Holiday Gift Guide:10 Chic Beauty Gift Sets
Just a few years back, if you asked any woman what was on her holiday wish list, she likely wouldn’t have answered “a beauty gift set.” Because let’s be honest, for a long time, beauty gift sets looked like something you’d fished out of a clearance bin. They came in cheap throwaway packaging, rarely included new products, and the best bonus gift you might find inside was a terry cloth headband.
But now, beauty brands bring their A-game to the holiday season, creating gorgeously packaged collections that offer exclusive shades, scents, and formulas, with whimsical touches like presenting the products inside an advent calendar or decorative box that you actually want to keep (case in point: the Nars Little Fetishes Duo and Burt’s Bees Bit of Burt sets in our roundup). Many brands now partner with charitable organizations at the holidays to offer gifts that give back (we love Kiehl’s Smooth Skin Delights, seen below—each purchase provides 282 meals for Feeding America), or with artists who design beautiful packaging that transforms a face cream jar or a makeup palette into a collector’s item. And the mix of items in gift sets are just so well curated now—take the Sephora Favorites Lashstash Kit in our roundup. What makeup fan wouldn’t be over the moon to get 10 of the most popular mascaras? It’s a slam-dunk of a present.
Thankfully, as beauty brands’ holiday offerings have evolved from mere “gift sets” into “chic, limited-edition seasonal collections,” their prices have stayed remarkably reasonable. We rounded up 10 of the prettiest, most universally appealing sets, most of which are $50 or under (and all are under $100). Happy shopping, beauties!
Bite Beauty Astrology Mini Amuse Bouche Lipstick Set
“Bite lipcolor is known for its rich color payoff and creamy texture. Trying is believing!” swears Editor Julia Murphree. “The Amuse Bouche lipsticks are super-nourishing, and I love their sweet scent/flavor. The astrology-themed shades in this limited-edition collection are surprisingly wearable and so much fun to play with. This set makes the perfect gift!”
Sephora Favorites Lashstash Kit
Fellow Editor Alyssa Hertzig swears by this holiday beauty gift, because “you get ten different mascara formulas, with six deluxe sample sizes and two full sizes. And they are ALL greatest hits products including Benefit Bad Gal Bang, Lancome Hypnose Drama, Too Faced Better Than Sex, and Diorshow Maximizer 3D. It’s months and months of killer lashes and makes an incredible gift. Please show me ONE woman who wouldn’t love to get this.”
Hermès Garden Collection Coffret Set
The only problem with buying this set of four Hermès mini fragrances to give as a present: I want to keep it for myself! Hermès makes the most beautiful scents, and the four in this gift set are each inspired by gardens around the world. It’s a nice mix of light, soft floral, green, and citrus-y fragrances—none are rich or over-powering, so they’re ideal for anyone who likes perfume. Besides, you really can’t go wrong giving someone a gift from Hermès. And the best part: you don’t even need to wrap this!
NARS Little Fetishes Highlighting + Bronzing Powder
It’s hard to pick my favorite item from the Nars Holiday 2018 collection, which is an ode to the iconic punk fashions of the 1970s and filled with sleek palettes and gift sets in sexy chrome and studded packaging. This set of their best-selling Laguna Bronzing Powder and Fort de France Highlighting Powder is the perfect present for any makeup lover, because both shades work on all skin tones and can be used as eyeshadows or for bronzing, highlighting, and contouring. Plus, they come is this studded, patent-finish reusable jar that adds a little edge to your vanity.
Burt's Bees Bit of Burt's Beeswax Gift
I adore this little duo as a stocking stuffer or secret Santa gift. Everyone knows and loves Burt’s Bees, so you really can’t go wrong gifting someone this set of their classic Beeswax Lip Balm and tin of Hand Salve—two of the best lip and hand moisturizers I’ve ever used. Both products are unisex,100% natural, and come in this sweet little reusable tin. Not to mention, the whole thing is only $5! This duo set comes in three other flavors—Pomegranate, Vanilla Bean, and Coconut & Pear—so you could give someone all four and it would still be one heck of a bargain.
Kiehl's x Andrew Bannecker for Feeding America Smooth Skin Delights Gift Set
I get excited for Kiehl’s holiday lineup every year because it always supports both the work of an incredible artist and a meaningful charity initiative. This year, the brand enlisted American artist Andrew Bannecker (known for his use of vivid colors and bubbly animated characters) to design the adorable packaging for three limited-edition holiday gift sets, from which 100% of the sales’ net profits go to Feeding America, a non-profit hunger-relief organization that delivers food to those in need. I especially love this trio of hand creams because each tube is the perfect size to toss in your bag, and who doesn’t need hand cream this time of year? But above all, it just feels good to spend money on a gift that donates to such a great cause.
Fresh Mini Masks
Let’s face it, “masking” is the number-one ritual in self-care today. And one of the more popular masks among our tribe of in-the-know SwearBy Editors is the Fresh Rose Face Mask. A great gift option this holiday is to pick a trio of Fresh’s Mini-Masks and package it up in Fresh’s chic, super-luxe blue gift box with ribbon (which is complimentary on their site!). This allows you to personalize a skincare regime for the beauty lover on your list. We’d swear by a combo of Sugar Face Polish, Rose Face Mask, and a Lotus Youth Reserve Face Mask.
Diptyque Holiday Set of 5 Candles
“No thank you, I don’t like Diptyque candles” said no one ever. Seriously, I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t covet these iconic home scents. And while candles get a bad rep for being an impersonal present, I’ll be giving this set of five mini Diptyque candles only to a select few people that I’m close with, because it’s too pretty and special to give to just anyone!
Molton Brown Festive Bauble Gift Set
You truly can’t go wrong gifting someone Molton Brown body washes, and this adorable holiday set of three of their most popular scents is just about the easiest present you can pick up. The bottles are designed to look like Christmas tree ornaments, which gives the set a special touch; it comes pre-packaged in a beautiful decorative box; and if the person you’re giving it to has never experienced their Pink Pepper body wash (the pink one here), trust me, they’ll be thanking you for turning their shower into a heavenly-scented haven.
Jen Atkin X Chloe + Isabel Multi-Crystal Pin Set
Superstar hairstylist Jen Atkin—creator of Ouai Haircare and the powerhouse behind the Kardashians’ most famous hairstyles—collaborated with Chloe + Isabel on an adorable hair accessories collection. This set of nine crystal bobby pins is both sweet and sophisticated: each one adds an understated touch of glam to your hairstyle. And if you want to dress things up more, you can stack a few of them together. The pins’ clean, classic design and soft color palette makes them a great gift for women of all ages, which you can’t say about many hair accessories!
Former beauty editor at Harper's Bazaar, Allure, and Redbook and former editorial director of Makeup.com—now freelance beauty biz maven. I write, edit, consult, curate, post, tweet, Instagram, and occasionally pop up on TV shows like Today and Good Morning America as an on-air expert. Proud hoarder of beauty products in my tiny New York City apartment.