By  on September 21, 2007

Estée Lauder, L'Oréal Paris, Dr. Brandt and Frédéric Malle were some of the winners of the staggering 218 honors given out at the 12th annual Best of Beauty Awards held on Monday at the Rainbow Room.

For the Best of Beauty October issue, Allure tested more than 2,000 products ­— from shampoos, mascaras, creams and fragrances.

Perhaps it was the sense of longevity of holding its 12th annual award ceremony that prompted Allure editor in chief Linda Wells to wax nostalgic about her long-ago days as a junior beauty editor, toiling in the lower reaches of the magazine food chain.

Facing a throng of beauty executives in the audience, Wells dryly recalled sitting through offbeat product presentations that senior editors couldn't be bothered with. First there was a Lucite shield designed to protect a woman's face when she applied hair spray. But then people stopped using aerosol products. Then there was the weekend with the inventor of the Today contraceptive sponge, and finally there was the developer of a facial cream who would demonstrate the product's purity by swallowing spoonfuls of it and plopping gobs of it on his eye. The cream became one of the biggest success stories in skin care and today is known as Crème de la Mer. She concluded her speech by thanking those who attended "for taking the crazy out of beauty."

Singer and actress Mandy Moore also made a special guest appearance in place of Lily Allen, who was unable to make it back in time for the Allure awards due to complications with her visa as a result of punching a photographer in London.

As a treat to take home, the magazine gave out goodie bags with 134 products that were worth more than $3,500. Of the 218 winners, only a few were represented in the gift bag.

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