November 13th 2018
To-do lists at this time of year can take on epic novel proportions so we’re here to tick off at least a few by sorting your gift list. Whether you’re buying for a regular gym goer, someone who simply has to have the latest Charlotte Tilbury set or a friend who could use some space to chill and sleep, we’ve got it covered. As for dropping hints, just leave your browser open and loudly encourage scrolling. Here goes…
Probably one of the most iconic lipsticks of modern times (quite the statement) one pinky toned Pillow Talk lipstick is sold every two minutes worldwide. Kudos if you’ve got one - every time I’ve tried it’s been sold out, so our advice would be to snap up this online only Pillow Talk Lip Cheat Lip Liner and matching Matte Revolution Lipstick set pronto.
This limited edition set goes big on hydration without heaviness so it’s perfect for plumping and moisturising even oily skins. Worth £155, within the bright box you’ll find a full size Hydro-Dynamic Quenching Essence to top with a full size Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture to sandwich in softness, plus three Hydro Glow Aqua Peels for weekly at-home resurfacing and brightening. Whoever you buy it for will be bouncing into the New Year...
Face cream just got festive. We look forward to Kiehl’s’ Christmas illustrations every year and 2018’s collaboration with American artist Andrew Bannecker doesn’t disappoint- - vibrant, cute and slightly weird (our favourite descriptors), the cartoon like wintery scenes adorn everything from toners to body lotions. Ultra Facial Cream got dressed up too, which is only right given its ‘winter staple’ status - it’s rich in emollient squalene to keep skin smooth, soft and healthy yet its lightweight texture won’t overload skin.
Though we know that no one would say no to a Christmas candle come the big day, the ongoing scent of a reed diffuser is so much more satisfying (and especially ideal if you’re hosting the family get-togethers this year - open flames, bubbly and children generally do not mix). VOYA’s beautifully designed diffusers are of the highest quality and make a long-lasting gift that really does keep on giving; this seasonal edition combines the festive aromas of sweet orange, cinnamon and clove with deeper, woody undertones, which are absorbed by the natural reed sticks to gently scent your home. If Christmas were a fragrance, this would be it.
Whoever put this gift set together must have a wire in our office because these are some of our most commonly used and raved about ‘getting ready for Friday night’ products. First off there’s the nothing short of legendary Eyeshadow Primer Potion, then smoke things up a bit with the Naked Petite Heat Palette, creating definition close to the lashline with the jet black Perversion 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil. Finally add your mascara of choice and fix the look with the travel-sized All Nighter Setting Spray. Simple but effective and your look will last until you/ the cows come home.
When it comes to removing Friday night face, there’s nothing that good old Cleanse & Polish won’t shift, and this set combines the cult cleansing classic with the refreshing Instant Boost Skin Tonic, Botanical Shine Shampoo and Conditioner plus two gentle but effective cotton cloths to add to your at-home facial arsenal. If you know a Liz E devotee, you know what to do…
It’s around this time of year that our faces start to give the game away of the fact we’ve been burning the candle at both ends and feeling more than a little merry, and this glow-getting kit is just the remedy (yet luxurious enough to not suggest you’re insinuating the recipient looks terrible). With a trio of products from the well-loved ExfoliKate range, it will please long-term fans of the brand as well as making a great discovery kit for Kate Somerville virgins. The kit contains the skin-smoothing Intensive Exfoliating Treatment, the Glow Moisturizer which battles dull, uneven skin, and the daily cleanser which gently buffs away impurities with its combo of glycolic and lactic acids to leave complexions looking visibly brighter. Mulled wine, anyone?
Treat your body with the same skincare prowess that you treat your face with this expert softening power couple - a 10% glycolic acid based lotion take care of rough skin and flaky elbows/ knees/ limbs (because t’is the season to be super dry), while a shea butter and ceramide rich body cream helps skin to hold onto moisture and retain the smoothness and glow created by the glycolic. A dream team to the extent that you’ll want to take your tights off for the foreseeable.
Another pair of skincare top performers, the LUNA mini 2 and LUNA play are handheld sonic cleansing devices made of medical grade silicone that offer powerful cleansing both at home and on-the-go (the LUNA mini 2 is rechargeable while the LUNA play lasts for 100 cleanses). As well as whisking away dirt, makeup and pollutants the pulsations (8000 a minute) boost microcirculation, giving you a glow while also helping any skincare you apply post-cleansing to absorb optimally. For scale, the LUNA play is pocket sized while the LUNA mini 2 is palm sized - both are the business when it comes to purifying, exfoliating and massaging and this set means the lucky recipient can keep one device at home and save one for travels.
This bestselling skincare mist is wearing a snowy new coat for Christmas but does the same job as the year-rounder - apple pectin helps to keep skin smooth and supple while orange blossom, rose and sage waters act as natural toners and smell beautiful too - this as refreshing for your mind as it is for your skin. Spritz on a loved one or find a quiet corner for yourself for some ‘Queen’ time.
The Restorative Oil in this gift set is known among ESPA fans as a ‘hug in a bottle’, and what better time to give someone a hug than at Christmas? Wrap that special someone up in comfort with this cute combination of a mini bath oil, body oil and limited edition Restorative Balm, all designed to bring a sense of calm and packaged beautifully in an ESPA gift box - it’s a guaranteed people-pleaser.
Another gift to soothe mind and skin, this cooling jade massage tool may be a recent sell out but it’s heritage goes back centuries - jade stone is traditionally used in Chinese beauty rituals to boost circulation and balance yin and yang. Combine the tension melting stone with skincare and glide over the face for a relaxing end of day ritual or a reviving morning wake-up call, leaving skin plump, healthier looking and with any luck both mind and skin calmer.
First off we don’t think we’ve ever seen a gift box as fancy as this one - you’ll genuinely want to keep it to store your clutter in afterwards. As for the contents, the set features a candle, foaming body wash (lasts forever), very grown up looking bath bomb and a body cream, all with a warming, uplifting watermelon and pomegranate spiked fragrance that’s refreshingly juicy and ideal you’ve got festive scent fatigue.
Warm, dark and delicious, Opium is one of those scents that’s evolved to become almost instantly recognisable - it’s distinctive to the point that if a sister, friend, wife or colleague loves it, you’ll likely know about it. Notes of black coffee and musk add depth while white flowers and vanilla create sweetness and light - as fragrances go we’d put it in the addictive category. It’s had a sleek dressing up for Christmas with a glittery gold logo snaking up the side of the black lacquer bottle - whichever way you look at it it’s a keeper.
Another classic with a twist, this top to toe set contains the original Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant, a rich balm that’s been warding off chapping and creating a sheen for nigh on 90 years now. Joining the original crew is the new Eight Hour Cream All-Over Miracle Oil, a silky hair and body oil rich in moisturising avocado, grapeseed and tsubaki plant extracts and the gel based Eight Hour Cream Moisturising Hand Treatment that sinks in fast to repair cracks and dry patches. All in all it’s a steal that comes into its own during the winter months especially.
Granted this simple tube doesn’t bring festive bells and whistles to your bathroom shelf, but then retinol doesn’t need tinsel and baubles to prove its worth. One of the most evidence-backed skincare ingredients out there, retinol helps to stimulate collagen production and skin cell turnover, brightening, smoothing and reducing the formation of fine lines over time. This particular serum is affordable, combines three forms of retinol for enhanced delivery and works for all skin types apart from sensitive - if they’re already a retinol fan they’ll love it, but get the lay of the land if they’re a newbie as retinol can cause initial irritation and flakiness.
A volume boosting hair wardrobe that helps to enhance hair density over time, this shampoo, conditioner, serum and scalp mask set feature the kind of reparative ingredients you’ll be familiar with finding in your skincare - think hydrating hyaluronic acid, fortifying peptides and stimulating caffeine to promote a healthy scalp and, as a result, stronger hair. Also in the kit is a soft-tipped mini hairbrush to gently detangle on your travels or at the gym.
Probably the chic-est gym bag we ever did see, this elegant quilted black shoulder bag does gym-to-office and weekend trips in style, with plenty of external and internal pockets to store everything from sweaty kit to laptops and a yoga mat strap at the bottom that makes light work of hauling your kit around. The fabric is light yet hardy and rainproof and it’s also comfy to carry after a tough workout. All in all an ‘it’ bag in our view.
If you know someone with a tea or coffee habit (all of us?) who could do with a jazzy keep cup, this colourful, sustainable bamboo option is suitably ‘gifty’ and makes for a very relevant office Secret Santa pick too. The bamboo outer is incredibly light and the silicone sleeve and lid mean you can clutch an English Breakfast straight from the kettle with no risk of burny fingers. Given that 10,000 non-recyclable hot drinks cups are chucked in the bin every two minutes in the UK, this is a cheery cup with a conscience that provides a counter to plastic pollution, plus it’s far nicer to sip a steaming tea from this than a flimsy throwaway alternative that makes your brew taste of plastic.
You know someone loves you if a Diptyque candle comes your way. Luxe and covetable, the candles are known for their exceptional burn time and beautifully crafted scents, not to mention the fact that once burned down and cleaned out they make for very swish makeup brush holders. As for these three, the mermaid, bear and deer ‘characters’ bring different olfactory charms to a Christmas table - the blue mermaid is ambery and evocative of the sea, the red bear brings almond infused warmth and the green deer smells of fresh pine. They’re highly collectible but don’t save them for best - they’re too good to leave posing on the mantelpiece.
If you’re yet to dabble in This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, or want to share the soporific love, the multi-award winning blend of lavender, vetiver and chamomile has been proven to help you to fall asleep and melt away nighttime anxiety. If you know a rough sleeper, this combo of pillow spray, Deep Sleep Night Oil and a soft eye mask will help them to establish a calming nighttime routine - the oil in particular works brilliantly for massage, which can’t hurt either when it comes to sleeping soundly. Bliss in a box.
Eyes, cheeks and lips - this comprehensive palette covers all manner of party season makeup concerns. Think of it as the beauty equivalent of a Christmas selection chocolate box. Treats include a trio of eye shape-enhancing Lid Stuff shadows, Thick & Fast Mascara HD, Supercat Eyeliner, Sexy Mother Pucker Lip Gloss, Glow All Out Face Powder, and a handy how-to for getting the most out of its contents inside its lid too. What’s more, it also contains a double-ended eyeshadow brush and a half moon blusher brush too.
Wrap a loved one in REN’s Moroccan rose and they probably won’t require a perfume follow-up - the pure rose otto oil used in this body wash and lotion double act is somehow both punchy and delicate and stands up by itself. Both of these have aromatherapeutic effect when you use them, with a lingering scent and softening effect that’ll transform neglected winter limbs. The Kikki K designed box is also designed to spread the cosy vibes - it takes hygge-ish influences from festive Scandinavian scenes.
One of the most popular fragrances of recent times has been given a starry, spangly update - spritz the freesia, rose and honey based scent onto skin and it comes off radiant and gleaming, doing double duty as far as Christmas party prep goes. It looks particularly brilliant on collarbones and lasts all night, as does the complex scent. As special occasion fragrance buying goes it’s a no brainer, and it won’t be around for long, so get it in your basket or on your list.
Despite the pretty much weekly announcement of a new mascara on the market, Hypnôse remains hard to beat. This set furnishes the lucky recipient with a full sized wand of the eye-opening, curling and lash-grabbing mascara, alongside a mini Crayon Khôl to create further intensity and still the most brilliant eye makeup remover we’ve encountered to date - Bi Facil. Beauty editors buy it in bulk for a reason but this set will let your chosen makeup fan make their own mind up. We predict a reorder next Christmas.
November 13th 2018
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