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Brief Published: 22 Dec 2016

Most-Googled Beauty Queries of 2016

Clockwise L-R: Christophe Lemaire A/W 16/17, Hudabeauty eyebrow tutorial, Morphe brushes, Feather Lights by Johnny Ramirez balayage, Victoria Beckham S/S 17, Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher concealers

Google has published its annual top 10 beauty queries of the year, with hair styling techniques and eye make-up tricks featuring prominently in 2016.

This year’s most Googled question was “How to do a fishtail braid", a subject that also featured in Google’s 2015 beauty trends and other social media lists – see Top Hair Looks on Pinterest 2015. A perennial catwalk trend (see S/S 15 Womenswear: Hair for where it all began) and a favourite with celebrities both on and off the red carpet, consumer demand for the experimental hairstyle was such that London department store Selfridges opened a pop-up Braid Bar in 2015.

Hair health is another key beauty topic with Google users, with consumers keen to know “How to make hair grow faster”. Stylus explored targeted products that boost vitality, shine and volume in thinning and brittle hair types in Future Beauty: Accelerated Anti-Ageing, an area we expect to grow in 2017. “How to curl hair” and “What is balayage?” point towards consumer demand for temporary and low-maintenance styling and colouring techniques. We identified new ombré and balayage techniques in Kaleidoscopic Hair: New Directions, from feather lights and hair contouring to chocolate chip and cherry bomb ombré – all processes that require minimal upkeep and less frequent salon visits.

Make-up-wise, “How to apply concealer” was a hot topic, as was “How to get rid of bags under your eyes”. Although colour cosmetics and skincare are predominantly seen as female-focused categories, the rise of unisex make-up brands like Milk Makeup and Mac’s collaboration with New York society twins Harry and Peter Brant are pointing towards a shift in attitudes – see Gender-Fluid Generation. Meanwhile, “How to clean make-up brushes” is a fast-growing concern for consumers, as they learn more about skin health as well as how to apply colour cosmetics.

Beauty’s full eyebrow trend is going nowhere. “How to fill in eyebrows” was a popular question, with social media influencers like Dubai-based make-up artist Huda Kattan – aka @hudabeauty – posting and reposting countless tutorials on the subject. Eyebrows provided much scope for experimentation on the S/S 17 Womenswear: Beauty catwalks, with accented, coloured and reshaped classic 1940s-style lines offering much inspiration.

Finally, “How to remove gel nails” was also in 2016’s top 10, confirming that although consumers still rate the look of gels, they are concerned with how the process is affecting their nail health. For more on this, see Nail Art: Colourful Currency. For those interested in last year’s list, see Most-Googled Beauty Queries of 2015.