Ugly Christmas sweaters. Weird kitchen tools from As Seen On TV. Socks. The Slanket.
I don't know about your family, but in mine, Santa doesn't always hit a home run. That's why I've got some suggestions today for how to treat yourself to what you REALLY want this holiday season. From game-changing beauty gadgets to cult-classic makeup, here are my 10 splurge-worthy picks:
1. A fragrance that'll get you compliments
Every girl should own a fragrance that makes her heart sing—and ideally, one that compels others to say "you smell so good!" without being prompted. Currently, I'm dousing myself in Tom Ford's latest Private Blend offering, Neroli Portofino, which features notes of orange flower, bergamot and amber, and is reminiscent of the Italian Riviera. It's a little bit citrusy and a little bit sexy/soapy. Love!
Available at Harry Rosen and Sephora.
2. An illuminating skin perfector
Everyone looks better with a little Touche Éclat. Not quite a concealer but more of a highlighting pen, it works a treat on dark circles as well as on the tops of cheekbones, above the Cupid's bow, down the bridge of the nose and in the nasolabial folds. A little strategic illuminating could take your makeup to the next level. For a limited time, you can find the cult classic in this embossed collector's edition, inspired by the haute couture "Edition Soir" gown that Mr. Yves Saint Laurent designed in the 1960s.
Available at Holt Renfrew, Hudson's Bay and Sephora.
3. An instantly face-brightening lipstick
I know, you probably have a Hoarders-level lipstick collection amassed already. But I'm telling you, this one is different! I've recently discovered Illamasqua, which is new at (and exclusive to) Hudson's Bay in Canada, and their lipstick formula is unreal. Think rich, bright, unique pigments that last forever. I love this magenta, Eurydice, which has a soft matte finish that you could wear alone, over lip balm or under gloss. If you're daring, the blue one, Apocalips, is actually awesome as well (I know, can't believe I'm saying that but it's true!).
Available at Hudson's Bay.
4. A deep-cleansing skincare gadget
I can't tell you how many people randomly tell me, either in person, blog comments or emails, that the Clarisonic has changed their lives. The sonic cleansing brush removes six times more dirt, makeup and impurities than you can get off with your hands alone, and helps whatever topicals you put on after that to absorb (and therefore work) much better. If you're not down with candy colours, the Aria model is out now in sleek, chic black.
Available at Sephora.
5. A super-luxe body lotion
Creme de Corps is la crème de la crème of body lotions. Buttermilk-yellow in colour and with a rich but non-greasy texture, it feels totally decadent on your skin—and the best part is, it really does get rid of dryness, FAST. I find it stays on my skin until I shower it off, whereas lighter lotions just evaporate away within a few hours. It's also unscented, so it won't fight with whatever fragrance you're wearing. New York City graffiti artist Eric "Haze" has designed the limited-edition labels for holiday 2013.
Available at Holt Renfrew, Hudson's Bay and Kiehl's.
6. The Rolls Royce of toothbrushes
Every time I go away on a trip, I just bring a regular manual toothbrush with me. And every time I get home, I am super-thankful for my Philips Sonicare electric one. Just like the Clarisonic cleans your face better, the sonic-powered DiamondClean removes plaque better—in fact, it gets off seven times more plaque than normal brushing. I swear, it makes your teeth feel like you just went to the dentist. I love that it's out for a limited time in black, too.
Available at London Drugs, Shoppers Drug Mart and Target.
7. A radiance-boosting face mist
Have I told you how much I love face mists? (Yes, I believe I have. Several times.) But I need to tell you about one more, which is possibly the most luxe of them all. Caudalie's Eau de Beauté natural beauty elixir is infused with extracts of grape, orange blossom, rose, mint and rosemary, and gives skin an instant radiance boost along with some pore- and fine line-tightening action. I'm so addicted right now, this bottle will probably be done by the time you read this. For a limited time, it's out in a special L'Wren Scott design that plays homage to the female silhouette.
Available at Sephora.
8. A next-gen eyelash curler
You're no doubt familiar with Shu Uemura's legendary eyelash curler, which I would say you should own if it weren't for this next-generation version that the brand just launched this fall. About half the width of Shu's regular curler, it allows you to get up close and personal with even your shortest, hardest-to-reach lashes and curl right from the roots. It's more time consuming, and it takes some practice—but if you're a lash fanatic, the results are worth it.
Available at Holt Renfrew and select Hudson's Bay and Sephora locations.
9. A curling iron that does the work for you
Hairdressers have tried to show me how to curl my hair dozens of times, and I've watched countless tutorials on YouTube, but I never did get the hang of it. That's why I'm so enthralled with this invention, an automated curling machine that does everything for you. You just clamp it on a small section of your hair, right where you want the curl to start, and press a button; it gently draws the hair up into the "curling chamber" where it heats it in every direction for eight to 12 seconds. When the section is ready (or in danger of getting twisted or tangled), it beeps and safely releases your hair. Genius, I tell you!
Available at Trade Secrets.
10. A nail-brightening top coat
One of the coolest things I've discovered in 2013 is the nail-brightening top coat. First I fell for Dior's, and now Guerlain has come out with a limited-edition Ultra Violet Top Coat. Clear with a purple tint, it can be used on bare nails to whiten yellowing and give them a slight mauve-ish hue, or as a regular glossy top coat on top of nail polish (it has a wicked thick brush). Bonus: under ultraviolet light, your nails will glow in the dark!
Available at Guerlain, Holt Renfrew, Hudson's Bay, Murale, Ogilvy, Sears and Sephora.
Bonus pro shopping tip!
Take it from me, someone who—like most beauty editor folk—has VERY champagne taste on a sad little beer budget. The best way to avoid the holiday shopping hangover—a.k.a. that moment in January when the credit card bill arrives—is to pay by Interac® Debit, Canada's direct payment service. No lie, I've been making a concerted effort to do this for the last six months (reigning myself in, yada yada) and it really does force you to make better shopping decisions.
After all, I believe in quality, not quantity—so if you're gonna have a beauty splurge, make it a good one!
Have your say
Have you tried anything on my top 10 list yet?
What will be YOUR big beauty splurge this season?
When it comes to beauty spending, do you believe in quality over quantity?