Beauty Awards

Readers’ Choice: MVP Brand Of The Year & Rookie Of The Year

We asked, you voted.

by Bustle Editors
Ami Colé beauty product white tubes and an orange stick

On top of launching innovative products, a truly groundbreaking beauty brand has to stand for something — and the ones that do are paving the way for everyone else to do the same. That’s why we decided to highlight two brands — a larger, more established brand as MVP and a smaller brand shaking things up as Rookie of the Year — to be a part of our awards this year. We asked you to help us choose them, narrowing down 10 semifinalist brands to just two winners on Bustle’s Instagram account.

Ahead, get to know the two brands that won our reader’s choice category for 2022.

MVP Brand Of The Year: Fenty Beauty

BriAnne Wills

Forget the brand of the year — Fenty Beauty might just be the brand of the decade, and an entire generation, too. From the moment Rihanna’s dizzyingly-anticipated line arrived at Sephora stores, it was at once an invitation and a challenge. To those who’d been neglected by infuriatingly limited shade ranges, it was a welcoming embrace from someone who understands. To the every other brand, it was like Rihanna lowered her sunglasses to raise a single, disappointed eyebrow. The Fenty standard became an industry standard, all thanks to the queen Riri herself. In the past year, Fenty Beauty’s hit its stride and continuously pumps out best-sellers equally coveted for their staying power, lush pigment, and personal Rihanna touches — two recent launches, a just-released lipstick collection and Fenty’s first fragrance, are inspired by her own cupid’s bow and self-described essence, respectively. Even the brand’s expansion into Ulta makes it quite literally more accessible. But though every product has Rihanna’s distinct touch, it’s not just about her — and that’s exactly how she engineered it. The customer, the fans — every last one of them — have always been who she and the Fenty Beauty team try to impress, with critical acclaim and accolades (like this one) just an added bonus along the way. It’s that fan-focused, everyone’s-invited ethos that makes Fenty Beauty the mother of more than just celebrity-founded beauty brands, but all beauty brands on the market.

Rookie Brand Of The Year: Ami Colé

BriAnne Wills

Ami Colé started as the ultimate DIY. The brand’s founder, Diarrha N'Diaye, spent her whole life surrounded by pieces of the beauty industry, from her mother’s Harlem hair salon to her professional career working with established giants like L’Oréal and Glossier — and saw only a fragmented reflection of her own Black beauty experience. N’Diaye recognized that many brands and manufacturers saw women of color not as a target audience, but rather something of an afterthought, and realized there was only one way to make sure there was a brand out there appealing directly to (and formulating products for) melanated skin — she had to do it herself. The Ami Colé brand, just launched in summer 2021, is a skin-first luxury makeup collection formulated with largely natural ingredients that instantly smooth and perfect the skin, while working long-term to deliver skin benefits, too. The line’s color ranges appeal directly to whom the industry’s ignored for so long, offering flexible shades and undertones for deep complexions. In the 18-odd months that the brand’s collection has been available, it’s won over a horde of makeup-savvy fans who obsess over the products’ thoughtful ingredient lists, rich color payoff, and ultra-stylish packaging (which happens to be made from sustainable materials). If this is Ami Colé just a year-and-a-half into business, N'Diaye and her team seem poised for a global takeover.