Seriously. Otherwise, you risk your concealer looking too obvious. I learnt this the hard way, sigh!
  • Stay off the sparkles or ultra-strong colours as they will make you look ten years older. Instead, dab a touch of cream highlighter in the recessed areas of your face, which appear shadowed in dim lighting. Usual suspects are the inner corners of your eyes, top of the cheekbones, bow of the lip and chin cleft.
  • Don’t want to look washed out? Use the right shade of blush. Pale pastel blushers will disappear with digital photography as it tends to wash out colour from the skin, so go with a stronger blush in shades of rosy brown to define your cheeks.
  • Avoid harsh liner or ultra-smokey eyes as both these make the eyes look smaller. Instead, try a soft, coloured eye pencil and smudge it a bit. If you have to use a liquid eyeliner, dot it next to the eyelash base rather than creating a solid line. Add mascara for definition.
  • Most lips benefit from definition in front of the camera. For a fail-safe makeup effect, apply a lip pencil that’s two shades darker than your own lip colour, smudge a bit and layer with a little gloss or lipstick in the same shade. You will look polished without seeming OTT in every kind of light!
  • Lift your chin when being photographed to lessen dark circles and keep the nose from looking too big.

Go towards the light

Lighting can make or break your photo. Natural daylight is ideal and youalmost can’t go wrong during the magic hour (the hour just after sunrise or just before sunset), which is when the sunlight is perfect for pictures.

But avoid standing in direct daylight when the sun is right overhead, as it will cast hard shadows. Instead, turn your back to the sun. This will create a halo-style effect that can be very flattering. Or look for “open shade”, like the shadow of a tree or building.

If you’re inside, try to find any light source you can to avoid the dreaded flash, which is hardly ever flattering. Look for light coming through a window, soft light bulbs… it even helps tohave a thin piece of fabric (like a sheer curtain) stand between you and the light. This will stop the light from shining directly on your face, creating a beautiful glow.

#coolpadselfie

#coolpadselfie

Show your best side

It’s now scientifically proven that you actually do have a good side. And chances are it’s the left. A study in the Experimental Brain Research journal shows that photos of the left side of our face get rated as more pleasant than photos of the right side. So, work out your angle: take practice shots from the left, right, behind, top, bottom… and then get a buddy to evaluate them objectively.

Relax!

Because you really shouldn’t take a selfie too seriously. Poke fun at yourself, exaggerate the duck face, work the angles, try some funky props… have fun with it. The goal is to look natural in your selfie. Like you were out basking in the sun and someone snapped a candid shot. And when you do see a bad pic, just laugh and move on! Because you are perfect! Right?

What are your go-to tricks for looking great in photos? Will you be trying any of the advice here?