Stumped for present ideas? Want to look extra glam for your holiday parties? I’ve scouted around for a wide assortment of goodies that I hope will help you fine-tune the gift-giving or put you in the holiday mood. Even if your budget is tight and the relatives and colleagues so annoying that you’d rather not give them anything at all (and yes, every Good Enough Mother has someone like that in her life, doesn’t she?), these gems ought to make your season brighter. Happy Holidays to all!
1. JUNE JACOBS RAPID REPAIR HEALING CREAM
When acclaimed skincare specialist June Jacobs was being treated for breast cancer, she developed radiation dermatitis. This spurred her on to develop this amazingly therapeutic cream to soothe and hydrate irritated or dry skin, anywhere on your body. I love this cream not only because it works so well but because June poured her knowledge into creating it—and to help all women who suffered as she did.
Buy it for $60 at junejacobs.com
2. RITUALS 3 IN 1 HAND SCRUB
Speaking of therapeutic, this is one of my favorite new products, as it not only works amazingly well but is so unique and smells so good that you can’t stop using it. Simply apply it to dry hands, massage it in, and rinse. Your hands will instantly look and feel softer and smoother. Available as Miracle with ginseng, or Silence with white lotus.
Buy it for $19 at us.rituals.com
3. LAURA GELLER LAMBSWOOL SOFT-FOCUS MAKEUP BLENDER
Tired of your makeup going on blotchy and wondering how models get a flawless (non-Photoshopped) finish on their faces? One of the secrets known by makeup artists is that special tools make all the difference. This little puff of the softest lambswool will perfectly blend and buff your foundation. You can also use it to apply blush or powder.
Buy it for $17 at laurageller.com
4. PAUL AND JOE MAKEUP COLLECTION
One of my fave cult brands with the very best packaging and colors, Paul and Joe has outdone themselves this season with their Makeup Collection. Inside a pouch–which you’ll want to use to stash all the little objects that always seem to fall to the bottom of your purse—you’ll find 5 eyeshadow colors in paper packets, a creamy cheek color, a waterproof eye liner, and the Rose Treatment Balm that you can use on your hair and body.
Buy it for $42 at beautyhabit.com
5. PHILIP KINGSLEY SCALP MASKS
I’ve often written about masks for hair and scalp whenever I’ve found a new one, because my hair is super-dry and needs all the help it can get. But don’t neglect your scalp, too—not when you can use one of these therapeutic masks by the trichologist extraordinaire Philip Kingsley. The Exfoliating Scalp Mask is great for itchy and flaky scalps, and the Stimulating Scalp Mask helps fine or thinning hair.
Buy one for $30 at philipkingsley.com
6. OPI NAIL LACQUER
Just as a new lipstick can instantly perk up a drab day, so can a new coat of nail polish. OPI has gotten into the holiday spirit with some sensational new colors, all with a bit of sparkle to brighten up even the grumpiest Scrooge. I mean, what’s wrong with putting some glitter on your toes? I especially love By the Light of the Moon, which is a dazzling silver, and the glistening ruby Let Your Love Shine.
Buy it for $9.50 at ulta.com
7. ZOYA MATTE VELVET NAIL LACQUER
If you’re not in the mood for nail-time sparkle, Zoya has just the lacquer for you with their fabulous Matte Velvet collection. The look is subtle and sophisticated, and I particularly like this festive Emerald Green for the holidays. Just be sure not to use a regular base or top coat, as that will alter this unique finish.
Buy it for $10 at zoya.com
8. COVER FX CUSTOM COVER DROPS
It can be very frustrating to never quite be able to find that perfect match between your foundation or tinted moisturizer and your skin tone. Fret no more, as Custom Cover Drops are a genius new product containing pure pigments that let you to customize anything you use in your beauty regimen—and you can control the level of coverage, too (a sheer tint is one drop and full coverage is four). Just add a drop or so to anything liquid, like moisturizer or primer or serum, in the palm of your hand, and voila—your own unique blend. There are 25 shades, making this one of the best finds of the year.
Buy it for $44 at coverFX.com
9. GO SMILE SONIC BLUE TOOTHBRUSH
Worried about your teeth look in all those holiday snaps? Go Smile has an amazing electric toothbrush with sonic cleaning and a built-in blue light to help whiten your teeth. Simply apply a bit of their high-tech whitening gel along with a bit of your regular toothpaste, and turn it on. It vibrates for two minutes, which is how long you’re supposed to brush for and rarely do. You should see results in a few days and even better results with regular use. I prefer the On the Go travel version as it’s lightweight, has a cover, and holds a charge for two weeks, so there’s no excuse not to take it wherever you go.
Buy it for $89 at gosmile.com
10. CIRCA DUAL FOCUS VOLUMINIZING MASCARA AND TOP COAT
If you’ve spent all your budget on holiday gifts for everyone else in your life, you can still treat yourself to this fab new mascara by Circa. Not only does one side of the tube thicken and lengthen your lashes, but the other side contains a hydrating top coat with a hint of sparkle that instantly perks up your eyes and your spirits.
Buy it for $12 at drugstore.com
11. CAUDALIE RESVERATROL LIFT
Ever since I started working on what became a bestselling book, The French Beauty Solution, with Caudalie’s founder, Mathilde Thomas–I have to admit I am just a little bit biased about how wonderful the entire line is. But they’ve outdone themselves with the new, cutting-edge Resveratrol Lift products, which add in hyaluronic acid and peptides to the already potent antioxidant resveratrol and help lift and firm your skin. Just the lift you need after all the presents have been opened and the first toy is already broken.
Buy it for $76 at sephora.com
12. ILUMINAGE SKIN REJUVENATING EYE MASK
When all the festivities have died down—or when you just need to lie in the dark and recuperate—try this amazing sleep mask. Made of silky-soft polyester infused with copper oxide, it helps keep those pesky sleep wrinkles away while rejuvenating the tender skin around your eyes. I love the idea of intelligent textiles, don’t you? And hopefully you’ll get some sleep, too.
Buy it for $35 at iluminagebeauty.com
And let’s not forget the testosterone-fueled people on your gift list…
13. DOLLAR SHAVE CLUB
Here’s a great concept for the man or teenaged boy in your home—and I especially love it because these nifty items are perfect for you to pinch (to, you know, make up for all the times those male-types have secretly snuck into your moisturizer). Simply choose a blade, sign up, determine your frequency, and the blades come right to your mailbox. Add on some of the great shave products, too. And you can sign off anytime you want.
Buy it starting at $1/month at dollarshaveclub.com
14. JACK BLACK BALM SQUAD and JACK PACK
Who wants to stand under the mistletoe and pucker up to your honey’s chapped lips? Not moi! Reach for the limited-edition lip balms, selected on social media via a “Flavor Face-Off,” by Jack Black. Not only are these balms super-emollient and broad-spectrum SPF 25, but they smell divine. The set of four contains Mango & Mandarin, Natural Mint & Vanilla, Asian Pear & White Tea, and the classic Natural Mont & Shea Butter. Or go for the Jack Pack, with five essential skincare products that will leave his skin looking better than ever. It includes a cleanser, conditioning shave, moisturizer, a scrubbing bar, and my favorite for those guys whose hands resemble sandpaper, the Industrial Strength Hand Healer.
Buy the Balm Squad for $25 and the Jack Pack for $49 at GetJackBlack.com
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Remember—gift-giving isn’t just for your loved ones. No one deserves the best in beauty more than you do. You’ve earned it. I hope that whatever has happened in your GEM world this year, you’ve been able to take the time you need to replenish yourself, try some fabulous new products, soak in the tub, spritz on a new fragrance, get some good sleep, and put on that sunscreen!