The Top 10 Beauty Trends of 2012

Plus five more to watch for in 2013.

Fashion's getting faster these days—and you know what? So is beauty. It's not quite as attention-grabbing, of course, as a colour-blocked dress or a peplum-trimmed top (both of which will probably look dated by this time next year: sadface). But those of us who are beauty-aware can clearly see that hair and makeup trends come and go almost as fast. (Case in point: the top knot is just sooo 2011.)

Not that I'm judging you if there's a trend you want to hang on to. Well okay, if you still have a Rachel haircut then maybe just a little. But the great thing about beauty is that it's so, so easy to stay up-to-date: swipe on the colour of the moment or channel your favourite celebrity's eyeshadow application technique and you're halfway there.

So which beauty trends have 2012 written all over them? Here's a look back at the top 10 from this year—then read on for what's next in 2013!

1. Orange lips and nails

This spring and summer, we totally crushed on orange—Tangerine Tango, to be exact. That was Pantone's Colour of the Year, although if you've really been paying attention, you already saw it all over the catwalk a couple seasons before its mainstream debut. But no matter: with celebs like Zooey Deschanel wearing orange on the red carpet, and a slew of brands (like Sephora) introducing new orange prodz, the fiery hue was still hot stuff as a lipstick, gloss or nail polish. And it should last into 2013: I was at a MAC preview just before Christmas and one of the makeup artists' top product picks for next year was Morange, their totally classic, highly pigmented orange lipstick. Wear it straight up or blotted down to soften it, and with a shiny gloss on top, for a fresh update.

2. BB cream

The BB buzz started brewing back in mid-2011, and by spring 2012 we were officially obsessed. That's when we finally had an array of BB cream choices to buy right here in Canada—from Boscia to Estée Lauder to Smashbox to MAC—and we got to find out why everyone in Asia was gaga for this skincare-makeup hybrid. (Basically, it's the all-in-one aspect that holds major appeal: BBs replace moisturizer, foundation, sunscreen, illuminator and primer.) Now, more brands than we ever could have imagined have hopped on board the BB train—and I'm learning that not all are made equal. (Some aren't even BBs—they use that weird adjustable pigment technology that I've never been into—and some are just tinted moisturizers masquerading as BBs.) But then again, this is one category where it really is a matter of personal preference. Some peeps rave about the sheerness, say, of a Garnier, while others (like moi) prefer the foundation-like feel of a Stila. The important thing is we've got options!

3. Pastel hair

Well, hot damn—this is one trend I never would have predicted to have legs. But it took over where regular blonde-brown Ombré left off, and people you would never in a million years dream of seeing with experimental hair colour embraced it. (Um, like Julia Roberts—WUT??) The pioneers, however, were people like Peter Som (the pic above's from his S/S '13 show), Ashley Olsen and model Charlotte Free. And of course Lauren Conrad, who took the whole thing mainstream. Feel like giving it a go? It's not too late—Oscar de la Renta and Anna Sui showed colourful hair for spring, so there's still plenty of time, even if you're a late adopter! Rikki's got handy how-tos for getting the look with dye OR temporary "hair shadow."

4. The reverse French mani

I know, I know, some of you literally shudder with any mention of the words "French" and "manicure" in the same sentence. But this year, the phrase became cool again for the first time since the '90s, at least when referring to the runway version involving non-traditional colours—basically anything BUT the usual nude or pink with white tips. (But hold that thought, because I've got some news for you in a second on 2013.) The best thing about this trend is that you can play with any colour combo you like. At Rebecca Minkoff, above, a deep wine gave an otherwise nude nail grown-up polish... but brands like YSL and Revlon have also recently come out with nail duos in super-bright shades that look great too.

5. 3D nail art

Whoa. Speaking of nails, some people, not content with simple colour experimentation, had to take it to a whole other level. And so 3D nail art was born. What the what? Well, this trend involved the attachment of miniature beads, rhinestones, or if you're Katy Perry, doodads like acrylic flowers, to your unsuspecting nail beds. Note that I speak of it in past tense because I really do hope this one dies a quick death—it's just too ridiculous. (Let's just call it this year's Violent Lips.) Even the micro-bead thing is too much for me: I can't get past the fact that it only lasts 24 to 48 hours, and the beads start to fly off everywhere... not a good thing if you're into cooking!

6. Graphic eyeliner

The cat eye is always kind of in style, but this year it was even more so. And ZOMG there were so many variations on it! Designers got into eyeliner in a huge way in 2012, with just two key rules: it had to be black, and it couldn't be smudged. Nope, no diffusion allowed this year—just a strong, sharp, graphic slash. Leading the way were the models at Lanvin (above), D&G, Stella McCartney and Giorgio Armani. Unfortch, this trend leaves no room for error: you need a steady hand and the finest eyeliner pen to get the right application. But the payoff is seriously great. No other eye look makes you as instantly sexy as this one.

7. Bobbed hair

I called it back in January: 2012 was the year of the bob! So many celebs showcased shoulder-length or shorter hair in the last 12 months, including Dianna Agron, Cameron Diaz, Katy Perry, Olivia Wilde, and more recently, Karlie Kloss and Leighton Meester. (Even Miley Cyrus had a kick-ass bob for a little while before she channeled Pink with the platinum crop.) I couldn't be happier about this celebrity development, since hair has been way too long on the red carpet for, well, way too long now. It just looks fresher and more modern. Also? Even though I'll never go quite this short, I did just cut off four or five inches, and it feels freaking amazing. Thicker, fuller, swingier, etc. DO IT!

8. Oxblood lips

A few months before oxblood became the cult fall jean colour, it was making rounds on runway and celebrity lips. Like Camilla Belle's here at the Met Ball, in one of my favourite beauty moments of the year. (Kate Bosworth also wore the shade at the same event, and looked great too.) But it's a slightly tricky trend to get right, since some oxbloods are so dark that you end up looking totally Goth. If that's the case, mix yours with a red lipstick until you get your desired custom shade. Sadly, my favourite dark lip prod is a now-discontinued crayon thingie from Joe Fresh that I wish they'd bring back. DUDE. It was so good. I was just waiting for the right moment to use it: taking a cue from celebs, I think this look works much better for evening instead of daytime. It's also fairly classic, i.e. that lipstick you invested in should be wearable for at least another few seasons.

9. Spider lashes

Ginnifer Goodwin - American Music Awards 2012

Ginnifer Goodwin - American Music Awards 2012

Even though the Kardashians gave long lashes a bad name, I don't care—I still love them. Lashes, that is. It's because I have a genetic defect where eyeshadow just disappears on my eyelids upon application... and if I put it above my crease, I kinda look like I should be on Toddlers & Tiaras. So when I want to emphasize my eyes, all I have to work with is mascara and eyeliner, people. This is why the whole spider lash trend—as in defined, borderline clumpy lashes—excited me so much. I hope it never goes away. You can get the look with false lashes, like Ginnifer Goodwin has here, or you can just use generous lashings of regular mascara and pinch the ends of your lashes together to clump the sections. Note that this is a 360-degree lash look, which means you want to have as much emphasis on the bottom as you do on the top. (PS: Get used to that. I just wrapped an article on lashes last month, and the bottom lash thing is going to continue into 2013.)

10. Heavy, blunt bangs

Jessica Biel - Total Recall London premiere, 2012

Jessica Biel - Total Recall London premiere, 2012

Like the cat eye, bangs are never really out of style. But this year they made their presence known both on the runway and in real life—and the look was bold, thick and blunt. It all started with Rooney Mara, remember her? Her short and straight-across fringe was the talk of awards season. On the runway, the same look showed up at Versace, Elie Saab and Marni... and by summer, Jessica Biel was sporting a sexy, eyebrow-grazing set of her own. It's hellish to grow them out, but right now this haircut is so of the moment—and it's an easy way to update your look if you don't want to lose all-over length.

So that's a wrap for 2012... now here are a few hints on what's coming in 2013!

1. CC cream

The next-gen of BB cream is CC cream! Set to hit stores next month, we're apparently gonna get the same multi-tasking benefits but more colour correcting, anti-aging ingredients, and a higher level of coverage. Read this post to get the full 411.

2. Emerald green eye makeup and nail polish

It's official: Pantone has named emerald green the colour to covet for 2013, and that means we're all going to be wearing it on our eyes and nails. (Thankfully, it's pretty much universally flattering.) Get inspired by these runway looks.

3. The French mani—for real this time

Who are we to question Chanel'sPeter Philips, a.k.a. the God of Nail Trends? Word is that the original pinky nude, white-tipped French manicure is back. Yowza! I weighed in on this here.

4. Bold brows

Okay, maybe not this bold (sorry, Marc Jacobs), but bolder than you're probably wearing them now. Start growing 'em out and stock up on your brow-darkening pencils and powders. Here's the lowdown.

5. Neon and two-toned lips

Okay, so I don't know if the two-tone thing is really going to take off, but Janine at Beautygeeks is doing her part—and they looked super-cool at the Holly Fulton show, above. But if that's not for you, just pick one neon shade, like the crazy amazing pink at Giles.

Now let's talk!

Which were your top trends of 2012?

Which one(s) do you hope go bye-bye?

What are you looking forward to for 2013?

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