By  on May 30, 2013

Are niche brands hot again? It appears so, if the slew of small brands who walked away with trophies recently at Cosmetics Executive Women’s 19th annual CEW Beauty Insiders’ Choice Awards are any indication. The roster of niche brands taking home awards proved to be the biggest new trend for the awards, noted Carlotta Jacobson, CEW president. While there have always been niche winners sprinkled amongst the big-company honorees, this year the small-but-mighty proliferated — especially impressive, as the winners are selected by CEW’s membership of 5,500 beauty industry professionals, many of whom work for major corporations with large brands.This year was one of firsts for the awards, said Jacobson. They included a retail partnership with to sell the winning products, up now; two limited-edition boxes being sold by Birchbox beginning in June; a CVS initiative to highlight winners to its loyalty-card holders, and an addition to CEW’s existing QVC partnership, creating a category called QVC Beauty Quest, which highlights indie brands. This year, that honor went to Neydharting Moor, which will be featured on QVC on July 19. As well, this marks the first year CEW has presented awards in the skin-care tools and lip-treatment categories. “The awards were added to recognize these growing categories in the beauty marketplace,” said Jacobson. This year’s winning product for skin-care tools was NuFace Trinity Skin Boosting System with Microcurrent and Red LED, while the winning product for Lip Treatment was Fresh Inc.’s Sugar Lip Treatment Advanced Therapy. This year, CEW awarded 36 products across 30 product categories, along with Best Seller Awards, the Indie Beauty Award, Eco Beauty Award and QVC Beauty Quest Award. The award-winning products included bath and body care, cosmetics, hair care, skin care and the newly added skin-care tools and lip-treatment categories. The winners are determined exclusively by CEW’s membership of 5,500 beauty industry professionals; 185 finalists were selected from more than 650 entries.

Actor and comedian Mario Cantone hosted the awards for the eighth time, using his trademark off-color humor to liven up the proceedings — and to keep long speeches to a minimum, to the delight of the roughly 1,000 beauty executives in attendance. “Take too long with your speech, and I’ll roast you the next time I get to the podium,” he warned. (It worked.)The 2013 CEW Beauty Awards winners are:Indie Beauty Award — Julep

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