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It’s finally gift guide time!
I can’t actually believe how quickly Christmas time has come around, but festivities are in full swing and I spent all of the past weekend getting my Christmas shopping in. Yes, I really do love it! And while I’ve been looking for the perfect gifts for friends and family, I’ve also been keeping an eye out for the latest releases that catch my eye on the shelves and would make the perfect presents this festive season.
So, kicking off the Christmas 2019 gift guide series, I thought I’d start with a round-up of some of my favourite Secret Santa/stocking filler gifts. You know, I find it a nightmare trying to keep small gifts small, and usually end up going completely overboard – which doesn’t go down well when everyone else sticks to the rules. (Well, except with the person on the receiving end – they love it!)
I’m not saying all of these gifts are strictly budget, but they’re concise, compact edits, and are perfect if you want to offer your pals a taster of some of the premier brands on the market today, without going all-out and blowing hundreds on the complete collection. Sound good? Then let’s go…
Burt’s Bees – Mistletoe Kiss
The Burt’s Bees kit is the cheapest in my rundown, but it’s actually one of my favourites because it’s such a well thought out little selection of products. For a bargain £9.99 you get 3 moisturising products that come in a giftable, hanging box – perfect for a quirky little Secret Santa offering.
The products included are the Pomegranate Lip Balm, Lip Shimmer in Peony Shade, and Tinted Lip Balm in Hibiscus, which can be used individually or simultaneously to create the perfect lip, while also nourishing and preventing lips from going dry and chapped.
Why do I think this is so good? As someone who suffers from dry lips all winter long, I’m never without a lip balm, and I can only imagine the struggle that lipstick adds to the dilemma when all you want to do is lather them in lotion. So, for those occasions when you want to add a little shimmer but aren’t looking for the fully-made-up look, this kit is perfect.
Jack Black – The Balm Squad
Another lip kit, but this time for men – and as I’ve said before, I think it’s so important that there’s a selection of balms available to cater to that market. What I love about the Jack Black line is it gets the balance just right – it’s tailored and formulated for men, but whereas some brands go overboard in making the products look ‘masculine’ (ie. drab AF), all of the products in the Jack Black collection look great.
This lip balm set is no exception. The three, 7g balms stand out in shocking blue against the metallic backdrop and subtle colour scheme of the box, which is enough to convince any guy – whether they’re into grooming or not – to open up and give it a try. Three flavours are included: Natural Mint, Asian Pear and Black Cherry, all complete with SPF 25 protection.
The collection retails at £20, which is obviously a significant step-up from the last kit. However, each of the products is full size, and usually retails at £7.95 – so you are getting a saving of £4. For anyone who already loves these lip balms, they’re a no-brainer. And with a gorgeous formula and great flavours, you’ll be hard pushed to find someone who doesn’t like them.
L’Occitane – My Comforting Essentials
Who doesn’t love L’Occitane? I mean, the smell when you walk into the store is one of my absolute favourite things in the world – and their almond range is to die for! However, the brand is probably best known for its classic shea range, and that’s just what you get in the Comforting Essentials gift set.
The first thing I love about this set is the packaging. It’s a gorgeous this star-shaped bauble, which can either be gifted in its box or removed and hung up on the tree for the festive season as a decoration. Move inside, and you’ve three staples from the range: the Ultra Rich Body Lotion, Shea Butter Milk Soap, and Shea Butter Hand Cream. All of which, I have to say, I adore.
What’s great about this set? you ask. Well, what’s not… It looks great, for a start, so you’re halfway there, right? I also love the choice of products and the fact they’ve gone for a variety that’s practical and will slot into literally anyone’s – regardless of gender, lifestyle etc. – grooming regime. And, finally, let’s talk the price point. £12! I’d pay that for the packaging TBH. It’s a steal!
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Coco & Eve – Like A Virgin
We all know someone who, no matter how hard we try, just isn’t into grooming. And that’s fine… until it comes to trying to find a cute gift for them, and you’re left with the dreaded pair of socks. But no more – because where skincare once triumphed, haircare is taking over. And when it comes to the best of the best, you don’t get better than Coco & Eve.
This super-nourishing formula is enriched with raw virgin coconuts and figs – both known for their hair-strengthening qualities – and comes in a formula free from parabens, gluten, non-drying sulfates and phthalates… and is 100% vegan. It smells great, feels great, and leaves hair literally shimmering. I’m obsessed! At £15.99 for 60ml, it’s not bad.
Again, the hanging style of packaging seems a staple this year, and I have to say I love it. Not only is the idea super sweet, but it works great for offices and house shares too. If you’re stuck on a Secret Santa theme, make it a gift bauble. Everyone buys one, adds a tag, and hangs it on the tree. Talk about two birds with one stone… Plus that would be one super cute tree (JS).
PAYOT – Discovery Box
There’s no better feeling than stumbling across an absolute steal that looks like it cost a fortune, right? If that’s the look you’re going for with gifts this year, then get yourself over to PAYOT. I was floored when I received this gorgeous cracker and found out it only costs £12! I mean, honestly, what stunning gift.
What’s more, the products inside are equally marvellous. You get 4 miniatures – the Hydra 24+ Crème Glacée Plumping Moisturising Care Cream, My Payot Jour radiance cream, Gommage Amandes exfoliating body scrub, and Hydra Corps body moisturiser – at 15 and 25ml, depending on whether they’re face or body formulas. Again, the packaging is so so nice.
As with anything like this, there’s always the complaint that the products are too small – but I guess that’s the point. Give them a taste and they’ll come back for more. The main thing here is – as with all of these gifts – you’re getting decent saving and real taster for what the brand has to offer. And that’s just what you want from the perfect Secret Santa gift.
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