top beauty holiday gifts


Go on, it’s the holidays. Live a little.

Wendy Duren Health & Wellness

top beauty holiday gifts

111 East


All year, as I test and try out various beauty agents, I categorize products by what they do and how well they do it: Nice for Sensitive Skin; Good for the Price Point; Bad Packaging; Naughty Do Nothing. My favorites are the items deemed Worth the Splurge. “Splurge” is a relative term, but if you’ve ever pouted along to “Santa Baby” insisting that a yacht really isn’t a lot, you’ll understand that we’ve hit the most splurge-worthy time of the year.

Mason Pearson hairbrushes are sold in a box containing literature about the care and cleaning of the brush. There may be an explanation in there as to what inspired Pearson to create the pneumatic-rubber-cushion hairbrush in 1885, but I’m not beauty- nerd enough to get to the bottom of it. What I know is the Handy Bristle Brush ($230, Saks Fifth Avenue) is exceptionally well-balanced in the palm, and the boar bristle tufts are ideal for distributing the scalp’s natural oil. It’s the best grooming tool you’ll ever use.

Truth be told, I scooped up Clé de Peau Beauté Luminous HD Lipstick ($65, Saks Fifth Avenue) during a recent afternoon wandering the beauty counters at Saks Fifth Avenue. I was unaware of the $65 price tag until I glanced at the receipt a day later. As a devotee of luxury beauty products, I had a moment of “For a lipstick?!” roar through my head. It turns out to be worth the charge. The formula is full of nourishing, water-holding oils to hydrate and smooth the lips, light and dark pigments for contour and depth, and something the company calls “translucent pigments” that reflect and bounce light. The effect is beautiful and comfortable. And how often can that be said?

The Dermaflash Facial Exfoliating Device Set ($189, Macy’s) promises to reveal smoother, more radiant, and younger-looking skin. That’s the sort of promise that usually makes me wonder why they didn’t offer the moon and Brooklyn Bridge as well. Fortunately, this three-step exfoliating treatment — which employs a fine vibrating blade to remove dull cells, built-up debris, and peach fuzz — delivers. Alert readers might say, “That’s just shaving!” That’s true. The weekly “exfoliating treatment” consists of scraping a razor over the face to remove the dead layer of skin. And hair. The result is fresh, smooth skin. The set also includes six single-use blades, prep wash, and post-treatment moisturizer. While the device and blade are designed so that it’s nearly impossible to hurt yourself, I would still recommend careful maneuvering around the brows. The Dermaflash will shave off your eyebrows in a hot second.

When Dyson launched its Supersonic Hair Dryer ($399, Saks Fifth Avenue) last year, I was curious to find out what the re-inventor of the vacuum cleaner had done to the nearly- as-unexciting hair dryer. A lot, it turns out. Dyson’s Supersonic doesn’t look like a hair dryer. The motor and filter are housed inside the handle, which frees up the barrel for Dyson’s see-through wind-tunnel technology. This dryer offers three wind speeds, three heat settings, and a constant cool button — essential for locking in style — and comes with three magnetized attachments: a diffuser for curls, a smoothing nozzle, and a concentrator for precise styling. The Supersonic blows a lot of super hot air quickly while sensors in the barrel measure air temperature 20 times per second to ensure the heat level is consistent. This means a noticeably faster drying time, which is all I really want from a superior hair dryer. A holiday miracle.