With endless holiday beauty gift options, Sephora and Ulta can be overwhelming this time of year. So to help you out, we break down some of our favorite beauty buys of the year, below. Hopefully, our recommendations will inspire you to check some beauty gifts off your shopping list this holiday season.
Top products in this article:
But first, who exactly are we? We’re Lily Rose and Carolin Lehmann — CBS Essentials commerce experts. We’re, who are constantly testing out new products for work and for fun.
Ahead, hear more about our favorite beauty buys to gift this holiday season, from Ilia, Merit, Tula and more brands. Gift them to your friends, your family or buy yourself a little holiday beauty treat. You can’t go wrong with any of these beauty buys.
Some are even on sale now for Black Friday.
Coco & Eve Silky Hair set
“I have wavy, dehydrated and damaged hair. The Coco & Eve Silky Hair set turned my strands from straw to silk. Both the mask and hair serum are made with coconut and fig — good sources of fatty acids that help strengthen and repair hair. I really like that the mask is made with argan oil. I have found that the ingredient is helpful for adding shine.
The real M.V.P. of the haircare set is the Miracle Hair Elixir. I apply a lot of heat to my hair, and usually my ends look and feel fried. This lightweight serum not only made my hair feel incredibly soft, but it also erased the look of my frazzled ends. Even my friends agree. A pal recently brushed against my ponytail and commented on how soft it felt and healthy it looked.
Plus, the hair mask and serum smell amazing.” — Lily
Coco & Eve Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Bundle
“This self-tanner has a lot going for it. It smells great upon application and better than most after being washed off. I experienced no blotchiness or patchiness using my usual routine of exfoliating, moisturizing dry points and applying the foam to my hands and feet lightly with a brush. It’s hard to know how long the tan lasts because it fades so naturally, but I would estimate about a week, which is great. My only gripe is that the medium shade runs a tiny bit orange, but it’s worth it for all of the benefits.” — Carolin
Merit Great Skin
“This hydrating serum is made with four types of hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, cacao seed extract and Japanese goldthread root. I put it on after my vitamin C and moisturizer but before my sunscreen. The result is super-hydrated, glowing, happy-looking skin. I’ve noticed that Merit Great Skin helps my foundation glide on and stay looking skin-like.
At just $38, you can’t beat the price.” — Lily
Peace Out Acne Healing Dots
“Peace Out Acne Healing Dots don’t work in just “six hours or less,” as the packaging claims. But they do seem to help speed up healing when I use them. They also keep you from picking at your acne spots, which definitely aids in the pimple-healing process.
Of all the acne stickers I’ve tried, these are my favorite. These dots turn satisfyingly white over your zit, like they’re actually pulling something out of it. (The hydrocolloid polymer technology promises to extract impurities.)
CBS Essentials editor Gabby Shacknai also likes Peace Out Acne Healing Dots, though she notes you need to be patient. ‘The pimple patches definitely reduce the lifetime of a pimple, but the six hours is slight BS,’ she says. ‘In my experience, it’s been more like overnight.’
You really can’t go wrong with these.” — Carolin
Tula instant de-puff eye renewal serum
“I have tried so many eye creams this year and have been disappointed every single time. But this is the first eye product that I’ve actually liked and felt like I could see results from!
The Tula instant de-puff eye renewal serum features a cooling metal applicator that instantly refreshes and awakens my tired eyes. I suffer from dark circles and puffiness, and I’ve found that consistent use of this serum has definitely reduced their appearance.
I’m a sucker for peptides and this skincare product is chock-full of them. The serum also features sea algae to fight wrinkles, probiotic extract to soothe irritation, prebiotics to nourish the skin and pink silk tree to brighten and even tone. This might be one of my favorite skincare finds of 2022.” — Lily
“While this handy stick from Ilia offers lip and cheek color, I’ve only used it on my cheeks. I pile the Dear Ruby shade onto a brush for a fool-proof fresh look. It’s pigmented but not so much so that you’ll mess up its application. This multi-stick makes for a great stocking stuffer.” — Carolin
Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Beautifying lip set
“I think any beauty-lover would agree that Charlotte Tilbury’s ‘Pillow Talk’ is the lip color of the year. This lip set offers the popular shade in a lipstick, lip liner, lip gloss and my personal favorite, an ultra-hydrating balm.
This kit is also the perfect size for a stocking.” — Lily
Shark FlexStyle air styling and drying system
“and instantly fell in love with this more affordable alternative. This versatile multi-styling tool can dry wet hair, curl, volumize and smooth hair for the the perfect blowout. It includes four heat and three airflow settings that can be increased or decreased manually based on your preference, plus a cool shot button to lock in your style.
According to the brand, the Shark FlexStyle air styling and drying system minimizes heat damage during use. The tool measures and regulates temperatures 1,000 times per second to ensure consistent air temperature. The device comes with an oval brush, a paddle brush, a styling concentrator with rotatable nozzle and curling attachments.
I really like using the auto-wrap curlers to frame my face and create tousled curls in seconds. — Lily”
More beauty, hair and skincare holiday gift ideas
We haven’t tried all of these ourselves, but many of these top-rated makeup, hair and skincare gift ideas are on our holiday wishlists.
Nuface Trinity starter set
The Trinity starter set is another great option for first-time NuFace users. The upgraded device comes in a kit that includes a charging cradle, power adapter and a hydrating leave-on gel primer.
Dermapore Ultrasonic Pore Extractor & Serum Infuser
This unique two-in-one ultrasonic device unclogs pores for clearer skin and infuses your face with your favorite skincare product.
Nordstrom reviewers give this pore extractor a 4.2-star rating.
“I’m a licensed master esthetician and I personally love this tool,” writes one reviewer. “If you are considering buying this product, please do. Honest.”
Supergoop and Gray Malin Everyday Getaway kit
Get all the protection you need for your next trip with this clever collaboration between fine art beachscape photographer Gray Malin and Supergoop. Styled after Malin’s famous aerial beach photos, the set includes a tube of Play lip shield SPF 30, Play antioxidant body mist SPF 50, (Re)setting refreshing mist SPF 40, Glow oil SPF 50, Play Everyday lotion SPF 50 and Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40, all carry-on friendly and under the TSA 3.5-ounce limit.
Tula holiday exfoliating sugar scrub trio
This set of limited-edition holiday sugar scrubs promises to give you softer, brighter and more even-looking skin. The scrubs gently exfoliate your skin. They include papaya and pineapple to help skin look more radiant. They are also formulated with prebiotics and probiotics to help maintain skin balance and improve texture. This set makes a cute holiday gift, or you can use the scrubs as stocking stuffers.
The set includes three 1.76-ounce sugar scrubs in gingerbread, sugar plum and chocolate peppermint.
Dermalogica Cleanse and Glow set
This holiday set includes Dermalogica’s most popular cleansing products. It comes with the Precleanse, Dermalogica’s top-rated deep-cleansing oil designed to take off makeup and purify skin. It also includes the Special Cleansing Gel and the Daily Microfoliant exfoliating and brightening polish.
Dyson Airwrap styler
The Dyson Airwrap styler is designed to help you dry and style your hair with minimal heat. It has grown popular thanks to its ease of use, versatile styling options and ability to style hair while minimizing heat damage.
This summer, a new generation of the Airwrap was released. The new version of the Dyson Airwrap has a couple of improvements. The curler attachment has been updated to accommodate clockwise and counterclockwise curling. It also includes a new flyaway-reducing tool that smooths hair.
It’s always difficult to find the styler in stores or online thanks to high demand. But the Dyson Airwrap multi-styler Complete Long (for long hair) is available now on the Dyson site in a special edition Vinca blue/rosé hue. The Airwrap with the latest technology is also available for all hair lengths in a nickel/copper color.
Revlon one-step volumizer hair dryer and hot air brush
The Revlon one-step hair dryer and hot-air brush, a CBS Essentials bestseller, can dry and style your hair in one step. It has rave reviews on Amazon, where it boasts a 4.6-star rating. Verified buyers say it’s an ideal budget choice for people with curly, straight and wavy hair.
Dyson SuperSonic Hair Dryer
If you can’t get your hands on the Airwrap, try this other popular styling tool from Dyson. The Dyson SuperSonic Hair Dryer comes with five styling attachments to help you get your ideal look. This popular fast-drying gadget is suitable for all hair types.
T3 Edge heated smoothing and styling brush
This versatile, all-in-one styling brush from T3 can give your hair a smooth, shiny look with the stroke of a brush. It has three heat settings and can be used to straighten, wave or curl your hair.
“I use it to add volume at my roots.” — Carolin
Shark HyperAir hot air brush with styling attachments
Like Dyson, Shark is best known for vacuum cleaners. But this fast-drying air brush has brought Shark into the beauty market. Reviewers report that the Shark HyperAir hot air brush is a worthy competitor to the Dyson Airwrap.
“This hair dryer is nothing short of amazing,” an Amazon reviewer says. “I have a Dyson hair dryer and I have the AirWrap complete system. I like this Shark hair dryer much better than my Dyson now.”
Amika hair blowdryer brush
The Amika hair blowdryer brush is a great, mid-range alternative to the Dyson Airwrap. It’s designed to add volume, increase shine and eliminate frizz. This dryer brush works for all hair types.
“I use it just before my hair is all dry to add volume and give the blowout look.” — Carolin
Saie Glowy Super Gel duo
The Saie Glowy Super Gel is a hydrating primer that gives an all-over glow. It can also be used as a highlighter. This cute holiday set includes Saie’s best-selling Starglow and a new golden shimmer shade, Warmglow.
Anastasia Beverly Hills deluxe brow kit
This three-piece set includes the Brow Wiz mechanical brow pencil, Brow Definer and clear brow gel from Anastasia Beverly Hills.
“Anastasia’s brow pencils are game changers — every time I try a different brand, I always find myself going back.” — Carolin
Fenty Beauty Glossy Posse holiday gift set
This holiday gift set includes three full-size tubes of Fenty Beauty’s popular Gloss Bombs. Find a fuchsia gloss, a warm-toned coral gloss and a pink volumizing gloss.
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