If you were under the impression that we are skincare gifters in Nerd HQ, you would be absolutely correct. However, just because you’re not an expert when it comes to skin does not mean you should be shying away from giving skincare at Christmas. Skincare can make a great gift – think about that delicious feeling of the first pump of a brand new product, the thought that you will see a difference in your skin and the sheer self-care element of it all… Really, one may say that it is the greatest gift of all.
There are a few things to consider, nonetheless. The last thing you want someone to end up with on Christmas is a reaction due to something not being quite right for them. We will leave the red noses for Rudolph, thank you very much.
Playing it safe: skincare gift ideas for those who aren’t nerds
You love your 20% glycolic acid cleanser. You’ve been using glycolic acid for a while now and have built up to being ready for something highly active. This doesn’t mean your sensitive-skinned Auntie Eileen has and she’d be the talk of the bingo hall if she was flaking or peeling due to a well-intentioned overuse of acids, not to mention the likelihood of you being on her Christmas card list next year dropping mahoosively.
This is a good reason to stick to the basics if you’re not sure what someone is looking for or already using skincare-wise.
If you want to give someone the core skincare essentials that they should be using, stick to cleansers with small amounts of acids or nourishing, antioxidant ones such as the IMAGE Vital C Hydrating Facial Cleanser (€36.00, The Skin Nerd store). The Vital C cleanser makes a particularly good gift for those who need a bit of an introduction to cosmeceutical skincare as it is full of vitamins such as vitamin A and different forms of vitamin C, lipids and hydrators of all forms and if they don’t care about any of this, it also smells divine.
Contrary to popular belief, serums often fall into the “safe” category, so long as they aren’t potent, exfoliating serums. ANYONE can benefit from a hyaluronic acid serum, a brightening serum or an antioxidant serum and they are usually unlikely to disagree with most skin types (specific ingredient dependent, of course). The Pestle & Mortar Pure Hyaluronic Serum (€43.00 on The Skin Nerd store) is bound to be a flyer for Christmas as it suits literally all skin types, young or more mature, dry, dehydrated, oily, sensitive, spot-prone and all others – it is also nice to shop Irish and some people feel an extra bit of Christmas spirit when they know their gift is the skincare-equivalent of a chicken fillet roll.
Set Christmas up: getting the most out of Christmas gift sets
When people think of Christmas beauty sets, you think of the overly-fragrant shower gels that leave your skin drier than when you put them on, the harsh, stripping body spray kits and the miniatures that are sometimes too miniature.
Be brave and dispel those misconceptions. Kits are handy because it is one simple purchase that can put down the foundations of a skincare routine or add another element to a pre-existing ritual. I have been adoring the Académie Derm Acte range this year as ingredients such as peptides, antioxidants and vitamins take centre stage, making them highly-effective, particularly when it comes to preventative anti-ageing and giving the skin back plumpness and radiance.
The Académie Derm Acte Age Recovery Premium Prestige box (€80.70) includes both the Intense Age Recovery Cream and the Ultimate Eye Corrector. The Intense Age Recovery Cream contains different forms of calcium peptides to assist the skin structurally. Peptides are like bossy boots messengers that tell your skin to make more collagen and elastin – collagen and elastin, if you haven’t been doing your reading, are the proteins that make our skin plump and taut.
The Ultimate Eye Corrector is everything you want for your eye area in one frickin’ tube, no word of a lie: you have peptides to firm up the skin under the eye, hyaluronic acid to hydrate and temporarily plump and a booster to make your eyelashes grow faster.
The main reason that people opt for sets over separate products is for the sake of value so make sure that you’re actually getting good value from a set. For example, you save €40 on the Derm Acte Prestige box, which is nothing to be sniffed at.
When it comes to gift sets with miniatures, keep an eye out for generous miniatures that you’d get a two-week holiday out of, such as the Murad Bright Away Holiday Gift Box (€25.00, available on the Nerd Network store). The Essential-C range from Murad is a huge crowd-pleaser and this kit features the holy grail Essential-C vitamin C cleanser and the Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30 as well as the new and fantastic Rapid Age Spot Correcting Serum.
Trends, trends, trends: giving skincare to the experts
The above advice is pertinent to those who come to you for skincare advice… What about the know-it-alls who are already using cosmeceutical or active skincare? Give them trends that they may not have dipped their toe into yet. This year, bodycare, lymphatic drainage and jade rolling were all huge and I adore them all (and have for some time but I am The Skin Nerd so don’t beat yourself up).
Pair a body brush with a jade roller for a facial and body lymphatic drainage kit that Gwyneth Paltrow would be happy to receive. Jade rollers can be paired with any skincare routine and used by anyone, and are particularly handy to bring down any puffiness in the skin instantaneously when used AM and PM – make sure to tell whoever you’re giving it to to roll outwards from the centre of the face towards the heart!
People constantly ask what type of jade roller to use. Easy: any made of genuine jade. If it seems too cheap, it’s entirely possible that a painted garden-variety rock on a roller will arrive on your doorstep and unforch, it will not have the same effect. We stock the Afterspa Jade Facial Roller (€16.00) on The Skin Nerd store because we know it is real, real jade stone.
Gifts you’ll find in salons and clinics that aren’t skincare
When you are time-poor like many of us, you may be trying to cram your gifting time into your usual schedule. Who here DOESN’T look for gifts when they’re on their usual skincare website (*ahem* store.theskinnerd.com), in the salon or in the clinic? In the circumstance where you need to buy a gift but do not have time to put aside, there are some creative options that will bring squeals of delight when it comes to unwrapping time.
Yon-Ka, the aromatherapeutic French spa brand adored by hoomans across the planet, are renowned for their signature scents and they were clever enough to turn them into candles. You can get the signature Quintessence or Orange Blossom scented Yon-Ka Aromatic Candles over on the Nerd Network store.
If you know that someone adores Yon-Ka spa treatments but can’t get to the spa enough, the Yon-Ka Phyto Bain Relaxing Bath Oil (€45.00) will transport them there.
Skincare stocking fillers
Lip balms, tools, body products and makeup will always make brilliant stocking fillers. When we’re talking about lip balms, we do not mean your standard petroleum-based product that will cause blackheads around the lip line. The Dermalogica Lip Renewal Complex (€32.00, on The Skin Nerd store) is ultra-nourishing with avocado oil, shea butter and cocoa butter, and genuinely anti-ageing due to a patented polypeptide and antioxidant vitamin E.
A multi-purpose body oil has never not been a hit. The TanOrganic Multi-Use Moisturising Dry Oil is full of organic plant oils that are rich in nutrients to hydrate without feeling heavy or filmy. I use it everywhere, in my hair, on my nails, across the decolletage – it’s a true all-rounder so everyone will have a use for it.
There may be bias here, but the Cleanse Off Mitt (€5.95 on The Skin Nerd store) is a handy, skin-friendly makeup remover that is any beauty gift’s best friend. There’s a 7-pack on www.cleanseoffmitt.com that is ideal for splitting up and bulk-gifting to many, as they are all individually wrapped. Try to tell me that we’re not genius. Go on.
The nerdie recap
The skincare gifting summary to print out and keep with you…
- If you think someone doesn’t use a lot of skincare, avoid things with high amounts of exfoliating acids (glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, citric acid etc) or retinol/vitamin A
- Think outside the box for those who already know a lot about skincare and do some trend research
- Check single product RRPs against gift sets to ensure it’s actually value
- If in doubt, go for a candle, bath oil or body product
- The Cleanse Off Mitt is the perfect stocking filler (obvs, and is now stocked in selected Dunnes Stores too)