The judging process for the FreeFrom Skincare Awards is in four stages.

Stage 1

Entry forms and products are checked to ensure that they comply with our Criteria for Entry.

Stage 2

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 ‘free from’ 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  June.

Stage 3

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 products’ ingredient labelling for clarity, transparency and legal compliance — 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.

Stage 4

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’.

The results are announced online in late June / early July.



2018 judges are listed below. 2019 judges will be announced in June.

NB. Judges participating in the Awards or with relationships or with vested interests in any participating brands are not involved in the judging of those brands’ respective categories or products.

* Sue Cane is a free-from expert and long-term sufferer from psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
* Sarah Coleman blogs on natural skincare and free-from living at Sugarpuffish. She has eczema and multiple sensitivities.
* Lorraine Dallmeier is a biologist and organic cosmetic formulator, and the director of Formula Botanica — an international online organic cosmetic science school.
* Judy Johnson is a beauty and skincare journalist for Get the Gloss, specialising in sensitive skin issues.
* Gemma Ortega-Perez is Formula Botanica‘s Business and Relationship manager.
* Isil Simsek was Free From Skincare Awards’ social media assistant for 2018. She runs her own social media management agency, Social Thyme.
* Sarah Stacey is a beauty expert and joint-editor of the Beauty Bible books.
* Abi Weeds is the co-founder, with her mother Margaret, of Odylique (previously Essential Care).

Free From Skincare Awards team:

* Kirsty Mawhinney is the awards administrator. She specialises in developing of niche beauty brands for start up and established UK and international companies, and runs her own agency, Skin Insight.
* Alex Gazzola is the awards co-ordinator, deputy editor of SkinsMatter.com and a health writer specialising in allergies and skin health. He is the editor of Allergy Insight.
* Michelle Berriedale-Johnson is editor of FoodsMatter.com, and overall director of all free from awards, including the Free From Food Awards and Free From Eating Out Awards.


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