2013 AWARDS – Judges’ Favourites Part 1 (of 3)

jo malone

Now for the fun bit! We’ll be sharing some of the highlights of the 2013 Beauty Shortlist Awards with you over the next couple of weekends, starting today. This year’s Awards were considerably harder to judge – partly because of some exceptionally competitive categories (serums, night creams, hand creams and cleansers) and in fact there were a few “ties” in some categories including Best New Fragrance Launch, Best Daily Hand Cream and Best Tinted Moisturiser. If you missed all the excitement on March 15 you can catch up on the WINNERS and FINALISTS in the 45 categories HERE

First up, one of our absolute favourites was Jo Malone London’s mouthwateringly juicy and very British Blackberry & Bay  – WINNER, BEST NEW FRAGRANCE LAUNCH.  Blackberry & Bay tied in first place with the equally original and delicious A Shot of Thai Lime Over Mango by JoLoves.com

Read the full Blackberry & Bay review here


American brand Suki Skincare’s Tinted Active Moisturiser (WINNER – BEST TINTED MOISTURISER) wowed us with its super-lightweight formula which felt incredibly comfortable on skin. The downside is, it’s only currently available in 3 shades.  The upside is, it’s suitable for all skin types, is beautifully sheer (a great one for summer) but does provide coverage – you can apply a second layer if you need more – plus it adds radiance, calms skin, boosts collagen and is worth earmarking if you have irritated/irritable skin.

Suki tied in first place with Jouer’s Luminizing Tinted Moisturiser which does everything a Tinted Moisturiser should do and a heck of a lot more, plus it’s SPF30. (Thank you Alexia at Cult Beauty for flagging this product!) Also brilliant and the runner up, was  Laura Mercier’s Illuminating Tinted Moisturiser SPF20. The Pure Emporia sends out free samples with orders, so it’s a good way to test-drive Suki’s tinted moisturiser before deciding if it’s a keeper or not.

Ingredients: Organic Roses (Rosa Centifolia) infused in filtered Water (Aqua/Eau), Organic Sunflower Seed (Helianthus Annus) Oil, 100% Natural Beeswax (Cera Alba), Organic Grapeseed (Vitis Vinifera), Jojoba Seed (Simmondsia Chinensis), Hazelnut (Corylus Americano) & Borage (Borago Officinalis) Oils, Cetearyl Alcohol, Organic Fair Trade Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii), Standardized White Willow Bark (Salix Alba) Extract, food-grade Non-gmo Lecithin (Lecithin), Natural Vitamin C (Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate) & Retinol (Polypeptide Liposomes) Polypeptide Liposomes, Organic Rose (Rosa Caninca) Extract, food-grade Xanthan (Xanthan) & Arabic (Acacia Catechu) Gums, Aroma (pure steam distilled essential oils), Geraniol, Linalool [may contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides]

And a special mention…

dr hauschka cream

Dr. Hauschka Toned Day Cream – Special Mention (BEST TINTED MOISTURISER)

I have to be honest, Dr. Hauschka didn’t spring to mind when we were judging tinted moisturisers – we had the Laura Merciers and Lancomes on our list and what a surprise this was. We had to give this Toned Day Cream a “special mention” because it’s like an instant radiance fix for dry or more mature skin.

It’s dense and glossy and was a bit too “concentrated” for a couple of the judges (including me) but I tried mixing in some lightweight moisturising lotion and have been wearing it ever since.

Dr. Hauschka do a trial size for £4, so if you could do with a little help on the radiance/luminosity front, this really IS a healthy glow in a tube. The name  “Toned Day Cream” doesn’t really do this product justice – maybe “Instant Daily Glow” or something? Fast forward from not-looking-so-good to “you look well!” in 60 seconds flat.

Udos Best Beauty Supplement

Udo’s Ultimate Oil Blend – WINNER, BEST BEAUTY SUPPLEMENT. We tested some beauty teas and loads of supplements over winter and Udo’s Ultimate Oil Blend emerged as another favourite.  Our bodies can’t make Omega 3 and it’s not that easy to find in food, so this is a great way to get your daily Omega 3-6-9 fix in one power-packed blend of oils, including the all-important flax. There’s also sesame, sunflower, evening primrose (brilliant for eczema or psoriasis), rice germ, oat germ and coconut (watch for more coconut beauty products this year, it’s a fab all-rounder).

Nails, hair and skin will love this blend but so will your brain and immune system and it’s an energy-booster, too. Tip: works best blended in fruit yoghurt or smoothies because of the taste. Read the product review here: “Winter Wonder Worker”.


Xen-Tan Luminous Gold Gel/Medium (WINNER – Best Self-Tanner)

Ridiculously easy  to apply and pleasant to use, this gold-flecked gel smells good (sort of “monoi/tropical but suitably subtle). We just thought it was an all round brilliant body bronzer.

If you’re fair-skinned, it’ll take you from a winter-is-dragging pale to a just-got-back-from-Barbados shade in a couple of days and you’ll see results in about three hours.  It’s on sale at Xen-Tan at the moment. (Beau Bronz’s Abi O Gradual Self-Tanner and St. Tropez Perfect Legs Spray were the two runners-up).

kure bazaar

Kure Bazaar 4-Free Nail Polish (WINNER – Best “3-Free” Nail Colour)

If you like your nail colours as toxic-free as possible, 85% of Kure Bazaar’s new 4-Free Nail Polish ingredients are naturally derived, from wheat, cotton, potatoes, corn and wood pulp. Watch for 5-Free brands this year, we know of one already hovering just beneath the radar at the moment, but haven’t tried it (we’ll let you know when we do, looks like it’s German, has anyone tried it yet?)


Created by a top model, Kure Bazaar’s bottles are chic, the colours are gorgeous, the lacquers glide on and come in a carousel of 40 eco-glam shades and they could not be more perfect for SS13.  You can find Kure Bazaar at Being Content and Selfridges and there’s more on the brand in this review: Say Hello to the New 4-Free Formula 

Tip: Finish with a clear protective top coat for extra-durability.  Runners-up: Zoya and Butter London.

grapefruit hand cream awardAbahna White Grapefruit & May Chang Hand Cream – WINNER, BEST DAILY HAND CREAM (tied with REN’s Citrus Limonium Prebiotic Hand Cream)

In the two very crowded, competitive hand cream categories – Best Intensive Hand Cream and Best Daily Hand CreamAbahna’s White Grapefruit & May Chang Hand Cream £8 was a hands-down favourite, no pun intended.  Everyone we know who’s tried Abahna for the first time falls in love with this brand which I think would be a pretty much perfect fit for John Lewis. This London brand has really ” nailed” their hand cream formulas, blending essential oils with cocoa and shea butter and natural antibacterials.

And…we’ve all been slathering  on REN’s hand cream like there’s no tomorrow – it’s delicious!

REN Citrus Limonium Prebiotic Hand Cream – WINNER, BEST DAILY HAND CREAM (tied with Abahna).

Long name. Fabulous hand cream. Light as air, super-hydrating and scented with Sicilian lemons this hand cream is a hard one to beat and at £17 for 300ml you can keep it by the kitchen sink and watch it last for ages.  Full review here.

REN Skincare also won the top category, BEST NATURAL/ORGANIC SKINCARE BRAND 2013  in this year’s Awards.

REN Hand Cream

The Best Bath Oil/Bath Foam categories were (unlike some of the self-tanners!) the most fun categories to judge, especially over winter. Another immediate favourite from this year’s Awards was the Frangipani & Orange Blossom Bath Foam which scented the whole bathroom, not just the bath and Abahna do mini sizes starting at £4 so you can test-drive their signature blends across the product ranges. This Frangipani Bath Foam is very feminine, warm, sensual and vibrant and I am personally not normally a Frangipani fan as I find it (like Jasmine) a bit too cloying/overpowering but I loved this scent. Abahna London’s packaging is luxurious and incredibly stylish, and all Abahna orders come gift-wrapped, free.

frangipani bath foam winner logo

Abahna Frangipani & Orange Blossom Bath Foam,WINNER, BEST BATH FOAM (Runners-up NEOM Organics and Weleda)

More judges’ favourites to come over the next two weeks, in Parts 2 and 3.

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