Last week I had the most mind blowing cosmetic experience ever. Every year, Cosmetic Executive Women Inc. (CEW) host their Beauty Awards to recognize the most innovative beauty products of the year. The awards are judged by CEW members (think most of the cosmetic industry from manufacturers to retailers to trade media), industry professionals and experts in the field of beauty. These awards are the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a product/brand, and with the help of little pink winners' stickers and a massive media push, a CEW award can generate millions of dollars more in sales for a beauty company.
Needless to say, every brand no matter how big or small or well known or established, enters these awards - assuming they can afford the $425 per product entry. And that's where the fun part begins. In order for voting members to get a better grasp of each product's benefits, technology, claims etc, there is a Beauty Awards Demonstration evening, whereby most entrants take a spot for a display on a fold-up table and have the opportunity to "sell" their product to discerning judges. Up to 4000 beauty junkies, cosmetic mavens and serious industry insiders peruse the multitude of products, nodding solemnly as the advisors earnestly discuss and demonstrate the merits of peptides, nano technology, salicylic acid, lash plumping fibers and lip anti oxidants, in the hope their product will be chosen as a finalist.
This year there are 516 entries across skincare, makeup, body care, men's grooming, sun care, haircare and fragrance, and most of them were being demonstrated at a cavernous space on West 18th St this week.
I have never been so overwhelmed in my life. If you thought it was difficult choosing your cosmetics from a supermarket aisle or a department store or pharmacy, you should see the number of brands that are on the market entire. You have your stalwarts - Estee Lauder, Lancome, L'Oreal and Maybelline - your hipper-than-thou - MAC, Nars, Bumble and bumble - your kooky - Benefit, Hard Candy and flirt - your upstarts - Strivectin, Dr. Brandt and Roc - your eco-conscious - Ojon, Origins and Burt's Bees - and your unknowns - The Socializer? Pixi by Petra? Carol's Daughter? And that doesn't even touch the (skin's) surface. But the best part of the whole night? A goodie bag so heavy and stuffed so full of samples that you need a personal assistant to carry the tote home. Here is a shot of my loot.