As soon as November hits, we beauty editors start to become inundated with festive gifts—sadly, not to keep but to get up close and personal with so that we can compile a totally honest, well-researched, and thoroughly considered edit of the very best beauty gifts out there for Christmas. If you have a beauty lover in your life who you’re struggling to buy for, a beauty editor could likely reel off countless gifts that would put a smile on the faces of even the hardest to please.
However, while recommending products to others is easy as pie, trying to decide what to gift our own loved ones is a little trickier—there’s simply too much to choose from. In essence, out of the hundreds of products beauty editors get to try every year, you better believe that the ones we deem worthy of gifting to those closest to us are the best of the best. So whether you’re a struggling gift buyer or just fancy being nosey, I reached out to some of my best beauty buds to see what they’re buying their loved ones this Christmas.
"I know my sister would love this. She loves dry shampoo as much as me (except, she has two children, and I'm just lazy), and this is one of my favourites. I recommend it to anybody who'll listen. It has some serious oil-absorbing powers, smells incredible, and it also adds just the right amount of volume to my hair, too—so much so that I often use it on freshly washed hair to add a bit of grit and texture."
"My best friend has recently had a baby, and I just know Sol de Janerio will make those long, sleepless days and nights so much easier. Bum Bum Cream is a cult favourite for a reason, after all. Plus, if baby allows, applying it is the perfect excuse to take an extra five minutes at shower time to indulge in a bit of moisturising. Every product in the range has that addictive, sweet-but-not-too-sweet signature scent, which is reason enough to buy this set for literally anybody."
"My mum is constantly on my back for skincare recommendations, and this kit houses everything she could ever need: vitamin C to brighten, SPF to protect, vitamin A to help resurface and renew skin, and a cleanser that will hopefully help her get into the habit of washing her face every day. Medik8 is one of my favourite, most trusted brands, and I'm sure using these products will help her build an effective yet simple routine."
"The thing about gifting beauty products is that they should look as good as they feel, and a well-packaged, well-formulated, and environmentally conscious gift is always a winner for me. This Fenty Skin three-piece set is a great starter pack for anyone that is building a skincare routine. The scent alone makes the whole experience so pleasant, so if it’s not being gifted to super-sensitive skin, this is a cop. From one Rihanna stan to another, I'm hoping my little sister is not reading this—I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise!”
“If you receive one of these from a loved one, trust me. You are loved! This is the perfect gift for any lipstick obsessive. These matte lipstick duos really scream royal realness. Everything—from the colours, the formulation, down to the packaging—is envious. Although, I can’t guarantee that the lucky giftee will wear either of them, as they just might be too pretty to use. With a universal red and a classic nude, if you’re looking to treat a loved one, look no further. Oh, and don’t tell my mother I’ve got her a set!”
"My sister has been sneaking into my room whenever we’re both at the parents’ to steal some of this beautifully scented, deeply nourishing bath soak. Though I am very cross about it and have told her it’ll take me at least a year to forgive her for using the final scoop, I can’t really blame her. It turns baths into a sublime, spa-like experience and leaves skin silken. This year, she’ll get a (fully recyclable) glass jar of this. And Mick, if you’re reading, I fully intend on using half of it. Fair is fair."
"One of my fondest memories from childhood is of reading in my mum’s bed while she was cleansing and moisturising in the adjacent bathroom. I’d usually be half asleep on my book by the time she joined me smelling of moisturiser and clean cotton. On the strength of that evening ritual, I’ll forever associate mum with great skincare and, in particular, Sisley, which was and remains one of her mainstays. Now that she’s 72, her skin’s pretty dry, so I’m going to give her this oil as a proper treat."
"Once upon a time, Stila was temporarily discontinued in the UK. It was a very trying episode for me. After having read an interview with Caroline Barnes in a magazine about makeup favourites in which she said she used Stila’s Kitten eye shadow on Kylie Minogue, I went out immediately to buy one with my pocket money and promptly fell deeply in love with the champagne hue.
"Throughout my teens, I bought a new one every time I hit pan, but the hiatus hit me hard, and I resorted to relentlessly begging a friend who worked transatlantically to bring me the shadows every time he flew into London. (Thank you for being my Stila mule, Neal. I owe you a pint or 15 when we’re on the other side of lockdown.) My fear of being without has remained, and I now have a mania for all the Kitten franchise and am therefore giving myself this trio."
"I've loved these Caviar Sticks for years. They're the best cream eye shadows I've tried, and I wax lyrical about them to everyone who does and doesn't enquire. This selection of tawny shades will look so good on my sister, who does like eye shadow but can't be bothered with brushes every day and really needs to stop stealing mine…"
"To me, great sleep is one of the most precious yet elusive gifts anyone could give me. My mum needs everything to be pitch-black, so this memory foam silk eye mask is perfect for her. And being a devotee to the bath and shower oil myself, I know the aromas of lavender and bitter orange will send her off in no time."
"This year, my gift motto is small and (wherever possible) sustainable. Okiki Skincare is going to be my go-to for friends that can’t get enough of candles. The products are handmade by a mother-daughter duo, inspired by their West African heritage. I adore the Nana Efua Neneh Candle and know it’ll be a winner with my friends. I may treat myself to a candle (or three), too."
"Scents are a beautiful present, but they’re not easy to gift. For that reason, I love the Floral Street Scent School in a Box. Not only does your loved one get to sample eight scents (with the option of gifting a full-size bottle of their favourite), but they also get to join a virtual scent school. For friends who I won’t be able to visit this year for a festive catch-up, this is perfect."
"Some people still need a little nudge to make a few very simple, sustainable swaps in their beauty routines (looking directly at you, makeup wipe users). I love the Full Circle Beauty Essential Gift Set, which contains bamboo cotton buds, a bamboo toothbrush, six bamboo cotton pads, a string wash bag, and a muslin cloth. This festive period, I’ll make sure my family and friends have no excuse to pick up a makeup wipe."
"My sister, Debbie, has been obsessed with Kiehl’s ever since I introduced her to my holy-grail face moisturiser, the Ultra Facial Cream. This set is perfect for her, as it has four of the brand classics—essentials in your skincare routine."
"My mum is a huge Bobbi Brown fan, so I know this will be top of her list! I love that this is all about enhancing glow, as I think, with mature skin, losing your sparkle is a worry. My mum has amazing skin, and I love that this set isn’t about covering it up but is actually about enhancing it and showing it off!"
"In the age of overzealous handwashing and WFH life, this Christmas, I’ll be treating myself to a top-up of my favourite handwash and cream duo. I’ll consider it a joint present, as my birthday is four days later. I never thought I would be this excited by handwash ever, let alone at the age of 28, but if you’ve used it, you will understand the hype."
"While we’re all longing for a manicure right now, my sister is verging on desperate. She always has her nails done, and they look pristine at all times. A few days ago, she mentioned to me that she has found a couple of great gel-finish polishes to tide her over but also said that she’s really missed getting creative with her nail-art choices in 2020. To help fill the nail art–shaped hole in her life, I’m popping these stickers in her stocking. With loads of different patterns, you simply press them on and then paint over the top with a clear polish for a professional, salon-esque look."
"One of my really close friends has been keeping a secret from everyone she knows. It turns out, she’s a really great makeup artist, but only recently has she had the opportunity to give her passion some more time. While I’m usually all about an understated nude eye, I’ve found myself mesmerised by the colourful looks she’s been creating. I know that this palette is at the top of her Christmas list thanks to its super-buttery, blendable pigments. I can’t wait to see what she does with it."
"My boyfriend recently finished his favourite-ever aftershave, and it’s sadly been discontinued. A few months ago, he discovered my stash of this rich, woody spritz and has been stealing a spray or two whenever the opportunity arises. This year, I thought I’d get him his own bottle. Of course, he deserves it, but it’s mostly because I want him to stop stealing mine."