With new brands and products coming out fast and furious, the competition gets tougher and tougher each year. Brands need to stay on their toes if they want to hold the attention of the beauty community. This year is exemplary of that as cosmetic and award-winning giant MAC lost some key categories, such as Best Brand of the Year, and new-for-2011 Tarte Amazonian 12-Hour Clay Blush made impressive inroads against long-time favorite NARS Blush.
The products on the shortlists are all good products overall; readers wouldn’t have nominated them in droves if they weren’t. Sometimes our favorites don’t win, and sometimes they don’t make the ballot, but maybe they will next year. There are always a few surprise nominations and winners. I always look forward to the shortlists, because it gives me an opportunity to see what readers are loving and try out products I haven’t tried before.
Nominations certainly show a trend of who is going to win what. If a product doesn’t make it onto the shortlist, it doesn’t make the ballot, which means voters will vote for the best of what is listed (and some will vote other, which is what we encourage unsure voters to do).
However, the amount of nominations does not always indicate who is going to win. For instance, in Best New Product of 2011, Urban Decay Naked 2 Eyeshadow Palette won with a fair lead ahead of competitors, but it was third in nominations (and the third place winner led the nominations by double the second nomination leader). The same trend occurred in Most Surprisingly Amazing Product of 2011! With some of these year-based categories, I suspect that many of us forget what debuted during the year but the shortlist reminds us.
The most controversial category remains the Best Indie Brand of 2011, because the term “indie” seems hard to capture. How small is “indie”? How wide can distribution be if it’s “indie”? In my beauty bubble, I could tell you I hear about Sugarpill and Inglot much more than theBalm, but theBalm used to be in Sephora, though it’s still a very small company that’s not part of any large conglomerate; its founder is its owner who still creates and develops the colors and product stories. Inglot is primarily available online and in a few boutiques around the country but did recently get space in Macy’s. Is “indie” an objective standard or is it subjective? Is it a certain type of spirit or does it boil down to numbers? And if so, how can we judge that aspect when profits are carefully guarded?
I know it sounds cliche, but every vote counts–there are categories that don’t get decided until the last minutes of the voting period. Sometimes the difference is as little as a single vote. There are definitely some categories with huge winners that aren’t going anywhere and leap out in front from the get-go, but there are others where two or three products will jockey for first until the last few days when finally a clear winner comes forward.
Thank you for all of your nominations and voting!
Next year’s awards will see several categories cut. The following categories are up for removal based on high number of individual nominations and small majorities/high “Other” votes: Best Face Exfoliator, Best Facial Cleanser, Best Daytime Moisturizer, Best Evening Moisturizer, Best Body Moisturizer, Best Body Scrub, Best Shampoo, and Best Conditioner. It’s not unsurprising, and I’ve been considering removing these categories for a couple of years now, as skincare and hair care are very individual. If you really think any of these should stay, please weigh in with a comment!