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Many thanks to everyone who sent us messages of congratulations following our gold-plated success at last week’s FreeFrom Awards. Getting the ‘Best Brand Award’ was the most important prize and accolade. But winning silver for all three products we entered was also just amazing. Especially considering there were more than 260 entries from over 100 brands.

Speaking after the event, FreeFrom Skincare Awards Co-ordinator Alex Gazzola said:

“Botanicals are deserved winners of the Best FreeFrom Brand 2014. They produce beautiful handmade products, in which natural botanicals and plants are allowed to shine.

Our judges admired the purity of the formulations, their labelling, their whole ethos and philosophy, and their shortlisted products performed exceptionally well during month-long testing – both this year and last year, in fact.

I think we would struggle to find any product among the Botanicals range which was less than excellent.”

Judged by an independent panel of 12 industry experts, plus a veritable squadron of 120 Beauty Bible testers, The FreeFrom Awards have become the most important competition for skincare and cosmetics manufacturers specialising in natural products. This year’s awards were presented at the new ‘Love Natural, Love Organic’ show at Olympia by beauty and holistic health guru, and Radio 2 presenter, Janey Lee Grace (pictured above right with Wendy).

Rigorous month-long assessment

The announcements followed a long, four-stage judging process which included a rigorous month-long assessment by testers recruited by the FreeFrom Skincare Awards’ associates, the Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible.

“The standard was far higher this year, and all winners and medallists performed exceptionally well, and demonstrated terrific ‘free from’ properties,” said Alex. “Like last year, it was particularly encouraging to see many smaller or boutique brands holding their own among the big guys – and often beating them!

“Criteria for judging best brand was decided on the basis of the testers’ feedback (50%) and the judges’ thoughts on both the products and the brand (50%),” explained Alex. “We look at all the products entered, and consider products we’ve come across before, and their range as a whole. We also look at brands’ websites, their labelling, their ethos and values, and especially their ingredients.

“Botanicals scored the highest average score of any brand, thanks to three highly scoring products which took silver (with Botanicals Gentle Cleansing Melt scoring second highest mark overall). But we liked everything else we considered about the brand – the range, the ingredients, purity, performance… right across the board.”

It’s been interesting for us to read the judges’ comments about the three products we entered. We’ll post these on the blog over the next few days.