When I was younger, Christmas gift sets were all the rage. Top of my shopping list? Enormous baskets of Body Shop soaps in the shape of animals and boxes of mini Charlie perfumes.
My taste has (fortunately for those for whom I buy presents) matured considerably; while I still feel that gifts designed to aid cleanliness and make one fragrant are always a good way to go when shopping, I’ve come to realise thought really does count on this front.
In an effort to help those of you still deliberating over what to buy loved ones, here’s my selection from the vast sea of gift sets on offer this year, categorised to make things ludicrously easy for you…
FOR YOUNG ‘UNS WITH A BURGEONING LOVE FOR COSMETICS / W7 The Trilogy Mascara, Lipstick & Nail Polish Gift Set, £6.99 here. Three affordable basics that will please any girl with a blossoming interest in make-up. Would also make a decent stocking filler for older folk.
FOR SMOKY EYE FANATICS / Urban Decay Black Magic, £22.95 here. We all know someone for whom a face free of a black smoky eye would be an abomination. For these people, this set of four doubled-sided pencils that marry up black with a complementary shade to create smoky eyes is bang on the money. I’d be doing you a disservice were I not to mention the formula of these – they knock it out the park. Both creamy and long-wearing, these will go down a treat.
FOR FANS OF A POP OF COLOUR / Urban Decay Ten 24/7 Glide On Pencil Set, £29.75 here. And then there’s this person – the one who likes a flash of colour on the eye and for whom these ten dashing shades will cover both conservative and flamboyant needs. Same brilliant formula, obvs.
FOR ETHICAL/ORGANIC FANS / INIKA Barely Blushing: Blooming Nude, £17 here. INIKA tick all the boxes for those concerned about the environment and animal cruelty. This set contains a vegan brush and mineral blusher that would suit all pale to mid-toned skin tones. On a side note, if battling acne on your cheeks, you might want to consider buying this one for yourself; using a mineral cheek colour can make an enormous difference.
FOR GLAMOUR QUEENS / Eve Snow Patent Leather Collection, £38 here. Three nail polishes that scream siren, fans of a classic nail will love these. I’ll be giving these to my mum – thanks to the argan oil and vitamin E, they’re excellent for those with nails prone to splitting and cracking.
FOR THOSE WHO NEED A SKIN BOOST / Dermalogica Our Favourites, £33.50 here. This set takes basic skincare to the next level. Comprised of their cream exfoliant, skin hydrating booster, skin perfect primer (with an SPF), pre-cleanse oil and multi-active toner, it’s the ideal way to offer a taster of some brilliant skincare to anyone who’s complexion could do with a little help.
FOR ANYONE YOU’RE STUMPED ON / Philosophy Hope Favourites, £30 here or Green People Lemongrass & Ginger Body Lotion and Body Wash, £19.95 here. One set for skin and one for the body that you can’t go wrong with. The former contains Philosophy’s facial wash, 3-in-1 cleanser and Hope in a Jar day and night moisturisers while the latter is a mostly organic shower gel and moisturiser that smell wonderfully festive and warming without being sickly.
FOR LIPSTICK LOVERS / Lipstick Queen Red Carpet, £45 here. I have a friend who I don’t think I’ve ever seen without a lick of red lipstick. She’ll be getting this set. The three in the pack all cover different bases – one is moisturising with 10% red pigment, another 90% pigment with serious colour payoff and the third (wearable) metallic. I will unquestionably be her favourite person for a good while once she’s opened this.
FOR SERIOUS SKINCARE BUFFS / Eve Lom Perfect Partners, £37.50 here. (Currently on sale £75 before Eve Lom Cleanser and Morning Time Cleanser). Cult, cult, cult. While I’d happily use both these (before you say it, yes, the cleanser does contain mineral oil, but this one doesn’t irritate or clog my skin), I’d recommend giving this to skincare fans who are a little bit older – Lom’s products are extremely gentle and nourishing and are therefore well suited to older skin.
FOR LIZ EARLE FANS / Liz Earle Beauty Award Winners, £65 here. I’ve made no secret of my love for Liz Earle. This set contains most my favourites for a really reasonable price. Any Earle fans like me will feel serious glee when opening a box laden with these.
FOR ANYONE IN NEED OF SOME LUXURIES / L’Occitane Cherry Blossom Collection, £29 here. L’Occitane are always a safe bet when buying gifts and the cherry blossom products would be close to impossible not to love – they smell refreshing and floral and the products are all luxe and non-drying. I’ll be giving this shimmering lotion, eau de toilette, soap, bath and shower gel and hand cream to a friend who’s had a hard year.