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.

This story first appeared in the May 31, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

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 Amazon.com 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


Eco Beauty Award — Nourish Organic

Best Seller Award
Mass: Makeup, L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Nail and Best Seller
Prestige: Skincare, Estée Lauder Perfectionist [CP+R] Wrinkle Lifting/Firming Serum.
Fragrance launch of 2012 (mass and class): Lancôme La vie est belle

Bath and Body
Bath and Body Mass
Eucerin — Professional Repair Lotion Extremely Dry Skin Lotion

Bath and Body Prestige
Bliss — Fatgirlsixpack

Acne Treatment
Glamglow — Super-mud Clearing Treatment

Anti-Aging Mass
Avon — Anew Clinical Pro Line Eraser Treatment A-F33

Anti-Aging Prestige

Philosophy — Full of Promise Treatment Duo for Uplifting Days and Volumizing Nights

Cleanser & Scrub
Fresh Inc. — Rose Cleansing Foam

Eye Treatment Mass

L’Oréal Paris — Revitalift Triple Power Eye Treatment

Eye Treatment Prestige

Lancôme — Génifique Eye Light-Pearl

Lip Treatment

Fresh Inc. — Sugar Lip Treatment Advanced Therapy

Moisturizer Mass
Neutrogena Corp. — Naturals Multivitamin Nourishing Moisturizer

Moisturizer Prestige
Clinique — Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator

Skincare Tools
NuFace — Trinity Skin Boosting System with Microcurrent and Red LED

Sun Product
Elizabeth Arden — Prevage Triple Defense Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 50+++


Hair Care Product
Ojon — Rare Blend Oil Total Hair Therapy

Hair Coloring Product
Rita Hazan New York — Foaming Color Gloss in Tones Down Brassiness

Hair Styling Product
Ojon — Super Sleek Restorative Blowout Perfector

Eye Product Mass
Maybelline New York — The Mega Plush Mascara by Volum’ Express Mascara

Eye Product Prestige
Dior Beauty — Diorshow New Look Mascara

Face Product Mass
Sonia Kashuk for Target — Chic Luminosity Bronzer in Goddess

Face Product Prestige
Smashbox Cosmetics — Photo Finish More Than Primer Dark Spot Correcting

Lip Product Mass
Sonia Kashuk for Target — Satin Luxe Lip Color with SPF 16

Lip Product Prestige
Dior Beauty — Addict Extreme Lipstick

Men’s Grooming
Jack Black — Dry Erase Ultra-calming Face Cream

Nail Product
Sally Hansen — Salon Insta-gel Strips

Men’s Scent
Viktor & Rolf — Spicebomb
Perfumer — International Flavors & Fragrances

Women’s Scent Mass

Coty — Closer by Halle Berry
Perfumer — Firmenich

Women’s Scent Prestige

Coty Inc. — Dot Marc Jacobs
Perfumer — Firmenich