I have been at Allure for about 10 years, which means that I’ve swatched and swiped and tested products for 10 Best of Beauty Awards, but this year was unlike any other. We tested thousands of beauty products from home (one editor compared her living room to a Sephora pop-up shop) and debated moisturizers and lipsticks over Zooms (so many Zooms). It had its challenges but our new virtual world also had some major bright spots — like, for the first time, we were able to connect with you live to celebrate our 353 winners… and the beauty rituals that bring us all such joy.
The Best of Beauty Virtual Celebration brought world-famous beauty experts – and their top makeup, hair, and skin care advice – to your kitchen tables and living room couches. Beauty lovers from around the world tuned in and had the chance to become beauty reporters, asking questions of some of the most sought-after celebrities, makeup artists, hairstylists, and cosmetic medical professionals in the beauty industry (not to mention the Allure editors who live and breathe beauty every day). We held six events, some free and some ticketed, with proceeds supporting organizations close to the hearts of the participating talent. We kicked off the week with The Culture of Black Hair: A Conversation with Taraji P. Henson, and closed with An Insider’s Look at K-Beauty: A Roundtable with Dermatologist Claire Chung and Soko Glam Cofounder Charlotte Cho. In the midst of a tough year, the week was a warm and celebratory mix of laughter, candid moments, and solid beauty advice. Some of our favorite highlights:
Taraji P. Henson showed us her closetful of wigs, told us about the dye incident that left her hair red instead of maroon, and explained how she created the first iteration of her Best of Beauty winning product (TPH by Taraji Master Cleanse A Targeted Scalp Wash) in her kitchen sink as a way to take care of her hair underneath her weave. But she didn’t just talk about hair. “She really gave wisdom about the importance of mental health in the Black community,” says Jessica Cruel, features director at Allure, who co-hosted the event along with beauty editor Jihan Forbes. “And the proceeds from the event went to the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, the nonprofit she founded and named for her father, who faced mental health challenges after returning from Vietnam.”
In Behind the Cover Look: Q&A with Hung Vanngo, the makeup artist revealed how photo shoots happen in 2020—starting with a video recording of him coaching Selena Gomez as she applied her own makeup for our October cover shoot. Vanngo then talked viewers through Gomez’s Allure looks, including her perfect crimson lips (created using her own Rare Beauty Lip Souffle Matte Lip Cream in Inspire) and glowing skin (try applying a blush like Rare Beauty Liquid Blush in Grace using upward strokes). Some of the guests also asked Vanngo about how he got his start and rose to the top of his field. “Hung spoke beautifully about how he escaped Vietnam as a child — his mom put him and his siblings on a boat alone. They lived in a refugee camp in Thailand for several years, before finally being taken in by Canada,” says Jenny Bailly, executive beauty director at Allure, who co-hosted the event alongside senior writer Brennan Kilbane. “And I had no idea that he had been a very successful hairstylist in Canada before he decided his true passion was makeup and gave it all up to move to New York City.” But he is still very connected to where he came from: All the ticket proceeds from this event went to the Huong Duong Home, a center for physically and mentally challenged orphans located near the village in Vietnam where Vanngo was born.