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GEMs of Beauty: Holiday Roundup 2021

Since my last column, we’re still suffering from unprecedented trauma in our country (and all over the world), and it can be hard to think about beauty essentials. But what remains essential—now, more than ever—is the need for self-care. Even if half your face is covered in a mask, you still need to tend to your skin and all the rest of you. I hope these items make you feel good and look even better. Stay safe out there! 

Paume Hand Sanitizer 

Since hand sanitizer is now part of our daily lives, you can not only use a gel that kills 99.9% of germs while smelling wonderful thanks to its essential oils—and help the environment at the same time. Paume’s genius home kit has a super-chic pump and a refill pouch to minimize plastic waste. Even better, they’ve partnered with rePurpose Global, pulling one plastic unit out of landfill or waterways for each unit sold.  Buy it here for $58 

 

Immunocologie’s Discovery kit

One of the best ways to sample this marvelous line of innovative, plant-based, ethically sourced, and highly effective products is with Immunocologie’s Discovery kit, discount-priced for the holiday and perfect for travel. It contains a Cleansing Lotion, Face Serum Oil, the mineral-rich Vital Ionic Mist, and my fave, the Oxygen Treatment Crème, a detoxifying overnight mask that exfoliates your skin while you sleep, leaving it dewy and soft in the morning. And the bag was created by the Nomi Network, an organization giving economic opportunities to the survivors and women at risk of trafficking. Buy it here for $50 

Hawthorne Sandalwood
Foaming Shave Gel 

Why can’t men have beauty products that smell as good as women’s? Enter Hawthorne. Founded by two young and hip friends who use master perfumers to create their scents, their website features a quiz directing users to the best products for their individual needs. (I want ALL of them!) Get this divine sandalwood shave gel for a male partner, friend, or child, and you’ll be pinching it for your stint in the shower—it’ll leave your legs like butter. Buy it here for $15

Youth To The People Superberry
Hydrate And Glow Oil

When the nights start to cool and the air inside starts to get dry, you can instantly add much-needed moisture to your skin with this divine duo made by Youth to the People, a wonderful plant/superfood-based company. Smooth a few drops of the Superberry Hydrate and Glow Oil, loaded with antioxidants, onto your face and you’ll instantly look and feel better. Buy it here for $44

 

Keihl’s Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil
Herbal Concentrate 

When overwhelm hits (um, when doesn’t it?), try this amazing green elixir from Kiehl’s. It won’t get you high but its non-comedogenic formula will soothe redness and discomfort while diminishing imperfections. Its herbal scent is delicious, too, making it ideal for the teens and men in your house–who will soon be snatching your bottle away. Buy it here for $39 (on special) 

 

 Modern Mammals Easy Rinse

My favorite hair product of the year is this amazing rinse from Modern Mammals. It doesn’t lather like regular shampoos—it’s better for your hair as the absence of the usual detergents won’t strip out natural oils or leave your hair lank and frizzy. It’s gentle and effective, and the packaging is really snazzy too. Buy it here for $26 

Devita Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Seru-Gel

I love serums almost as much as I love sunscreen, and there are so many options to choose from now that there’s no reason not to try one that fits your skincare needs and budget. (Just remember that serums are treatments, so they have a higher concentration of active ingredients and only a few drops are needed. Always let the serum absorb fully before applying moisturizer and/or sunscreen.) I love this aloe vera/hyaluronic acid gel serum that will boost not only your skin’s hydration but help your moisturizer work more effectively. It’s especially good to use when your skin is super-parched. Buy it here for $46.95 

 

Tweezerman Rose Gold
Petite Tweeze Set

For decades, I’ve been traveling all over the world with my lucky passport case (found in a market stall in London ages ago) and my lucky tweezers (can’t remember where I got them). Fortunately, I no longer live in fear of losing my tweezers thanks to Tweezerman’s Petite Tweeze set, which comes in a travel case with a slant tweezer and a precision point tweezer that will instantly pluck any stray hairs.  Buy it here for $29 

 

Orcé Come Closer Skin Perfecting Foundation 

Even though Asians represent one of the largest ethnic groups in the world, most beauty brands in the US have ignored the unique needs of Asian skin—a tendency towards oiliness, scarring, and hyperpigmentation–until Yu-Chen Shih created Orcé in 2019. The Come Closer Skin Perfecting Foundation is a first-of-its-kind formula designed specifically for Asian skin tones and concerns. Buy it here for $89 

 

Hope Fragrances 

Now you can smell divine and do divine at the same time. All profits from every bottle of Hope perfume go to the Hope for Depression Research Foundation, started by the philanthropist Audrey Gruss, in honor of her mother, Hope, who suffered from clinical depression much of her life. They’re all made from intensely aromatic white flowers that Hope especially loved, and you can choose from Hope Original, Hope Sport, or Hope Night. Buy them here for $150 

 

Cultus Artem Champaca 

One of the best new luxe perfume brands is Cultus Artem, a line of eight fantastically unusual fragrances created by the jewelry designer Holly Tupper. She spent many years living in Southeast Asia, and has incorporated many elements of the local flora into her creations. One of the most unusual is Champaca, which is based on a deliciously scented flowering tree.  Buy it here for $255 

 

Aman Skincare 

Last but not least, if your budget allows, a perfect splurge is with any of the skincare or body care products from Aman. Of all the resorts I’ve stayed in over the years, whether on assignment or vacation, the Aman Hotels are luxe beyond luxe, and their spa treatments all smell like heaven. (And a little goes a very long way.) Choose are the Toning Body Mists, the Nourishing Nurture Face Oil, and any of the Bath Soaks.  Buy them here starting at $46 

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