I'll be the first to admit that my drawer of beauty supplies is overflowing. It's stocked with a borderline disturbing number of black eyeliners, my rotation of lipsticks and approximately 873 skincare products (probably). However, there are some products that have become permanent fixtures on my face and they're bound to be a huge hit for the beauty-lover in your life.
1. Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+/PA++++ -$8.85
No, those plus signs aren't a typo - it's the Japanese way of marking how strong a sunscreen's protection is against UVA rays. We've all been lectured on the importance of sunscreen, but this one makes protecting your skin completely hassle free. Although the formula is very fluid, this sunscreen isn't greasy and it doesn't leave a white cast; I've also found that this particular formula helps my makeup go on smoother, so there's no excuse not to wear it. The SPF rating is also significantly higher than other daily-use sunscreen products, so it's a great pick whether your gift-ee works inside or outdoors. Unfortunately this product isn't directly sold in the U.S., but it's readily available on Amazon.
I'm all about spreading the gospel of red lipstick and this one is my holy grail. It's a true red that's neither too warm-toned or cool-toned - it looks fabulously bold on every friend and relative I've foisted this lipstick on. The formula dries quickly and smoothly without being too drying and, although it does wear off after eating, it will definitely last through the evening.
I'm obsessed with face masks, but I've bought this one time and time again. I pop this gel mask on the night before a big day, leave it on for 20 minutes, rub the serum into my face and go to bed. By the time I wake up, my skin is absolutely glowing. Sake is known for its brightening properties, but I'm pretty sure this mask is fueled by witchcraft or something.
4. Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque - $4.99
This mask has a cult following for a reason. This gentle clay mask makes pimples dry up and disappear practically overnight without being too drying - plus, the minty-ness makes it feel like a treat! My skin is sensitive, but I've dozed off in this mask and haven't had any problems with irritation. I'm pretty positive I raided this out of my Mom's makeup shelf when I was in my pre-teens (sorry Mom), but I've kept a container of it since then. This would also be a great gift for a teenager who's just learning about skincare!
This eyeliner stands head and shoulders above the dozens of other formulas I've tried over the years. The tip makes it easy to create a cat-eye look; It's thin and extremely easy to control so even novices can experiment with their look. The pigment is extremely opaque and dries quickly, but if I want to amp up my eyes before I go out I can easily layer on more eyeliner without it looking weird. My eyelids are fairly oily so I almost always a primer anyways, but this stuff doesn't budge until you're ready to wash it off at night.
6. Baby Foot -$16.78
The world is divided into two types of people - those who love Baby Foot and those who think it's the grossest thing in the world. I fall firmly in the former category, especially after trying it for myself. This chemical foot peel basically makes your soles shed like like snakes over a period of week. There's something equally satisfying and horrifying about giant chunks of dead skin coming off your feet, but I can't deny that my oft-neglected heels were extremely smooth afterwards. Plus, winter is the perfect time to try it out - you can hide your feet in boots.
7. Dr. Jart+ Cicapair ™ Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment SPF 30 - $18
Like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, my nose glows in the cold. Unfortunately for me, it's nowhere near as cute as that 60s stop-motion cartoon. In the jar, this balm looks green but it blends into a light beige on my skin, completely removing all the redness in my skin while keeping my skin moisturized. This stuff is basically a miracle worker for me - it's very rare that I need to apply a tinted moisturizer over it and the texture and look of my skin has definitely improved since I started using it. Although $18 only buys you a trial-sized version, it lasts a really long time. A word of caution though: Unfortunately, the product can look very ashy and pale on darker skin tones, so if you're still interested in the benefits without the color correction aspect, La Roche Posay's Cicaplast Baume B5 has very similar ingredients and has a permanent spot on my bed-side shelf in the winter months.
8. Glossier Generation G - $18
This may seem expensive for a small tube of lipstick, but I use it all the time and I still haven't had to replace mine. The colors are sheer and build-able without being shiny and my lips still feel soft after I apply it. My personal favorite is Crush, which is described on Glossier's site as "a hot raspberry pink," but I found it to be not overly bright and very wearable. The friend who turned me onto this lipstick said she felt like it made her lips look like she'd been kissing someone with it's gentle flush of color.
9. NYX Glitter and Primer - $15 (for the primer and three tubs of glitter)
My cousin once told me that if she was having a bad day, she'd put on some glitter to cheer her up. She's definitely onto something - now I do the same thing! I regularly turn to NYX's glitter because it's shiny enough to stand out and the brand has a wide color range. The primer feels almost like glue, but that glitter definitely doesn't budge. Although it is difficult to remove, it's absolutely worth it to feel like the sparkliest girl in the room for a night.