Beauty: Christmas Gifts

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This year, I'm spending Christmas with my friend India and her large extended family.

Though bittersweet (this is my first Christmas Day without my children – it's my turn next year), I'm positively giddy to have a whole new posse of women to shop for. I'm extremely exacting when it comes to presents, especially beauty gifts, which most people understandably expect from me. Whether my budget is £5 for an unannounced guest or £50 for a loved one, I invest time in getting it right.

Scented candles are a fail-safe option, even for those you hardly know – everyone loves them, no one can justify treating themselves. Everybody is thrilled with a votive candle from Jo Malone, Diptyque or Neal's Yard (I recommend Price's and M&S for gorgeous value candles).

Another banker is a tiny piece of luxury that no woman would buy unless she's had a windfall or is on day 24 of her cycle. I'm talking one killer lipstick (Chanel's Gabrielle, perhaps), a Dior nail polish (this Christmas's Monroe, ideally), one exquisite bar of Marseille soap from L'Occitane. An investment tool such as a great brush (Space NK, Laura Mercier) or tweezers (Rubis, accept no substitutes) will keep on giving long after the decorations come down. Here are six more presents on my list.

Paul & Joe Winter Wonderland Set, £39,
I don't do twee, but anyone who doesn't love these three makeup tins is probably made of stone.

Tom Ford Lip and Cheek Stain Colour, £36,
I got one of these and have been sitting on it like a hen on an egg ever since. Most covetable item of the season, while stocks last.

Bobbi Brown Caviar & Oyster Travel Brush Set, £85,
A perfect set of brushes in a black leather and oyster-pink satin clutch bag. Yes, please.

Andrea Garland Vintage Pillbox Lipbalms, £14,
I adore Andrea's quirky, one-off heirloom products. These are beautiful and special – and refillable.

G Baldwin Christmas Oil, £3.85,
Festive in a bottle. Sprinkle in bowls of warm water and place on radiators: instant Christmas spirit.

Aromatherapy Associates Fragrance Candle Duo, £29, aromatherapy
A beautifully packaged, fairly priced gift from one of my favourite brands.

Powered by article was written by Sali Hughes, for The Guardian on Friday 30th November 2012 22.59 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010