Yes, the holidays are a time of giving but don't forget about number one: yourself. In fact, the stress and packed schedules that come with the season are all the more reason to pencil in a little self-love. And hey, if that means pampering yourself with a few brand-spanking-new skincare and cosmetics goods, so be it. Below, a few of our top picks for a brighter complexion, a more hydrated pout, and more for both men and women.
At first blush
Looking for a new staple to add to your makeup arsenal? Charlotte Tilbury’s Cheek to Chic Swish & Pop Blush ($54) fits the bill. Yes, the name is a bit of a mouthful, but the luxe compact—coated in the celebrated makeup artist’s recognizable rose-gold hue—makes enlivening the cheeks as easy as one, two.
Apply the outer shade as a highlighter just above your cheekbones (the swish) then tap the brighter inner colour onto the apples of your cheeks (the pop), and watch as your face is takes on an incandescent glow. Endlessly blendable and available in eight shade combos, the blushers last a surprisingly long time, too. Find it at Nordstrom (799 Robson Street).
Keep chapped lips at bay with Bite Beauty’s Agave Lip Mask ($30). The Canadian cosmetic company handcrafts its products from its HQ in Toronto—all without harmful parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, to boot—so you can pamper your pout without worry. The moisturizing formula is infused with agave nectar, jojoba oil, and high amounts of trans-resveratrol (an antioxidant found in red wine). Simply slick it on before bed to awake to shiny, hydrated lips. Find it at Sephora (various locations).
Beard the lion
Barber & Co. has been a fixture around these parts for years—the men’s salon is owned by the ubiquitous Donnelly Group and boasts five locations in Vancouver—but the recent reformulation of its in-house grooming line has us doing a double take. Now packaged in sleek, pared-down containers with a slight pharmaceutical vibe (in a chic way, of course!), the products soften beards, nourish skin, and hold hair and gravity-defying mustaches better than ever before. Our top pick from the label is the Aftershave Tonic ($28), a refreshing, rosewood-spiked stimulant that works to protect, heal, and improve complexions over time. Find it at Barber & Co. (various locations).
A single swipe of one of the super shimmery shadows from Stila’s Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow Set ($35) will have you ready for any remaining holiday shindigs—and the countdown to New Year’s Eve—in no time. Pair the statement eye with a neutral face and lip or paint your pucker red for a memorable end-of-year look. We also love using the long-wearing formula as a show-stopping highlighter. Find it at Shoppers Drug Mart (various locations).
Those looking to go green with their skincare regimen will love B.C.’s recently launched Wild Skin Care. Founded by an ex-logger, a cosmetics chemist, and a self-described adventurer, the homegrown brand produces plant-powered grooming goods for men and women using sustainably sourced ingredients from Haida Gwaii and knowledge of the region’s First Nations people, who have sworn by botanical remedies for centuries.
Check out the Torrent ($44.95), a hydrating cleanser made up of Labrador Tea that works to tighten the skin and remove impurities while forming a protective barrier against environmental hazards. Find it at Kiss and Makeup (1791 Manitoba Street and 1545 Marine Drive, West Vancouver).
Those who’ve committed to a green beauty regimen know that mascara is one of the hardest products to find a clean, toxin-free alternative for. But Vancouver’s Sappho New Paradigm seems to have hit it out the park with its Vegan Mascara ($35), which boasts a volumizing and lengthening formula that’s also free of animal by-products. Developed by local Emmy-nominated makeup artist JoAnn Fowler, the lash-lifter stays put after hours of wear and is cruelty-free, too. Find it at the Green Beauty Collective.
Skin is in
If you’ve pledged to start taking better care of your skin in the New Year, let us acquaint you with 111Skin’s Y Theorem Repair Serum ($450). Developed by Dr. Yannis Alexandrides, a London-based plastic surgeon, with the help of space (!) scientists, the restorative formula was initially offered to clients of Alexandrides who were healing post-procedure.
When dozens of them returned asking for more, however, the doctor brought the serum to the market, sharing its hydrating, anti-aging benefits with regular, non-plastic-surgery-having folks like us. Sure, you should still be removing your makeup and getting your two litres of water a day for a smooth, radiant complexion, but a little help from this effective number doesn’t hurt. Find it at Holt Renfrew (737 Dunsmuir Street).
Looking for more gift ideas? Check out the Georgia Straight's 2017 holiday gift guide here.