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The 2022 Beauty Inc Awards: The Biggest Deals & Boldest Beauty Executives of the Year

Here, the winners of Brand Builder, Newsmaker, Wellness Award, Corporate Social Responsibility and Transformational Deal of the Year.

The WWD Beauty Inc Awards are editor’s choice honors, chosen using a variety of sources. Here, the winners for Brand Builder of the Year, Transformational Deal of the Year, Newsmaker of the Year, the Corporate Social Responsibility Honor and the Wellness Award.

Brand Builder of the Year: Charlotte Ros, President, North America, Parfums Christian Dior 

Charlotte Holman Ros was named president of Parfums Christian Dior, North America, in September 2020 — during the heart of COVID-19. But she’s not one to let something like a pandemic slow her down. Under her helm, Dior’s beauty business is on fire. Eau Sauvage has a seemingly iron grip on the top spot in fragrance, while Dior’s color cosmetics business grew at twice the rate of the industry and is the largest designer makeup brand in the U.S. Then there’s TikTok, where products like Rosy Glow Blush and Lip Glow Oil became viral sensations, leading to sellouts across the country. (Lip Glow was said to have more than doubled its volume in the last year alone.) Ros and her team expertly leveraged all of the attention with Gen Z-loving launches like an alcohol-free version of the classic J’Adore scent. With results like those, there’s nothing not to love about the year ahead. 

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Transformational Deal of the Year: P&G Specialty Beauty 

Beauty Inc. Awards 2022
Beauty Inc. Awards 2022 George Chinsee/WWD

Procter & Gamble has never shied away from making big changes to drive success in its beauty business — as when it sold 41 of its beauty brands in 2015 to Coty in a $12.5 billion deal to better focus on its core capabilities of skin and hair care. Since then, the division has grown consistently under the leadership of P&G Beauty CEO Alex Keith, and this year, P&G shape-shifted its beauty business again with a rat-a-tat series of acquisitions that make it a key player in the specialty channel. In rapid succession, the company bought three of the hottest indies on the market: Tula Skincare, Ouai Hair Care and Farmacy Beauty, creating a new Specialty Beauty division to house them, along with current holdings like First Aid Beauty. So what’s different this time? P&G has a new integration strategy to drive success for acquired brands, one that Keith called “positive Procter-ization,” that enables the smaller brands to operate autonomously and both parties to learn from each other. Its focus is also much sharper. The company is looking to play in the sectors it knows best, namely skin and hair. “As we looked at these categories and saw the blurring and the growth and the opportunity at different retail channels to meet different needs at different price points, we saw a great opportunity,” Keith said at the 2021 WWD Beauty CEO Summit. Noting that the company has successfully grown its mass business significantly, she added that P&G is equally bullish on its newest family members. “They can grow to be incredibly big,” said Keith, “and we’re counting on the teams that have been leading them so far to deliver that growth.” 

Newsmaker of the Year: Carol Hamilton, Group President, Acquisitions and West Coast Headquarters, L’Oréal

Throughout her storied career, Carol Hamilton has always been a risk taker. So, when it came to taking on the responsibility for overseeing the design and opening of L’Oréal’s West Coast headquarters — during a time when much of the global workforce was under lockdown due to the pandemic — she was all in. The results are as spectacular as Hamilton’s career, which spans more than 35 years at L’Oréal. As president of L’Oréal Paris, she built it from a brand with expertise in one category and sales of $150 million into the largest beauty brand in the world with multicategory dominance and sales of $1.7 billion. During her time as president of the Luxury Division, she tripled sales from $1 billion to $3 billion, and as group president of acquisitions, she has spearheaded some of L’Oréal’s most significant deals including the acquisitions of It Cosmetics and Youth to the People. Now, as the overseer of the development of the company’s West Coast headquarters, Hamilton is writing its future. Sitting on a 25-acre campus with more than 100,000 square feet of space, the offices bring together all of L’Oréal’s Los Angeles-based brands — and has plenty of room for more. (The words “Our Next Acquisition” are painted boldly on one wall.) Being California, there’s a gym, a juice bar and the lunch menu is full of health options. “California is the center of the beauty universe and the mecca of new trends happening in beauty,” said Hamilton at the opening. “Not only will it be a vibrant house — we consider this more of a house than an office for our brands — but it will also be a tremendous source of ideas.” Leave it to Hamilton to tap into beauty’s next gold rush. 

The Wellness Award: Nutrafol 

Hair loss is second only to weight loss as a key wellness concern among consumers of all ages, even with Gen Z. And as with other sectors post-pandemic, in 2022 people wanted science-based solutions to hair health issues like thinning strands and hair loss. Nutrafol answered the clarion call with its line of nutraceuticals formulated for age or life stage. Founded in 2016 by former model Giorgos Tsetis who started losing his hair in his early 20s, and Roland Peralta, who struggled with hair loss after a thyroid cancer diagnosis, the brand has become the top-ranked dermatologist-recommended hair growth brand in the U.S., and that performance didn’t go unnoticed. Unilever, which has been aggressively building up its Beauty and Wellbeing division via acquisition, snapped up L Catterton-backed Nutrafol, which had a reported valuation of $1 billion, in May for an undisclosed sum. Look for that figure to grow, said Jostein Solheim, CEO of the division, as the science becomes even better understood. “How do businesses make an impact by science,” he said, at the WWD Wellness Forum. “We see ourselves as being in a job of putting science to work for the betterment of human health.” 

Corporate Social Responsibility: Guerlain 

Talk about a buzzy social responsibility agenda. Bees have been a source of inspiration for Guerlain since the house’s inception in 1828. They are also at the core of Guerlain’s efforts to create a more equitable and healthy environment, preserve biodiversity and create a positive social impact. Under the auspices of CEO Véronique Courtois and chief sustainability officer Cécile Lochard, the company partnered with Unesco to create the Women for Bees program that helps support female entrepreneurs and protects the honeybee population in endangered areas around the globe. The program launched in the South of France in 2021 and headed to Cambodia this year, under the guidance of Guerlain ambassador Angelina Jolie. Working in partnership with local experts, the program trained women as beekeepers and tackled the demise of the honeybee in the country by working to prevent deforestation. Guerlain also sponsored programs in Ethiopia, Rwanda and China in 2022, and will focus its efforts in the Amazon next year. By 2025, the program will facilitate the creation of 2,500 hives in 25 UNESCO biosphere reserves, ultimately repopulating 125 million bees. Impact like that is sweet indeed.