We expect the end of this year to wrap up nicely–thanks to the presentable and delectable presents we’ve discovered. Here are our favorites:
WHY: Nothing smells more like the holidays and warms us up on a cold winter’s night than these candles. The Siberian Pine trio includes Rose, Ginger and Smoke Wood.
DEETS: 2.5 oz., each, $130, CarriereFreres.com
WHY: Hello, darkness, our old friend. You are welcome at our home year-round.
Perhaps it’s because we live in black. Doesn’t everybody? OK, maybe not. But this candle is so chic that we wish we could afford to burn one in every room. Even the soy/coconut wax is ebony–making this the Little Black Dress of fragrance. Surely, your favorite fashionista or Goth chick would covet one–or six. We certainly do. The OG aroma–Trois No. 1–transports us to spas with a gender-neutral mix of amber, musk, cedar and cardamom. Celine is an ultrafeminine and heady blend of orange, mint, jasmine and rose–and it’s more affordable than the designer’s bag we currently covet.
DEETS: Trois No. 1 and Celine, each 8 oz. 50-hour burn, $65, Rukske.com.
BALMAIN HAIR COUTURE FALL/WINTER GIFT CALENDAR
WHY: The ultimate countdown, as far as we’re concerned, is the large luxe Gift Calendar from Balmain Hair Couture. It includes travel-sized temptations: Moisturizing Shampoo, Moisturizing Conditioner, Argan Moisturizing Elixir, Texturizing Salt Spray, Leave-in Conditioning Spray, Styling Powder, plus a mini candle, detangling spa brush and Christmas Nutcracker ornament.
Runner-up is the Medium with five tress tantalizers, the Leave In spray, a Moisturizing Styling Cream, the Argan elixir, mini candle and Christmas Nutcracker ornament. They had us at Nutcracker.
DEETS: Large, $330; Medium, $189, BalmainHair.com.
KRIGLER OPUS VERDE GREEN FIR 11
WHY: We feel strongly that this potent but poignant aroma suits the power players in our clique. Pine, eucalyptus, leather, moss and mint bring the outdoors inside–without the chill or shedding needles. Ben Krigler, head of House of Krigler, designed the lime glass container, itself a keeper, while his ancestor Albert Krigler created the scent to evoke a Colorado high.
ALPHA-H GOLDEN HAZE FACE OIL
WHY: Liquid gold. I’d never paint my body gold like in a Bond film, but I love to pamper my skin–and that of my dearest friends. My Midas touch is this Golden Haze Face Oil with soothing and plumping jojoba, camellia and watermelon seed oils.
DEETS: $45, 30 ml, Alpha-H.com
WHY: Hello? Winter is brutal. Natura’s velvety, silicon-free and 100 percent vegan Ekos Tukuma Body Lotion soothes chapped skin, making it a Brazilian beauty bonanza–well, behind Gisele Bündchen, Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio. The trio of hand creams also make a lovely gift, as are the quartet of moisturizing soaps in different decadent scents. The creams absorb quickly and are my go-to for sandpaper skin!
DEETS: Lotion, 400 ml., $27; Hand cream trio, 40 g. each, $29; Soaps, $32, NaturaBrasil.com.
WHY: The names of the new eau de parfums and candles–Stoner and Dirt Roads–are amusing and appealing. They’re the latest from the vegan, organic luxury brand by celebrity makeup artist Dillon Peña. Rest assured: Candles are 100 percent soy wax, and eau de parfums are free of parabens, formaldehyde, synthetics and artificial colors. As for the aromas, Stoner is an earthy smoke and leather with a dash of neroli and lavender. Dirt Roads blends orange, patchouli and cedar. Inhale and relax–what better gift is there?
DEETS: 1 fl. oz, $98, and candles, 7.5 oz., $48, LelandFrancis.com.
WHY: Diffusers make scents–for three months or longer. That’s how we’re trying to justify being seduced by Trudon’s newest fragrance, Gabriel, a blend of leather, wood and candied chestnuts. At $240, we’ve got sticker shock. And we wonder whether it costs more because it’s French or because the bottle and gold emblem look as expensive as they are. We’re not sure, but either way this present will impress. (We’d leave it out long after the aroma faded.)
DEETS: 350 ml., $240, with refills, $98-$105, Trudon.com.
WHY: A longtime pal always has had enviable glowing, youthful and perfect skin. She credits Eve Lom. I remained skeptical for years. Then I tried it. Now I’m addicted. I’d like to think it spares me Botox or any other age-defying agents. Nobody tells me otherwise, but then again, I do have wonderful friends. So pamper yourself or those you love.
Both ritual gift sets include cotton muslin cloth and the OG Cleanser Balm that also tones, hydrates and exfoliates. So get your glow on with the radiant renewal set, which also includes Radiance Repair Retinol Serum and hyaluronic acid Moisture Cream. Or go with my personal fave, Decadent Double Cleanse, which also features Foaming Cream Cleanser, gently exfoliating Rescue Mask and a faux silk headband,
DEETS: Decadent Double Cleanse Ritual Set, with cleanser balm, 200ml; foaming cream cleanser, 20ml; rescue mask, 100ml, all for $155. Radiant Renewal Ritual Set, with cleanser balm, 50ml; serum, 9.5ml; moisture cream, 30ml,, all for $110, EveLom.com.
WHY: Deja vu? For good reason, Susanne Kaufmann’s calendar was so popular last year that it returns. If you’re not already a devoted fan of the holistic brand, this is a great introduction to its most beloved body, face and bath products. They use the finest locally sourced natural ingredients and cutting-edge science. All packaging is recyclable. And for those who saved last year’s calendar, 25 mini refills are sold as a planet-friendly alternative to a whole new calendar.
DEETS: Calendar, $510 and refills of 25 minis, $280, SusanneKaufmann.com
AUGUSTINUS BADER THE WINTER RECOVERY SET
WHY: Winter is wicked, even beyond holiday prep. This lauded brand offers a beautifully packaged recovery kit worth savoring, with serum, eye cream, face cream and lip balm–the latter two of which I’m addicted to! My skin is silky, despite brisk wind and inhumane temperatures.
DEETS: Serum, 30 ml, eye and rich creams, 15 ml each, and lip balm, 4 g, $575, augustinusbader.com
NEST New York
WHY: If you’re still hunting for the perfect gift, these aromas are irresistible, the packaging gorgeous, the glass containers festive and the prices reasonable. My traditional fave is the pomegranate-, mandarin- and clove-laced Holiday, but I’ve fallen in love with the latest scent, Crystallized Ginger & Vanilla Bean, which has a hint of cinnamon.
DEETS: Three-wick candles, 21.2 oz., and 75-plus hour burn time, $78; classic, 50-plus hour burn time, 8.1 oz., $46; and votive, 20-hour burn time, 2 oz., $18: https://www.nestnewyork.com/
WHY: Because you and your best buds deserve smooth, unblemished faces. This spa secret is now available at home, not just as part of facials at many top spas.
DEETS: Available in three hues: pop pink, blush and stone (off-white), with blades and charger $199, Dermaflash.com.
My insider’s tip: Shop quickly–before these beauties sell out. I may add items when they’re restocked, even in the new year for those of you who prefer to shop then.