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From the editor: Beauty products that real women swear by

Catherine Conelly is a graduate from Arizona State where she earned a degree in creative writing and now works as Senior Editor at SheKnows. She helps oversee the beauty, love and health family of sites. Follow her on Twitter to keep up ...

Beauty awards finalists

This year we wanted to give our beauty awards a twist.

2014 Real Woman Beauty Awards

With celebrities like Lena Dunham, who has shattered stereotypes about body image, and Lorde, who proudly tweeted an image of her "flawed" skin, it's pretty clear that women can have a powerful say in what we think beauty looks like and how it differs from what society and stereotypes have projected on us.

You may love to wear a full face of makeup or maybe a pretty lipstick and a quick swipe of mascara does the trick for you. Maybe you never wear makeup but indulge in hair care trends like oils and deep conditioners. Maybe nail polish is your form of expression or you've discovered a dry shampoo that makes your hair look just as good as the girl's in the Herbal Essences commercial.

These little things give us a small amount of joy to carry around all day and we shouldn't be afraid to admit that. While we don't want to wear society's costume, certain beauty products help us feel beautiful.

As our Director of Editorial Lauren Swanson put it, “The idea of beauty is changing. Women are embracing positive self-image and turning to each other to define what works and doesn’t work. The Real Woman Beauty Awards is about finding those gems that the average woman swears by and sharing that with our readers.”

So, since crowdsourcing your Facebook friends to learn about the best mascara can often be just as reliable as “googling it,” we surveyed our readers and the everyday experts among us to figure out what brands they choose when faced with the influx of makeup, skin care and hair care options. We wanted to know: How do you solve issues like dry skin and flat hair?

We also hand selected some brands who give back. These do-gooders are helping to spread the message that inner beauty is just as important as outer beauty. All finalists, winners and editors' picks will be announced on April 24. Until then, here is a preview of some of the products women just like you nominated most often.

Lipstick

Beauty Awards: Lipstick

Eyeshadow

Beauty Awards: Eyeshadow

Mascara

Beauty Awards: Mascara

Nail polish brand

Beauty Awards: Nail polish

Self-tanner

Beauty Awards: Self-tanner

Dry shampoo

Beauty Awards: Dry shampoo

Beach wave spray

Beauty Awards: Beach wave spray

Hair serum

Beauty Awards: Hair serum

Beauty doing good

Beauty Awards: Beauty do-gooders

The most iconic

Beauty Awards: Most iconic

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