It’s funny how it’s not always the big-ticket Christmas gifts that are the most memorable. Sometimes, the stocking filler or Secret Santa present can be the one that’s most fun or even useful.
We’re not talking about crinkly old satsumas here, though the traditional gold chocolate coins always go down a treat. Good, but inexpensive beauty products are great stocking fillers because they provide a little luxury and frivolity. And even if you cast that shower trio to one side on Christmas day, you’re bound to be grateful for it eventually – after all, everyone needs to wash.
So in preparation for the holiday season, here are the best budget stocking fillers we’ve found, from spangly lip balms to bath bombs that promise to blast away your stuffed nose.
Eos Smooth Sphere lip balms
$9.99 – available at major retailers including Loblaws, Wal-Mart and Shopper’s Drug Mart
This set comprises three lip balms – Raspberry Pomegranate, Sweet Mint, and Vanilla Bean, which is limited edition. All are in Eos’s signature sphere shape – easier to find in a purse, without being too bulky. The lip balms are made from 100 per cent natural, organic ingredients including shea butter and jojoba oil, without parabens. The set also includes appliqué jewel stickers to decorate and personalise the lip balms.
THEFACESHOP Beauty Crackers Trio
$15 – available at THEFACESHOP stores and www.thefaceshop.ca
Hands up who wants a miniature magnifying glass and a lame dad joke for Christmas! What, no one? THEFACESHOP’s alternative to traditional Christmas crackers is this set of three, each of which contains a different face treatment. There’s Mild Papaya Peeling, an exfoliant for sensitive skin, Black Yeast Peel-Off Pack, to remove impurities, and Seaweed Moisture Pack for hydration. All are 30ml – a generous travel size that will give you two or three uses. The Korean brand also has dozens of other cheap-but-good gift ideas.
LUSH Santa’s Lip Scrub
$8.95 – available at all LUSH stores and www.lush.ca
It’s red and sparkly, tastes like Coca-Cola, and will slough away dead skin to get your lips mistletoe-ready in moments. This is all thanks to a combination of caster sugar and coconut oil, with a smattering of edible hearts. To use, just rub onto your lips, then lick them clean or wipe away the excess with a damp cloth.
Burt’s Bees On the Go Set
$14.99 – available at select natural, grocery, drug, and mass retailers
Plenty of bang for your buck in this set, which is worth more than $20. It includes two natural beeswax lip balms, a lemon butter cuticle cream, milk and honey body lotion, facial cleansing towelettes and a travel case.
Philosophy Purity Made Simple Ornament
$13 – available at Sephora
Purity Made Simple is one of the best cleansers on the market – gentle, yet hard-working enough to remove all face and eye makeup. This is a generous trial-size – enough for at least a week, so perfect for travelling.
NEST Rollerball Trio
$14.99 – available at Sephora
This is a total and utter bargain. New York brand NEST makes beautiful fragrances that smell far more expensive than they are. In this set, there are three purse-sized rollerballs that will last you for months. It includes green floral Dahlia & Vines, spicy-fruity Indigo and fresh green Verde. Buy fast, before it sells out.
e.l.f. Little Black Book palette
$14.99 – available at London Drugs
If you’re buying eyeshadow from a luxe brand, you can expect to pay upwards of $20 for a single colour. e.l.f (it stands for eyes, lips, face), gives you 48 shades, from muted to neon. All are roughly the same size as you’d get in your average palette. We’re not claiming you get the same quality as brands like NARS or Chanel, but they’re pretty well pigmented and don’t crease, and at that price, you really can’t complain. The set also includes two makeup brushes.
Real Techniques Mini Brush Trio Set
$12.99 – available at London Drugs
Nic and Sam Chapman, the sisters behind Youtube sensation Pixiwoo, are the founders of Real Techniques, which specialises in affordable professional quality makeup brushes. This little trio contains brushes for foundation or concealer, eyeshadow, and blusher/bronzer/powder. The brushes are pretty dinky – they’re probably not going to replace the set you have at home – but they’re good quality and cruelty-free (the ‘hairs’ are made from Taklon, a synthetic fibre).
Consonant Bath Bomb – Decongest
$9 – available at consonant.ca
Colds and flu always seem to strike over Christmas, just when you down tools and start to relax. This hockey-puck-sized bath bomb has eucalyptus, spearmint and peppermint essential oils to clear your airways, plus avocado oil to moisturise skin and Epsom Salts to relax your muscles. Bonus: it’s made in Canada.