The year in beauty and health: 2015

Susannah Taylor 25 December 2015
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The year in beauty and health: 2015

The world of beauty has rocketed this year. The rise and rise of Instagram, the irrepressible selfie and the fame of the Youtube beauty tutorial means there’s more focus now on flawlessness, skin and makeup than ever before. As for the booming health and fitness market, it’s now become mainstream for women to swap a pub visit for an exercise class, there’s a kale salad on every mainstream restaurant menu and sportswear is being worn into offices. It’s been a healthy, brilliant and busy year - here are our biggest beauty and health moments of 2015.

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1. The hair colour: Bronde

It wasn’t brunette, it wasn’t blonde, but it was somewhere in-between. Thanks to Gisele’s honey coloured highlights, Cara Delevingne’s subdued hues and Suki Waterhouse’s sun-kissed nutmeg hair, brown hair was far from boring in 2015. The wearable, prettifying trend will live on for 2016, but the word ‘Bronde’ has become a bit of an annoying, commercialised cliché.

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2. The mind craze: Grown up colouring books

Finally there’s something in WHSmith to take the attention away from the £1 chocolate deals. This year has been the year of the grown-up colouring book which seems to have become the way to rediscover your inner artist and tap into the growing trend for mindfulness. With a whole section in Amazon now dedicated to the trend, some are targeted at calming the mind such as ‘The Mindfulness Colouring Book: Anti-stress Art Therapy for Busy People’, or ‘The Can’t Sleep Colouring Book’. Altogether too childish or twee for you? Try ‘The Passive Aggressive Colouring Book: For People Who Don’t Get the Whole Calm Thing’ instead.

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3. The beauty people: Keeping up with the Jenners

The world has gone Jenner nuts in 2015. Caitlyn Jenner’s July Vanity Fair cover showing her transformation from Olympic icon to transgender Caitlyn had to be the most memorable magazine cover for decades. Meanwhile the world has developed an obsession for 18 year old daughter Kylie and particularly the size of her ever growing pillow pout. Then there’s the ever rising star that is Kendall who has morphed into a supermodel of superb class. As the face of Estée Lauder for the younger generation, she also hit the Victoria Secret runway and her post on Instagram in her VS underwear is apparently the most popular of the year with 2,000,000 likes. Kim, it seems you have some catching up to do.

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4. The makeup trend: Strobing

Contouring was out in 2015, and strobing was in. Confused as to why they’re different? Contouring is when you use darker shades to sculpt your face. Strobing is achieving gorgeously glowing, luminous skin using clever, light reflecting products. The key is to use products exactly where the sunlight would hit your face - for example on the nose, the cheekbones, and the brow bones. Check out our edit of the best strobing products here .

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5. The fitness star: The Body Coach

You must have been buried under a pile of kale not to have noticed the rise to fame of Joe Wicks aka The Body Coach  during 2015. The fitness world’s latest sensation, the floppy haired, torso ripped Wicks is transforming men and women’s bodies worldwide with his 90 day body transformation plan - Shift, Shape and Sustain. Wicks does away with low calorie diets for good (hoorah) and instead prescribes the right food and more of it, plus a fat burning training plan. The ‘Before and after’ testimonials on his Instagram (where he has 550,000 followers and growing fast) are incredible proof that his way genuinely works. A cookery book is due early 2015 - watch this space.

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6. The health food: Avocado on toast

Forget marmalade or Marmite, the modern way to eat your toast in the mornings is to make sure yours is sourdough or rye bread topped with avocado and maybe an egg. It’s the breakfast plate on every hip London restaurant’s menu. Meanwhile, the health foodie’s passion for avocado shows no signs of abating, with healthy bloggers, bloggers and nutritionists putting it in and on everything from smoothies to snacks, salads and face masks. Crammed with vitamins K, C, B and E, as well as magnesium, iron, and healthy good fats, it is an unsung superfood.

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7. The haircut: the Lob or Wob

The Lob (Long bob) or the Wob (Wavy bob) are to 2015 what the ‘Jennifer’ was to 1994, with a super stylish crew from Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to Jennifer Lawrence and Sienna Miller all opting for the shoulder-grazing chop. The key to keeping the look modern is in the texture -  the look needs to be tousled and messy not straight and severe. We’re not yet maxed out on the look and it looks set to live on well into 2016.

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8. The Innovations: Nails Inc spray on polish and St Tropez tan

Joint winners in our eyes.  St Tropez’s Gradual Tan in Shower Lotion , £14.50, caused a huge sensation when it launched this summer. The ingenious product is applied in the shower on wet skin, washed off after 3 minutes and then continues to develop into an even, golden glow in the hours afterwards. The more recently launched Paint Can from Nails Inc , £10, is equally ground-breaking. You paint nails with the special base coat, then spray. The varnish adheres to the nails and the rest washes away with warm water. Genius.

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9. The edge factor: Piercings

2015 was the year that piercings became pretty rather than punky. Proof? Maria Tash , hip New York piercer took up residence not once but twice at the super chic Josh Wood Atelier  in Notting Hill which had fashion editors, models, street style stars and bloggers clamouring for multiple ear punctures. Tash’s super fine, delicate jewellery and eye for the right placement is the key to modern piercings now.

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10. The Ingredient: Charcoal

Ever ahead-of-the-game, the healthy alchemic drinks company Botanic Labs  was one of the first to use activated charcoal in it’s concoctions this year, creating a charcoal trend. What is activated charcoal? Well, it’s charcoal but not like the stuff you put on the BBQ. This charcoal has been treated with oxygen giving it a negative charge. Extremely porous, when consumed it’s thought to act as a magnet for bad toxins in your gut and has been used since the 19th century in water because of its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.

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11. The fitness obsession: Leggings

Once upon a time leggings were black lycra, end of story. Now, they can wick away sweat, hide a muffin top and even enhance your mood .

This year the leggings ante got well and truly upped, with sports brands using the cleverest fabrics and the the wildest colours and prints. Lululemon  relaunched their ‘Pants wall’, engineering their leggings around 5 different feelings such as Tight, Hugged, Held-in, Naked and Relaxed, and brands like Lucas Hugh  and Hey Jo  continue to ride the wave with sexy, bold styles that cross the line between fashion and fitness. Meanwhile the high street is catching up with H&M  leading the way in affordable sportswear greatness.

Image: Voyage leggings from Hey Jo

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12. The Exercise: Girls training like boys

It was once the case that women went to ‘Legs, Bums and Tums’ classes, and maybe dabbled in a spot of yoga or pilates, while men lifted weights at the gym and ran marathons. Well no more. Plenty of research has proven that High Intensity Training can burn fat efficiently, and that women should lift weights to slim down, get lean and help prevent weak bones. Women are now training with the boys, doing triathlons and being altogether more hardcore. Speaking from experience there is something exhilarating too about pushing yourself way out of your comfort zone with sports like boxing which were originally reserved for men.

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13. The health hazard: Bacon

When all the focus of recent years has been on sugar,  it came as a shock to many people that bacon got classed as a Group 1 Carcinogen this year. According to scientists at WHO, just  50g of processed meat a day (that’s one sausage or less than two slices of bacon) increases our chances of developing bowel cancer by 18 per cent. So should we ditch red meat altogether? Not so fast. In an interview for Get The Gloss  earlier this year by writer Peta Bee, nutritional therapist Amelia Freer said, “Freshly made burgers and mince don’t fall into the processed category so you can make your own at home”. Nutritionist Ian Marber agrees that good quality unprocessed red meat has good nutritional value  “It’s a significant source of protein in the diet, but it also provides iron, vitamins B12, B6 and C along with selenium and potassium”. It seems quality and moderation of red meat is key.

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14. The kitchen fad: Spiralizing

At a time when gluten is getting a bad rap, spiralizing has come into its own. Originally a Japanese invention, a spiralizer is a razor sharp cutting device that creates thin ribbons of vegetables from say courgettes and carrots. Healthy chefs Hemsley and Hemsley have put their name to a spiralizer  this year which is more like a machine however, I like the hand-held devices which are quick and super easy to clean such as this Gefu Spiral cutter , £21.95.

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15. The hair trend: Hair contouring

No we haven’t made this up. Hair contouring became a real thing this year, and it wasn’t about sculpting hair.. It was about adding light and shade at specific spots to bring out your cheekbones and cast shadow or reflection onto the face. But beware - one look does not suit all. Matthew Soobroy, Principal Stylist at Charles Worthington says, “There’s a colour contouring prescription for everyone”. For better cheekbones thanks to your hair, head to .