This is the perfect age and stage to learn how to properly clean the skin, without ever stripping or aggravating. Start with the runny, user-friendly Precleanse oil to remove every last scrap of SPF (a daily definite) and makeup (a personal preference). Follow up with a tiny amount of the gentle yet thorough Special Cleansing Gel. And then just add water to the Daily Microfoliant, a rice-based polishing powder. It’s sure to satisfy the youthful wish to scrub and scour, without doing any harm to the precious skin barrier.
Too Faced are one of the most fun brands in beauty land, and if your giftee is desperate to experiment, underscoring for them that makeup is all about having a good time, rather than camouflaging or altering, is a positive place to start. This cutely pastel palette contains a mirror and eight pans of buttery, sugary-scented eyeshadow. (If you’re outside this age range and the concept of food-scented makeup horrifies you, I’d like you to take a moment to reflect on the joy scratch-n-sniff stickers used to give us all. I’ll wait.) The shades are supremely blendable and all quite soft in pigment pay off, perfect for playing around with, though there is a seriously dramatic molten lilac that will make any miniature makeup aficionado swoon.
An extra note: Mecca, Too Faced’s stockist, has outdone itself with holiday packaging this year. Designed by Yankunytjatjara artist Kaylene Whiskey, it is utterly delightful and sure to be a keepsake for your recipient, who is likely to display bowerbird tendencies at this age.
An accessory for the wrist or the hair, from one of the coolest hair care brands around, which is designed by an Australian woman of colour? I do believe this is what is considered ‘killing it’ on the gift giving front. A vegan alternative to much-hyped silk hair accessories, this fresh white set of four skinny scrunchies are still soft and smooth, to help eliminate tangles, and also have the right amount of give in the elastic so they’re neither tight nor annoyingly floppy. And it’s worth noting that surely there has never been a more adorable name for a beauty product across all of time.
Have your recipient repeat after me: it’s time to take care of your skin. It’s so tempting at this stage in the skin’s life cycle, when oil and its ensuing breakouts may be seriously disruptive, to treat the skin as though it is somehow separate from the person living in it. If we throw all the acids and harsh actives at it, as though in punishment, we’ll soon see what happens: angry, red, more-inflamed-than-ever-before skin. This is where gifting can provide a gently teachable moment. Cosmeceutical brand Medik8’s pack of six masks are designed to hydrate and soothe any and all skin types, and feel cool and calming on. After removal, skin looks, and more importantly, feels, nourished, plumped and taken care of. And herein lies another of your gift’s teachable moment: taking the time for ‘self care’ matters, and a sheet mask enforces one to actually stop for a few minutes. Trying to do anything more than veg on the couch for the fifteen minutes you need for a sheet mask to work its wonders is a sure fire way to becoming unfathomably annoyed by dangling, drooping pieces of cold, wet fabric.
At this point in life, the collagen and elastin and all of the skin’s glow-giving, line-free goodness is at its peak. Celebrate that by encouraging the addition of pretty flushes of colour, rather than entering a ‘makeup as mask’ era and unnecessarily covering up skin that, even if not perfect – and whose is, at any age – is at its bounciest. Enter Benefit’s duo of blush options. First up, the liquid Benetint, which was invented in the ‘70s in order to rouge-ify a dancer’s nipples… yes, really… and gives a blendable, natural, long-lasting rosy stain. Then we have Shellie, a more traditional powder format and is an enlivening coral. Either will help to look more alive and awake with one swipe.
It can be very important to have one’s newfound adult status be appreciated and celebrated. The right beauty gift can perform that work of making someone feel seen as they want to be… and to feel delighted to boot. Jo Malone London’s candles are always the right choice to make anyone feel loved and spoiled, and the Pine & Eucalyptus scent is ideal for an Australian Christmas, being evocative of a northern hemisphere fir but with an enlivening freshness that works well in our heat. This year’s packaging of a preppy green and ivory bow affixed to the glass vessel’s white lid is an extra special touch.
In an overcrowded sea of lotions and potions, Japanese-inspired brand Tatcha stands out for its considered, elegant approach to skin. And nowhere is this clearer than in their Dewy Skin collection; in fact, the star of that show, The Dewy Skin Cream is consistently voted by experts and enthusiasts alike as one of the industry’s top moisturisers. That’s because it leaves skin soothed, plumped, and with just the right amount of glow; even when skin is at its most troubled, this brings it back to life beautifully. This value set, which arrives with a reusable emerald green furishiki cloth gift wrap, includes a full size of this fabulous moisturiser (and you should know that, just like its ingredients and effects, even the heavy lavender vessel it’s housed in is luxurious). It also contains smaller sizes of the Dewy line’s The Rice Wash, a cream cleanser which uses rice enzymes to gently reveal extra brightness, and The Dewy Serum, which combines lactic acid to exfoliate, and hyaluronic acid and squalene to deeply moisturise. This trio is designed to make its user look lit from within, without any of the overzealous use of actives that can be tempting once the pros and cons of teen skin are firmly in the rearview mirror.
This is a great time in life to use products that lets the skin underneath speak. At the same time said products can also subtly add some radiance, which biology is, very rudely, making harder for the body to create naturally. Packaged in a shimmering gold pouch adorned with a festive red ribbon come three items from Clarins, each designed to give good glow. The full size Beauty Flash Balm, created in 1980, is a rich peachy cream that makes skin look silky and bouncy, and is ideal before makeup, though it can also be used as a mask. There are also two deluxe sample size products included. The SOS primer in shade ‘white’ (think a suits-all-tones pearly gleam, not any actual pigment) is another priming option much lighter in texture, which imparts a slightly metallic glimmer. Rounding out the trio is the Lip Perfector in Rose Shimmer, a balmy, non-sticky lip care option with a hint of colour.
No matter your (or your recipient’s) feelings on the duelling concepts of a fragrance wardrobe versus one signature scent, this gift will be a home run. Truly genderless in its appeal, this is summer in a bottle, though thankfully without any coconut suntan lotion elements. The marine top notes, like a cool ocean spray, dry down to a creamy fig, redolent of sun-warmed skin. Green and woody notes speak of walking barefoot on a quiet Greek island. The overall feel is both grounded and refreshing, just like the greatest holidays make you feel – relaxed and also invigorated, when you are your best and truest self. One final note: the heavy, matte, blue-grey bottle with subtle gold accents would be a chic addition to any vanity.
Emma Lewisham’s skincare range, founded on the principles of good science and eco-consciousness, is as elegant as the woman herself. This limited edition set of products is a great introduction to some of the brand’s star offerings, or can be thought of as pared down, only-what-you-need travel pack. (The minis can also all be refilled if your recipient falls in love and decides to buy the full sizes). The Skin Reset Eye Cream is plush and velvety rather than oily or creamy, sinking in immediately instead of travelling right on into your eye; a downside of so many supposedly excellent eye products. It’s lovely to use at night and doesn’t upset the often sensitive orbital skin. The Supernatural Sleeping Mask should be thought of as a supercharged moisturiser. Avoiding the temptation to apply it in a thick layer like a mask, one simply applies like a normal night cream. Then the potent plant extracts get to work overnight. A great choice for those evenings a multi-step routine can’t be faced, but the results of said routine would be appreciated. Finally, the Illuminating Oil Face Cleanser smells divine, lightly floral and herbal, and more importantly properly removes SPF and makeup, and doesn’t sting eyes or make them filmy after use. Let’s just say that if Santa needs their own gifting moment after all this shopping, a bottle of this cleanser would not go astray.
Every so often in life a product comes along that is so damn clever you think, ‘how has no one ever thought of this before’? Enter makeup maestro Rae Morris and her signature line of magnetic Jishaku brushes. It’s a genius concept, and as with everything Rae does, brilliantly executed. Have your brushes standing up smartly on her matte black plate to keep them tidy, easily accessible and hygienically apart, or even hang them upside down post-cleaning so they dry while retaining their shape. (Makeup nerds will appreciate that this avoids letting water collect in the brushes’ ferrules, which may affect their longevity.) The range really is the simplest yet cleverest idea in beauty for aeons. In particular, The Travel Set is a thing of functional beauty. The magnetic frame measures just 9cm x 9cm, and within are seven brushes, each a maximum of 8cm long. Their Lilliputian size is no gimmick – for those of us who are decidedly non-experts, the shorter handles allow for maximum control. If you want to go all out, the deluxe version of the set also comes with Rae’s favourite Radiance brush, perfect for foundation, bronzer and general complexion blending. Both versions of the set pack up in a reversible vegan leather case to keep everything contained when on the move. It’s such a pleasure that something so tiny packs a serious punch. Each brush was designed by Rae and handmade by Japanese brushmakers who have been in business for almost 200 years. They feature the softest, lightest, most carefully shaped brush heads this beauty editor has ever come across. That’s even leaving aside the fact that they’re made up of vegan fibres, which are notoriously difficult to shape as well as animal hairs, which taper naturally. This collection is an investment, to be sure, but one that will last a lifetime.
Chanel for Christmas… it just has a ring to it, doesn’t it? Now, it has to be said that if you know you are buying for a fragrance classicist, this year’s No. 5 coffret is particularly enchanting. (The heady, aldehydic, powdery notes of the 50ml eau de parfum are echoed in a 100ml body oil, housed in a matching flacon. The pair is both aesthetically lovely and represents excellent value.) However, No. 5, iconic as she is, is not for everyone, and another beautiful, though more unexpected fragrance option from the house is the L’Huile Jasmin Body Oil. Housed in an imposing 250ml streamlined glass bottle, it’s a pleasing objet before it’s even opened. Once it is, though, the treat truly reveals itself. The oil easily glides over the skin, and leaves it with both a nourished gleam, as well as a subtle though distinctive scent. The fragrance – in the form of real jasmine extracted from the famous Chanel flower fields in Grasse – is comforting, but with a fresh green element. It’s jasmine as we know it at the very start of spring, when blooming florals and sunny skies are just around the corner. An exceptional indulgence, in every way.
There is no simpler way to put it: this candle smells like Christmas. Banish all thoughts of the sickly sweet, spicily gourmand or just plain headache-inducing home scents so often sold to us under the banner of being supposedly ‘festive’. White Christmas is aptly named, transporting those of us suffering through a sweltering December to a land of fresh crisp snow coating deep green pine trees, while inside your cosy wood cabin, oranges and cloves simmer on the stove, warm and inviting. Each year the limited release features a new design, and this year’s is like an elegant English townhouse. Whimsical creatures, including a centaur enjoying a glass of Glühwein, help to decorate the windows, which the flickering flame of the candle illuminates. One of the prettiest dressings yet for the scent that sets the seasonal scene.