Allure Best of Beauty 2010 Interview with Beauty Director Amy Keller

For the third in a row now (see first 2 interviews here and here), The Beauty Bug had the privilege of interviewing the woman with the best job in the world, Allure Beauty Director, Amy Keller Laird. Amy is the woman behind the awards – she and her co-workers scrutinize, compile, and well..hoard…all in the name of beauty.  The testing never ends. In fact, the awards and selection process have become a family affair for her – Amy jokes in the issue that “Grady (her husband) was really lobbying for a face wash that didn’t make our cut.” Read on to find out which cleanser that was!

Can you talk about the awards in general this year (how/if they were different from years past, how many products you received, if there were any surprises, etc.)

Every year we evaluate the categories to make sure they’re still relevant, or if we should add something new. This year, we added a section for sensitive skin—in the past, we’d just recommended a cleanser and moisturizer, but this year we have a scrub, peel, wrinkle cream, and more. We also increased the number of product recommendations for African-American women, and we blew out our “Cheap Thrills” section—inexpensive stuff that really performs—into a three-page story. Everything in it is under $9.

Which product category were you most excited about getting your hands on this year?

I love to test mascara—and so does the staff. You get instant gratification; you immediately see the change it’s made in your lashes.

Which product category causes the most debate among Allure editors?

Fragrance! It’s always the most hotly debated category. One person’s favorite is another’s “cleaning solution.” Our conference room and my office reeks for days on end when we’re testing scent. I won’t even notice how potent my office smells until someone comes in waving her hand over her nose while muttering “P-U!”

The issue highlights 12 true innovations that are listed in the big breakthrough section. The products seemed to truly knock the socks off of some of the most experienced editors who have seen it all. What does it take for a product to receive a breakthrough award?

It’s quite rigorous. The product has to do something no other product has done before, and if it’s making strong claims, they have to be backed up by clinical tests. We consult cosmetic chemists and dermatologists, who review these tests to make sure they’re legitimate and were conducted properly.

The Best of Beauty Issue has brought previously-unknown products to new levels. This year, what do you think that product will be?

Everyone should try the Tarte LipSurgence Natural Lip Stain Pencil. It gives your lips a stained look, but it doesn’t feel drying. And it comes in a chubby marker-style applicator, so it’s not drippy or messy.

OK, spill it – which face wash was Grady lobbying for? (Editor’s note: Grady is Amy’s husband who writes his own beauty/grooming blog on – Beauty Tested, Beast Approved.)

Ha! He became a little obsessed with Shiseido’s Future Solution LX Extra Rich Cleansing Foam. When a man refers to a cleanser as “luxurious,” you know it’s doing something right. He blogged about it on –

Is there a product from the awards that is loved by both the beauty and the beast? (Editor’s note: Amy’s husband’s GQ Blog is entitled Beauty Tested, Beast Approved.)

Beauty and the beast are both huge fans of La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid, which won for Facial Sunscreen. It’s a liquid sunscreen that’s so light, you barely feel like you have it on—yet it’s so protective with good UVA-blocking ingredients and an SPF 60. The beast brought it with him on a recent boat trip down the Mississippi and Missouri rivers (very manly)—and, of course, no burn.

There are always a few stand-outs/stars/favorites from the awards. Which products are those this year?

So many standouts, but if I had to pick a couple new ones, I’d go with: 1. Cover Girl Liquiline Blast Eyeliner—this stuff stays put. It’s really smooth, too. 2. Physicians Formula Organic Wear Eye Makeup Remover Pads. I am so lazy at night and rarely want to exert the effort to take off my makeup. These are easy and don’t make my eyes burn. 3. Yves Saint Laurent Gloss Volupté Gloss Stick in Tangy Orange—love, love, love. Beautiful sheer tangerine shade, with a moisturizing balm feel. 4. Rene Furterer Acanthe Perfect Curls Curl Enhancing Fluid: I have tried every curl enhancer out there on my waves. This is the best—it’s a light lotion that really defines and shapes without turning crunchy.

Full disclosure – I tried the Lancome Oscillation PowerFoundation and didn’t like it. So much so that I never tried it again. I love the idea of it, but to me it seemed gimmicky. According to the issue, I should give it another try, yes?

It takes a little getting used to, but it really can give you long-lasting, mineral-foundation coverage that’s not cakey. Definitely give it another whirl.

I’m a peel/mask girl, but am a bit intimated by the Advanced Home Actives Brazilian Peel Professional Strength Facial Treatment because of my sensitive skin.  How can the peel be that effective, yet usable
for any and all skin types?

That’s why it’s a breakthrough! The company found a way to use such a high amount of glycolic acid in a safe way. Our super-sensitive-skinned editors were amazed that it didn’t irritate their skin.

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