Giving a beauty lover a gift can seem like a high-risk strategy. After all, most women who thrill to the glamorous will have their favourite brands, and know all too well what make-up products suit them best.
But choose a present that is thoughtful, lovely, and effective, and the risk is mitigated. All the suggested products below are selected, first and foremost, for being great at what they do. Densely pigmented eye shadows, creamy lipstick formulations, silky textured powder - every choice is a winner.
A note on purchasing strategy. You may think it best to go for volume - i.e. an enormous palette of eye shadows, rather than one very good single shadow. This is a fallacy. Better to buy one lovely, effective small thing than a big gift comprised of dodgy product. It will just end up landfill and any discerning beauty fiend will prefer a quality gift to loads of sub-standard bits, anyway.
Oh - one final word - self-gifting is terribly chic and will always be in fashion, so feel free to dive in.
Molly Mae Professional Styler Trio Edition, £76.99
A true beauty break-out, the Molly Mae Professional Styler has been selling out across retailers this year, thanks to it's rapturous reception by beauty-lovers on instagram. It's an easy way to style curls into your hair - be it big, bouncy waves, tousled curls, or delightfully tight ringlets. With three interchangeable barrels, you'll never run out of styling options.
It's ceramic, too, so you won't damage your hair. Buy now (while it's still in stock), £76.99, LookFantastic
Jo Malone London Myrrh and Tonka Cologne, £82
Warm, rich, with a hint of carnality - this cologne is the ideal unisex scent for any beauty lover who you want to seduce. Although it's a rich scent, it's not heady - it dries down to something comforting, but not blousy. We found it equally appropriate for day-time and night-time wear, the lavender, myrrh and vanilla tonka notes gorgeously warming, especially in winter. Any recipient will be enraptured. Buy now, £82, Feel Unique
Trinny London Eyetallics, £22
Cult favourite Trinny London has sold out of their gift sets already (no wonder - they're fab), but their new eye shadow range Eyetallics sings of festive cheer and will make any lady grin.
The beauty of Trinny's make-up range is the ease of use. Most of her collection come in small pots, 'stackable' with any other make-up from the range - so eyeshadow can click onto lipstick, onto concealer. You'll end up with a handy stack that can be thrown into your handbag so all you need for a full face of make-up will be you where-ever you go.
Eyetallics are gorgeously shimmery and rich in colour. Smudge them on with a ring finger to build to the level of shimmer you want. Buy here
M&S Always Radiant Highlighter Set, £19.50
Bringing glow to your skin in winter time can be a difficult task - but here it is made simple with this pleasing product from the M&S Autograph range.
While the market is flooded with bronzing products, this one is a cut above. There's a perfect shade for every skin type, the applicator brush feels plush and luxuriant on the skin, and the bronzer gives lush luminosity. The soft brush and mirror compact is very attractive, too. A bargain at just £19.50. Buy here
Pat McGrath Labs, Celestial Divinity Collection, £74
Beauty presents don't come more lavish than this. Above advice about enormous eye shadow palettes notwithstanding: this is a veritable treasure trove, and the quantity of shadows does not belie the quality.
Pat McGrath is the world's most celebrated makeup artist and her make-up range reflects the excellence she brings to every aspect of her career. This palette contains 18 seductive shades, in glitter, shimmer, matte and iridescent formulas. The packaging is sumptuous, as well. Perfect for someone you're desperate to spoil. Buy here
Trish McEvoy Lip Perfector Conditioning Balm, £27
Lips have had a hard time in 2020, with face masks leaving them chapped - and now winter weather is taking its toll, further causing flaking and painful lips. With a small hint of tint, this rich, conditioning balm nourishes and soothes dry, cracked lips. It also lasts all day.
£27 may seem expensive for a lip balm - trust us, if you know someone with a pout that is suffering, this will rescue it utterly. They'll be grateful. Buy here
Jillian Dempsey Khol eyeliner, £18.50
Any discerning beauty lover will know that 2020 is all about playing up the eyes - for Zoom meetings and to peep out atop your mask. For that, you need a high-performing eyeliner.
When it comes to kohl eyeliners, you need a smudge-proof, long-lasting one – and this ticks all the boxes. Jillian Dempsey is one of Hollywood’s top make-up artists, who has designed the pencil with one end as a smudging tool to create a smoky-eyed look. Available in four colours, at £18.50. Eyeliners are a saturated market: trust us, this is the very best you can get. Buy here
The Organic Pharmacy Volumising Mascara, £29
To go with that kohl, of course, lashings of mascara will be required - if you want to buy a gift of the perfect eyes, pair with this mascara.
The search for an eye-opening mascara is every woman’s mission: this is one of our favourites, having searched high and low for you. The Organic Pharmacy has come up with a mascara that not only lengthens and defines eyelashes, but uses a serum to coat them with, infused with the hydrating ingredient of Hyaluronic acid, to keep peepers happy. Buy here
Hourglass ambient lighting blush, £38
There are brands that are synonymous with certain products - Hourglass just knows blush. This is one of the finest on the market. Unlike other blushes that can often appear flat, this clever lighting blush uses photoluminescent technology to exhibit depth and dimension. The result? Cheekbones to die for.
Most of us would flinch at spending £38 on a blush for ourselves - making this a gorgeous gift option for a special friend who would never chose to indulge themselves. They'll look all the prettier for it. Buy here
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick, £25
This famous lipstick really does live up to the hype. The matte lippy adapts to the natural colour of your lips and the formula is so sleek it glides on effortlessly. It is light-weight and does not dry the lips out like other brands do. It also lasts all day. The recipient of this gift will be delighted by the Art Deco gold packaging. Also - the lipstick bullet itself smells divine. Buy here
Gary Cockerill Cover Conceal & Correct Foundation, £29
We do not recommend you buy just anyone a concealer. After all, it could be easily misconstrued. Buying for a friend, a lover - take a pass.
But if you have a sister, or someone as close as one, who is after a good cover-up, this is a pleasingly luxe beauty present. The gold pot smacks of real Hollywood glamour - it makes the most beautiful dressing table accessory.
This foundation and concealer in one, from celebrity make-up artist Gary Cockerill, provides excellent coverage, bringing light to the face, while letting the radiance of the skin shine through. It's also sweat-proof – in fact after one workout at home, it remained intact. Lasts all day, too. Buy here