As you can see, my main job at the FF Skincare Awards judging sessions (after brewing coffee, making lunch and taking pictures) is to be a guinea pig for the various face masks that have been entered.
My lowly status is completely appropriate as despite the fact that this is the awards’ fifth year, I am still abysmally ignorant about freefrom skincare. In any case, Alex has now recruited a fine team of hugely knowledgable judges to review the comments of our Beauty Bible testers – all of whom have been trying the products for a month and have written him long reports about them. Here are our very own diarists, Coeliac Sue and Allergic Ruth, sniffing, sampling and (particularly important for the skincare awards) checking out the labelling and any claims.
Organising the appropriate products (a bumper entry this year) to go to the appropriate testers (each product goes to six different testers) is a major marathon. Somehow Alex needs to ensure that the oily haired testers get the oily hair shampoo, that the men have not shaved their beards the day before they get their beard oil, those with psoriasis do not get the products designed for eczema and that the pregnant testers have not given birth before they have spent a month using the anti-stretch mark oil. And once he has done that, he then has to correlate and assess around 2,000 reports. Amazing that he is still looking so chipper!!
Mind you, this year he did have some assistance. We were delighted that Nicola Nolan, who worked for some years with last year’s Best FF Brand winner, Neal’s Yard, joined him as awards co-ordinator, thereby taking some of the load.
(I am not quite sure what the joke is here – maybe she has just been watching me being slathered with face mask!)
Anyhow, although a lot of serious discussion goes on during these sessions – tracking down ingredients which could have been derived both from natural and petrochemical sources, for example, takes a great deal of time – we also manage to have fun – and even beautify ourselves!
And here is Alex attempting to remove face mask off his hands with an amazing hand soap-scrub which looked dangerously like squares of chocolate fudge! (Apparently was quite safe if you did try a taste…..)
This is Sarah’s elegantly varnished foot being treated to some reviving foot spray – not that either the weather or our days’ activity sitting round a table were really putting it through its paces.
Down the other end of the table Hannah (our FoodsMatter Hannah) was having fun with the nail varnish while Lorraine (of Formula Botanica) was obviously really enjoying her choice of lippie!
Just as well she was as I certainly do not seem to be enjoying the further application of the face mask!
But since I would not like you to go away with the idea that it is all just jolly japes, let us finish with Victoria (of le belle skincare), Timea (of Formula Botanica) and Alex looking extremely serious and intent – while Abi (of Odylique) drinks coffee!!
The shortlist for the 2016 FreeFrom Skincare Awards can be see here and a much more sensible assessment of the judging and the products that made it onto the shortlist can be seen on Alex’s blog here. The winners will be announced at the Love Natural Love You show at Olympia on July 8th.