’Tis Better to Give

But if you’re lucky, maybe there’ll be a little something in your stocking.

Wendy Duren Health & Wellness


111 East


It’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays … for the rest of the country, at least. The beauty industry begins its holiday rollouts in summer, so I’ve been playing with jewel-toned, glittery eyeshadows since August.

You might have noticed that Sephora, Ulta, and Macy’s unveiled makeup and skin care gift sets in September, or that Saks took a somewhat more reasonable approach and waited until October before putting out the silver and gold. Beauty junkies snap up the best of these limited-edition collections almost as soon as they drop with no regard for your stocking stuffer needs. Fortunately, I’m your Santa Beauty-Claus. While not bearded, nor jolly, and red velveteen has never touched my skin, I do have a list of gifts any beauty lover would be thrilled to get. They’re all the right size and color, too.

If you’ve seen the cover of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, or Marie Claire over the last two decades, you’ve seen Lisa Eldridge’s work. In addition to being a skilled and clever makeup artist, Eldridge has long been an expert on makeup history. Her breadth of experience and knowledge are evident in Face Paint: The Story of Makeup ($29.99, Part history, part coffee-table picture book, Face Paint is chock-full of makeup musings, antique cosmetic advertisements, and anecdotes, like how Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel accidentally ushered in the sun-kissed look after she appeared with a sunburn. It’s an engaging read and a beauty to behold.

Ever notice the similarity between makeup brushes and paintbrushes? They perform the same tasks — pack on color here, fan out highlight there — albeit on different canvases. The brush-maker Artis, however, has elegantly made the case that makeup brushes modeled after paintbrushes aren’t designed for self-application. When the canvas is your own face, you need tilt and grip and a specific fiber alignment, not unlike a toothbrush. Artis densely packs very soft, synthetic fiber into an assortment of brushes that allow you to apply liquid, cream, and powder products with unusual precision. Artis Elite Mirror Brush Set ($165, Saks Fifth Avenue).

Ensure everyone looks great in her favorite festive red lipstick (including you) with AuraGlow Deluxe Home Teeth Whitening System ($59.99, This home system comes with an LED light that attaches to a mouth tray and accelerates the whitening process by interacting with the provided gel. Many products bleach your teeth, leaving your gums sensitive and the shine unnatural. AuraGlow brightened my teeth without the usual sensitivity, and no one mentioned that I glowed in the dark. For those who find the 30-minutes-a-day-for-seven-days mouth tray routine a hefty commitment, try the On-the-Go Teeth Whitening Pen ($28.99). Just paint on the whitening gel and go about your day.

Jo Malone London is known for creating unexpected, and delightful, scents like Wood Sage & Sea Salt and Nectarine Blossom & Honey. The products infused with these scents are high quality and elegant, which makes this year’s Advent Calendar ($322, not to be missed. The 24 better-than-sample-size candles, body scrubs, shower oils, colognes, and body creams come in a variety of Jo Malone’s unique scents, including the brand’s newest, Basil & Niroli.

Every beauty junkie needs a way to organize and contain her products. GLAMboxes knows our struggle and its motto , “If you don’t see it, you won’t use it,” proves it’s one of us. The GLAMluxe Makeup Box ($259, is a five-tier crystal-clear acrylic tower with four drawers and a lidded top compartment. The tall, deep drawers will store an entire makeup collection or skin care regime, with room to spare for next season’s must-haves … or a few surprises you find beneath the tree.