Not if you shop smart...
I hate those make-up palettes disguised as ‘Christmas gift sets’ that pop up at this time of year like an unwanted zit before the office party.
Especially ones trussed up as a glitterball, unicorn, some sort of S&M trophy or the size of a tupperware box.
My wrath is particularly reserved for eyeshadow palettes boasting over 16 shades.
I mean how many colours do you genuinely need to whack on before you start resembling a box of Quality Street?
Because that’s the thing: no matter how much you try to convince yourself otherwise, you will NEVER. EVER use all those shades.
There’s even bound to be two or four that you don’t like from the off and for that you’ve paid upwards of 30 quid.
I have friends who will religiously buy a new Bobbi Brown or Urban Decay nude eyeshadow palette every single year. NUDE. How many variations of a taupe or beige eyeshadow can there be?
Call me bah humbug but eyeshadow palettes are the spawn of some marketing guy who lives in Shoreditch, has a man bun and wants to sell you something you don’t really need in order to get a Christmas bonus (which he’ll probably spend on beard oil, FYI).
Best skincare gift sets
Skincare is a different matter all together, providing they aren’t trying to convince you to swap your minimalist approach for a Korean 16-step regime.
For years Elemis Christmas gift sets have made it onto my wish list. The savings alone are worth it, while each box is chock full of products that you will actually use [read: scrape the bottom out of].
This year’s Pro-Collagen Rose Glow Gift Set, is no different.
It is made up of the brand’s Pro-Collagen Rose Cleansing Balm for an aromatic deep cleanse, the Pro-Collagen Rose Hydro-Mist (aka the 3pm wake-up call for sluggish skin) and a Rose Glow Candle. The £34 saving is enough to make you blush, too.
Elemis Pro-Collagen Rose Glow Gift Set, £85, Next
For the bona fide beauty junkie, Dr Dennis Gross Your Skin Heroes Kit gives you bang for your anti-ageing buck. The Alpha Beta Cleansing Gel and Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel harness the power of AHAs and BHAs to slough away dull dead skin cells. The set also includes the Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum, packed with two wrinkle-fighting powerhouses, and the hydrating Hyaluronic Marine Oil-Free Moisture Cushion so you can give (or receive) the gift of glowing, youthful skin.
Dr Dennis Gross Your Skin Heroes Kit, £60, Space NK
Finally, Ren’s Clean Skincare Heroes Gift Set is sure to put a smile on the face of any vegan or eco lover recipient. It includes the cult Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream; Ready Steady Glow exfoliating tonic to gently resurface your skin; Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30 and uplifting Atlantic Kelp And Magnesium Body Wash – all in a 100% recyclable gift box, with vegetable inks and biodegradable film.
Ren Clean Skincare Heroes Gift Set, £30
The best make-up gift sets
Lipsticks are another smart buy for Christmas gift sets. I don’t care what anyone says, there’s no end to how many variations of red lipstick you can have. From matte to velvet textures and pillarbox to claret hues, they’re as necessary as water to life.
Which is precisely why Dior’s Rouge Dior Couture Collection – Refillable Jewel Lipstick Edition, is one of my favourite Christmas gift sets of 2019. A box that doubles up as an edgy clutch bag? Check. Lust-worthy lipstick shades? Check. And environmentally friendly refills? Double check.
Dior Rouge Dior Couture Collection – Refillable Jewel Lipstick Edition, £138, John Lewis
No party skin would be complete without a mega watt sheen courtesy of Charlotte Tilbury, either.
The Hollywood Beauty Glow kit features the Wonderglow Primer to prep your dewy complexion and the Hollywood Beauty Light Wand in Spotlight – her best-selling highlighter that imparts a pretty rose-gold glow.
Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Beauty Glow, £30, John Lewis
Yes it’s boring, but it’s still possible to shop smart when the rest of the world has gone Christmas-mad.
Besides, nothing will tug at your partner’s heart strings more than you NOT asking for another eyeshadow palette so super-sized it needs to live in a carry-on case. Enough said.