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The 9 Biggest Beauty Trends of 2014

From exposed nipples to no makeup.

It's the most wonderful time of the yearrrrrr...a.k.a. the time when I get to go back and analyze all the beauty trends we've been talking about for the past 12 months. Beauty-wise, 2014 was an interesting year -- it was less about specific styles or products and more about concepts. 

Come see what I mean and take a walk down memory lane with me, won't you?

Korean Beauty: 

This past year, the tiny peninsular country of South Korea dominated our collective beauty consciousness. The fabled 10-step regimen and the country's innovative and sometimes weird products have resonated with American women, to the point that multiple e-commerce sites launched and are thriving this year. Sheet masks, snail cream and cushion compacts are now in regular rotation. People can't stop buying Korean products, and frankly I hope it never ends. There's so much more to discover. 


...or more accurately, media outlets getting in trouble for racially tone-deaf articles claiming that big butts are a trend (hi, Vogue and the New York Times). Articles like these just made everyone talk even more about butts.  And oh, yeah, don't forget about a certain magazine cover that #broketheinternet. The great thing about butts? Everyone has one! Here's hoping knees are next year's big body part trend. Who will the Jen Selter of knees be? 

Flash Tattoos

These shiny faux tattoos seemingly came out of nowhere. From backstage to Beyoncé, the shiny, wonderful, sometimes crookedly placed metallic temporary tattoos were everywhere. And "everywhere" is where their charm lies -- I mean, it's kind of hard to put actual jewelry in the crook of your elbow or on your bicep. Not so with flash tats. Flash in the pan? Maybe, but they sure shone brightly for a while.  

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Rainbow Hair: 

This has been a phenomenon for quite a few years, but it's really gone mainstream this year. Edgy colorists like Aura Friedman at Sally Hershberger turned all the cool girls pale pink, peach and gray, and celebs like Kylie Jenner and Katy Perry went bright technicolor. Who ever thought green hair would be normal? It's happened. 

The Non-Mom Bob

Here is but a small portion of all the women who either chopped their hair into a bob or grew out their pixie cuts (trend alert from 2013!) : Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway (check out how their bobs compare here), Jourdan Dunn, Sienna Miller, Alexa Chung, Emma Stone, Taylor Swift (never forget), Kate Mara, and on and on. Seven thousand definitely equals a trend. Karlie Kloss was largely credited last year for bringing the style to the masses, but the truth is that it's really darn flattering on pretty much everyone. To keep from veering into "mom bob" territory, put a bend into sections of  your bob with a curling iron and texturize liberally. 

Oil Pulling

If you would have told me in 2013 that everyone would seriously have been talking about gargling coconut oil for 20 minutes to clean their mouths, oh, how I would have laughed. Sure, coconut oil has been touted for doing everything, but gargling it? Ugh. Well, leave it to Gwyneth Paltrow to make oil pulling, an ayurvedic treatment, a thing. Then Shailene Woodley revealed that she likes to swish with sesame oil, and soon everyone was sucking on oil to clean their mouths... including us


Beyoncé is largely credited with this humble-braggy trend, thanks to "Flawless," but it might be a case of chicken or the egg. Regardless of its origins, there's nothing more discouraging than seeing a model or Kim Kardashian looking, well, flawless and perfectly lit and filtered without any makeup on. Thank goodness for Lena Dunham and her #Iwokeuplikethis honesty.


Butts weren't the only body part trending in beauty this year. Rihanna famously got into a fight with Instagram because the platform kept censoring her nipple pics, starting a trend to #freethenipple. Not the most practical concept in the dead of winter (#freezethenipple?) but I'm all for being able to flaunt your nipples the same way you would, say, a beauty mark on your face. 

Chic Nail Art

Nail art has been on life support the last few years, but for several seasons now, a new, more subdued and sophisticated nail art has emerged. It's generally geometric and features no more than one or two colors. Eleanor Langston, a former beauty editor, opened Paintbox Nails in NYC, an upscale nail salon that specializes in tasteful nail art, and fashion girls have been flocking there. Nail art lives, albeit more quietly.