How Allure Magazine Chooses their "Best of Beauty": An Interview with Amy Keller Laird

The annual “Best of Beauty” issue by Allure Magazine is like an Olympic feat, but it occurs annually in September instead of once every four years. We caught up with the magazine’s Beauty Director, Amy Keller Laird, to ask her how this happens.

The feat of reviewing tons of products in every category imaginable is really a six-month process that starts in January / February of each calendar year. “We have a team of interns log in every product,” Keller Laird says. “We take the submissions for several months, and do a tally for all the months.”

Allure Best of Beauty

This is not a single product testing event; there are multiple people testing the same product, and “at least 10 per product,” Keller Laird assures us. As for what gets tested, it really depends on what people’s preferences or areas of expertise are.

Curious to see what it takes to get the “Allure Best of Beauty” label? Take a peek:

For Color Cosmetics, Allure tests for a variety of things including if the color works for women of all skin tones. “We try them on staffers of different ethnicities,” says Keller Laird. “Pink lipstick is a category that never works on everyone, and we’ve gone back to the drawing board a number of times.” Allure also looks to see if eye shadows crease, do the lipsticks feel and wear well, and do they really last through lunch?

Allure Best of Beauty Cover

Products like shampoos and conditioners test very well, especially since that category is becoming highly specialized to accommodate all hair types from fine hair to color-treated hair.

As we would expect, the number of applications for the “Best of Beauty” award is on the rise. “I feel the anti-aging category is always overflooding,” says Keller Laird, who points out that this category includes beauty gadgets as well which are really taking off. “These ‘at home’ gadgets like the Olay brush really have good value.”

For some products, the answer is immediate and palpable. If a face scrub smells foul, it’s off putting and you just know it’s not the best. In order to be the best, it has to be the best “across the board.”

And yes, there is an Official Submission Form, and no, you can’t just bombard Ms. Keller Laird’s office with a million products. “We send this form out to all the companies and agencies with many rules, including that they submit 10 samples in marked bags so we know what categories they’re for.”

All these products, by the way, are tested in addition to the magazine’s steady monthly output.

As to how the “Best of Beauty” awards help move sales, we hear that the seal moves around 85 million products each year. That’s a little less than a third of the number of American residents. Impressive!

After the Good Housekeeping Seal, the Allure “Best of Beauty” seal, which is the first seal on beauty awards, really helps speak to people.

And, we weren’t too shy to ask Ms. Keller Laird on some products she can’t live without, and she mentioned Olay’s Microsculpting Cream, which “just blows it away.” She is also obsessed with Kiehl’s Silk Groom, Fresh Sugar Lip Balm, Living Proof, and Shu Uemura Art of Hair Cotton Uzu Flexible Defining Cream. In her words, “this stuff (Shu Uemura) is so amazing and my waves are so defined and not crunchy.”

Tell us, what Allure “Best of Beauty” product can’t you live without?

– Charu Suri

If you like this post, give it a LIKE on Facebook and share it with your friends