I approached this week’s column with verve. Fantasy online shopping is one of my favorite procrastination past times. So the prospect of perusing offerings upon offerings for holiday gift ideas? YES, PLEASE.

Then a weird thing happened.

I started to feel… icky. Like I’d had a body dip in jam and then rolled around in sawdust.


There were so many things. So many price points. So much that honestly… nobody really needs. I suppose I had my own little “meaning of Christmas” crisis. A crisis only because the column I intended to write was predicated on buying stuff. So, I sat thoughtfully last night trying to decide how I would reconcile this Gift Guide idea.

What follows are 12 either genuinely useful or minimally extravagant beauty themed gifts (in my privileged, educated, safe, want for nothing opinion) that I would be excited to receive were I the recipient. And, that I would be least internally conflicted about gifting. (I mean, really. Here, have this $250 0.5oz tub of vanity cream made from muddled unicorn tears and the dreams of crushed orphans. Merry Christmas! How do they sleep at night?)

All products were found, evaluated, and posted of my own googling volition. Some I’ve used and some I just want to use.

created by me on polyvore.com

created by me on polyvore.com

Luxe Offerings

1. Philosophy The Microdelivery In-Home Vitamin C Peptide Peel $40.00

  • supremely effective in my experience
  • to be fair, my experience is mostly based on sample packets of the peel
  • but still, SO GOOD

2. Clairsonic Mia 2 Sonic Face Cleansing $149.00

  • I’ll admit, I thought the idea of an electronic toothbrush intended for my face was wackadoo
  • I had a facial before a major standardized test wherein they used this thing and I felt like I had new skin
  • in a good way

Budget Indulgences

3. Aveeno Stress Relief Foaming Bath $6.99

  • superbly useful throughout my residency (3 years of 80 hour work weeks; barf)
  • you need to get clean, may as well add a little something extra to restore your will to live

4. Boots No. 7 Radiance Collection $20.00

  • I just really like their skin care line
  • it could be because my beauty vlog fave Lisa Eldridge is on their board of directors (or somesuch)

5. Alberto Vo5 Hot Oil Shower Works Deep Conditioning Treatment $5.99

  • I have a hard time finding this in real life, I think it may be kind of retro, but IT WORKS
  • My mom swore by Vo5 growing up and people still regularly stop her in public to discuss her hair


6. Face Forward by Kevyn Aucoin $15.97

  • this man is a genius
  • I used to stare at his first book, Making Faces, for hours at a time; he’s like magic

7. e.l.f. Studio 111 Piece Everyday Palette $25.00

  • how do you look at this and not want to try every look you’ve ever thought of
  • super perfect for any teens in your life; or teens at heart

8. Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual: For Everyone from Beginner to Pro by Bobbi Brown $14.95

  • I haven’t actually read this, but I’ve only heard good things
  • also, I feel like Bobbi Brown is nothing if not tasteful, so , in other words, an excellent style to emulate

Keep On Giving

9. Out of Print Clothing Pride and Prejudice Everyday Pouch $12.00

  • this company claims to send one book via Books for Africa with every purchase
  • I say “claim” because I have no idea if they actually do, but I really hope they do
  • and how cute would this be as a makeup bag?

10. Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall by Kjerstin Gruys $13.19

  • give the gift of thought, insight, and an interesting memoir
  • it’s not the greatest writing in the world, but the concept and the ideas cultivated have stayed with me

11. Soapbox Soaps Liquid Hand Soap $6.99

  • this company claims to donate a bar of soap, fresh water, or vitamin supplements with every purchase
  • who knows if that’s true, but it sure seems nice
  • I hope that’s not because they’re a front for something nefarious
  • probably not, right?
  • also the picture above is just a stock photo of a liquid soap pump, I couldn’t get a specific icon for soapbox

12. Gift Donation to National Public Radio (NPR) amount per your discretion

  • nothing is more beautiful than intelligence
  • nothing.