Meet the panelists who helped us make it happen.

By Patricia Shannon
September 16, 2020
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Credit: Getty/Kseniya Ovchinnikova

When we set out to create the 2020 Southern Living Beauty Awards, we had no idea how quickly or drastically our lives were about to change. As the new work-from-home realities set in, so too did crunch time for our beauty awards. Thankfully, we had a team of trusted professionals who had lent their expertise as we narrowed down the list of must-have beauty products, all before we found ourselves out of the office. What that meant was reassurance that the products we were featuring were not only winners to us, the Southern Living editors, but would soon become favorites to our readers no matter her hair type, skin tone, or age.

Every single one of the products were hand-picked by Southern Living editors and our panel in a process that wasn’t quite what we originally intended, but somehow feels just right in retrospect. Throughout the month of May, all of the cosmetics, skin care, hair care, body care, and oral care products featured in our October issue made their way to my living room, where they were stored on my fireplace mantel (to keep out of toddler reach) until I passed them off to our photo team. Over a hundred products were unpackaged, sorted, and categorized, mostly by my husband who took great joy in breaking from his computer screen for a little manual labor. It was a clunky, strange process and surely resulted in my neighbors and our delivery crew thinking I had a shopping problem. While unconventional, it reinforced our primary objective: that these products make their way from our homes to yours. We rely on them ourselves and hope they'll become the ones you find yourself recommending to your sister, mother, and best friend. It surely was an endeavor, but it couldn’t have been done without the help of so many behind the scenes, especially this dynamic group of panelists—and every UPS, FedEx, and Amazon Prime delivery person in Birmingham, Alabama.

Dr. Carter is a board-certified dermatologist in Dallas, Texas. She attended Cornell University and Baylor College of Medicine for her education and training. She has received multiple awards, including D Magazine Best Doctor, and she is the immediate past president of the award-winning C.V. Roman Medical Society. You can follow her @DallasSkinDoc on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and you can find her online at

Dr. Carter's Pick: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream for Extra-Dry Skin
“I love Hydro Boost for my favorite three reasons: It is affordable, easily available, and most importantly, it is effective! It works well as a base moisturizer underneath sunscreen, makeup primer, or even as a gentle evening night cream. The hyaluronic acid accentuates its hydrating power without being heavy on the skin, and it is oil free and non comedogenic, meaning it will not clog pores.”

Suzanne LeRoux, the founder and CEO of One Love Organics, is an award-winning natural and organic skin-care formulator with over 10 years of industry experience. She and her team produce One Love Organic’s products in small, fresh batches at the company's manufacturing facility in St. Simons Island, Georgia.

Suzanne’s Pick: RMS Beauty Tinted “Un” Powder
“I use it as the last step in my makeup routine as a setting powder, or if I am not wearing makeup, over my sunscreen for a more matte look. It helps my skin look smooth and leaves a beautiful and natural finish.”

Chris Jones is a stylist and the owner of Salon Bugatti in The Woodlands, Texas. He has over 23 years of experience in the hair industry and has been educating for 19. He specializes in cutting.

Chris’ Pick:
“The Micro Shine finish on the iron not only increases shine but also helps to eliminate static and frizz. For a loose and soft, second-day look, I hold the iron vertically, curling the hair closest to the face “away” then alternating directions each section after that.”

Dr. Julie Harper is a board-certified dermatologist in private practice at the Dermatology and Skin Care Center of Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama.  She practices general medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology. Dr. Harper is a Founding Director of the American Acne and Rosacea Society, which was organized in 2005, and is the organization’s immediate past-President. 

Dr. Harper’s Pick: Secret Clinical Strength 48 Hr Invisible Solid
“I love Secret Clinical Strength because it is effective, well-tolerated, and readily available and affordable. It offers 48-hour protection and acts as both a deodorant and an anti-perspirant. For women who complain of excess sweating (hyperhidrosis) in the armpits, it is an excellent first-line treatment choice and is often the only treatment needed.” 

Dr. Craig Rousso practices general and cosmetic dentistry at his office, Mountain Brook Smiles, in Birmingham, Alabama. He’s a member of the Alabama Dental Association and the American Academy of General Dentistry. He completed his dental training at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Dr. Rousso’s Pick: Oral-B Genius X 10000 Rechargeable Toothbrush
"The Genius X offers an unprecedented number of features for the most custom and effective clean yet. The small, circular head cleans better than other shapes, and high-tech add-ons, like a built-in timer, long-lasting battery, and Bluetooth, make it easy to keep your mouth in tip-top shape."

Debra Shigley is a freelance journalist, on-air host, and former employment lawyer. Along the way she wrote a book The Go-Getter Girl’s Guide, lived for a time in Mexico City, and co-founded a mobile hairstyling company. She recently moved from Atlanta to a farm in Milton, GA, with her husband Kevin and their five children, ages nine to two.

Debra’s Pick: Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel
"I use this on myself and my daughters. Their curls are looser than mine; for them first we'll apply a spray leave in conditioner, then apply in nickel size amounts in sections raking through their hair. For me, I'll apply while still in the shower—loosely detangling my hair, then applying a leave-in conditioner by section and going over top with the Climate Control gel. The viscous, liquid-y consistency makes it really easy to coat the hair without weighing it down!" 

Anisa Telwar Kaicker is the Founder and CEO of her namesake business, Anisa International. After nearly three decades in the makeup and skincare manufacturing business, Kaicker launched a specialized category of cosmetic brushes focused on skincare application through ANISA Beauty. Anisa’s long-standing philanthropic contributions span causes for homeless families, animals and the conservation of our environment.