When it comes to research, we never shy away from a little dirty work. Read on for creams, serums, sticks (and shticks) we tested (and loved) and put your best face forward all (next) year.
Best Beauty Snoops
Say, you’re not a celebrity who can afford personal trainers, nutritionists, and facialists at your beck and call? (Neither are we.) A house call to Manhattan skin guru Dr. Sherry Shieh is the next best thing.
Best Hair Fix
No three ways about it — braids hit it big in 2012. Thumb our coast-to-coast coverage, from L.A. twisters who come to you (some even serving cocktails with their fishtails) to Chicago’s latest braid bar, plus a DIY waterfall and updo how-tos that won’t leave you in knots. (Spoiler alert: We bet 2013 will be all about bangs, as evidenced by this new, low-commitment snippery that opened in NYC.)
Best Online Apothecary
North Carolina-based writer, photographer, and natural product junkie Jen Altman shared a virtual, shopable vanity that’s a mix of things we want to layer and slather. (She had us at, “… and I’m going to sell tinctures and talismans, too.”)
Best Beauty in a Glass
We went bottoms up with a slew of juicers, from cold-pressed L.A. brand The Real Juice (which ships locally for free) and booze-friendly Body & Eden elixirs to the latest from celebrity nutritionist-turned-Glow BIO juice bar founder Kimberly Snyder (we snooped her fridge; she’s the real deal).
Best Way to Get Nosy
What’s that? You say you didn’t grow up soaking up the Hawaiian sun and surf and you’re not a Vogue cover model? No reason you can’t smell the part, thanks to Kauai-raised, quintessentially pretty person and fragrance line founder Leilani Bishop.
Best Beauty Rush
Finally, a clinical high that doesn’t require a waiver. Pure Flow’s appendage-based compression sessions with pulse-paced pumping and a resulting runner’s high (without the sweat) left us feeling — and looking — lighter.
We’ve never been one for going under the knife — until crossing paths with razor-wielding, Miami-based dermaplaner Dr. Andrea Trowers. Her office’s skin-smoothing treatments skim off gunk and facial fuzz for insanely soft results.
Best Way to Nail It
Pretty polishes aside, this year’s mani-curing prize goes to Chicago-based house (and shot) caller/artist AstroWifey. Hands down, this lady’s mini masterpieces (and inspiring blog) have us in the mood to DIY our digits.
Best Back-to-Basics Find
Beautiful things happen when you can actually pronounce the ingredients you’re putting on your face. Fresh line Osmia Organics looks (and smells and feels) as good as it is for your skin.
Keep the beauty party going with DIY facials and festive hair accessories finds.
Photos: Cultura / Kathrin Ziegler / Getty Images; Courtesy of Body & Eden; Courtesy of Pure Flow; Courtesy of AstroWifey