Let’s face it, drugstores and department store beauty counters are last-minute shopping saviours, as are e-commerce beauty sites, which ‘make it even more convenient to purchase skincare gifts,’ says Biotherm’s Isabelle Randez in Montreal.
I agree with Randez when she says that the choice of product depends on how close you are to the person you are buying it for. ‘Anti-aging skincare products are perfectly acceptable if you know the person has a favourite and likes getting it as a gift.’
And, of course, it’s tough not to notice all the added-value gift sets on the market during the holiday season. Says Grace Galvao-Nunes, beauty boutique manager at a Shoppers Drug Mart store in Toronto, ‘If you know what someone uses and there’s a gift set available, that’s amazing. But beware of making the choice too personal. Something that says ‘anti-aging’ on the label might make someone feel old!’ Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment makes a lovely gift, says Galvao-Nunes, especially the box set of three mini tubes available for the holiday season.
Randez concurs about keeping it neutral: ‘When in doubt, or if buying for someone you don’t know as well, I’d go with a body lotion, hand cream or shower gel.’ Not surprisingly, she likes Biotherm’s body line of citrusy Lait de Douche (shower gel), Lait de Gommage (scrub) and Lait Corporel (moisturizer). ‘The latter is my favourite.’
It’s nice to give someone something they wouldn’t indulge in themselves. ‘The beauty of giving a skincare product is also about letting your sister, friend or mother discover something you personally use and love,’ says Randez, who cites the Clarisonic Mia 2 skin-cleansing device, which comes in a variety of fun colours, and Shu Uemura facial cleansing oil as her other favourites.
What’s on my own gift list? For the eco-beauty aficionado: box sets from certified-natural brand Weleda. (Its duo of Creamy Body Wash and Replenishing Body Lotion comes in Sea Buckthorn, Wild Rose and Pomegranate, and is $27.) For the luxe beauty junkie: Crème de la Mer is super gift-y since it’s one of the world’s most exclusive brands. But at $170, it’s also super splurge-y, so an easier option is La Mer’s sleek pot of minty lip balm ($58). Okay, that’s a bit nuts for a lip balm, but I use and love it for everything from my lips to my cuticles, and it’s a treat to carry in my purse. Of course, there’s no limit to what you can spend on beauty items; on the upper, upper end is Japanese brand Clé de Peau Beauté La Crème in a limited-edition keepsake jar that retails in Canada for $950. Yes, $950. And then there’s the 500 mL Crème de la Mer in a holiday-edition case for $2,145. (Please don’t shoot the messenger.)
Getting back down to earth, there’s the cheeky, pun-filled and retro-labelled Soap & Glory line (which is based in the U.K. and was started by Canadian entrepreneur dynamo Marcia Kilgore): It starts at just $10. ‘And a lot of people like La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume body moisturizer,’ says Galvao-Nunes. ‘It’s fragrance-free and recommended by dermatologists.’ It’s $25 for a tube.
Personally, I like such practical gifts. At this time of year, with the double whammy of outdoor cold and indoor heating, you can’t have too many brilliant skin-rescue bottles stashed strategically around the house.
Just make sure that you wrap them with panache. Bright tissue paper and a generous amount of raffia ribbon make even practical gifts festive.