Not sure what to get your mother for Christmas or Hanukkah? How about your girlfriends? Almost every woman loves to unwrap a makeup palette or a new fragrance, and some of the best gift sets (and prices!) come out around the holidays. We spoke with Annie Mercer, a member of the Sephora PRO Beauty Team, about how to find the perfect beauty item for everyone on your list this season.
LN: How do you know what color schemes to pick for someone else?
AM: Go with palettes. Those are great because they have natural shades and plenty of fun colors to experiment with. The one I love most is our Endless Color Blockbuster Palette, which has 187 products to choose from, so there’s room to try new things.
LN: Are there certain shades of eyeshadow or lipstick that work well with specific complexions or hair colors?
AM: Rules are made to be broken, so never be afraid to play. In general, warm shades (orange, gold and red) work well with medium, tan or deeper skin tones; while blue and green eyeshadows, and softer pink lips, generally flatter a fairer complexion. But you can always mix it up and have fun with it! Purple is one of the most universal colors. In the fall and winter, rich royal colors are in, and plum is something you see a lot of during the cooler months.
LN: What kind of products don’t require actual testing?
AM: One of the best gifts is the Sephora by OPI 18-piece nail polish set. It’s a great way to experiment—even if you’re a little intimidated by color, you can experiment on your nails! For more of a playful gift, we have tokidoki, which offers a great assortment of styling accessories, with colorful, playful prints. My favorite is the Lametta flat iron.
LN: What should a gifter look for when it comes to skincare?
AM: Skincare is just as important as makeup. You need great skin to get the best makeup application. In terms of moisturizers, some ingredients to look for include hyaluronic acid, shea butter and ceramides. They’re in a lot of creams that are very soothing and nurturing. One of the most popular gifts we have is the Clarisonic. It’s a mechanical brush that deep cleans your skin. It’s one of the must-haves of the season.
LN: What are some favorite scents and perfumes you recommend?
AM: The big trend in fragrances this year is ‘gourmand’ fragrances, things that are sweet–like caramel, vanilla or anything dessert-like. The No. 1 thing that I would recommend as a gift, though, is the Sephora Favorites, a sampler that comes for her and for him. Finding a scent is very personal, so this set contains a variety and includes a voucher for a full-sized version of your favorite scent.
LN: What are some beauty products that most women don’t think to buy for themselves, but that would make good gifts?
AM: For me, this is, hands-down, brush sets. Any beauty guru would love that. It’s a necessity that many people don’t have, and it makes it so much easier to achieve a look. We indulge ourselves in makeup and colors, but when we go to apply it a lot of us don’t have the tools.
LN: What would make a good gift for men?
AM: Men are really becoming aware of taking care of their skin with better products. The Anthony Logistics Clean Start kit is a good starter set for any man who just does a face wash and shave. It’s a simple way to get him started.