One of the many perks of being a beauty editor is the never-ending supply of skincare and makeup samples. As you can imagine, after a while, it takes a special product to make you gasp as you tear open the package. But these 21 products do just that. If you've got a holiday list full of beauty-obsessives, peep the below list for all the sets and hero formulas even an editor would be excited to unwrap. And you know what, grab something for yourself while you’re at it—this year needs all the self-care it can get.
1. Chanel Le Lift Firming Anti-Wrinkle Flash Eye Revitalizer
Your micro-influencer sister has likely seen these Chanel-branded eye masks all over her Instagram feed, so get her a set to use and post on IG stories while she self-cares. This duo is actually a two-step eye care system, which features a roll-on serum and ten sets of hydrogel patches for immediate lifting and brightening results.
2. Olaplex Holiday Hair Fix Set
This cult-favorite haircare brand is beloved by bleach blondes everywhere for its repairing and strengthening results. Grab a limited-edition quartet complete with everything your faux-blonde bestie needs to repair, rebuild, strengthen, hydrate and smooth, so she comes out of quarantine looking like a hair commercial model.
3. Dyson Airwrap Complete Styler Copper Limited Gift Edition
Let’s be real—anyone would fall to their knees in gratitude if they were to open a Dyson Airwrap on Christmas morning. But this limited-edition copper version may even bring them to tears. OK, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but this device’s ability to curl, wave, smooth and dry hair without damage makes it the queen of all hair tools.
4. Dr. Barbara Sturm The Winter Kit
When it comes to potent skincare, Dr. Barbara Sturm reigns supreme. Her seven-step winter skincare kit is specially formulated to intensely hydrate, nourish and protect skin during the harsh winter months. Harnessing the power of science (she doesn’t have the doctor title for nothing), these products support a healthy skin barrier function by upping hydration and balancing pH. And yes, it even includes her cult-favorite Hyaluronic Serum.
5. AUGUSTINUS BADER THE RICH CREAM
If there’s one product that’s worth eating Top Ramen for a few days to buy, it’s this one. Developed by Professor Augustinus Bader, one of the world’s leading experts in stem cell research, The Rich Cream took 30 years to formulate. But it was all worth it, because this cream does for skin what nothing else can do—it quite literally regenerates cells, making it more youthful and glowy. Victoria Beckham loved it so much that she created her own line of products with Professor Bader (peep our pick further down on this list).
6. Westman Atelier Le Box - The GP Edition
Perfect for the clean beauty-obsessed new mom, this trio of glow-inducing products was inspired by Gwyneth Paltrow. Though the products are high performing, they’re completely non-toxic, so they won’t cause harm during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Inside, she’ll find everything she needs for a natural radiance: Baby Cheeks Blush Stick in Petal (which can also be used on lips and eyes); Lit Up Highlight Stick (an iridescent highlighter that flatters all complexions); and Super Loaded Tinted Highlighter in peau de soleil (a cream-based highlighter in a warm bronze gold).
7. LORD JONES HIGH CBD FORMULA BATH SALTS
Your mom may be a big ball of stress from mid-November through the end of the year, sale stalking and racing the clock to wrap every last gift in time. So, she definitely needs to chill—and that’s exactly what these CBD-infused bath salts can do for her. Formulated with a blend of Epsom salts, pink Himalayan salt, arnica, calendula petals, essential oils and approximately 240 milligrams of broad-spectrum CBD, every jar has a relaxing evergreen and citrus scent that melts stress and tension right down the drain. It works even better with a glass of Malbec in hand.
8. Drunk Elephant The Trunk 4.0
Drunk Elephant’s brightly colored bottles line your sister-in-law’s bathroom vanity, so she’s sure to appreciate this carry-on filled to the brim with ten of the brand’s best-selling products and eight samples. From the beauty editor-beloved T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial (baby soft skin, coming right up) to No 9. Jelly Cleanser and B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum, there’s something for every skin concern. Plus, the cute Drunk Elephant-branded Monos luggage is all the incentive she needs to book a trip for 2021 (and take you along with her).
9. VICTORIA BECKHAM BY AUGUSTINUS BADER CELL REJUVENATING POWER SERUM
Remember when we mentioned Victoria Beckham was Augustinus Bader’s biggest fan? Well, this is the product of their collaboration. It’s an ultra-concentrated, non-toxic serum that helps skin retain moisture and nutrients while also warding off cell-damaging free-radicals like pollution and blue light. Hey, if it’s good enough for Mrs. Beckham, it’s certainly good enough for your posh aunt.
10. Loveseen Faux Lashes
If your best friend is still reeling from parting ways with her eyelash extension specialist, gift her these new falsies created by Jenna Lyons. Yep, the same Jenna Lyons who was the former creative director and president of J. Crew. Though many thought her first venture into the beauty world would certainly have something to do with poppy lipstick (the kind she made J. Crew famous for), she created Loveseen out of a personal need—Lyons suffers from incontinentia pigmenti, a genetic condition that affects lash growth. And the product just so happens to be top notch, but would you expect anything less? Choose from natural and whispy or big and glamorous. Either way, your BFF will be all, “eyelash extensions, who?”
11. Crown Affair x Madewell The Calm Kit
We could all use a little more calm in our life these days, and this kit brings it in spades. Thanks to a collaboration with luxury haircare brand Crown Affair and Madewell, the set features a mini hydrating hair oil, a 100 percent silk scrunchie and a handmade tortoiseshell hair comb that doubles as a scalp massage tool—all corralled in a clear pouch for storage. Psst…save the bag to tote all your TSA-friendly beauty products through security on future trips.
12. Artis Elite Mirror Ten Brush Set
Your cousin has probably been using the same makeup brushes since you both made up dances to NSYNC songs in eighth grade. Gift her this luxe collection of Artis’ Oval, Linear, and Circle brushes, which can be used to apply both makeup and skincare, and her face will thank you. Just be sure to text her weekly brush cleaning reminders…
13. BYBI Beauty Acid Gold AHA Face Mask
BYBI Beauty has been beloved by skincare junkies in the U.K. for years. But now, it’s finally made its way to the U.S. and we can’t get enough of this resurfacing and exfoliating mask. BYBI is made with 100 percent clean ingredients, and the brand goes the extra mile to ensure their production is the most sustainable it can be, which is pretty amazing given the affordable price point. This product in particular is bright yellow with a soft jelly texture, and is packed with lactic, glycolic, malic, tartaric and citric acids to exfoliate dead skin cells away to reveal a softer, brighter complexion.
14. SLIP SKINNY SCRUNCHIES - 6 PACK
Is there a better stocking stuffer than non-creasing hair elastics that don’t cause breakage? Nope. This set comes in three neutral colors made of pure silk for everyday wear.
15. Dr. Zenovia VITAMIN C BRIGHTENING MOISTURIZER SPF 30
If your nana is anything like ours, she constantly asks if you’re wearing sunscreen. Show her you’ve been listening by gifting her this vitamin C moisturizer with SPF 30, which delivers a potent dose of antioxidants to brighten dark spots, fade fine lines and help even skin tone—all side effects of sun exposure. She’ll be so proud.
16. Summer Fridays Jumbo Jet Lag Mask
Summer Fridays’ first ever product happens to be our favorite. Though it was first marketed as a hydrating mask to wear while traveling, many fans now use it as a daily moisturizer, under-eye cream or overnight masks—including us. Which is why we’re so thankful that the brand made a limited-edition jumbo size for the holidays. It’s double the size of the original, but only $20 more. It’s the perfect thing to get your secret Santa, because it’s non-irritating, made with clean ingredients and universally beloved.
17. MARA Sea the Glow Radiance Duo
Know a retinol lover who suffers from sensitive skin? Because the ingredient can be quite irritating, those with easily-angered skin usually can’t use it. Unless it’s Mara’s Algae Retinol Face Oil, which is suspended in super nourishing moringa oil to help mitigate the drying effects. But that doesn’t affect the efficacy—it helps reduce fine lines, wrinkles and redness and makes skin truly glow from within. This set includes also includes Mara’s first and most loved formula: Universal Face Oil, which is also made with moringa oil to sink deep down into skin, leaving it hydrated and dewy, but never greasy. Use the two products in tandem for a lit-from-within luminosity, no matter your skin type.
18. R+Co One Way Ticket Kit
Truth be told, we could all use a getaway right about now. But we’ll also settle for a mental vacay by way of this refreshing hair set from R+Co. Inside the limited-edition mesh bag (that will be ideal for an IRL beach trip when we can take one), you’ll find five hero products for first-class hair. From shampoo and conditioner to a moisture cream (that leaves strands so silky and smooth), dry shampoo and shine spray, you can kiss bad hair days goodbye for the rest of quarantine and beyond.
19. Lisa Eldridge Velvet Myth Kit FANTASY FLORALS LIP KIT
Thanks to constant mask wearing, lipstick isn’t getting the attention it deserves these days. But this lip kit from makeup artists and cosmetics genius Lisa Eldridge is changing all of that. This particular berry hue is perfect for this year’s holiday card, but the products dry down to a smudge-proof finish, in case you’re headed out for a post-Christmas dinner stroll and don’t want to take it off.
20. Lightstim for Acne
No matter how many creams, serums or zit stickers we use, maskne is putting up a good fight. But the one thing that goes beneath the skin’s surface to zap bacteria before it can rear its ugly head? Blue light therapy. If you buy one thing for yourself this holiday season, make it this Lightstim—you’ll thank us in about a week when you have noticeably less jawline blemishes.
21. HANACURE ALL-IN-ONE FACIAL (STARTER KIT)
This instant at-home facial has been around for a few years, but that doesn’t make it any less awe-inspiring. It’s equipped with patented CO2 OctoLift from South Korea, which fights the most common skin concerns, like fine lines, dark spots and sagging. Apply it with the included brush and within minutes it will dry on your face, creating a sort of rippled effect that you have to see to believe. Once dry, remove it with water to reveal a more lifted, smoother, even toned complexion. Grab one for the gift swap and everyone will be trading for it.
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