Virtually every beauty brand on planet earth does Christmas gift sets. They’re a no-brainer – the average Canadian spends hundreds on gifts every year and beauty-related presents are a safe bet for a large percentage of girlfriends, sisters, mums and mothers-in-law.
Much of what’s launched for Christmas is awful tat – tacky makeup bags or sets with one product you’ll use and three you’ll chuck away. But amongst all that, there are some gems – they have real wow-factor, offer amazing value for money, support wonderful charities, or come from our lovely Canadian beauty brands.
These are our favourite beauty gift sets on sale this season, including an ultra-luxurious skincare set at a (comparatively) bargain price, and a vegan lip kit.
Fresh and citrusy, verbena is a safe scent to buy for anyone. This set contains full-sized shower gel, body lotion, hand cream, a fragrance miniature, and a perfumed sachet. The contents are worth $104, so you save more than $30 by buying it like this. $10 from the sale of each set goes to Dress for Success, a not-for-profit organization that provides interview clothing to women in need so they can get a job and achieve financial independence. If verbena’s not your bag, there are also lavender and shea butter sets at the same price.
$76 – available at L’Occitane stores and loccitane.ca
Stila makes really high quality makeup (the eye shadows are long-lasting and lovely) and their annual gift sets are coveted because they’re pretty, and a great value. This year’s theme is Sealed with a Kiss, inspired by handwritten love letters. The Trust in Love set has 12 eye shadows (a mix of pearl, matte and shimmer), plus a full-sized Huge Extreme Lash Mascara and Lip Glaze, all in lovely vintage-inspired packaging. Retail value is $120, so you’re getting all this at less than half price.
$52 – available at Shoppers Drug Mart, Murale and Murale.ca
Every year, I’m astonished by the sheer size of this bad boy, which contains 12 full-sized gifts, all of which are vegan. It’s vast – larger than some Vancouver apartments. This year’s contents include the Dashing Santa bath bomb, Beautiful shower gel and Snowcake soap. No discounts on the goodies, you do get the enormous box to live in afterwards.
$99.95 – available at LUSH stores and lush.ca
Everyone knows Urban Decay for its eye primer and shadows, but it makes beautiful lip products too. This limited-edition set has six Revolution lipsticks in colours like Shame (this season’s hottest burgundy shade) and Matte Bittersweet (bright purple). The set also has the corresponding lip pencil for each lipstick, plus three travel-sized lip glosses and a clear primer pencil. The retail value of the contents is $397.
$234 – available at Sephora and Urbandecay.ca
You never quite know the reaction you’ll get when you buy someone an anti-aging set. This one should get you more praise than punishment, thanks to its luxurious contents. It comprises Super Essence (serum) and Body Souffle. Both contain 24K gold and a bee venom complex that supposedly has the ability to reduce the depth and length of wrinkles.The regular price for the serum is $320 and for the body cream, $470, bringing the total value of this set to a whopping $790.
$399 – available at Shoppers Drug Mart, Murale, and Murale.ca
Local brand Lippy Girl has come up with this trio of cruelty-free and environmental friendly essentials. Power Pom is a lip conditioner and primer. The satin/matte lipstick comes in your choice of 13 shades and is purely mineral pigmented. Finally, there’s Extra Virgin Lip gloss, which is colourless so it can be used as a top coat or on its own. All three are 100 per cent vegan and made with certified organic or wildcrafted oils and waxes, all completely non-GMO. The retail value of the set is $46, and you also get a gift bag and free shipping to Canada or the USA.
$42 – available at lippygirl.com
In the olden days, Sephora blockbusters were dramatic to open – they would fold out, layer after drawer, like some weird cosmetic Transformer. This year, it’s strictly business – a basic box with no secret compartments or trapdoors. But the contents are as impressive as ever: 128 eye, lip and cheek colours (72 eye shadows, 18 cream eyeliners, 32 lip glosses, and six blushers) in every shade you can think of. It’s a bit excessive for those of us who have settled upon our look (there’s nothing wrong with taupe), but would be an amazing present for a budding makeup artist, or someone who’s just starting to experiment with their appearance. It’s also a fab price for so much swag.
$44 – available at Sephora and sephora.ca
This gorgeous makeup bag and its contents are all limited edition. The set comprises a five single-use eye shadows, a creamy solid cheek colour, a retractable eyeliner and a Rose Treatment Body Balm (moisturizer for elbows, knees, heels and hands).
$42 – available at selected Shoppers Drug Mart Beauty Boutique locations
Makeup artist David Vincent has created a collection of essentials that are designed to elevate your skills from amateur to pro. The classic product in here is the Mini Portfolio Professional Corrector, which is great at concealing zits and eye bags, thanks to its colour-cancelling properties. There’s also Féline Eyeliner, which has won awards for its ultra-pigmented, fast-drying formula, Mini Base Miracle Pore Minimizing Primer and a Definition Brush. All are decent-sized – small enough for your makeup bag, large enough that you won’t run out after a single use.
$44 – at London Drugs
Everyone’s hair looks dreadful in the winter, thanks to toques, central heating, and horrible weather. This set (shampoo, Original Elixir serum and hair turban) is designed to tame tresses with the minimum of fuss: while you sleep. Simply shampoo, apply a few drops of serum, wrap your hair in the turban, and go to bed. The shampoo and serum both contain Argan and Cyperus oils, which are supposed to condition, strengthen, nourish and add shine without weighing down fine hair. Orofluido is already one of the most affordable quality salon brands out there, and this is extra good value – separately, the contents retail at around $50.