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Beauty 2.0

Considering that we live in a world where your car can talk you through a road trip and you can shop from your cell phone, it's no wonder beauty practices are also going high-tech. "These days, it isn't enough for makeup to come in a perfect shade or for a skin cream to do one thing well—products need to make your life easier too," says Taya Tomasello, director of Beauty Innovation Americas for Mintel International, a Chicago-based market-research firm. And that can mean products that multitask, work remotely, or employ up-to-the-second ingredients. Check out how your favorite beauty products and rituals are evolving with the times.

Makeup with Benefits

Blush, foundation, and eye shadow can now do more than pretty you up. They can also smooth out wrinkles and uneven texture with ingredients such as peptides and antioxidants that are normally relegated to anti-aging skin treatments. And while these makeup items can't replace your daily skin-care regimen (they contain less concentrated versions of those fancy ingredients), "the extra dose of anti-agers they provide helps you achieve better results in both the short and long term," says Francesca J. Fusco, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "Women should definitely try them."

A few to check out: FusionBeauty Colorceuticals SculptDiva Contouring & Sculpting Blush ($29, sephora.com) is a cream blush made with collagen-stimulating peptides, which plump cheeks for a firmer look. Aveda Nourish-Mint Lip Definer ($20, aveda.com) contains collagen-boosting peptides that make lips appear fuller. Babor Super Soft Eye Shadow ($22, babor.com) tightens lids with peptide based firming agents typically found in anti-aging eye creams.

Some products have hidden tone-improving talents: For example, Tarte At Ease neutralizing yellow concealer ($30, sephora.com) disguises the ruddiness from rosacea with yellow pigments and also helps prevent flushing with anti-inflammatory peptides.

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Get-Happy Hues

Color therapy is a centuries-old philosophy based on the belief that specific shades stimulate the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain. "Mounting evidence shows that certain colors can affect mood, behavior, and job performance," says Pamela Dalton, Ph.D., a sensory scientist at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. "For example, red has been shown to make people carry out tasks faster and more accurately, blue can be calming, and yellow may be invigorating."

Beauty companies such as Kroia Skincare, which recently debuted Energizing Yellow and Soothing Blue Foaming Moisturizers ($40, kroia.com), are jumping on the color-therapy bandwagon by tinting their skin-care products with shades considered to be mood enhancing. "By applying the product, the perception is that you are 'imbuing' yourself with the properties of the color," explains color specialist Leatrice Eiseman, head of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training.

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Attraction Agents

Cosmetics that are laced with pheromones—which supposedly have the power to put you in a sexy mood and attract others to you—are a seductive marketing message, but do they work? "By using something that makes you think about being sexy, you might feel more self-confident or sensual, and that can have an impact on how others respond to you," says Dalton. Check out Purple Lab Luvah ($24, purplelabnyc.com), a lip gloss containing dong quai, an herb used in Chinese medicine as an aphrodisiac and libido stimulant, and Booty Parlor Kissaholic Lip Gloss ($16, bootyparlor.com), a gloss that utilizes aphrodisiacs.

Color Chameleons

Now this is exciting: Cosmetic chemists have recently figured out how to create products that adjust to your skin tone. So say buh-bye to clownish blush, and that heinous line of demarcation between your jaw and neck caused by foundation that doesn't quite match your skin.

"The new technology ensures you'll get the color that's right for you, and it won't look garish or obvious. It's your skin, but better," says Stephen Sollitto, a makeup artist in Los Angeles.

It sounds like magic, and it kind of is. These clear gels and creams contain encapsulated color pigments that break down and adjust to your pH (the degree of acidity or alkalinity in your skin's outer layers) when you apply them. The technology is being used in blushes, bronzers, concealers, and foundations, says Ni'Kita Wilson, a cosmetic chemist in Fairfield, New Jersey. Worth trying: Almay Smart Shade Bronzer and Concealer ($9 each, at drugstores) are long lasting and totally innocuous. Mally Beauty Couture Color Custom Blush ($25, mallybeauty.com) and Clarins Rouge Prodige Instant Blush Magic Colour ($26, clarins.com) both mimic the flush you get after a walk outside on a cool day.

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Beauty 3.0: What's Next

The latest beauty innovations might seem a little out-there, but they may be coming to a beauty counter (or dermatologist's office) near you very soon.

Neurocosmetics

"These are products that contain plant proteins called nootropics, which stimulate the nerve endings in the skin and are said to boost levels of serotonin and dopamine, two hormones that give us a sense of euphoria," says cosmetic chemist Ni'Kita Wilson.

Quick-change nail color

Researchers at the University of California at Riverside are developing two-sided color pigments that can be flipped from one shade to the other using a magnet. If it works, new polish shades could be transformed while you wear them.

Injuections that truly change skin

In the next decade, stem cells could be injected into wrinkles to grow collagen and smooth skin. These aren't the stem-cell-mimicking proteins currently used in skin care. The new shots will use authentic human stem cells.
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