CEW 2010 Awards Demo: Our Best of Beauty Picks

The Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) Organization needs no introduction, as I’m sure you all are aware of how prestigious the honors for the finalists and award winners are. Here you can find the complete list of categories and entrants for the 2010 Awards.

CEW Beauty Awards 2010

I attended the CEW 2010 Awards Demo the other night and was treated to endless tables of beauty products. Most were familar to me over the course of my beauty education over the year (note, the products had to be released during the calendar year 2009 to be eligible), but there were some products that surprised me — in a great way.

We had the opportunity to hear Susan Bornstein talk about what makes CEW a truly unique organization, and in her words “the beauty categories and products that were entered actually rose over the past year instead of decreasing.” And can you believe it, the number of indie brand entrants practically doubled? This means that the small business owner, especially in the highly-competitive beauty business, is getting more clout. Amen to that!

There were some really exuberant displays of affection in the whole design of the Demo Awards, from cozy fireplaces to platters of chocolates and truffles handed out to guests, to Clarisonic facials and two gorgeous, buff men handing out red roses to ladies (sponsored by Veet).

Veet at CEW Awards 2010

There were also some products that were blinged out just for the occasion. Take a look at Garnier Fructis Anti Humidity Hairspray cans covered in Swarovski crystals (just model cans, of course. We wish we could buy these at the drugstore).

Garnier Fructis Bling at the CEW 2010 Awards

Now, onto the award categories themselves. There are so many product categories and subdivisions (the Facial Skincare section alone has 9 subsections including Acne Treatment and Eye Treatment Mass and Eye Treatment Prestige). After testing, trying, questioning, sniffing and applying makeup like veritable Miss America contestants (for two hours, nonetheless!), we still felt we had not done all the entrants justice. As you may know, these nominees need VOTES to be able to enter the FINALS (yup, it’s just like American Idol). This year, more than 550 products were entered by nearly 300 beauty brands, and 155 finalists will be chosen will be chosen from 31 categories.

One category I love is the Indie Award that will be presented to companies less than five years old. I think this is a terrific idea, especially when we know that running a small business in these times isn’t a walk in the park with the daffodils blooming. There were 38 entries for the Indie Awards this year, almost double the number of entrants from 2009.

The voting process is pretty rigorous, and that’s where all the CEW members come in. Over 3,500 members weigh in to determine the finalists. If you had only seen the number of products displayed at the demo, you’ll realize what an ENORMOUS task – beyond Olympic size – this is. The finalists are announced in late March, so if you’re a CEW member, you have only a few weeks to vote.

The winners are announced live at the Beauty Insiders Choice Award Luncheon on May 21st and the winning criteria are: innovation (70% of the voting weight), delivery system and packaging (remaining 30%).

After trying so many products, we felt there were a few that really deserved mention because of their innovation and quality.

Facial Moisturizer Mass

We love the Olay Pro-X Age Repair Lotion with SPF30. Olay Pro-X was developed by a team of scientists and dermatologists. It works to moisturize and hydrate to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Ron Robinson, cosmetic chemist and founder of BeautyStat.com says, “it contains Vitamin C, E and Carnosine. These are antioxidants that are naturally found in the body and they work to help protect the skin environmental damage.” It also contains SPF30 to provide broad spectrum UV protection.

This is a product that gives you prescription-style results without the need for one.

Body Moisturizer Mass

We were impressed by the Vaseline Sheer Infusion Moisturizer with Stratys 3. The company says it is their biggest breakthrough in body lotion innovation in 10 years, and the results show that the moisturization levels are better than the leading mass moisturizers.

Facial Anti-Aging Treatment Prestige

Lancome’s Genifique has received tons of press and and a lot of people are going to root for this one, no doubt, mostly because it really does work. The product aims to boost genes’ activity and stimulate the production of youth proteins. But Robinson says, “There does not appear to be much data to support that the product boosts gene activity (if the product did stimulate the genes that create collagen, then it would rejuvenate the skin) but the product does contain a patented ingredient called Salicyloyl Phytosphingosine or SP. SP has been shown to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve skin texture”

Bath/Shower Product Mass

Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash with Nutrium Moisture is a body cleanser that actually hydrates the skin more and more after each use. Dove was able to incorporate a unique lipid complex. The same lipid complex found in their soap bar.

A 3 week study showed that the Dove Nutrium Moisture Body Wash product hydrated significantly better than other body washes. I have not heard of another body wash that hydrates so well.

Hair Product Mass

We think this will be a close battle between Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion that strengthens hair significantly with cassia seed extract; and L’Oreal’s Everpure, a sulfate free line. Company studies showed that Pantene improved hair strength 10 times more than other shampoos and conditioners.

Women’s Scent Prestige

We were very impressed by Yves Rocher North America’s Naturelle Eau de Toilette, which is truly a completely surprising fragrance. It evokes a seaside freshness, but also conjures up images of a green apple martini, with a twist of California lemon and Italian bergamot. The product’s creator is Michel Girard of Givaudan, and he’s a legend. Even the cardboard packaging is produced from managed forests.

Compared to a surfeit of overly-sweet, top-note heavy or romantic florals in this category, this scent stands out because it is completely different.

Lip Product Prestige

It’s going to be a very tough race between Guerlain Le Rouge G de Guerlain, Chanel’s Rouge Allure Laque Luminous Satin Lip Lacquer, and Shiseido Makeup Perfect Rouge Lipstick. But I think the really innovative product here is the Guerlain Le Rouge G de Guerlain because of the quality of the lipstick (truly rich and long lasting) AND the innovative packaging which features a hidden mirror. The case itself was designed by jeweler Lorenz Baumer.

Charu Suri