March 7, 2013 at 8:56 AM ET
Like iPhones of the beauty world, these innovations will change the way you live — and look — this year. Check out Cosmopolitan magazine's best beauty recommendations:
Roc Retinol Correxion Max Wrinkle Resurfacing System, $27
A series of professional glycolic peels is amazing — the rapid exfoliation and burst of collagen result in extra glow-y, even-toned skin plus softerlooking lines. Now you can get even better results in your bathroom, according to a derm-administered study. After eight weeks, this two-step nightly process (a retinol-packed antiwrinkle lotion plus a serum that increases the absorption and effectiveness of the retinol) offers four times the end result of three peels — all without irritation since it’s buffered by glycerin and shea butter.
St. Tropez Gradual Tan Plus Firming, $40
One of the biggest self-tanner complaints we hear: It looks unnaturally orange, especially on fair skin. This tanning cream uses a new type of DHA (the ingredient that tans skin) made of allo-melanin, a pigment that mimics skin’s natural tone. As the DHA reacts with the amino acids on skin’s surface, the allo-melanin acts like a color corrector, canceling out any tangerine tones that may occur from the reaction. Translation: more J.Lo, less JWoww.
Coolway Styler and Transform Spray, $130
Most flatirons have one setting: extra hot, reaching up to a scorching 400-plus degrees — too extreme for most hair types, particularly dry and over-processed strands. Enter the first “smart” straightener: A scanner inside its blades reads the moisture level inside the hair shaft (ideally, the less moisture — from humidity or natural oils — the lower the heat should be), then sets its temperature to the lowest level possible — 299 degrees tops. The secret: the pre-styling spray, which deposits a special wetting agent that evenly disperses heat across strands, makes low-level temps super effective. Smooth!
Garnier Olia, $10
While there’s no way to eliminate hair-color damage totally (yet), this DIY formula comes close. Unlike most dyes, which use ammonia to swell the hair cuticle so the dye can be absorbed, this formula uses a gentler ammonia substitute (called MEA) that only slightly lifts the cuticle, reducing the risk for cracks and breakage. And because the dye’s oil base (which, BTW, is super nourishing) penetrates more easily than a traditional water base, it gets inside the smaller opening effectively.
CoverGirl Clump Crusher Mascara, $7
Despite being on most women’s can’t-live-without lists, mascara has one side effect we’d all rather live without: clumps, a byproduct of volume-building ingredients like clays and waxes, which form on the brush and are deposited onto your lashes. Turns out, the size of an average clump measures 325 microns (about the size of a grain of sand)—a measurement CoverGirl kept in mind when creating this mascara’s brush. Its bristles are so tightly positioned, no clumps can even form, let alone eff up your fringe.
Clarins Double Serum, $85
This universal antiager is big news. Based on 27 years of ingredient research, this serum contains 20 of the most potent botanicals that, according to a clinical study, were found to perform on-par with prescription Retin-A (a proven collagen booster, wrinkle smoother, and spot fader) on more than 400 women of different ages, ethnicities, and skin types. Also cool: The bottle’s double-barrel chamber (half houses the ingredients in a water-based solution; the other, an oil-based one) that, when pumped, distributes a ratio of two-thirds water and one-third oil—the same water-to-oil ratio in skin— so the serum is absorbed easily.
Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle Correcting Eye Cream, $43.50
Crow’s-feet may not be a huge issue now. But did you know the lines that temporarily pop up each time you smile eventually cause permanent wrinkles? In a 12-week clinical study, this was found to soften laugh-line creasing by 54 percent. Think of it as topical Botox, but instead of paralyzing the muscles that move the skin, it uses proteins, amino acids, and algae extract to boost collagen. The stronger the skin, the less likely it is to move.
Pantene Pro-V Repair & Protect Serum, $6.29
You know blow-drying, flatironing, and coloring leave hair dry, damaged, and prone to breakage. But did you know friction from tossing and turning in your sleep also leaves it vulnerable? To beat bed-head damage, Pantene scientists created this reparative bedtime serum, a night cream for hair that’s so lightweight, you don’t need to wash it out in the morning (plus it won’t stain your pillow). The special conditioning ingredient (behentrimonium chloride) seeks out the most damaged hair areas and strengthens them while also shielding against further damage. Used two or three nights a week before bed, the reparative-pluspreventive formula leaves hair smoother, softer, and stronger.
Red Carpet Manicure Nail Art Kits, $30
When DIY gel-manicure kits hit the scene last year, the previously pricey and pro-only treatment instantly became more accessible and affordable. But the coolest, most intricate nail art (like runway-inspired ombré and glitter designs) still had to be done at the salon for $50 a pop. This kit is a one-stop deal. It’s packed with instructions and illustrations, tools and brushes, jewels, shimmer, and more—enough to do 20 manis for less than the cost of one pro session.
Armani Lip Maestro, $32
Matte lipstick saturates lips with intense, sexy color, but the inevitable dryness leaves most lips begging for balm. But no longer, thanks to the advent of velvet matte. Like the fabric, this formula has a matte finish that’s richly colored, with a touch of luminosity. A moisturizing gel base (it feels like a silky, silicone face primer) hydrates lips. (Want the perfect red? Check out the not-too-orange, not-too-red Number 400, which works on every complexion.)
Sephora + Pantone Color IQ
No matter how much of a makeup junkie you are, finding the perfect shade of foundation has always been a challenge (especially if you’re super light or dark)…until now. Sephora and the color pros of Pantone have created a foolproof, free system (currently available in select Sephora stores — and rolling out to all locations soon) that lets you virtually test every shade in the store. A sales associate runs a camera-like device (called a spectrocolorimeter) over your face to assess your pigment levels and undertones. Your reading is matched to one of 110 skin-tone swatches in the Pantone color library, which synch up to the thousand-plus available foundation shades in the store. Then the system delivers a short list of perfect matches (a variety of finishes, textures, and price points from all the different brands the store carries), all of which you can test on your skin before buying.
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