12 Best Beauty Gifts I Ever Received (PHOTOS)

Michele Zipp | Dec 11, 2014 Beauty & Style

woman in mirror makeup

When it comes to beauty, there are so many products to choose from that it can be overwhelming. What looks best? What will work for my skin? What is worth the splurge? So I asked several women who know all about great beauty products to tell me what are their favorites.

Since they always seem to have that "secret" on looking amazing no matter how much sleep they did or didn't get, we all deserve to know. Many of these products were discovered because they were a gift, which they ended up having to continue to purchase for themselves -- or giving as a gift to others. Prepare to fill up your holiday wish list or pick up some fantastic stocking stuffers for your best friends.

What makes your must-have beauty list? Which of these products are you most excited to try (or wish you could get as a gift)?


Image via Allessando Valli/Flickr

  • Purity Made Simple by Philosophy


    Image via Philosophy

    Not only is Philosophy's Purity Made Simple ($10 for 3 oz. bottle) a 3-in-1 cleanser for your face and eyes, it's great for sensitive skin. Rebecca swears by it for her often dry and sensitive face. "Best thing I ever did was start washing my face only once a day with this stuff," she said. It's deep cleaning but also has natural oils to keep skin well conditioned. Plus, I love the packaging.

  • Hesperides Grapefruit Eau de Parfum by Fresh


    Image via Fresh

    "I received Hesperides Grapefruit Eau de Parfum ($48 for 30 ml bottle) as a gift and I loved it so much that I continue to buy it for myself when I run out and have given it as a gift," said Cara. "And I'm not even a perfume fan! But the grapefruit has an uplifting quality and makes me feel better about how the day might go. Plus, it's not too sweetly scented." Besides grapefruit, this parfum has lotus, jasmine, musk, rhubarb, and peach notes.

  • Sugar Ruby Tinted Lip Treatment by Fresh


    Image via Fresh

    Fresh's Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment ($22.50) was a favorite on several beauty insiders' lists -- including mine. I received it as a birthday gift and I'm obsessed. Cara agreed and said "the lip treatment is magic. It instantly moisturizes and gives that bit of color." I love that it's a little bit sweet on the lips and it comes in six different hints of color. It's like a lip chap with just the right amount of color without being lipstick.

  • The Eye Concentrate by La Mer


    Image via La Mer

    Anything from La Mer comes with an air of luxury and a hefty price tag -- but it delivers. If you know any big spenders, hope they splurge on something from La Mer for you -- Cara would recommend the eye concentrate. "I received it once as a gift. It has an amazing smell like cucumber. But it's way out of my budget so I have not bought that one for myself," she said. The Eye Concentrate ($190 for 0.5 oz.) is known to get rid of dark circles and lines thanks to the mineral hematite. Maybe Santa will feel spendy for some this year.

  • Semi Matte Lipstick by Nars


    Image via Nars

    If you are looking for the perfect vintage red, Emma swears by Nars Semi Matte Lipstick in Heat Wave ($26). "I wear Nars Heat Wave lipstick nearly every day -- it's the perfect red on me," Emma shared. "And it's matte so it looks kind of retro/'50s, which I love. It also lasts well." There are 14 other shades to choose from, too. Pucker up!

  • Color Control Cushion Compact by AmorePacific


    Image via Sephora

    A foundation shouldn't harm your skin, it should help it. And that's exactly the purpose behind AmorePacific's Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ ($60). "It's very light and doesn't clog pores or get into your wrinkles," said Jenn. "It leaves a clean and fresh dewy look." I've known Jenn for years and never knew her secret to having the most amazing skin -- now I do. It's also made with natural botanicals and does not contain sulfates, parabens, or phthalates. Worth the splurge? Yes.

  • No.7 Beautiful Skin Hydration Mask by Boots


    Image via Ulta

    For just $16.99, Boots No.7 Beautiful Skin Hydration Mask is a favorite of many including Jenn who (as I mentioned) has the best skin. "It takes no time, and you can use it every day or when you just need a boost to give your skin a hydrated and even tone," she said and called it her "best kept secret." She also said, "Without fail, every time I use it, I get compliments on my skin." Now I want to buy this for all the women I know and myself.

  • Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils By YSL


    Image via Sephora

    Not all mascaras are created equal -- and Diana said that Yves Saint Laurent's Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils is the best. "I love love love YSL’s Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara. I hate it because it’s $30 and I think that’s a ridiculous amount of money to pay for mascara," she shared. "But ... every time I tell myself that it’s absurd and that $10 drugstore mascara is just as good, I end up right back ordering this. It IS that much better. It thickens, lengthens, and does not clump." Sold!

  • mark. Body Butter by Avon


    Image via Avon

    She's never been an Avon shopper, so Diana was surprised to fall in love with mark. Body Butter ($12), which comes in several scents including coconut, lemon, plumberry, and jasmine. "It was gifted to me but I loved it so much I had to buy more," she said. "I love this cream. It's moisturizing without being heavy, greasy, and really stood out when I first used it since it was the dead of August in a humid NYC summer." Lotions make great gifts and it's a great price, too.

  • Benefit's They're Real! Mascara


    Image via Benefit

    I'm willing to try any mascara that someone I trust says is the best, so it looks like this is the second mascara I'm trying. Benefit's They're Real! Mascara ($23) is Nicole's favorite. She said, "It is THE best mascara. I'm yet to find another that lengthens like this!" I also love the silver bottle it's in and many reviews say that it never clumps. Can't beat that.

  • Royal Blowout Heat Styling Spray by Oribe


    Image via Oribe

    "A fun splurge-gift I received once was Oribe's Royal Blowout Heat Styling Spray ($59 for 170 ml.)," Diane said. This spray goes on damp hair and it speeds up the drying time; plus, it strengthens the hair before you blow dry it. Sounds perfect. "The friend I received it from works at a salon, and she informed me that it was Jennifer Lopez's favorite hair product -- and who doesn't want to be more like JLo?!"

  • Citron, Honey & Coriander Skin Quenching Body Lotion by Crabtree & Evelyn


    Image via Crabtree & Evelyn

    "I got one of those little sample-sized bottles of Crabtree and Evelyn's Citron, Honey, and Coriander Body Lotion at a hotel," Janelle shared. "It's amazing! But when I went online to see how much a regular-sized bottle was, I thought ... amazing but so is the $24 price tag. I'm hoarding my samples!" If anyone is reading this and knows Janelle -- buy this for her as a gift. The bottle is super pretty, too.


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