You keep up with the Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling and you love trying out the latest in mascara innovation, but unless you're a real beauty industry fanatic, you probably don't pay much attention to the Women's Wear Daily year-end beauty awards, which were announced on Friday. They're a little bit too industry-insider for the average lipgloss-wearer, but they're incredibly thoughtful; the analysis behind each award focuses on innovation, market value, and performance, and in many categories, WWD awards two awards, one based on "mass" and one on "prestige" (might we refer to the distinction as quality vs. quantity?). These are the winners that particularly peaked our interest this year:
Visionary of the Year: Leslie Wexner, CEO of Limited Brands
Mr. Wexner opened his first The Limited store in 1963, and now owns Victoria's Secret, Pink, Bath and Body Works, and Henri Bendel, among others. He's the longest-serving CEO of a Fortune 500 company, famous for his intuitive grasp of the customer's wants and his ability to predict just how well a product will sell.
Ad Campaign of the Year: Dove "Real Beauty Sketches"
Say what you will about how feminist this ad really was, but you can't deny that it's been a smash hit. Less than a month after it launched, it became the most-viewed online ad of all time. "A universal truth is the best basis for any kind of brand campaign, and we were able to unlock that," says Gina Boswell (executive vice president of personal care, North America, for Unilever).
Creative Influencer Award: Gucci Westman
You've seen her magical makeup work on Katy Perry's July Vogue Cover and Emma Stone's adorably freckly Revlon ads. She's been the artistic director at Revlon since 2008, and refers to making up people as "creating a character." We'd like to hang out with her, please.
Prestige Brand of the Year: Chanel
No one's surprised. Not only is it Chanel (to be said, always, in hushed and reverential tones), but the brand has had a great year in beauty: both the Les Beiges makeup line and the Le Lift skin care line were extremely successful.
Mass Newcomer of the Year Award: Flower by Drew Barrymore
Barrymore "can't sleep at night" because she's so involved with her beauty line. The sweet, colorful products retail at Wal-Mart for around $5-$15, perfect for little girls who want to be hippie movie stars when they grow up.
Prestige Skincare Product of the Year: Ibuki by Shiseido
A skincare line designed specifically for Millennials, with their bad dietary habits, lack of sleep, and existential worries weighing down their young foreheads? Smart move, Shiseido. The Ibuki line is cleverly positioned to get Millennials hooked on Shiseido products, so that in a decade or so, when they're finally making money, Shiseido will still have a crop of loyal, mostly wrinkle-free customers.
Mass Color Cosmetics Product of the Year: CoverGirl Clump Crusher by LashBlast Mascara
This number is hard to believe, but Proctor & Gamble told WWD that, in an effort to eradicate clumps, women swipe on their mascara 100 to 300 times. Yeah, what?! Immediately, P&G decided to make a product to fix this insane time sink. The bristles of the Clump Crusher brush are spaced too tightly for clumps to even form, so you'll get smooth, even coverage — and maybe you'll only need a single swipe.
Read about the rest of the award winners over at Women's Wear Daily.