Product of the Year
Hair Care: Dyson Airstrait
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Since Dyson launched its first hair dryer, the Supersonic, in 2016 it has been keen to disrupt the hair care category and when it announced a $500 million investment to boost hair care tech, it put its money where its intentions were. This year, it made good on that promise with what might be its most revolutionary product yet, the Airstrait, a flat iron that dries and straightens wet hair without any hot plates. Instead of extreme heat, it uses targeted airflow to smooth hair, thanks to slots that distribute air at a 45 degree angle. The hair is sandwiched inside as the airflow pushes moisture out to leave strands dry and sleek and undamaged. The price point of $499 didn’t seem to deter consumers, with the Airstrait quickly racking up four-and five-star reviews across platforms and going viral on TikTok. As prestige beauty continues to gain — ahem — steam at retail, it’s clear that Dyson is on the cutting edge of leading that growth.
Makeup: Danessa Myricks Beauty Groundwork Defining Neutrals Palette
Makeup artist turned product developer Danessa Myricks created some of the most successful launches for brands like Benefit Cosmetics and Kiss. So who better to reinvent an industry staple — the neutral-toned palette — and captivate consumers in a whole new way. The Groundwork Defining Neutrals Palette consists of 10 shades, each in a velvety pomade and coordinating powder. Designed to be used on the eyes, face, cheeks and lips, for shading, sculpting, contouring and coloring, it quickly garnered rave reviews on Sephora.com, including “This is the one palette that really can do it all” and “I’m obsessed.” In its first month, the palette became a top-five bestseller in the category at Sephora, where Myricks also went on a standing-room-only tour with Jackie Aina called “The Fearless Tour,” featuring how-tos, meet-and-greets and a panel discussion. While it capped a big year for Myricks, one thing’s for sure: Despite her success, the entrepreneur has her feet firmly planted on the ground.
Skin Care: Westman Atelier Skin Activator Serum
For the last few years, the beauty industry has been abuzz with the skinification of makeup. But this year, Westman Atelier took a different tack with Skin Activator Serum: Call it the makeup-ification of skin care. The product, five years in the making, was the first foray into treatment for the brand started by makeup artist Gucci Westman and her husband, entrepreneur David Neville. Westman worked with skin scientist Raymond Park on the product’s technology, culminating in a multilamellar emulsion that mimics the skin’s structure and contains 15 active ingredients, including four different molecular-weighted hyaluronic acids. Retailing for $150, Skin Activator is said to provide continual moisturization throughout the day and adapt to the skin’s different needs. Westman and Neville have said from the beginning their goal is to create a lifestyle company and envision Skin Activator broadening Westman Atelier’s appeal to men, as well. The strategy is working: The luxury clean beauty brand is one of the buzziest around with sales — said to be in the $100 million range — to match.
Fragrance: Burberry Goddess
Burberry’s newest women’s scent, Goddess, quickly entered the pantheon of sales when it launched in August. The scent, made under license by Coty, shot to the top of prestige fragrance rankings and led the year’s key olfactive trend — the resurgence of vanilla — with a trio of notes including Firgood, also known as vanilla caviar, used for the first time in a fragrance. Goddess was also right on target culturally, tapping into the massive success of Barbie with brand ambassador Emma Mackey for a campaign photographed by Mario Sorrenti. But it wasn’t all glitz and glamour. Burberry Goddess is also the first refillable fragrance in the Coty luxury portfolio, a significant milestone, said Caroline Andreotti, chief commercial officer, prestige. “Packaging is key to transporting our products and protecting our formulas, but it also contributes to our environmental footprint,” she said. “We want to empower consumers to make environmentally conscious choices while indulging in our most luxurious fragrances.”
Wellness: Liquid I.V. Sugar-Free Hydration Multiplier
How do you go from good to great? Remove the sugar. That’s what Liquid I.V. did this year when it introduced a sugar-free version of its hero product, Hydration Multiplier. Noting that consumers have been clamoring for a sugar-free version for years, Stacey Andrade-Wells, vice president of marketing, said, “This is the biggest launch we’ve had since the inception of the company…Market trends are pointing towards a growing sugar-free market.” The product features all-natural ingredients. Rather than artificial sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose, Liquid I.V. Sugar-Free has a proprietary alluose and amino acid blend. Equally as sweet: Sales. The brand, which Unilever acquired in 2020, is said to be closing in on $1 billion in net sales, with the newest iteration expected to deliver a 15 to 30 percent lift.
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