The essentials: Skincare gift guide

skincare title

I’ve made my list, have you?

Although makeup is usually my first priority when it comes to cosmetics, skincare is an equally important necessity (okay, it’s probably more important than makeup…).  Just like how cosmetic companies bring out special collections, sets and items for the holiday season, so too does skincare brands.  From mud masks to cleansers to lip balms, not only are these great gifts, but if you are in the market for a new moisturizer (or mud mask), now is the time to stalk up because these sets are usually really great value for what you get.

Here are my top picks for the holidays.

Glam Glow Gift Sexy

open box

Housed in a chic reversible box (you keep opening it and it turns from pink to blue), GlamGlow’s Gift Sexy holiday set is a great way to try two of their most beloved masks.  I did a review on these about a month back, but this set features a 1.2 ounce of their uber-popular Supermud Clearing Treatment and a 0.5 ounce of their Youthmud Tinglexfoliant Treatment.

These masks have fast become cult favourites because of their ability to make your skin look younger and bring on that “supermodel glow”.  If you were to purchase these separately, it would run you C$90; so for C$75, this set is a more affordable way to try out the brand.

Glam glow boxes

GlamGlow Gift Sexy is available at Sephora.

Boscia Mask Medley

Boscia masks open box boscia

If you are looking for a more affordable mask set, Boscia has you covered.

This set of three 30-gram peel-off masks work to purify, brighten, and hydrate your skin for a flawless complexion.  Unlike GlamGlow, these peel off your face, so make sure you apply these liberally.  They go on like a gel and then set on your skin.

This was my first foray into peel-off masks, as well as the Boscia brand.  I have heard a lot of great things about the line, and I think that for C$46, this set is a really great bang for your buck.  I tried out the Luminizing Black Mask one first and although I did find the product hard to peel off (I didn’t apply enough), it did make my skin look fresh.

Here are some stats from Sephora:

After four weeks of using Bright White Mask twice a week:
– 81% said their skin appeared more radiant
– 86% said their skin appeared more moisturized
– 86% noticed an overall improvement in their skin

After four weeks of using Luminizing Black Mask twice a week:
– 91% said their skin felt softer
– 91% said their skin felt less oily
– 82% said their skin appeared brighter

The Boscia mask medley is available from Sephora.

Josie Maran Escape to Morocco Holiday Hair & Body Beautifiers

josie maran

If you are a Josie Maran, or just an argan oil fanatic, this set is for you.

Like Boscia, I haven’t ever tried anything from Josie Maran’s uber-popular brand, but I know other bloggers and YouTubers rave about her argan oil-infused products.

The Escape to Morocco set includes:

– 1.9 oz Argan Cleansing Oil
– 0.5 oz Argan Infinity Intensive Creamy Oil
– 0.5 oz Argan Oil Hair Serum
– 0.5 oz 100% Pure Argan Oil
– 1 oz Whipped Argan Oil Intensive Hand Cream in Vanilla Apricot
– 2 oz Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter in Vanilla Apricot

This is a great sampler set to try out her products (which all smell amazing by the way).  I have only heard great things about her 100 per cent pure Argan oil, as well as the Infinity Intensive Creamy Oil.

Josie Maran open set

Argan oil is a plant oil produced from the kernels of the argan tree, which is from Morocco.  It’s an amazing moisturizing oil for both hair and skin, it’s also full of vitamins and antioxidants.

Because this offers a variety of products for different parts of the body, this is an amazing set to give or receive.  Plus, Josie Maran is known for her argan oil products, so you will certainly impress anyone on your list lucky enough to receive it.

C$47 (and $81 value!) from Sephora.

Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils

shu cleansers

One of my holy grail products, Shu Uemura cleansing oils are a must.  These aren’t the easiest products to find (they only sell Shu at select Sephora locations in Canada, as well as Holt Renfrew, and online; in the U.S. you can only get it online), so I was so excited that Canadian Sephora stores brought in minis of these beauties (located near the checkouts).

I tried the Shu Uemura cleansing oils for the first time last year and it was love at first use.  You just rub a few drops of this stuff on your dry face and then rinse, and voila! Makeup is removed and your skin is left feeling rejuvenated and fresh.  What is the difference between these and a regular makeup remover?  These aren’t as harsh on the skin and retain the skin’s natural level of moisture.

Everyone knows the Japanese brand for their iconic eyelash curler, but they are super well-known for this product as well.  So much so, that one bottle is sold every seven seconds.

A 450 ml bottle of their cleansing oil can run you anywhere from C$82 and up, but if you are looking for a stocking stuffer, these 50 ml bottles retail for C$19 (I believe, Sephora online doesn’t carry them).  Yes, it’s pricey, but your skin, or whoever you gift these to, will thank you for it.

shu sizing

Size compared to a 250 ml bottle of Bioderma.

There are a variety of different kinds available, I received four of them to try out, and according to the PR company that represents Sephora in Canada, this is the Cleansing Oil Mini Collection, which retails for C$55.  I haven’t seen this at my local Sephoras (just individual bottles), but I know that the location at Toronto Eaton Centre has a Shu Uemura section, so they may have it.

Anyways, about the oils (from Shu Uemura)…

Anti-oxy skin-refining cleansing oil (aka anti dullness)

Anti-pollution power blows away dull, yellow look. The innovative combination of moringa extract and green tea extract creates a result of glowing clarity and refined smoothness.
shu uemura introduces the innovative anti-pollution power of Moringa extract. Combined with legendary anti-oxidative Green Tea extract, it instantly captures and clears pollutants that accelerate aging stress. This one is the number-one seller of all their oils.

Fresh pore clarifying gentle cleansing oil

The first step for “pore-less skin”, a lightweight cleansing oil that leaves the skin clean, fresh and refined.

Wash away pore concerns-enlarged pores and clogged pores that lead to blackheads with our innovative Natural Origin system for superb cleansing. Effectively remove makeup and impurities inside pores while maintaining the skin’s necessary moisture level. Empowered with Sakura Complex, this cleansing oil minimizes pores by eliminating excess sebum and visibly smoothes the skin’s surface. Ideal for normal to oily skin types and acne-prone skin.

Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil

The precious essence of eight exquisite botanical origin oils has been merged together. Those were carefully sought out from Chinese medicines and beauty oils all over the world proven to have the highest skincare efficacy for a petal-soft silky smooth sensation.

Eight exquisite oils from botanical origin for ultimate solution to eight skin benefits powerful yet gentle botanical origin removal system for superb cleansing.

Removes effortlessly all kind of makeup and impurities. Skin feels soften, conditioned, hydrated, nourished from within, and glows with a new radiance.

Whitefficient Clear Brightening Gentle Cleansing

For dull skin complexion, removing melanin-filled dead cells is the first step in brightening care. Fortified with the Ultimate Removal System, our latest development, the lightly textured formula effectively removes accumulated melanin and heavy makeup.

Empowered with our advanced brightening technology this brightening cleansing oil contains an innovative combination of Mito-White Complex and Vitamin C to help prevent the accumulation of melanin deep within. Day-after-day, the skin looks clarified and brightened with an even-toned complexion.

Philosophy Shower Gel Sweets and Pink Almond Candy Lip Balm

One of the yummiest-smelling brands out there, Philosophy has some delicious offerings for this holiday season.

Okay, so first off, who doesn’t always need body wash?  This super cute ornament set includes 12 single-use shower gels that multi-task as a body wash, shampoo, and bubble bath.  Each gel is 0.25 oz. includes two of each of the following delectable scents: Christmas Cookie, Pink Almond Candy, Sweet Fluffy Cupcake, Pink Grapefruit, Homemade Honey Buns, and Raspberry Glazed.

For C$23 you can either gift this set as it is, or break it up and split it among friends!

Also, from Philosophy, they are offering up the creamiest of lip balms.  Infused with their Pink Almond Candy scent, this Sephora-exclusive delectable lip balm will smooth even the driest of lips.

Priced at C$19, it is a bit pricier than other balms (especially compared to eos, which the design of this really reminds me of), but it’s actually the creamiest balm I have ever tired. The scent is alright, I can definitely think of other fragrances they have released that I would prefer, but this little guy can cheer up even the grumpiest of grinches.

From masks to cleansing oils to luxury lip balms, there are a variety of different holiday sets and products to brighten up anyone’s holiday season!  Do you have a skincare wish list item on your list?

Please note, this post contains products that were sent by PR. All opinions are my own.

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