The judging process for the FreeFrom Skincare Awards is in four stages.
Entry forms and products are checked to ensure that they comply with our Criteria for Entry.
A full-size sample of each accepted product is then sent for a month’s in-depth testing of its qualities and efficacy to four experienced Beauty Bible testers / Skins Matter readers, carefully selected from a panel of over 100, all of whom either have sensitive/problem skins, specific allergies/intolerances, or are passionate about natural skincare. Once the testing period is over, they fill in detailed questionnaires on each of the products, and return them to us. From this feedback, a Shortlist is drawn up, and announced in late May / early June.
Shortlisted products go forward to our roundtable expert panels for week-long judging sessions. The panel consists of beauty writers, skincare professionals, allergy experts, cosmetic formulators, and consumers with problem skin conditions or an interest in ‘free from’ skincare.
The judges are interested in ‘free from’ awareness in terms of food allergens and other ingredients, and in manufacturers’ commitment to natural ingredients. Using testers’ feedback, they will additionally assess qualities such as originality, formulation, innovation, aesthetic appeal, value for money and many more. Very importantly, they will judge the product’s ingredient labelling for clarity and transparency — vital for any consumer with any kind of sensitivity, or seeking to avoid particular ingredients due to ethical, environmental or health concerns.
To learn more, see ‘What will testers and judges be looking for?’ in our FAQs.
Subsequently, bronze, silver and gold ‘medals’ will be decided in each category.
Once category winners are decided, a smaller judging panel will convene and decide on the final two key awards — that of Best Free From Brand and Best Overall FreeFrom Skincare Product — as well as the special ‘FreeFrom Achievement Award’.
2018 judges will be announced in May / June.
2017 judges are listed below. NB. Judges participating in the Awards or with vested interests in any participating brands are not involved in the judging of those brands’ respective categories.
* Yanar Alkayat is an experienced health and beauty writer. She also blogs at A Brighter Shade of Green.
* Victoria Baker is the founder of le belle skincare, winner of a Gold Award at the 2013 FreeFrom Skincare Awards.
* Sue Cane is a coeliac and long-term sufferer from psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
* Carmen Chan, Love Natural Love You
* Sarah Coleman blogs on natural skincare and free-from living at Sugarpuffish. She has eczema and multiple food sensitivities.
* Lorraine Dallmeier is a biologist and organic cosmetic formulator, and the director of Formula Botanica – an international online organic cosmetic science school.
* Ruth Holroyd blogs at What Allergy? She has multiple allergies, sensitive skin and eczema.
* Timea Racz, Education Manager at Formula Botanica.
* Laura Ann Sanson, wellness and beauty consultant
* Sarah Stacey is joint-editor of the Beauty Bible books.
* Abi Weeds is the co-founder, with her mother Margaret, of Odylique (previously Essential Care).
* Alex Gazzola is the awards administrator, deputy editor of SkinsMatter and a health writer specialising in allergies and skin health.
* Kirsty Mawhinney of Skin Insight. Kirsty joined us in 2017 as awards coordinator. She specialises in developing of niche beauty brands for start up and established UK and international companies.