Along with gift cards, beauty products have long been a saving grace for the unimaginative. That means most of us are jaded by the bog-standard skin-care, makeup, or fragrance sets: there’s always one colour we don’t like, a pouch that’s not pretty, or a bubble bath that makes us break out. To reignite the festive fervour, we’ve sifted through the humdrum to uncover 10 exceptional products from this year’s crop of holiday releases—so covetable, you may end up gifting them to yourself.
Storie Veneziane by Valmont fragrances
Swiss brand Valmont describes its first fragrance range as, “olfactive high jewellery.” The five-strong collection was inspired by a walk through Venice’s lesser-known quarters: from the freshly crisp and floral notes of Verde Erba I, to the sensual blend of amber, cardamom, and sandalwood found in Gaggia Medio I. The names nod to pigments used by Murano glassmakers; fitting, as each bottle is adorned with a handblown Murano glass mask—making every bottle a collectible gift of its own.
At Holt Renfrew (Vancouver, Bloor Street, and Yorkdale) and La Maison Valmont.
Nude by Nature Brilliance 15 Piece Brush Collection Gift Set
Whether blending a smoky eye or sweeping on a subtle blush, create a flawless look with Nude by Nature’s range of complexion, eye, and lip brushes. Made of synthetic fibres that perform just as well as natural hair, this cruelty-free option ensures holiday cheer for all.
At Shoppers Drug Mart and Nudebynature.ca.
Bite Beauty Sweet Treats Agave Lip Care Set
Keeping your lips under-mistletoe kissable this holiday season is Bite Beauty’s handy Sweet Treats kits. Available in Party Prep or Holiday Hangover, the cute bottles hold miniature versions of Bite’s agave balm, mask, and lip scrub. For a truly exclusive find, the brand has also released the Astrology by BITE Mini Amuse Bouche Lipstick Vault, a limited-edition coffret with all 12 of its much-loved zodiac-inspired lippies.
At Bitebeauty.com, Sephora and Sephora.com.
Sephora Once Upon a Night Blockbuster
This incredibly comprehensive kit could satisfy even the most avid makeup enthusiast. There are 78 eyeshadows, 24 lip glosses, 12 cream eyeliners, six blushes, six highlighters and bronzers, four brow powders—and a partridge in a pear tree? Not quite, but the number of looks you can create surely exceeds 12 days.
At Sephora and Sephora.com.
L’Occitane en Provence Best of L’Occitane
Pampering is at the heart of this French brand, and this gift set has all the classics. Think everything from the luxurious lathers of the Immortelle Precious Cleansing Foam and the Lavender Foaming Bath, to the heavenly scented Almond Shower Oil and Shea Butter Hand Cream—a treat for all the senses.
At L’Occitane en Provence stores and L’Occitane.com.
Marc Jacobs Beauty See-quins Glam Glitter Eyeshadow
There is a time and a place for OTT glitter eye makeup, and it is holiday parties. Marc Jacobs Beauty says it’s first to market with a sequin-finish eyeshadow, potted in six shimmery shades. Tip: prep with an eyelid primer to avoid fallout before applying with a flat brush or simply gentle pressing in with your fingertips.
At Sephora, Marcjacobs.com and Net-a-porter.com.
Nannette de Gaspé Cannabis Sativa Bain Noir Bath Soak Treatment
Beauty brands have been falling over themselves to include cannabis in their products since October, but no one does it in quite so luxe a fashion as Montreal’s Nannette de Gaspé. This aromatic bath treatment has cold-pressed cannabis sativa oil—rich in fatty acids—plus antioxidant-packed, anti-aging oils of poppyseed and meadowfoam. Use the accompanying wand to administer one dip under running water, then give it a stir, and soak.
At Holt Renfrew and Nannettedegaspe.com.
Clé de Peau Beauté La Crème
Japanese brand Clé de Peau’s La Crème moisturizer has achieved an iconic status for tackling virtually every sign of aging: wrinkles, dark spots, sagging, dullness, dehydration. The buttery, orchid-scented cream is usually housed in a crystal jar, but for the festive season, it comes in a special limited-edition package designed by Italian illustrator Daria Petrilli and inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
At Nordstrom, Holt Renfrew and Saks.
Aesop Contours of Discovery Gift Kit
The luxe Aussie body-care brand collaborated with Dutch couturier Iris Van Herpen on its 2018 holiday gift sets, entitled Atlas of Attraction. Top pick is this selection of staples that includes a hand wash and balm in Resurrection Aromatique (orange, rosemary, and lavender) and Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser and Scrub. The four products are packed in a sleek zip case wrapped in a sleeve that features whimsical designs from Van Herpen’s archive.
At Aesop stores and Aesop.com.
Shiseido Ribbonesia Limited Edition ModernMatte Powder Lipstick Expressive Deluxe Mini Set
Christmas came early when Shiseido relaunched its makeup colours this autumn, grouping products into four textures. Under the “powders”, this holiday set of five matte—but not drying—lipsticks runs the gamut from neutrals, to pinks, to a festive red, and comes in packaging designed by Japanese art duo Ribbonesia.
At Shiseido counters.
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