Up the stakes this Christmas with our pick of the most luxurious beauty crackers to surprise guests and spruce up any festive table setting
Crackers of old used to be cringe worthy. Packed full of awful Dad jokes and plastic toys destined to end up in the bin within the hour, but the new generation of crackers with a beauty twist bring a whole extra level of excitement to our Christmas celebrations.
Over the past couple of years we’ve seen a host of festive treats pop up in the beauty halls with everything from beauty advent calendars, beauty baubles and now, in what is probably our favourite incarnation of the merry theme – there are beauty crackers. Adding a touch of modern luxury to the tradition, these will be sure to set your dinner party off with a bang.
Take a browse through our pick of the best beauty crackers out there and stock up in time for party season…
Caudalie The Des Vignes Cracker
From French brand Caudalie comes a mini selection of The Des Vignes range. There’s a 30ml shower gel and body lotion and a vial of the honeyed ginger, orange blossom and neroli scent. We love the chic crimson shade too, it’s such a merry looking cracker you can afford to scrimp on the rest of the table decorations.
Sanctuary Spa Pamper Cracker
Packed with 7 mini treats to delight this huge cracker is one for those who love trying new things. For party ready feet there’s a full kit to give winter toes a party season overhaul – think toe dividers, balm for dry heels and a nail file. But that’s not all – there’s a detox face mask, a rich handcream for silky fingers and a travel friendly body scrub and bath float too.
Eve Lom Kiss Mix Cracker
Prep yourself for any under the mistletoe action with this ultra hydrating lip balm duo from Eve Lom. There’s two to pick from; either the original clear formula that soothes even the most chapped lips or the pink-tinted Demure shade for a smooth, kissable pout.
Jo Malone Christmas Cracker
From Beauty Editor’s favourite Jo Malone comes this fancy, striped number. Inside is a clutch sized Blackberry & Bay cologne, a flight-friendly body wash in the fresh Basil & Neroli scent and an ultra hydrating English Pear & Freesia body cream that soothes skin in even the harshest winter weather.
This Works The Big Bang
If your loved ones are party people this is the perfect antidote to hectic festive celebrations. This Works best-selling deep sleep pillow spray is twinned with a stylish eye mask that will have them counting sheep in no time.
Baylis & Harding Beauticology Carnival Luxury Gift Crackers
For those with a soft spot for sweet treats pick Baylis & Harding’s circus themed crackers, which contain either a sweet caramel popcorn body lotion or a candy apple body wash and a miniature party hat for endless round-the-table fun.
Molton Brown Exquisite Treats Cracker
You’ll be the most popular guest at any dinner party if you arrive armed with a stash of these beauties. Each cracker contains one weekend getaway sized bath or body wash or shower gel from Molton Brown. All of the fragrances are equally delicious so if you buy 4 with the intention of sharing them amongst friends don’t feel guilty if you end up squireling them away for yourself.
Sarah Chapman The Facial Elixir Cracker
Imagine if you could get the results of one of facialist Sarah Chapman’s renowned treatments at home? Now you can get in on a piece of the action with the minis in this cracker, which contain the morning and evening facial oil from Sarah’s at-home range. The morning oil instantly boosts glow while the night elixir resurfaces and improves skin texture in a flash.
Invisibobble Christmas Cracker
Our favourite snagless hair bobble is now available in 3 shades of rose gold, silver and gold for the festive season. If you’re stuck for ideas for the office secret Santa or need some stocking filler inspo’, this is the perfect solution.
Margaret Dabbs Fabulous Christmas Cracker
From deluxe mani/ pedi brand Margaret Dabbs comes this little taste of her award winning range. There’s everything you need for a perfect talons; a nourishing nail and cuticle oil, a buffer that creates envy inducing shine and a crystal nail file that’s so good looking you’ll want to show it off.
Elizabeth Arden Cracker
There’s three party season staples in this Elizabeth Arden x Feel Unique cracker: the jet black Grand Entrance Mascara, a warm peachy pink lip oil and a mini Superstart Skin Renewal Booster that’s an ideal precursor to your regular serum in the cold winter weather.
Delilah Beauty Cracker
You’d be happy with any of the 4 classic shades of Delilah’s signature matte liquid lipstick that come in this pretty cracker. There’s a deep plum, an uplifting orange, a pinky beige or a taupe shade. We love the seasonal snowflake design too.
Fresh Beauty Cracker
Shop now: Fresh Beauty Cracker for £24 from Fresh
Pucker up in time for Christmas with this trio of goodies for your most kissable lips yet. There’s an exfoliating sugar polish to help slough off any dry skin and two options to finish – go for the au naturel balm or the rose tinted sugar stick for a healthy looking glow.
Aveda Beauty Cracker
Featuring hero products from Aveda’s colour care line, this is a total must-have for vibrant, nourished locks. With shampoo, conditioner, their ultra-effective Thickening Tonic, and a Tulasara moisturiser, both your hair and face will be completely treated.
ESPA Beauty Cracker
It’s so easy to overlook your hands and lips come winter.
Luckily, cult spa favourite ESPA is here with a mini nourishing hand cream and a lip treatment to make sure the harsh weather doesn’t wreak havoc on your skin.
Omorovicza Beauty Cracker
If you’ve a tendency to over indulge during party season (and your skin pays the price), arm yourself with this duo of facial brightening products. The brands hero Moor Cream Cleanser is the quickest way to clean and purify dehydrated skin, while the Refining Facial Polisher helps to clear pores and tackle dullness.
La Roche-Posay Beauty Cracker
Make like a Parisian and indulge in some French pharmacy treats from La Roche Posay that are perfect for even the most sensitive skin. There’s a clutch sized lip balm and a rich hand cream to soothe the most delicate mitts.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Cracker
Two party treats to see you through the New Year’s Eve activities this Sex Kitten cracker contains Marc Jacob’s long wearing liquid Lip Creme and the Velvet Noir Major Volume mascara that is so intensifying it looks like you’re wearing falsies.
Christmas make-up tutorial: Red and Gold
Embrace old school glamour with a dark red lip and put a twist on the classic smokey eye by mixing an array of golds and bronzes.
1. Prep your skin with primer
Give your make-up an even base by applying primer. Spread it evenly over your hands and then pat and roll into your skin. Make sure you apply primer wherever your foundation will be going – so don’t forget places like your neck.
2. Apply your foundation
Use the back of your hand as a makeup palette and then dab your foundation where you need most coverage – so your nose, forehead, cheeks and chin.
3. Blend your foundation
Using a sponge or brush, blend your foundation from the centre outwards for a natural finish. Make sure you blend all the way up to your hairline and along your jaw line.
4. Shape your eyebrows
Using a brow pencil, draw short hair-like strokes to fill in sparse areas, focusing on your arch first. Work out whether you need to elongate your brows by placing your pencil on a diagonal angle from the outer corner of your eye. The end of your brow should stop at the tip of your pencil.
Now, fill in the centre of your brows, but go lightly. The start of your brow shouldn’t be as dark as the rest.
5. Prime your eyelids
Take a small amount of eyeshadow primer and apply over your whole lid – right up to your brow. This will stop your eyeshadow from dropping or fading throughout the night.
6. Apply your darkest shade of eyeshadow to the outer corner of your eyelids.
Using a small, fine eyeshadow brush, work the powder along the socket of your eye. Then, create a V by taking your brush down to your lash line on a 45 degree angle. This will give you a nice flick at the outer corners of your eyes. Keep blending until the edges are softened. Then, create definition on your lower lash line by brushing your eyeshadow underneath your eyes.
7. Apply your blending shade
When creating a smokey eye, you need to have a middle shade to bring the darkest and lightest shades together. Take your middle shade of eyeshadow – in this case, a rich gold – and blend it from the inner corner of your eye over your lid.
8. Add a pop of shimmer
Using a very small eyeshadow brush, apply your lightest shade of eyeshadow to the inner corner of your eye and blend outwards to the centre of your eyelid. This will really open up your eyes and make them sparkle.
9. Define your eyes
Using a liquid eyeliner, draw along your top lash line. Start from the centre of your lash line and draw outwards towards the outer corner of your eye, before filling in the inner corner. Follow the natural curve of your lash line to create a flick at the end.
10. Brighten up your eyes
Use a white or nude eye pencil to draw along your lower waterline.
11. Add mascara
Apply at least two coats of mascara to your top and bottom lashes.
12. Conceal under your eye
Using a concealer in a few shades lighter than your natural skin tone, draw a triangle under your eyes from the inner corner of your eye, down to your cheek and back up to the outer corner of your eye. This will brighten up the whole area. Then, blend with your brush or sponge.
13. Define your cheekbones and contour
Starting from your ear, lightly sweep your bronzer or blush back and forth, underneath your cheekbones. Then dust the excess powder along your hairline and jawline to create definition.
Using a cream or powder highlighter, gently dab the top of your cheekbones to give your skin a radiant glow. Also highlight the bridge of your nose and the tip of your nose for extra radiance.
15. Define your lips
Follow your natural lip line with pencil and fill in. This will stop your lipstick from smudging at the edges.
16. Finish with lipstick or lipgloss
Smooth your lipstick or lipgloss over your lips to add extra depth.
And there you have it. Christmas inspired red and gold festive make-up.