Stockings currently looking empty? Worry not, Camilla King is on hand with some present tips for the skincare and makeup fiends on your gift list.
Christmas lists; I spend a good part of October to December each year moaning about them to anyone who will listen. I’m lazy, and would definitely rather be catching up on Doctor Who (can we talk about last week’s episode? How amazing is Peter Capaldi?) than thinking about what my kids and husband want under the tree in two months’ time.
That said, I’m also thrilled to open the eyeliner/CD/book that I’ve wanted all year long and couldn’t quite justify buying for myself. Christmas is a time when I don’t feel guilty asking for the completely frivolous knitted hot-water bottle cover, or snuggly bed socks, or any other pieces of extraneous crap that I don’t need, but really, really would like to have.
Though I’m not a fan of list making, I adore present shopping. Seeing the pleasure on someone’s face when they receive a gift that shows you’ve taken the time to think about what they’ll love; something uniquely ‘them’, is the best. Whether you’re the person trying to put together a list for your loved ones, or the present buyer who has lost the will to live, please allow me to ease the way with my top ten makeup and skincare related gifts.
1. Mavala Cracking Duo Nail Polish, £9: These little pots of polish come in a vast array of colours, apply beautifully, dry super-fast and have survived all sorts of child based activities without chipping. Their small size means you’ll use them up before they do that annoying separating thing. Boots have this cute cracker duo, but you can buy single pots for just over £4. In fact, their whole nail range is full of useful manicure tools.
2. Delilah Colour Blush, £26: This British brand is a new discovery for me. Formed in 2014 by a trio of beauty industry experts, the packaging holds equal sway with the product. Every item is encased in stunning rose gold that feels weighty and is just ridiculously, joyfully chic and pretty. The blushers are especially lovely; Lullaby is a soft pink/peach that will flatter every skin tone. I admit, I would balk at paying £26 for a blusher under normal circumstances, which is why I will be hinting heavily that someone else might pay for it instead… *ahem*
3. Stila Smudge Stick, £13: These eyeliners have just a hint of sparkle, making them perfect for Christmas and everyday wear. My own favourites are Moray (a flattering khaki green) and Purple Tang (a dark aubergine, lovely layered over a dark brown eyeliner). If you want to splash out, Stila have a great tin with five smudge sticks for £36 (also available from Boots).
4. Korres Guava Lip Butter, £8 (lots of other stockists): Unctuous with a hint of shine, this smells amazing, more of vanilla than fruit. The pot is satisfyingly heavy and I think all lip balm obsessives will know what I’m banging on about when I say that it’s got a lid that has a very pleasing slide and click when it shuts (I cannot find a way to describe this without it sounding somewhat dirty, sorry). On a side note, if you have a booze-loving friend or relative, check out the Korres Party Surviving Kit £19.
5. Neom Three Nights Of Peace Mini Collection, £14.95: Neom make gorgeous candles and other nice smelling bits of delightfulness. I find their Three Nights of Peace collection appealing mainly because I would very much appreciate three nights of peace right now, but also due to the delicious de-stressing bath oils it contains. If you gift this to anyone feeling the pressures of the season, it may well make them cry with gratitude.
6. Bobbi Brown Art Stick Lip Liner, £20: I lust after these lip crayons to a degree that verges on obsession. They’re a lip liner and lipstick combined, in a wonderful chunky pencil that fills me with childish glee every time I use them. They’re smooth to apply and moisturising, but with a great semi-matte finish, and a really dense colour. My current favourite is Rose Brown, a completely sexy wintery pinky-brown, but I confess I also have Harlow Red and Electric Pink. These are for someone unafraid of bold colour, but you will receive a whole lot of love if you give one to the lipstick queen in your life.
7. Cowshed Bath Set, £19: Um, hello, when did Marks & Spencer suddenly become a serious online beauty destination? Admittedly, the website can be utterly crap (please M&S, sort it out), but this Cowshed offering is firmly on my own Christmas list. Tongue-in-cheek names with well-known spa quality in a natty little travel bag that I’ll be able to reuse. What’s not to love? For your Nan, M&S has some fab Neal’s Yard, L’Occitane and Emma Bridgewater sets. Good stuff for men, too.
8. Sunday Riley Face Oil Artemis, £60: I haven’t tried this face oil yet, but it’s on my list with a little *I really want this* note on the side. A luxury item, for sure, but I’ve read too many rave reviews about its glow-inducing, anti-ageing and skin-calming properties not to be desperate to give it a go. You only need a couple of drops so the bottle will last a long time, and I do find face oils a huge winner in the winter months when central heating, windy weather and constant colds seem to turn my face into one big flaking disaster. (Husband, have I convinced you that this is worth buying yet?)
9. Abahna Frangipani & Orange Blossom Hand Cream, £8: This small UK company make the most delicious bath and body products. This hand cream is rich but non-greasy and the packaging is just so pretty that applying it before I go to sleep makes me feel a little bit like a character out of Gossip Girl (this is a good thing).
10. Laura Mercier Matte To Metal Caviar Stick Eye Collection, £39: The original, and still the best, Laura Mercier’s Caviar Sticks are the most fabulous multi-purpose eye sticks around. Really dense, rich colour, these are great all over the eyelid for a dramatic look, or applied with a brush as a smudgy eyeliner. I was lucky enough to get one of these mini collections a couple of years ago, and the sticks have barely worn down. I especially love the gold metallics which are brilliant paired with a black liquid liner or just on the inner corner of your eye to open them up. If this set is out of budget, you can get individual, full-sized Caviar Sticks for £22. Allow me to recommend Rose Gold and Moonlight.
I feel it would be remiss of me, while also completely off topic, not to mention that M&S have reduced the price of their Gogglebox Steph & Dom Cocktail Shaker to £5. I am not ashamed to admit that I would be thrilled to find this under the Christmas tree, or perhaps in a work Secret Santa. It contains four cocktail recipe cards and body wash and a body puff. Amazing value for money for the Gogglebox fan in your life, I think you’ll agree.
AUTHOR: Camilla King6560 Views
Freelancer in the arts. Unwilling expert on Batman, dinosaurs and poo (there are children) and running widow of @UpDownRunner. Lover of music, cake and lady stuff. @millking2301