Allure Best of Beauty Interview with Beauty Director Amy Keller

Everyone knows Allure is THE beauty bible, so when the mag declares its picks for the best beauty products of the year, women everywhere read and then shop. And rightfully so. This year editors tested  2, 478  products and narrowed the list down to 182. Not an easy task.

Determining their Best of Beauty is a process that takes nearly half a year. No product is left untouched. Editors take part in a beauty Olympics of sorts to find the best of the best. The Beauty Bug had a chance to talk with Allure Beauty Director Amy Keller to learn some more about the awards and the process. This year marks her second year of spear-heading the initiative.

BB: Explain the process a bit more. How many people are on your panel? Does each person test all 2,478 items or is it broken down into categories?

AK: The panel consists of about 10 people – it’s the core beauty department. We use other staffers to fill in the holes – staffers with specific problems like frizzy hair, etc. And yes, we each get and test all 2,478 but the pile is weeded through in the beginning. Some are instantly disqualified because of their texture or their smell and we go from there.

BB: What about the actual voting process – how does that work?

AK: We have actual ballots that are tabulated. After the tabulation, the beauty departments meets and discusses the results – sometimes there’s a tie so we talk it out. The we bring the results to Linda, who has already voted herself. Everything is as scrutinized and scientific as possible!

BB: You had 59 products in your shower at one time?! How did you deal? Was there a method to your madness?

AK: The overflow of products was completely insane and luckily I just moved from a one room loft to a bigger apartment – but for 4-5 months my entry was was completely full of products and my husband and I were tripping over boxes. I was constantly recycling! But yes, I did have a method of sorts. Every morning I tried to try something new – products that wouldn’t overlap. Almost everyday I was trying a new moisturizer, concealer, mascara, shampoo, etc and then just restocking the next day. Constantly restocking the vanity…

BB: You had a panel of doctor’s to provide expert advice about ingredients, but when it came to testing the creams, how long did you use them?

AK: Regular moisturizers we used for about a week to ensure we liked the texture and the smell, and that they wore well throughout the day. For anti-wrinkle creams we worked with the doctors to narrow the products down based on ingredients and used each of those for a couple of weeks.

BB: Has The Best of Beauty issue ever brought a no-name product to a new level?

AK: This year we broke product news when we introduced our readers to No Frizz by Living Proof. The product is truly amazing! The Beauty Bug predicts that since Allure has called attention to and brought this product to the forefront of the market, it will certainly reach a new level! The Beauty Bug will certainly be purchasing it!

BB: Did any products that you really liked not make the cut?

AK: One fragrance that I liked didn’t make it on the list, but fragrance is always the hardest category because it’s so polarizing. You either love it or hate it. Other than that, all of the products are universal.

BB: You said that you loved Lauren Hutton’s First Kiss Cheek Stain and Lip Balm, were there any other stand-out favorites?

AK: I love Yves Saint Laurent’s Rouge Volupté Lipstick in Provocative Pink. It’s the prefect lipstick for fair skin. It’s not too pink, but it’s not so nude either so it looks like a concealer. It’s a nude lipstick that actually looks good in real life – not just on the runway. I also really love Lancome’s Color Design Blush. The past 2 years BECCA’s Creme Blush has won, but I just love the texture of the Lancome blush – it’s smooth, and easy to blend. It’s not oily and it won’t fade.

BB: How have the awards evolved year to year?

AK: Last year we introduced a few new categories – natural products, splurges, quick fixes and problem solvers. This year we kept natural products and splurges and added men’s products, due to the influx of men going to spas, and cheap thrills, due to economic conditions. Our list is always a result of what’s going on in the market. This year we also went a bit more in depth and gave recommendations for specific skin types and tones – like lipstick shades for medium and dark skin and moisturizers for dry and sensitive skin. We actually went around the office and tried certain colors on all skin tones.

BB: Mascaras have changed quite a bit recently from Lancome and Estee’s vibrating mascaras to Givenchy’s Phenomen’Eyes. The Beauty Bug was a bit surprised that neither made it on the list. Can you explain?

AK: While they may be great mascaras, they aren’t universal products. They are too specialized to be the one mascara we call out – they are definitely for a particular consumer.

BB: While none of the newly released black lip glosses will probably never land a spot on the Allure Best of Beauty list – what are you thoughts on the glosses and the trend? Will you be wearing or trying to wear it?

AK: Some of the black glosses look kind of gray and ashy on, but I haven’t yet tried the Yves Saint Laurent one, which looks really patent-leather black. Last night I had an event and thought how cool it would be if I were wearing shiny black lips–but in real life, I’d be more apt to layer it with a red lipstick or something so it didn’t look too vampy.

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3 Responses to Allure Best of Beauty Interview with Beauty Director Amy Keller

  1. BeautyTalk

    I just finished reading this issue today and I absolutely loved it!

  2. Nicciknows

    Wow! This is an amazing and interesting interview! Go Beauty Bug!!!

  3. Elena

    Oh gosh, it must be so ridiculously fun working for Allure during that time of year.

    Tripping over perfumes, different mascaras on each eye, self tanner mishaps.

    Like one endless girly time sleepover.


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