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28 Last-Minute Beauty Buys that People Actually Want

Spoil the beauties on your list with these cult-favorite products, sized just right for gifting.

Couresy GlamGlow

GlamGlow Gift Sexy Poutmud Set

Lip balm goes glam with this set of sleek silver globes, each with a moisture-rich lip balm treatment that looks luscious and creates instant softness and hydration. Give the gift of kissable lips in Clear, Birthday Suit (a peachy nude), and Love Scene (a soft pink). ($29,

Courtesy Boscia

Boscia Japanese Favorites

The curated set of Asian-inspired skincare must-haves will thrill Boscia fans and introduce newbies to this amazing botanical line. It’s got the iconic Exfoliating Peel Gel, deep-cleaning Detoxifying Black Cleanser, brightening Sake Bright White Mask, and Tsubaki Glotion, with light-reflecting pigments to enhance the glow of a great complexion. This is good skin in a box. ($35,

Courtesy Elizabeth & James

Elizabeth & James Nirvana Bourbon Rollerball

The A-list duo behind this brand, twins Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, wanted their signature fragrance to represent the ultimate state of happiness: an idyllic memory, a feeling, a moment, an experience. What this slender bottle delivers is a blend of vanilla bourbon, oakwood, and a hint of tuberose that come across as edgy and tough, but with a hint of passion. ($25,

Courtesy PLANT

PLANT Bodywash

You may not know a friend’s favorite lipstick color, but body wash is universal, especially these all-natural, organic honey-like gels made with just eight or nine simple ingredients, and zero parabens or other mysterious chemicals. The gentle, low-sudsing formulas are gentle on even sensitive skin and smell absolutely divine. The set comes with travel-sized bottles of Get Happy (geranium and peppermint), Calm Down (ginger and lavender), Be Well (eucalyptus and bergamot), Get It On (sandalwood, cedar, and ginger), and Wake Up (rosemary and lemongrass). ($30,

Courtesy La Mer

La Mer Mini Miracles Duo

When you read about La Mer, it’s usually a celeb revealing her beauty secrets. So yes, this tiny pair of potent skincare elixirs—Moisturizing Cream and The Renewal Oil—will set you back, but the unmistakable touch of luxury will delight even the most discerning beauty consumer in the family. ($85,

Courtesy Jolii

Jolii Cosmetics Amore Matte Velluto

There’s fire engine red, candy apple red, and chili pepper red—and then there’s the absolute perfect red that is Amore Matte Velluto. This stunning blood red matte liquid lipstick is a long-wearing formula that seems to work magically with every skin tone. And it has shea butter and jojoba oil too, so it won’t suck lips dry. (Here’s how to apply the perfect red lip.) Better still, a portion of the proceeds from this Italian-made beauty will go to the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, a nonprofit that rescues abused and neglected animals. Salute! ($20,

Courtesy Tatcha

Tatcha Gold Camellia Beauty Oil

The 24-karat gold flakes in this lightweight beauty oil look impossibly lux and impart a seriously sensual glow. Camellia oil and squalane nourish skin and seal in moisture, and the natural bamboo and green tea fragrances virtually transport you to a Kyoto countryside. ($33, Here’s how essential oils can take years off your skin.

Courtesy Tartan + Twine

Tawney Steppe Weekender

Like a crisp blazer and gold studs, a classy makeup bag is one of those small things that make women feel all grown-up, and well, kind of like a big deal. This textured nylon toiletry organizer fits the bill. It’s all adult-y with its many compartments for travel bottles, jars, tubes, brushes, and pencils—but it comes in cheetah print because it’s also cool and fun, like the gal who’ll be psyched to see it under the tree. ($30, (Psst: Make sure your makeup and makeup bag aren’t making you sick.)

Courtesy Laura Mercier

Laura Mercier Little Indulgences Hand & Body Crème Lotion

Everyone needs hand lotion, so it’s a safe bet that these ultra-rich, one-ounce tubes will get used—and loved, in Almond Coconut Milk, Ambre Vanille, Crème Brûlée, and Tarte Au Citron. Give the set to one lucky friend or split it up to spread the love. ($32,


VITA LIBERATA Self Tanning Anti Age Serum

The #nomakeup selfie trend requires a naturally glowing complexion—and that’s what you’ll get with this subtle self-tanner serum that doubles as an anti-ager. Alicia Keys’ makeup artist recommends Vita Liberata to achieve the trending “no makeup” look. As a bonus, she’ll get plumping effects and fewer fine lines and wrinkles. ($45,

Courtesy Philosophy

Philosophy Sugar Plum Fairy Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath Ornament

This award-winning multi-tasking mini has a luscious twist of sugar plum fairy-inspired scent for seasonal fun and sparkling clean. ($8,

Courtesy Hard Candy

Hard Candy Smokey Eye Collection

This set will have you at “hello.” For the ridiculously low price of $9.88 (we checked three times to make sure that was right), your beauty will get a mesmerizing shadow palette, eye shadow primer, eye shadow brush, liquid liner, and pencil liner—everything she needs to create the classic smokey eye look, plus two daring lip glosses just because. ($9.88,

Courtesy Bio Ionic

Bio Ionic Eternity Wand

What do Jessica Biel, Britney Spears, and the cast of the Late Late Show with James Corden have in common? They’re all fans of this iconic clipless curling iron, which is known to curl hair in half the time of traditional curling irons, thanks to its ceramic barrel. (Don’t miss these tips for using heat on your hair safely.) There are all kinds of bells and whistles that make this hot tool a standout, but all we need to know: It creates modern curls and waves that last for days. Days! ($120,

Courtesy Jo Malone

Jo Malone Christmas Cracker

The rich harlequin packaging and elegant ribbons are definitely part of the allure of this year’s Jo Malone holiday line. Pull on the limited edition Christmas Cracker to reveal a surprise trio of decadent favorites—fresh Basil & Neroli Cologne, juicy Blackberry & Bay Body & Hand Wash, and compelling, addictive Mimosa & Cardamom Body Crème. ($45,

Courtesy Oribe

Oribe The Cöte d’Azur Collection

Oribe products are the number-one favorite at Nunzio Saviano’s Manhattan hair salon for one reason: The scent is out of this world. Oribe got wise this year and created products that really capitalize on their heavenly signature scent—a blend of Calabrian bergamot, white butterfly jasmine, and sandalwood. This duo has a sheer, fragranced Luminous Hair & Body Oil, and a Cöte d’Azur Eau de Parfum limited edition rollerball. ($85,

Courtesy Dermalogica

Dermalogica Body Buffing Set

The body gets aromatherapy love from head to toe with this pro-grade skincare set. The limited edition set features mini versions of Dermalogica’s cult favorite cleanse, polish, and condition formulas for total-body smoothness. ($30,

Courtesy Jane Iredale

Jane Iredale Beauty Prep Minis

She’ll put her best face forward with these travel-ready minis from beloved Jane Iredale’s BeautyPrep collection. There’s a Cleanser Mini, infused with micellar water and cucumber extracts; Face Toner Mini that’s refreshing, pH balancing, and pore-refining; and Face Moisturizer Mini, which locks in hydration for your smoothest-ever makeup base. ($8.50-$18,

Courtesy Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury Magical Mini Brush Set

For makeup maven Charlotte Tilbury, the right tools are transformative. “I always say my brushes are like my hands,” she says. “And this is the ultimate kit for contouring, defining, blending, smudging and seducing.” The set, which comes in an understatedly chic rouge noir snakeskin clutch, has a mini powder, blender, smudger, and precision brush—and still manages to fit easily in a small handbag. ($65,

Courtesy Clé de Peau Beauté

Clé de Peau Beauté Les Années Folles Limited Edition Lip Color Palette 2

Spellbinding is the word for this artful collaboration between makeup creative director Lucia Pieroni and pop-artist Ashley Longshore. The limited edition lip color palette has a silver with pink pearlescent shimmery lip gloss and two long-lasting rouge a lévres lipsticks, in magenta and pink, but the case is so breathtaking that it almost doesn’t matter what’s in it. ($65,

Courtesy Sol de Janeiro

Sol de Janeiro Beauty On The Go

Brazilian Goddess status comes automatically with this duo of Brazilian Bum Bum Cream, a fast-absorbing, all-over tightening and smoothing body cream and the new Brazilian Kiss Cupuacu Lip Butter, for soft, kissable lips. Both are infused with Sol de Janeiro’s native blend of nourishing cupuaçu butter, the antioxidant açaí, and skin conditioning coconut oil. ($25, (Check out these other amazing beauty benefits of coconut oil.)

Courtesy it Cosmetics

iT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream Moisturizing Super Cream

This adorable half-ounce jar holds a moisturizer that works for all skin types (even sensitive skin), and has some pretty impressive anti-aging powers to boot. It was developed with plastic surgeons, so it has all those ingredients you know you’re supposed to look for—collagen, hyaluronic acid, peptides, ceramides, antioxidants, and more. What it doesn’t have: parabens. In clinical trials, 100 percent of users said their skin felt “soft, smooth, and infused with moisture.” ($16,

Courtesy Bare Minerals

bareMinerals Deluxe Original Foundation Collector’s Edition

In some weirdly impossible way, this all-mineral loose powder provides full coverage while also managing to impart the perfect amount of dewiness and feel like nothing at all on your skin. And with just five ingredients—two of which are the sun-blockers titanium dioxide and zinc oxide—and zero preservatives, talc, oil, waxes, or fragrances, it won’t clog pores or trigger breakouts. With 20 shades, there’s bound to be one for your beauty—and she’ll never use another foundation again. ($43,

Courtesy Indie Lee

Indie Lee Jasmine Ylang Ylang Nutrient Oil

Body oil is one of those luxurious indulgences we seldom buy for ourselves but covet in a big way when we see them on someone else’s vanity. This one from Indie Lee, which is free of parabens, phthalates, artificial fragrances, and other nasties, smells like freshly blooming spring, even in the darkest days of winter. It also sinks in instantly, leaving no greasy residue—just a soft, jealousy-inducing glow. ($40,

Courtesy vegaLASH

vegaLASH Volumizing Serum

Even the most hardcore plumping mascara can’t touch the fuller, thicker fringe she’ll get with this lash-enhancing serum. With zero hormones or controversial carcinogens, this natural growth treatment cues lash follicles to grow and volumize in just 15 days, for real-deal lashes that feather and flutter, on the catwalk, the sidewalk, and everywhere in between. ($79.95,

Courtesy Lipstick Queen

Lipstick Queen’s Holiday Set

More adventurous beauties will love this set of top-selling lip transformers in cute mini sizes. Though they look downright wacky in the tube, all three shades are sheer and wearable, and work with any complexion. In fact, they adjust to your pH and natural coloring, so they look different—but always flattering—on everyone. Medieval is a natural blood-red, Frog Prince goes from emerald green to magical rosebud; and Hello Sailor tints lips a cool, berry tone with a hint of deep sapphire. ($25,

Courtesy L’Occitane

L’Occitane Shea Voyage Travel Set

If you’re completely clueless about what to give the beauty aficionado in your life, you can’t go wrong with this universal gem. The brand alone—L’Occitane is synonymous with luxury—sets neurons firing in a frenzy. The limited-edition set has things absolutely everyone needs: a hand cream, a foot cream, and a gentle milk soap, all with creamy, sumptuous shea butter in a pretty box. You don’t even have to wrap it. ($26,

Courtesy Panasonic

Panasonic Nanoe Compact Hair Dryer

You know those crappy hair dryers in hotel bathrooms that barely warm wet strands—or scorch them half to death? Those days are over with the Panasonic Nanoe Compact Hair Dryer, a new foldable version of this best-selling hot tool, with a quick-dry nozzle for speedier drying time. And there’s no chance of scorching here: As you dry, nanoe technology pulls moisture out of the air and deposits it into locks for a shiny look that’s in style no matter where you park your suitcase. ($99.99,

Courtesy Diptyque Paris

Diptyque Limited Edition Holiday Candles

Okay, so they’re not technically beauty, but these mini candles from Diptyque, made in France, will create a beautiful atmosphere and be met with a beautiful smile, so… beauty. The limited edition set is inspired by a marvelous winter tale in three acts, and includes Le Roi Sapin (fir balsam), Épices Et Délices (gingerbread) and Un Encens Étoilé (incense). Burns for 30 glorious hours in their decadent glass vessels. ($35 each,

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Aviva Patz
Aviva Patz is deputy editor of She is a former executive editor of Psychology Today, and has written extensively for Health, Prevention, Women's Health, Men’s Health, Redbook, Self, Shape, Fitness, Cooking Light, Natural Health, Parents, American Baby, Weight Watchers, and more. Aviva graduated from Barnard College and Columbia University School of Journalism and is the lead singer of the alt-rock band The Hey Honeys. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two teenage girls.