2022 marked a resurgence in many things—the post-pandemic travel, physical runways, the rekindled flame that is Bennifer and the nostalgic era of beauty. When we weren’t busy braiding our hair and slapping on neon eyeshadow, most of us were well fed from the raft of celebrity appearances, red carpet action and glossy magic as seen via our television screens. There was plenty to rave about, take home and pocket into our respective beauty arsenals.
In the realm that is K-beauty, trends arose as a number of outstanding K-pop comebacks solidified their showstopping presence alongside invigorating tunes. Needless to say, the Korean starlets did not disappoint with avant-garde, risk-taking looks, injecting that pop of newness to the pulsating scene. On film and television, we marvelled at the midas touches to our favourite and most hated characters on screen, gleaning inspiration for our everyday face game.
While red carpet appearances dialled up on the glamour front, the runways—that made a full-fledged comeback in person—saw designers implementing facial adornments to complement their garments. Notably, there was the goth girl aesthetic as seen in Versace’s spring/summer 2023 show—now coinciding with the highly-lauded Netflix series Wednesday.
Then there is TikTok, an abundant feed overflowing with trends and beauty kn0w-hows. Of course, also a trusty prediction of what cult-favourite products would soon be snagged off the shelves. We’ve dutifully kept a close watch and below, we present to you the best in beauty for 2022.
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Best celebrity transformation: Doja Cat
Behold, the chameleon that is Doja Cat. Vogue Singapore’s April cover star is never one to stay safe or predictable when it comes to her music video personas or off-duty looks. Just a few months ago, she debuted a full clean shave in platinum blond, while flaunting fierce skinny brows.
Of course, with every appearance, she has expertly embraced her new do—whether it be experimenting with scene-stealing wigs or drawing attention to her lids. One thing’s for sure, Doja has definitively entered her baddie era.
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Most viral beauty product: Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush
It’s rare to find a blush that ticks all our boxes, from a long-lasting pigment to a soft, dewy finish that settles well into our skin despite the tropical climate. Enter: Rare Beauty, by Selena Gomez.
But it was only over the course of this past year that the liquid magic gained a cult following of its own, with its silky, staying prowess proven via TikTok. With a grand total of 11 different shades, the blush saw its enthusiasts grow in number most especially when the undereye blush and concealer hack was all the rage on the social media platform.
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Best product comeback: Clinique Black Honey
If you’ve spent just five minutes on social media this year, you’d know that Clinique’s Black Honey is in every It girl’s purse—and rightfully so. Initially launched in 1971, this shade remains the sole survivor from Clinique’s Almost Lipstick collection after the beauty community rioted against its discontinuation. Of course, their fight paid off in due time. Five decades on, this crowd pleaser resurged to top the wishlists of make-up connoisseurs around the world. Charged with a hydrating formula and a universal shade that works on any skin tone, this enhancing balm got us rolling out a red carpet for its triumphant return.
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Best HMU in a television series: Euphoria
This dark disquieting HBO series didn’t just push the boundaries of storytelling, visual accoutrements and culture commentary but also the realm of beauty. Masterminded by Euphoria‘s make-up artist Donni Davy, the highly-rated two seasons fed us with a smorgasbord of looks, each carried out by the colourful characters we grew to love and abhor onscreen. Think graphic liners with a twist, marbled lids, vampy lips and more. All of the aforementioned carried over to to our own miens—masterfully mirroring the bold zeitgeist’s relationship with make-up propelled by the age of social media.
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Best HMU in film: Everything Everywhere All At Once
Just when you think, it’s just a mind-bending sci-fi family film, there’s so much more to uncover. Somewhere just before the halfway mark of Everything Everywhere All At Once, we’re greeted with a visual spectacle, that while admittedly was gripping, weird, macabre all at once, left an indelible mark considering the film’s central plot.
Beyond transversing between alternate universes, the film experimented with a myriad of beauty products across various influences, as the department head of make-up, Michelle Chung told us earlier this year. Created to transform and arranged to embellish, we gleaned more than just face paint but also emotive expressions from the characters on screen. From MAC acrylic paints to tinted face oils to Pat Mcgrath‘s eyeshadows, no holds were barred when it came to the HMU department.
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Best K-pop music video: Taeyeon's 'Invu'
In the land of K-pop, it was a real treat across the board, with a bevy of veteran idol groups making their long-awaited comebacks—from Girls’ Generation and GOT7 to Kara and Blackpink. Elsewhere, powerful (and numerous) returns to the stage over the course of 2022 were had by the likes of (G)I-DLE, Seventeen and TXT. But when it came to a question of whose music video was visual gold? The answer was clearly found in Taeyeon’s ‘Invu’.
Throughout the entirety of the music video, we witness the soloist transform into various alternate versions of herself—imbued via cascading face jewels, divine swooshes of gold dust and delicate pieces of futuristic headgear that frame her face. Her manicures were no less; drifting from sharp, metallic talons to the wondrous illusion of floating bubbles above her nail beds. It’s undeniable that ‘Invu’ sits a cut above the rest; with every architectural updo and intricate make-up look only adding to the number of glamorous moments for the beauty set to emulate.
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Best K-beauty trend: Fermented skincare
The use of natural ingredients in beauty products is hardly a new affair but if we’re honing in on the world of K-beauty specifically, fermented cosmetic products have seen a take-up rate in the past year—coming after the hype of consuming health foods such as kombucha and tempeh. Lauded for its barrier-boosting formulations where one’s skin will be treated with vitamins, antioxidants and other minerals, some of the more popular fermented K-skincare products include TonyMoly’s Timeless Ferment Snail Eye Mask and the TikTok-famous sunscreen: Beauty Of Joseon’s Relief Sun.
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Best beauty look from New York Fashion Week: Glitzy sequinned brows
The wonderful thing about the glitter brows seen on Peter Do’s spring/summer 2023 show at New York Fashion Week is that it got everyone talking about its wearability off the runway. It’s simple yet dramatic, fun yet sophisticated and cool yet crazy all at the same time. While we’re not opposed to the idea of anyone adorning this sparkly number on a casual Tuesday afternoon but these chic glistening brows would definitely be perfect for making a statement on a night out at the clubs.
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Best beauty look from London Fashion Week: Crystal-encrusted peepers
We love a sleek burnished eyeshadow moment. But why not switch the palette out for crystal embellishments instead? The bejewelled beauty look seen on Simone Rocha’s fall/winter 2022 runway at London Fashion Week demonstrates how fabulously out-of-the-box this idea is. All you need are quality make-up glue, costume crystals and an eye for arrangement. While it is undoubtedly a TikTok beauty look that could potentially go viral, it can also work in real life, especially when matched with a simple crisp shirt and tailored trousers combo for a themed work event.
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Best beauty look from Milan Fashion Week: Goth-inspired exaggerated smokey eye
Elevate a Wednesday Addams goth-inspired look to couture levels with an exaggerated smokey eye as seen on Versace’s fall/winter 2022 runway. This look may be bold and intense, but it is smouldering and sophisticated when done right. Keep the rest of the make-up clean and bare, and pull this off at dressy evening events—all you need are a liquid eyeliner to define the eyes and a dollop of black eyeshadow and a steady hand to taper the eyeshadow at the edges, giving the look a sleek smokey effect.
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Best beauty look from Paris Fashion Week: Third eye embellishment
Three words to sum up this beauty look seen on Giambattista Valli’s spring/summer 2023 show. Femme goes glam. The complexion is fresh and plump with a healthy dose of hydration, while the light sheen of highlighter on the inner corners of the eyes lends an innocent, ethereal charm this easy breezy casual look. But what takes this clean girl look up a notch is the adornment of a single chunky crystal on the forehead—it’s unexpected, dramatic and oh-so-lovely.
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Best beauty look from Met Gala 2022: Naomi Campbell
The standout beauty look at this year’s Met goes to Naomi Campbell for three simple reasons: It’s smouldering, majestic and ethereal all at the same time. Her well-hydrated mien featured charcoal smokey eye make-up and a light hint of blush, making her red carpet moment sexy and sweet simultaneously. But it’s the crystal arrangement that we’re fawning over. Finesse is key when it comes to facial embellishments, and Campbell’s make-up artist did a great job at ensuring that the catwalk queen looks every bit sophisticated, chic and expensive.
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Best beauty look from Cannes Film Festival 2022: Deepika Padukone
Bollywood’s reigning silver screen queen, Deepika Padukone, gave us a sultry make-up moment at the Cannes Film Festival’s closing ceremony this year. Her sleek bun allowed her dewy complexion and striking features to shine, accentuated only by a touch of bronzer and chocolate-tinged smokey eyes. Finished with a nude lip, her overall look complemented her pearl-embellished dress immaculately.
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Best beauty look from Venice Film Festival 2022: Tilda Swinton
Tilda Swinton’s pared down look was a breath of fresh air amidst the glamour-heavy red carpet looks throughout this year’s Venice Film Festival appearances. This sleek bleached blonde ‘do was artfully highlighted with lemon-yellow tints and given a severe side part—a look only someone as elegant as Swinton can pull off. Her make-up was barely there, save for a bold scarlet lip and the slightest hint of coral blush which was both chic and classy.
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Best TikTok influencer: Stephanie Hui
From the golden streets of Hong Kong, Stephanie Hui brings her glamour and charm to Los Angeles—and more notably, our TikTok For You page. In an industry that is populated by the same archetype, Hui ushers in a refreshing take to the beauty scene. From experimenting with the latest eye-dos, to noteworthy make-up hacks, and even Get Ready With Me videos in Cantonese—it’s no wonder how this icon amassed 1.7 million followers in less than 18 months. What we love most about this Fenty Beauty campaign star? Her contagious energy that encourages beginners to try and inspires veterans to do.
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Most viral beauty look on TikTok: Clean Girl
This year, we revisited the basics of beauty with this crowd-favourite variation of the no make-up, make-up look—inspired by the Clean Girl. She, who has glistening dewy skin, the right amount of freckles and smouldering rosy cheeks that resemble the glow of a post pilates workout. Her eyebrows bend in an effortless poise, with lifted cheekbones and a sylphlike nose. She definitely won the genetic lottery, and the Internet has banded together to master her look. We returned to the boardroom to configure the perfect skincare routine for a glowing base, how to master a natural contour, and discerning the appropriate nude lipsticks for our skin tones. These efforts led to a myriad of micro-trends, from soap brows, to henna freckles, blush concealers, and more. At the root of it all, the Clean Girl beauty look reminded us of what we’ve known all along—make-up should just enhance what already is.
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Best TikTok hair hack: No-heat legging hair curls
Hair damage? We don’t know her. In the year of innovative beauty hacks, the ‘no-heat legging hair curl’ trick takes the lead. The boundaries of hairstyling broadened one July morning as creators flooded our TikTok For You feeds with videos of their hair draped around leggings. While the peculiar use of this exercise gear was scoffed off initially, we quickly jumped on the bandwagon upon seeing the results the next morning: voluminous bouncy spirals. If your mane is in need of a break from the heat, consider this comfortable and accessible trick to bring your curls to life.
Simply place the crotch of your legging on top of your head, before separating your hair into two. Wrap each section of hair around each side of the legging and secure it with a hairband, and tuck it in snugly as shown by creator @eggdressesup. With that, you’re only one sleep away from effortless swirls of beauty. The best TikTok hair hack ever? We have no doubt about that.
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Best TikTok wellness trend: Brown noise
“Brown noise is soothing because it is random, so it has no particular meaning and conveys no new information,” explains Professor Steve Elliott, professor at the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, ISVR, University of Southampton. “It can mask out other sounds that you might hear, such as other people speaking or traffic noise, that can be annoying and demand a person’s attention, so that the brown noise can reduce distraction and allow people to focus.”
Then again, if Taylor Swift‘s Midnights album worked for you, we say stick to what you know.
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Viral superfood of the year: Sea moss
Who is Irish Sea Moss‘s PR? Because according to them, kale is out and the potassium-rich ocean vegetable is in. The superfood which had a chokehold on all our TikTok FYPs over the past year is allegedly lauded for its gut-supporting, nutritional benefits.
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Worthiest wellness focus: Hormone health
Move over, flight or fight mode. We’re in our rest and digest eras.
From the booming menopause market to a new generation of single Singaporean women primed to freeze their eggs in 2023, hormone health has never before been held in such high importance. Beyond a super pill, cream or magic bullet, we discovered hormone health includes opting out of high-impact classes in favour of cortisol-lowering movements as well as ditching potential endocrine disruptors in our cosmetics and homes.
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Most helpful detox of the year: Dopamine detox
Ah, the timesuck that is social media. Whether you gave into TikTok’s siren song or binged Netflix’s Wednesday in a sitting, taking time to put the smartphone or remote down is vital.
The last pandemic-filled years have collectively overstimulated and exhausted our nervous systems. And in the face of global turmoil, it’s natural for us to cling to the things that give us the most comfort and joy. However, just as too much of a good thing can be borderline toxic, equilibrium is regained in ‘resetting’ your dopamine levels and circadian rhythms to go on a digital detox. Otherwise known as your happy hormones, dopamine floods your brain with a sense of pleasure and reward when you’re enjoying activities such as scrolling online or eating junk food.
Feeling constantly ‘wired and tired’? Dopamine (and often digital) detoxes are a great way to help us slow down, find pleasure in the present and sit with feelings that may otherwise remain unprocessed.