Winners of this year’s awards were announced yesterday, following week-long judging sessions held in June among an expert panel of specialists.
Weleda's Skin Food body butter was first launched into the US market in 2018 and rolled out across numerous European markets at the beginning of this year. The product retails in organic stores, pharmacies, drugstores and online. Made using a combination of botanical extracts, including pansy, calendula and chamomile, and organic actives and is made to nourish dry skin.
Runners up behind Weleda for the overall skin care award were: Bloom and Blossom with its anti-stretch mark cream; Casa Mencarelli with its toner product and night cream & cleanser product; Laponie of Scandinavia for its face cream; and NATHEO Natural Skincare with its overnight hands and feet product.
Laponie of Scandinavia received ‘best brand’ and an achievement award, the latter of which was shared with Lyonsleaf.
A stand-out reason for the Weleda win?
Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Europe about Weleda’s overall win, Alex Gazzola, journalist, author and co-founder of the Free From Skincare Awards, said there was often a “stand-out reason” why a particular product won the overall prize, but this year that wasn’t the case.
“With the Weleda product, it’s hard to pinpoint one particular thing. We look for so many different qualities and attributes – performance (both daily and long-term), quality of ingredients, clarity of labelling, value for money, versatility, among others – and it simply did very well on all counts,” Gazzola said.
“I think it was impossible to find any fault or even quibble with it – perhaps that was the crux of it this year: it’s just an excellent, affordable, versatile, strongly performing product, which all our four product testers and our various judges liked a lot.”
Importantly, this year’s awards were also more competitive, he said, as entries included EU brands that weren’t already distributed in the UK and Ireland – a previous entry requirement.
“While brands such as Lavera from Germany had entered previously, as they’ve distributed in the UK for some years, brands such as Laponie of Scandinavia from Finland - who weren’t and aren’t distributed [in the UK and Ireland] - were eligible for entry for the first time and, as you can see, they did very well.”
Driving forward a ‘polarised industry’
Founded in 2012, the Free From Skincare Awards were established to encourage and reward manufacturers making product free from allergens, ingredients, additives and artificial fragrances that consumers with skin sensitivities, health concerns or ethical, personal and environmental values tried to avoid.
Gazzola said that there was still plenty to be done to drive the free from skin care segment forward. “The cosmetics industry is deeply polarised on free from skin care, but it’s vital we remember that while for most consumers what is present in a cosmetic is the most important aspect, for those with sensitivities or ethical concerns, for example, what is absent is the first priority.”
For consumers with these sensitivities or ethical concerns, he said free from labelling was especially useful, particularly when ingredients proved hard to understand.
The Free From Skincare Awards, he said, looked for products that avoided “alarmist” front-of-pack labels and expressions like ‘free from nasties’, instead opting for a “moderate approach”.
“We feel there is room for thoughtful, careful, non-alarmist, even discrete free from labelling, and would encourage industry to consider producing more options without ingredients that increasing numbers of consumers need to, or would like to, avoid – especially fragrance-free options, which we’d very much like to see more of,” Gazzola said.
Entries for the 2020 Free From Skincare Awards open in January next year.