The inaugural Men’s GroomingGQ Grooming awards 2011 have now been announced by an updated panel of expert judges, including fashion designer Giles Deacon, perfume archivist at Les Senteurs perfumery James Craven, designer A. Sauvage, and co-founder of REN Skincare, Rob Calcraft. Other new additions to this year’s awards are three new categories; Best New Tanning Product, Best New Target Hair Solution and Fragrance Launch of the Decade – all welcome additions it has to be said. It shows that GQ are taking their hats off in acknowledgement of the growing men’s grooming industry.

Unfortunately, it seems that they have once again overlooked a mammoth section of the industry – Shaving. In our report last year covering the GQ Grooming Awards 2010, we highlighted the imbalance of award categories with respect to the shaving, but this year contrary to our advice, rather than increasing the weighting of the shaving category, they have reduced it from 3 to 2.

But note that cleverly GQ have used the word ‘New’ in each award category, which immediately renders the old favourites out of the running; for example in the Best ‘New’ Shave Cream/Gel this year was Sake-infused shave creme for sensitive skin by Kyoku. Is it better than eShave’s Verbena Lime shave cream that was released this year, or Italian classic Proraso Shave Cream for Sensitive skin…? I’ll let you decide. Which begs the question; what constitutes new? A release this month, this year, or since the last GQ Awards?

Once again the Award Winners are dominated by the big cosmetic houses such as L’Oreal (Kiehl’s), Clarins and Estee Lauder (Lab Series), with very little (no) sign of the high quality niche brands such as Eyre Biobotanics, and other more established such as Shiseido and even Molton Brown who released their new men’s range earlier this year. It was good to see addition of Frederic Malle in the Fragrance category (no doubt due to the expert nose of James Craven), which although it didn’t win suggests a step in the right direction for the fragrance category.

But maybe we are looking at this the wrong way; if we draw parallels between the GQ Grooming Awards (UK), and the Men’s Health Grooming Awards (US), we can see that they are just a reflection of the grooming industry in the respective countries. The US industry are more open to the niche products, and specialist grooming brands, whereas the UK market seems very Branding focused, and to have almost an inertia with regards to male grooming. The case and point for this argument:

The GQ.com Favourite Grooming Range as chosen by their readership went to – Nivea for Men

Quite.

Nonetheless, it’s not any easy task by any means, and 3 years into to the GQ Grooming Awards, there has been progress (albeit in the Fragrance category). It’s good to see a magazine like GQ highlighting the link between fashion and grooming, and long may it continue. Who knows, maybe next year we’ll be talking to you from the panel…

And the winner are:

BEST IN BODY

New Body Product – Winner Body Moisture Spray by Clarins
New Tanning Product –  Winner Facial Fuel Healthy Bronze by Kiehl’s
New Suncare Product – Winner Broad Spectrum facial sunscreen SPF50+ by Sisley

BEST IN FRAGRANCE

New Fragrance – Winner Grey Vetiver by Tom Ford
– Close Contender Ambre Nuit eau de cologne by Christian Dior
– Close Contender Geranium Pour Monsieur by Editions De Parfums Frédéric Malle

New Bottle Design –  Winner Bang by Marc Jacobs
– Close Contender Voyage D’Hermès by Hermès

Fragrance Launch of the Decade – Winner Terre D’Hermès by Hermès
– Close Contender Allure Homme Sport by Chanel
– Close Contender Grey Vetiver by Tom Ford

BEST IN FACE

New Moisturiser – Winner Hydramax + active nutrition nourishing cream by Chanel
New Target Solution –  Winner Hydra Energetic ice-cool eye roll-on by L’Oréal Paris Menexpert
New Anti-Aging Product – Winner Cold Plasma by Perricone MD
– Close Contender Max LS age-less face cream by Lab Series
New Cleanser or Scrub Winner –  Açaí texture-perfecting cleanser by Kiehl’s
– Close Contender Cleansing treatment bar by Perricone MD

BEST IN SHAVING

New Shaving Gel or Cream – Winner Sake-infused shave creme for sensitive skin by Kyoku
New Shaving Balm –  Winner Energising aftershave moisturiser by Gilette

BEST IN HAIR

New Shampoo – Winner Quenching shampoo by Bumble and bumble
New Styling Product – Winner Microweb Fiber by Sebastien
– Close Contender Matte texturizing paste by Phyto
New Target Hair Solution – Winner Stimuliste by Kérastase

GQ.COM Reader’s Award

Favourite All-Time Fragrance – Winner Boss Bottled by Hugo Boss
Favourite Grooming Range – Winner Nivea for Men

All winning products are featured in more detail in the November 2010 issue of GQ, on sale from Thursday 7th October 2010.