Not Your Basic Beauty Awards

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If we told you that picking the winners in this year’s Beauty Innovator Awards was a monumental task, would you believe us or whip out your tiny violins? We know, we know: There are plenty of jobs that are a whole lot tougher and less enjoyable than swiping on mascara. But in the realm of beauty, sifting through 25 categories with 100-plus hair, skin, makeup, and nail offerings is just about as arduous as it comes, save for Fraxel — because that ish HURTS.

But our nine fearless judges selflessly sacrificed their faces and free time to try each and every last product and determine which one deserves to be called the champion. There were plenty of, shall we say, passionate feelings, but in the end a winner for each category was crowned. Without further ado, we present to you the well-deserved winners of the Refinery29 Beauty Innovator Awards.

PHOTOGRAPHED BY NADYA WASYLKO; GIFS BY SAM CANNON; STYLED BY BETHIE GIRMAI; HAIR BY ELOISE CHEUNG USING JOHN MASTERS ORGANICS; MAKEUP BY MISUZU MIYAKE @ ARTMIX CREATIVE USING CHANEL LES BEIGES; MANICURE BY HOLLY FALCONE USING FLOSS GLOSS; MODELED BY CACIA ZOO; MODELED BY CLEMENTINE DESSEAUX AT MUSE NYC; MODELED BY ITCHEL COKER; MODELED BY MARGIE ASHCROFT; MODELED BY GABBY RICHARDSON; MODELED BY JERZA MATTHEWS.

It's Time For Our No-BS Beauty Awards

Today is a very special day, my friends. It marks the return of R29's annual beauty awards. We know, we know — everybody and their mother has an award these days (looking at you, artisanal pickles). But the Refinery29 Beauty Innovator Awards aren't your average monotonous parade of best this and best that. In addition to looking for the products that perform, we cut through all that marketing crap to bring you the truly unique and, yes, innovative launches of the year.

Our love letter to these inspiring and cool brands, products, and people is short and sweet: You're the shit.
And let's not forget our all-star roster of judges. Click here to learn their beauty style and the products that made their hearts go pitter-patter. From a super-famous YouTube star to two singing sisters with a little-known mentor (have you heard of this Beyoncé character?), you're going to want to read up on these beauty trailblazers. And without further adieu, here are the most innovative brands, products, and people of the year.

Want to get your hands on these pro-approved beauty buys? We've partnered with Birchbox to bring you the products we love on Birchbox. Click on over to snag them for yourself and learn what our editors are crazy about right now.