Yahoo’s Diversity in Beauty Awards: Celebrating Inclusiveness and Innovation

Yahoo Beauty Staff

Yahoo Beauty‘s mission is to inspire people to live beautifully and celebrate their individuality.

With that in mind we’re excited to launch Yahoo’s first-ever Diversity in Beauty Awards (the DIBs), which highlights the personalities, brands, and products that embody inclusiveness and innovation.

We enlisted eight experts who champion diversity in their careers and cover all bases of the beauty industry to vote on the best in makeup, skin care, hair care, and more.

The judges include Youtuber Jackie Aina, celebrity hairstylist Cynthia Alvarez, celebrity makeup artist and photographer Robin Black, co-founder and president of TextureMedia Michelle Breyer, celebrity makeup artist AJ Crimson, cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson, founder of men’s beauty/grooming site Very Good Light David Yi, and Beauty Director Dana Oliver of Yahoo Beauty.

Starting Monday, we will award Yahoo’s Diversity in Beauty Awards seal to one winner in 16 categories.

We’ll announce the rest of the winners over the course of the week, including the Beauty Chameleon award to the celebrity who inspires us with ever-evolving looks, the Model Activist award to the model who is using her runway star power for good, and awards for most inclusive hair brand, skin care line, best tools, and more.

Without further ado, here are the winners in the makeup, beauty big shots, skin care, beauty campaign, and body categories.

Inclusive Foundation: Cover FX

Yes, the person behind all of Cover FX’s foundation formulations and the diverse shade range is a man. But Vic Casale is a man who really knows makeup.

After gaining major cred as the founding partner of MAC Cosmetics, Casale joined forces with Cover FX co-founder Lee Graff in 2000 to create “healthy foundation” for dermatology patients with various issues to look and feel confident in wearing. The result? Total Cover Cream Foundation, a mind-blowing blend of concealer and foundation that is free of harsh chemicals and irritants like mineral oil, fragrance, talc, gluten, and parabens and nearly unnoticeable on skin because of its full coverage.

Having worked with individuals from various backgrounds, Cover FX has launched an inclusive foundation range with over 40 “global shades” that caters to individuals with cool, neutral, and warm undertones — and that’s still a rarity in the cosmetics world.

Affordable Makeup Line: NYX Cosmetics

Toni Ko’s goal for creating NYX back in 1999 was simple: “Affordable professional makeup that enables boundless beauty artistry for all.” The Korean-American entrepreneur accomplished her goal with $250,000 in financial backing from her parents, and the company profited $2 million in sales within its first year. Talk about seeing your dream flourish!

NYX, which is named for the Greek goddess of the night, started out as a small line of just brightly colored lip and eye pencils. But it largely grew, thanks to self-taught makeup artists and beauty fanatics who shared their stunning transformations and must-have products on social media.

Ko sold the company to L’Oréal in 2014 for a reported $500 million. Today, NYX is available in 70 countries and has 2,000 units that are mostly priced under $20. These include color correctors that work on all skin tones, soft yet durable makeup brushes, and complexion-flattering nude lipsticks.

Best Beauty App: Sephora

The beauty mecca rolled out its game-changing app in 2010. While there are other mobile apps that use advanced technology to scan your face and color-match you with foundation, eye shadow, and lipsticks for your unique skin tone, Sephora’s Virtual Artist slays the competition.

Its 3D live view function acts like a mirror, moving in sync as you “try on” over 3,000 lip colors, get step-by-step instructions on contouring, and see what it all looks like before and after with a smart slider tool function. The actual product you’re “wearing” pops up onscreen, so you can click “add” and purchase everything you love. Not to mention all the Beauty Insider offers that are available for simply shopping on your phone or tablet.

One of the features we love most about this digital beauty experience is that we can save the looks we tested and get the immediate feedback of our friends and family, who we know will keep it real and keep us from spending way more than we probably should.

Beauty Chameleon: Zendaya

Zendaya wears many hats. She’s an actress, singer, dancer, and a newly minted fashion designer. Whatever hat she’s wearing, one thing is for certain, though: Her hair is always on point.

Zendaya has experimented with countless hairstyles, so it may come as no surprise that the 20-year-old won our Beauty Chameleon award. But what really makes her worthy of such an honor is how she uses her hairstyles to confidently express herself.

Whether sporting natural waves, faux dreadlocks, or a jet-black pixie wig, the K.C. Undercover star’s hair is an extension of her roots, literally and figuratively. “I like to display different types of beauty. There are so many women that can look at my hair and just connect to it and be empowered by it. It’s become a lot more than just a wig,” Zendaya told Yahoo Beauty.

She’s also managed negative comments about her ever-evolving hair, turning criticism into teachable moments. Zendaya has said, “Some people like when I do my crazy wigs and other people don’t. And that’s OK. The whole point of fashion is to be thought about and to be discussed. There is no right or wrong. It’s supposed to be a conversation.”

Influencers for Change: Phillip Picardi and Elaine Welteroth of Teen Vogue

Teen Vogue has matured beautifully since we were wide-eyed youngsters flipping through its glossy pages and surfing the website, and that’s largely thanks to Elaine Welteroth and Phillip Picardi.

Welteroth replaced the magazine’s founding editor, Amy Astley, in May 2016, becoming the youngest person to nab an editor-in-chief title at Condé Nast and the second African-American to clutch such a ranking in the media company’s history. Don’t get it twisted — the curly-haired beauty is no new kid on the block. Her résumé is stacked with leading editorial positions previously held at Glamour and Ebony.

She brings a keen eye, distinct voice, and sense of flair to Teen Vogue that is refreshing. Having interviewed the biggest, brightest, and smartest stars, including Yara Shahidi, Willow Smith, and Kiernan Shipka, just to name a few, Welteroth is like the big sister who is in the know.

We’re not ashamed to admit that it was love at first eyebrow sighting with Picardi. Having honed his writing and reporting chops at Lifestyle Mirror and Refinery29, he became the digital editorial director of Teen Vogue at the tender age of 25 and has worked tirelessly to remain on the pulse of everything that matters to the youth — from what it’s really like being gay in Trump’s America to the best beauty products.

If one were to ask some of their combined 119K Instagram followers the reason they follow Welteroth and Picardi’s every stylish move, they’d probably say it’s because they represent the voices of the overlooked and unheard.

Model Activist: Leomie Anderson

Leomie Anderson first realized that she “had a responsibility to be a voice to young women” when a Twitter follower asked her to pen a piece for her blog, Cracked China Cup, on the topic of consent and saying “no.”

“Although I had never written anything similar before, I knew I had a lot of young, female followers and wanted to set an example for them,” Anderson tells Yahoo Beauty.

Her candid essay on maintaining control of her image as a model and speaking up when she doesn’t “feel comfortable on a shoot” resonated with many and gained tons of media attention. The engaging conversation inspired her to create LAPP, a clothing and lifestyle brand, that allows women to express their feelings in a stylish yet straightforward way.

When Anderson isn’t strutting the Victoria’s Secret runway or posing for high-fashion editorials, she is managing “literally every aspect of LAPP,” along with the help of her best friend and a few interns. “It’s really hard because my modeling career doesn’t take a break,” she says. “I’ll be backstage at shows in New York and Paris reading submissions, replying back to tweets, and uploading content to the site.”

Anderson’s hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed, as young women have flooded the LAPP blog to write essays titled “The Haunting Reality of Peele’s Get Out,” “Inside Out the Prozac Nation,” and “Why the Youth Needs Chance the Rapper.” The British beauty can also count Rihanna among her many fans, as the singer sported her “This P***y Grabs Back” hoodie.

This all magnifies Anderson’s beliefs that “our voices matter and we can truly instigate change by uniting and fighting to be heard.”

Most Inclusive Skin Care: Urban Skin Rx

When medical aesthetician and laser technician Rachel Roff initially decided to go into the clinical skin care field, she wanted to specialize in all skin tones. But when she moved to Charlotte, N.C., and recognized that there wasn’t “equal opportunity skin care available to the African-American population down there,” she set out to do something about it.

Her resulting skincare line, Urban Skin Rx, has been a godsend to women and men of color, as well as individuals of all ethnicities. It offers treatments that tackle problems like dryness/eczema, uneven skin tone, large pores/oily skin, and ingrown hairs.

The brand’s star products — the even tone and clear skin cleansing bars — are still manufactured in her lab, located in Winston-Salem, N.C., and they work exceptionally well at diminishing dark marks and clearing up breakouts.

But when asked what sets Urban Skin Rx apart from other lines out there that address hyperpigmentation, a condition that many people of color are prone to, Roff tells Yahoo Beauty,
“Whether our client is dealing with aging, sensitive skin, or breakouts, we make sure to put ingredients in that address this common issue,” Roff tells Yahoo Beauty. So there’s no need to mix and match skin care to get the results you desire.

Sunscreens for All: EltaMD

Beauty insiders who are really in the know have heard of EltaMD. From facial and body sunscreens to daily cleansers and moisturizers, the brand is all about products that promote healthy skin.

But if we were to choose one star product from EltaMD’s skin care lineup, it would definitely be the Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 sunscreen. This topical treatment is safe to use on all skin types, including aging, acne-prone, and hyperpigmented complexions. The Clear version is formulated with transparent micronized zinc oxide, which allows it to go onto your skin seamlessly and without creating gray streaks, as well as vitamin B3 to target blemishes and even out discoloration.

EltaMD sunscreens are so legit, that they’re recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. The only authorized places to purchase them are dermatologist or doctor’s offices. No funny business here!

Best Coarse Hair Skin Care: Bevel

Tristan Walker is one of the greatest thinkers of our generation. His entrepreneurial spirit, business knowledge, and determination to produce a solution for razor bumps (a common skin care problem he himself struggled with), led to the invention of Bevel.

“I started my research and discovered that shaving irritation is a problem that 80 percent of black men have — and 30 to 40 percent of everyone else. I said, ‘Here’s an amazing opportunity,’” Walker told Mic.

Bevel is a single-blade razor system designed to give individuals with coarse and curly hair a smooth shave without worrying about razor bumps, burn, or ingrowns. The design of the safety razor and its badger brush harkens to a simpler time, yet the aesthetic is very modern and sleek. “For years, people of color have been given poorly designed and packaged products and are expected to just accept them. We wanted to show our customers that they are deserving of the absolute best in terms of product experience,” said Walker in a previous interview with Yahoo Beauty.

Not only is the Bevel system brilliant, but it is also relatively affordable. The Starter Kit, which includes the popular razor, brush, priming oil, shave cream, restoring balm, and pack of 20 replacement blades, is priced at under $90.

In 2016, Walker and Company raised $24 million, thanks to venture capitalists and celebrity investors, including Magic Johnson and John Legend. Bevel also secured a deal with Target, taking the subscription-based company to the shelves of a major retailer. Now even more men and women of color can experience a safer and smarter shave.

Best Green Beauty Products: Tata Harper

Maneuvering the “green beauty” section of the skin care aisle can be frightening, especially if you are not familiar with the terminology that is commonly used to distinguish these items. Tata Harper eliminates that intimidation factor with her range of natural and nontoxic products that are user friendly.

The beauty guru maintains the integrity of her skin care line by formulating it with herbal and floral ingredients, which are grown on her very own farm, in Vermont. Every aspect is carefully considered, down to the recycled packaging that encases her signature green and gold bottled cleansers, moisturizers, and essences. As a result, Tata Harper has earned certifications from respected and accredited organizations such as PETA, EcoCert, and the Leaping Bunny Association.

While her Resurfacing Mask and Nourishing Oil Cleanser are among fan favorites, Tata Harper has also managed to create makeup like the Volumizing Lip and Cheek Tint, proving it is possible to have a completely green beauty regimen.

Best Acne Skin Care: Mario Badescu

When we think of the brand Mario Badescu, we can’t help but get nostalgic of our high-school years when the Drying and Special Cucumber Lotions made all of our unsightly zits vanish. These classic skin care products also brightened and smoothed our acne-prone skin as we grew into adults.

In 1967, Romanian-born chemist and cosmetologist Mario Badescu introduced his life-changing line of botanical-rich treatments for various skin types and needs. And 50 years later, it remains one of the premier brands for tackling breakouts, removing dark spots, and soothing dry, sensitive skin.

Even with a popular New York City spa and celebrity fans like Kylie Jenner, Misty Copeland, and Aja Naomi King, you don’t have to spend more than $20 for Mario Badescu acne products.

Powerful Beauty Ad: SheaMoisture’s “What’s Normal?”

Perusing the hair care aisle and seeing labels that may make you feel as though your curls, waves, or kinks aren’t “normal” is an experience that many individuals have unfortunately experienced.

Natural hair blogger Patrice Grell Yursik of Afrobella penned a thoughtful essay on this subliminal advertising, explaining that “ALL hair is normal. We just have different definitions of it. Why not create a beauty aisle that speaks to a diverse range of needs, instead of casting one hair type as normal and others as … not?”

In an effort to #BreaktheWalls, SheaMoisture produced a poignant beauty ad titled “What’s Normal?” It features popular beauty vlogger Naptural85; Army sergeant Jasmine Jacobs, who petitioned the U.S. military to change its policy on natural hairstyles; and meteorologist Rhonda Lee, who was fired after responding to a comment about her natural hair.

According to Richelieu Dennis, the founder and CEO of Sundial Brands, the objective of “What’s Normal?” was to break down those “mental walls that encourage us to force-fit ourselves and others into falsely constructed beauty and ‘good hair’ ideals.”

He continues, “Our forward track must focus on including everyone, embracing everyone, and celebrating the beauty — and normalcy — of everyone’s differences.”

Inspiring Social Media Campaign: #EgoChallenge

It seems a new social media campaign is born every day. But when Jane Oranika took to Twitter to rap about her flaws over Beyoncé’s song “Ego,” we had a feeling that her #EgoChallenge would become one of the biggest self-positivity movements of 2017.

The then 19-year-old poured out raw emotions with lyrics like, “They never meant for folks like us to walk around with confidence, but I ain’t finna hate myself because of your incompetence. Yeah, I got a gap, but I still get y’all to bite.”

Oranika’s ability to flip her shortcomings into strengths empowered other women and men, including Danielle Brooks from the hit Netflix series Orange Is the New Black and Broadway’s The Color Purple star Cynthia Erivo, to join this liberating challenge that started out with just a dope beat and clever hashtag.

Most Inclusive Hair Care Brand: Dove

Dove may be widely known for its classic moisturizing bar, but the brand is also a leader in developing products that address the unique needs of individuals with diverse hair types and textures.

Many hair care brands roll out lines that are clearly knee-jerk reactions to what’s trending in an effort to cash in. However, Dove has clearly put in lots of time listening and responding to what matters most to women, men, and children when it comes to their hair.

From the Youth Vitality conditioner, which gives aging locks that are limp and lackluster fullness and shine, to the Quench Absolute Intense Restoration Mask that is a godsend for those with naturally curly hair who want to repair the damaging effects of heat-styling tools and UV rays, Dove’s hair care range truly reflects the ever-evolving makeup of the world’s population.

The brand has also done an incredible job of representing their inclusive hair care lines through heartfelt campaigns such as “Love Your Hair” and with the creation of curly-haired emojis, proving things can only improve for the better in the beauty industry when there is an open dialogue between consumers and companies.

Best Nude Ranges for Nails: Zoya

Raise your hand if you’ve went to pick out a “nude” nail polish at the salon, and the only shades available are either too pale or too dark. Not all nude nail colors are created equal, but Zoya is where we turn for flesh-toned lacquers that match our skin tone.

The vegan nail line’s Naturel collections include 24 creamy and satin polishes in vanilla, toffee, almond, and dark chocolate shades. What makes Zoya stand out from all the other brands that clutter our cosmetics case is that their formulas possess cool, warm, or neutral undertones — making these nail colors the closest thing to painting foundation on your fingertips.

Best Unisex Fragrance: Le Labo

The beauty industry is slowly but surely moving towards embracing gender-fluidity and understanding that cosmetics aren’t necessarily confined to strictly male or female labels.

New York-based fragrance house Le Labo grasped this concept of individualism from its very inception. Fine fragrance Santal 33 possesses a sensual, smoky aroma “you can smell everywhere,” and Rose 31 forever redefined our olfactory senses of what rose parfums are all about.

They proudly proclaim in their manifesto, “We believe the soul of a fragrance comes from the intention with which it is created and the attention with which it is prepared.” Based on the handpicked notes that are poured into the brand’s simple yet chic bottles, Le Labo has a lot of soul.

Check back every day for more coverage from Yahoo’s Diversity in Beauty Awards, and follow the hash tag #diversebeauty on Twitter and Instagram to join in on the conversation!

Read more from Yahoo Style + Beauty:

Make Up for Ever Is the Latest Beauty Brand to Break Diversity Barriers

This Black Model Was Told She Wasn’t Dark Enough to Wear an Afro

Beauty Brands That Broke Diversity Barriers in 2016

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