New Year, new you? Despite the cliché, as the calendar flips to Jan. 1 we feel compelled to shift gears, change a habit, try something new. Refreshing your makeup bag is an easy change. Moreover, you'll find that over the last few years research and development teams have been working overtime to launch new beauty products that give your old favorites a run for their money, if not lap them for the win. Here are some ideas for recharging.
Sometimes it's not just a product but a whole new brand that shakes up the beauty scene. Charlotte Tilbury's makeup line, which launched in the U.S. in September 2014, has a cheeky sex appeal and is helped by the makeup maven's YouTube-tutorial mastery. Her brand is known for her complete "looks" with names such as "The Golden Goddess" and "Vintage Vamp." It's a fun way of taking the guesswork out of which makeup choices are best for, as Tilbury puts it, going "from Desk to Disco." Tilbury's rich lipsticks and two-tone blushes are standouts. Charlotte Tilbury (makeup about $22 to $40 per item, charlottetilbury.com).
Drunk Elephant, launched in 2013, is another brand to tune in to. It's named after the myth that elephants love to get tipsy eating the fruit that has fallen from Marula trees. "Ingredients and how they affect our internal health and the health of our skin was my inspiration. I found it fascinating that what goes into a formula is just as important and critical to its effectiveness as what is left out of a formula," says Tiffany Masterson, Drunk Elephant's chief creative officer and founder. Drunk Elephant Lippe Lip Treatment ($22, sephora.com) launched this month is a new one to try.
Mascara or gel eyeliner that dries out after just a few uses, nail polish that chips hours in — beauty product underachievers are a let-down, especially if you paid a lot of money for them.
An early standout for the Hourglass label was its Veil Mineral Primer ($52, hourglasscosmetics.com). Now Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil ($32, hourglasscosmetics.com), which comes in nine shades, is the product to try. The angular tip and rich but natural-looking pigment is a winner.
Other products to consider when refreshing your makeup bag include Essie Gel Setter Top Coat ($10, essie.com), which gives your polish durable, salon-like shine; Lancôme Artliner Precision Point Eye Liner ($30.50, lancome-usa.com), which delivers a sexy cat-eye with rich pigment that doesn't prematurely dry out in the tube, and Urban Decay Smoky Eyeshadow Palette ($54, urbandecay.com) for the brand's modern and wearable colors.
A rose is a rose is a rose, sort of. When it comes to even cult beauty products you'll find many have been reformulated and refreshed, made to work for the times. Packaging, ingredients, celebrity marketing campaigns (such as Kendall Jenner for Estée Lauder, Jennifer Lawrence for Dior, Erykah Badu for Givenchy and Eva Mendes for Estee Lauder) — all may be new. Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar ($47, philosophy.com) and Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion ($26, clinique.com) both updated their classic formulas in the last few years.
"Clinique is consistently researching new ingredients and technology to modernize its products and ensure clients receive the maximum benefits. The world has changed since Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion was launched in 1968, and consumers need more from their daily moisturizer," says Janet Pardo, senior vice president for product development. "We work closely with our formulating dermatologists ... to learn about people's current skin care needs. Their patients noted skin sensitivities caused by environmental assaults … it was our duty to reformulate the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion in order to help skin keep in the healthy essentials and better resist environmental influences."
As U.S. demographics shift, there's been a surge of beauty companies acknowledging that the definition of the color "nude" varies with the individual. Also, brands such as SheaMoisture that specialize in curly and frizzy hair are no longer relegated to the "ethnic" aisle and can be found on the premium endcap shelves at national retail chains such as Target.
Beauty consumers are becoming savvier about what to look for in products, thanks, in part, to the wealth of online information making star ingredients such as Retinol and alpha hydroxy acids better understood. ProX by Olay Nightly Purifying Micro-Peel, which contains glycolic acid, citric acid, lactic acid and vitamin B ($39.99, target.com), exfoliates and renews the skin while you sleep and is a gentle alternative to a spa peel.
At-home devices that provide treatments previously delivered only in doctor's offices and spas continue to get FDA clearances and updates. One to try is the NuFace Trinity Chic Black Trinity Device, Limited Edition ($349, shop.nordstrom.com), which uses microcurrents for wrinkle reduction and facial contouring.