Meet The High/Low Judges
16 industry experts helped determine the best new beauty product launches of 2021.
We recruited 16 of the most well-respected and in-demand industry experts to serve as judges for the finalist round of beauty products. From celebrity hairstylists to the industry’s top skin care gurus, our panel of judges have determined the absolute best new products that they would not only use on themselves but on their clientele as well. Below, find out more information about who we tapped to provide insight for The High/Low.
Sofie Pavitt is a licensed esthetician and the owner of Sofie Pavitt Skin, a facial studio located in downtown Manhattan. Known for her transformative, acne-clearing before-and-afters, Pavitt focuses on results-driven treatments to help her clients feel confident and happy in their skin.
Sydney Utendahl is a native New Yorker who's as passionate about what's happening underneath skin as she is about the products that go on top of it. As an esthetician-in-training, she's professionally familiar with the science of skin and how to care for it the right way, which are skills she first honed as a skin care product developer conducting extensive ingredient research. On her popular Instagram page, Utendahl has accrued a significant audience thanks to her honest skin care product reviews and focus on acne-prone skin, which bloomed from her own personal experiences with acne. Realizing social media was missing clear, simple advice from someone who's been there, she's committed to skin care education and providing resources for her audience, especially fellow women of color.
Sean Garrette is a licensed esthetician and skin care specialist based in New York City. With features in Vogue, Rolling Stone, InStyle, Harper's Bazaar, and PAPER magazine and more than seven years of experience, Garrette focuses on treating and educating his clients and followers on the importance of skin health. He has an affinity for cultivating and enlightening audiences about the multifaceted aspects of skin care, expertly breaking down ingredients, and exploring the science of skin. Concentrating on skin of color, Sean Garrette advocates for his clients to ensure that skin care is both accessible and inclusive.
Dr. Fatima Fahs M.D., FAAD is a board-certified dermatologist in Michigan where she practices medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology. Better known on social media as Dermy Doctor, Dr. Fahs uses her platform to disseminate accurate skin care education, dispel beauty myths, decode ingredients, and explain common dermatological concerns. Dr. Fahs is the founder and CEO of Dermy Doc Box, a seasonal subscription skin care box that she curates with the goal of bringing an affordable assortment of dermatologist-curated, hand-selected skin care products directly to consumers for a fraction of the price.
Nayamka Roberts-Smith is a licensed, award-winning esthetician, entrepreneur, skin care expert, and content creator. #The60SecondRule, her viral creation, gained global recognition for its intuitive and simple methodology of skin cleansing. Roberts-Smith educates her audience of nearly 1 million with a playful delivery of scientific skin care information that makes sometimes complicated industry jargon accessible and relatable. She is recognized as “Twitter’s most influential esthetician,” according to Sprinklr insights. When she’s not educating and influencing online, Roberts-Smith runs a successful self-care merchandise e-commerce shop and virtual skin care consultation service.
Cait Kiernan is an award-winning journalist, producer, and beauty expert. She is the author of the best-selling book, Pretty Sick: The Beauty Guide for Women with Cancer, as well as the host and co-producer of Walgreens’ Feel More Like You beauty oncology podcast series. Her freelance work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, People StyleWatch, O, The Oprah Magazine, Refinery29, and Coveteur, among others. Currently, Kiernan heads up the beauty vertical for talkshoplive, the leading live streaming platform in the US, and hosts a live shoppable interview series every Wednesday called The Beauty Edit. She can also be seen dishing beauty tips and tricks on TikTok.
Mamina Turegano, MD, is a triple board-certified dermatologist, internist, and dermatopathologist practicing at Sanova Dermatology in the greater New Orleans area. Dr. Turegano has a special interest in evaluating how nutrition, lifestyle, sleep, and other environmental factors can play a significant role in inflammation, aging, and cancer. She enjoys incorporating holistic practices with her patients who deal with anything ranging from acne to warts. Dr. Turegano has an active and thriving cosmetic and laser practice. In addition to providing skin care tips and knowledge on dermatological conditions through her social media platforms, she shares her Japanese mom’s anti-aging tips, which incorporate holistic and traditional Japanese beauty practices.
The celebrity makeup artist on speed dial for Addison Rae, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Nikki DeRoest is an in-demand Los Angeles-based beauty connoisseur. First working as a professional hairdresser before migrating to the world of makeup, DeRoest is the go-to source for all things beauty with almost 20-plus years of industry experience. When not backstage or on set, collaborating on a photoshoot, or leading a masterclass series around the globe, DeRoest collaborates with brands to help them achieve their strategic goals and growth plans, including her role as Global Artist in Residence for Bobbi Brown.
Mollie Gloss is a pro makeup artist whose work hits the intersections of fashion, fine art, and music. She is known for her fresh mixes of color and textures in her work and is an expert on beauty for every skin tone. She has more than 12 years of experience in the industry and lends that knowledge and expertise to work with companies in the beauty space often. Gloss loves to research, discover, and write about archival beauty as well as the systems that are propelling and affecting the industry today.
Kristina Rodulfo is a New York City-based journalist, beauty expert, and content creator. Currently, she is an independent consultant doing everything from working with brands on product launch strategy to copywriting and influencer partnerships. Prior to starting her own creative and consulting company, she spent 11-plus years in print and digital media as an editor at ELLE, POPSUGAR, InStyle, and most recently, as Beauty Director at Women’s Health. Rudolfo has appeared on the TODAY Show, reported the Webby Award-nominated documentary Beat: How Drag Queens Shaped the Beauty Industry, and hosted ELLE’s YouTube series Beauty Haul featuring guests such as Jessica Alba and Barbara Palvin. Rudolfo grew up in Queens, New York, and is a proud daughter of Filipino immigrants. As someone who never saw herself represented in mainstream media, she made it her mission to help shift beauty standards to be more inclusive of women of color.
An interior-designer-turned-celebrity-flight-attendant, Jenkins started her blog The Tennille Life to uplift and inspire women to love themselves. As a self-care guru, Jenkins promotes clean beauty and wellness routines that build confidence and teach women to be kind to themselves both physically and emotionally. She wants women to know that natural hair is beautiful, silver hair is sexy, age is just a number, and true beauty shines from the inside out!
Diana Shin is a Los Angeles-based makeup artist. Shin started to pursue makeup after graduating high school. She is best known for her clean, soft, and glamorous looks. Shin has worked with musicians and celebrities such as Agnez Mo, Pia Mia, Sevyn Streeter, Ryan Destiny, and Lori Harvey as well as brands including Coach, Adidas, New Balance, Morphebrushes, Savage X Fenty, and Dezi. Her work has been featured in Glamour, Wonderland, and The New York Times.
Laura Polko is going to walk you through every single step of how to get from point A, which for her was hair school in Colombus, Ohio, to point Z, which is working with amazing clients including Hailey Bieber, Gigi Hadid, Kim Kardashian, and Charli and Dixie D'Amelio, to name a few. Her work takes her from red carpets to music videos and fashion weeks — and everything in between. Polko’s work has appeared in Vogue, Elle, Cosmopolitan, PAPER, and Allure.
Founder and Creator of Curl Queen by Naivasha Intl, Nai’vasha is globally recognized as one of the most sought-after hairstylists in the world, renowned for her original and beautifully creative work with natural hair. Her work spans red carpets in Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Milan, Nigeria, and beyond with top tier talents including Tracee Ellis Ross, Alicia Keys, Wanda Sykes, Aurora James, Lupita Nyong’o, Serena Williams, Storm Reid, Janet Mock, Elaine Welteroth, Yara Shahidi, Sasha Lane, Logan Browning, and Simone Biles. Nai’Vasha’s Midas touch fills the pages of some of the industry’s most revered entertainment and fashion publications including Vogue, Vanity Fair, Marie Claire, ELLE, W, Harper’s Bazaar, and Allure. Through her collaborations with photographers such as Annie Liebovitz, Scott Trindle, Yelena Yemchuk, Nagi Sakai, Bruce Weber, Bjorn Ioss, and Renell Medrano, she has shifted the standards of beauty for both women and men with natural hair.
Michael Forrey has worked as a haircutter, educator, and editorial stylist since 1999. He began his career with Vidal Sassoon in Los Angeles and later ran the Sassoon Academy in San Francisco for over six years, teaching precision cutting techniques to many West Coast stylists. Forrey took a brief leave from the company to share his skills teaching in Berlin. In Europe, he explored his love of styling hair in the fashion world assisting editorial stylists before rejoining Vidal Sassoon in New York City as Creative Director of the downtown Sassoon salon, sharing what he learned in Europe. Back in California, Forrey worked with Michelle Snyder at Barrow Salon where he incorporated razor cutting techniques into his styling. He continues to work internationally as a freelance educator and editorial stylist and is thrilled to join the STRIIIKE team in Los Angeles. Inspired by creative cross-fertilization between the worlds of fashion, art, and music, Forrey draws on his strong technical foundation, deconstructing classic shapes to create a more modern, undone, and effortless look. His editorial work appears in magazines including Vogue, Instyle, Wonderland Magazine, and PAPER.
Luxury hairstylist Zachary Morad began his career at the Warren Tricomi Salon in New York’s prestigious Plaza Hotel, where he was able to hone his craft and develop the skills necessary to carry him through his career. Morad’s work has grown to include various television projects and red carpets including the Academy Awards, Emmy Awards, and MTV’s Video Music Awards, celebrities such as Nina Garcia, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Mindy Kaling, as well as beauty brands like KKW Beauty and Scünci. Now living in Los Angeles, Morad enjoys nothing more than being on set and working at the forefront of the beauty industry.
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