The Skin Store polled 2,000 American women to find out the five most important items on their lists this holiday season. Turns out it’s not as hard to make a woman happy as you might think—we want more beauty in our lives! (And cash, but that’s another story.) From twinkling eye shadows to top facial treatments, here are my top five recommended treats that will make someone you love feel like a star when she finds them under the tree!
1. Eye Shadow Palettes
When it comes to dazzling color that’s easy to wear for the holiday season, the eyes have it. Personally, I love long-wearing shades and a lot of variety—it adds up to a lot of options at a nice price. This is a cute video on how to use one of my favorite palettes from ColourPop, available for $30.
Everyone loves a serum—or they should—because those precious elixirs slide into your skin’s thirsty pores like a saving grace. In fact, if you haven’t already, try this beauty hack: Mix in a serum to customize any brand of liquid or cream foundation. Not only does it make controlling the application easier by blending together the foundation’s suspension base of water, oil or silicone and pigment more throughly than just shaking the bottle, but it also turns your makeup into a treatment for your face.
My latest fave is SkinCeuticals B5 Serum ($82). Oil-free formulas are your best bet when it comes to making sure your foundation doesn’t jailbreak itself from the serum in a mere few hours, since oil-based and water-based products don’t mix. You ever notice makeup that looks like it’s separating or melting? That’s why. This gel formula nourishes with hyaluronic acid, which is the body’s natural defense against dehydration.
3. Night Cream
When I turn the lights out at night, I say, “Make it rain!” I’m a believer in slathering on night cream and waking up looking like a daisy. Knowing what kind of skin you have—oily, dry, normal or combo—dictates what you need to feed your face. Dr. Shirley Madhere, a New York City-based holistic plastic surgeon, advises that nighttime is the “optimal moment for the skin to regenerate.” In her opinion, there are three primary modes of regeneration, and these are the corresponding ingredients that maximize results:
Repair with antioxidants: I like Herbivore’s Moon Fruit Superfruit Night Treatment ($58).
Protect with refined essential oils, like those found in Acure Organics Seriously Glowing Facial Serum ($19.99).
Hydrate: Hyaluronic acid-based moisturizers work to rehydrate the skin on a cellular level, restoring plumpness and luminosity, like Tata Harper’s Illuminating Moisturizer ($105). This organic product has diamond dust in it and can be mixed into foundation for more radiance, or layered on top for strobing. Or bring out the RiRi in you, and shine bright like a diamond even when you wear it to bed.
4. Face Masks
Once a week, take it all off. Winter weather and holiday parties kill your skin. Between the layers of dry skin building up from freezing temperatures outside and dry heat inside and the harsh effects of holiday cocktails and lipid-zapping party food, your pores are like microscopic firehoses trying to shoot out toxins as fast as they can.
Bottoms up! Sheet masks are a great way to get your drink on for thirsty skin in need of tightening, plumping or hydrating. Dr. Jart’s Rubber Mask series—besides it’s totally intriguing packaging—is not as Westworld as it looks. The combination of slippery red algae and calcium is cold to the touch and feels super sleek and sexy on the skin. And at $12 per mask, there’s something for everyone!
In addition to the very affordable Dr. Jart masks above, Dr. Michelle Henry, a Harvard-trained dermatologist and plastic surgeon, shared her list of favorite masks: SK-II Facial Treatment masks ($95-$135) and Sisley Black Rose Mask ($89) are her top picks for hydration during long-haul flights, and Cle de Peau’s Intensive Brightening Mask helps fight hyperpigmentation.
5. Facial Devices
Get lifted! I can tell you firsthand that micro-current technology works to tighten and lift your skin. I’ve paid fortunes for micro-current treatments at corner nail salons and five-star spas alike, because they work. When these handheld devices came to the market for home use four years ago, I was first in line, and I still use mine weekly to tighten and lift my face and neck and smooth my forehead.
The mild electric current that passes through the silver orbs, conducted though a layer of ultrasound jelly (or even aloe vera, if you’re on a budget), is like an elliptical machine for facial muscles. The current can sting slightly—especially where skin tends to be thinner around the brow bone and under the eyes, while there’s almost no sensation on the cheeks, neck and jawline. But a little discomfort is worth it in the under-eye area, where micro-currents do wonders to get rid of dark circles and puffiness in minutes by increasing circulation.
The devices, which are cordless and FDA approved, range in price from to $20 to $200, meaning that everyone can afford to get in the game. (Editor’s note: The Glow Up Managing Editor Maiysha Kai swears by her NuFace Mini.)
So, I say plug and play this Christmas, and give your skin a bright and shiny New Year!