SINGAPORE – The best gifts are items someone would appreciate but never think to buy for himself or herself.
Still haven’t settled your Christmas shopping? The Straits Times rounds up style, beauty and home picks for all kinds of giftees – from the bargain hunter who loves a good holiday beauty bundle to the demographic notoriously difficult to shop for (yes, men).
For the luxury beauty lover
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Unlocked Elephant, $145
Any true-blue beauty lover will appreciate Hourglass’ annual holiday face palette. This year’s rendition houses six of its smoothening, soft-glow finishing powders, four of which are brand-new shades.
The cruelty-free brand will donate 5 per cent of the annual profits from this collection to the Nonhuman Rights Project, an American organisation working to secure fundamental rights for animals.
Available at Sephora stores
Chanel Les 4 Ombres Tweed Eyeshadow, $135
Tweed and the festive season go hand in hand. In four wearable colourways, this eyeshadow quad pays homage to Chanel’s iconic use of the fabric – with a tweed pattern embossed on the surface of each shade.
It also comes encased in a matching limited-edition tweed sleeve that will win over any luxury lover.
Available at Chanel boutiques and sg-eshop.chanel.com
Les Mains Hermes Nail Polish, $74
Nothing says bougie like Hermes nail polish.
The brand’s take on hand beauty is surprisingly well formulated. Treat your flashiest friend to its festive shade Violet Manganese, a bewitching glittery magenta. Or play it safe with the Top Coat, which applies smoothly for a glossy lacquered finish.
Available at Hermes boutiques and hermes.com
Tom Ford Beauty Private Blend Eau de Parfum Sampler Coffret, $105
For the friend who knows his or her fragrances, a coffret of 10 iconic scents from Tom Ford’s Private Blend line is sure to delight. They can sample favourites such as Bitter Peach, Soleil Neige and Lost Cherry, or find a new signature scent.
The vials may be small, but are perfect to pop in your bag for when you are on the go.
Available at Tom Ford Beauty counters at Tangs at Tang Plaza and Takashimaya Department Store
Foreo Luna 4, $466
We all know someone eyeing and mulling over a Foreo facial cleansing brush, so why not surprise him or her for Christmas?
The Swedish skin technology brand recently upgraded its iconic product yet again – the Luna 4 now comes with even softer silicone touchpoints and gentle cleansing modes with five massage patterns. The sweet new pastel colours are a bonus.
Available at Lazada, Sephora stores and sephora.sg
For the bargain-hunting bundle lovers
Tarte Gilded Glamour Amazonian Clay Palette, $86
In Tarte’s pigmented clay eyeshadow formula, this set comes with two bold yet wearable palettes to create glamorous holiday eye looks. One for you, one for your girlfriend.
Available at Sephora stores and sephora.sg
Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Serum EX Holiday Set, $275
If you have been wanting to try the South Korean brand’s anti-ageing Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Serum EX, this kit comes with a full 50ml size (usual price: $275).
There are also deluxe sizes of four signature products – including the best-selling First Care Activating Serum in limited-edition packaging – which you essentially get for free.
Gift the minis as stocking stuffers or keep them for yourself.
Available at Sulwhasoo boutiques and counters including at Metro Paragon and Tangs
Clinique Pop Treats Set, $45
A group of four friends can easily share this set of full-sized lip balms (3.8g each) from Clinique – said to be worth a total of $148. Containing a blend of oils and butters including jojoba oil and mango butter, the lippies give sheer colour payoff while moisturising dry lips.
Available at all Clinique counters including at Metro Paragon and Causeway Point, BHG Bugis, Isetan, Takashimaya and Tangs
Cle de Peau Beaute Lipstick Mini Set, $165
The brand’s festive Radiant Sky Collection, designed in collaboration with Parisian jeweller Elie Top, is a beautiful homage to the stars – with Top’s hand-drawn, constellation-themed art adorning the products.
If you can bear to split them up, the Lipstick Mini Set has five wearable shades bearing motifs of Pegasus, Perseus, Medusa, Andromeda and Cetus – characters from Greek mythology.
Available at Cle de Peau Beaute counters including at BHG Bugis and Tangs at Tang Plaza
Farmacy Holiday Party Green Clean Trio, $77
Farmacy’s value set of deluxe-size cleansing balms is available in three yummy flavours – Blueberry Burst, Tangerine Twist and Pear Punch.
Available at Sephora stores
For the revenge traveller
Eco bag from Baggu, $19
Everyone can use a reusable bag on his or her travels – for picking up groceries or on big shopping trips (Bangkok’s Platinum Mall, anyone?), particularly as many retailers are going plastic bag-free.
These recycled nylon ones from Baggu are waterproof and machine-washable, and fold up into a slim, flat pouch you can easily throw into your bag when not in use. Plus, they come in myriad designs.
Available at actually.sg and 03-19/19A Orchardgateway
The Paper Bunny Pillow Pouch, $32
Upgrade your friend’s toiletries bag with this plush, terry cloth one that will withstand any unfortunate spills and rough luggage handling. Concealing a surprise quote on the inside, it comes in five neutral colours great for both genders.
Available at thepaperbunny.com and B2-38A Takashimaya Shopping Centre
Sephora Collection Wishing You 5 Multi-Use Color Wand, $25
When travelling, the lighter your make-up bag, the better. This innovative tube stacks three blush shades, a bronzer and highlighter which all double as eyeshadow – perfect for taking on the go.
Available at Sephora stores
Allies of Skin Daytime Allies Kit, $96
Breeze through airport security with a kit of travel-size skincare products. This set combines best-selling essentials from the brand – a cleanser, Vitamin C serum and moisturiser – in a nifty little pouch. It also comes in a nighttime variation.
Available at Sephora stores and sephora.sg
Anothersole Anew Mini Bag, $85
You already know local brand Anothersole for its plimsoll flats, but it branched out into other offerings in April with its first bag.
Made from recycled plastic bottles saved from landfills, the Anew Mini Bag makes an ideal travel crossbody, so you can be hands-free from the plane to sightseeing trips.
And do not belittle its size – the machine-washable bag packs quite a bit.
Available at sg.anothersole.com and Anothersole stores including B2-14A Takashimaya Shopping Centre
Uniqlo Round Mini Shoulder Bag, $19.90
If you are on a tight budget, Uniqlo’s viral crossbody bag is a fail-safe option. Sitting comfortably on the body, the bag is roomier than it looks, and its dirt-resistant nylon fabric makes it virtually indestructible even on the grubbiest of holidays.
Available at Uniqlo stores and uniqlo.com/sg
For the home-proud
Oribe Cote d’Azur Hand Care Set, $108
Try Oribe’s festive offering of a hand wash and cream in its signature Cote d’Azur scent. And consider your gift-wrapping sorted, thanks to the limited-edition packaging.
The brand, better known for its haircare, tapped Japanese artist Kohei Kyomori to design the artwork, which weaves together traditional Japanese motifs and a goddess’ flowing hair.
Available at oribe.com
Aveda x 3.1 Phillip Lim Botanical Repair Strengthening Trio Collection, $145
Luxury shampoo is another guilty pleasure not many would bear to splurge on for themselves.
Aveda’s plant-powered shampoo, conditioner and leave-in treatment are said to help strengthen and repair damaged hair.
The set comes in botanical-inspired packaging designed by fashion label 3.1 Phillip Lim, from the Chinese-American designer of the same name. The products certainly look good in the shower.
Available on Lazada, at Sephora stores and sephora.sg
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Holiday Candle Set, $172
Who could be disappointed with a candle set from Maison Francis Kurkdjian?
This mini trio of the luxury perfumer’s holiday scents will transport you to a wintry wonderland. Mon beau Sapin evokes a snowy, pine-filled forest; Pomme d’amour smells of a caramel-coated candy apple; while Pain d’epices’ gourmand notes bring to mind cinnamon-spiced gingerbread.
Available at Escentials stores and Maison Francis Kurkdjian, B1-35 Takashimaya Shopping Centre
Le Labo Discovery Set, $120
A Le Labo candle in your home instantly signals taste. The brand has curated three deluxe sizes (56.6g each) of scents from its home collection – Encens 9, Figure 15 and Santal 26 – into a discovery set so even your abode can smell like an ‘It’ girl.
Available at Le Labo stores at B1-31 Takashimaya Shopping Centre and L1-36 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Skin Inc Embrace Candle, $38
For a more affordable option – and scents you can use year-round – home-grown skincare brand Skin Inc has thrown its hat into the candle game.
As an extension of the brand’s wellness offerings, this first candle collection includes six calming scents made of soya wax and infused with pure essential oils.
The candles are also sold in three-piece kits ($88), curated into “uplifting”, “relaxing” and “balancing” scent blends – as customers are encouraged to layer scents, in line with Skin Inc’s ethos of customising skincare.
Available at B3-43 Ion Orchard and iloveskininc.com.sg
Beyond The Vines A World Beyond 1,000 Piece Puzzle, $79
If everyone you know already has a Dumpling Bag, you can still gift them something from home-grown Beyond The Vines, which has a quirky range of lifestyle products too.
The brand recently commissioned local artist Jon Tan to create an illustration around the idea of “A World Beyond” that was adapted onto a collection of lifestyle and ready-to-wear items – including a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. Available in two designs, it makes for both a fun indoor activity over the holidays and, once finished, a novel home decor piece.
Available at Beyond The Vines stores and beyondthevines.com
For the men
Lululemon City Sweat Jogger, $198
Sure, you may scoff at $200 joggers, but no fashionable man will turn down Lululemon pants.
If your giftee is a fan, he probably already has the most popular ABC Jogger Warpstreme. Surprise him with the City Sweat Jogger instead. Made with soft, sweat-wicking stretch French terry fabric in a classic tapered fit, it is comfortable both when lounging and on the move.
The waistband drawcord can also be tucked inside for a more polished look.
Available at Lululemon stores including i12 Katong and Raffles City Shopping Centre
Courant Catch:2 Wireless Charger, $125
A sleek, multi-device wireless charger that does away with unsightly wires is good in anyone’s books. Dads, husbands, brothers and boyfriends will love this one in Belgian linen, which looks great on any bedside or coffee table.
Available at The Paper Bunny, B2-38A Takashimaya Shopping Centre
Gatsby The Designer, $19.90
It may seem low-effort, but you cannot go wrong with hair wax. Japanese grooming brand Gatsby’s first premium hairstyling collection has a bold new look sure to spruce up your bathroom counter.
Under a new independent brand called The Designer, the five styling products have varying holding and setting power depending on your giftee’s preference – from a glossy, wet-hair look to spiky and lifted.
Available at gatsby-the-designer.sg
Ray-Ban Mega Wayfarer, $353
A solid pair of sunglasses is always appreciated, and despite the larger temples, Ray-Ban’s Mega Wayfarer shape will suit most face shapes. It comes in eight colour options. Spice up your gift with this lightly tinted polarised pair.
Available at Ray-Ban stores including B2-27 Ion Orchard
Rimowa Never Still Vertical Tote, $1,500
Willing to splurge on your man? Treat him to an all-new bag style from luxury German luggage label Rimowa.
Crafted in full-grain cowhide leather and canvas, this stylish tote comes with thoughtful touches such as a large external flat pouch and pocket to store his mobile phone (or passport) and a D-ring to attach his keys for easy access – perfect for travelling or everyday use.
Available at Rimowa stores including 01-11 Mandarin Gallery and rimowa.com
For the new mum
Evereden Special Delivery Discovery Skincare Kit Mini, $47
Formulated to be safe for mums and babies, baby-focused skincare brand Evereden has a new holiday set of its bestsellers for new mothers – a Nourishing Stretch Mark Cream and Golden Belly Serum, and Nourishing Baby Face Cream said to be safe for use on both babies and adults with sensitive skin.
Available at Sephora stores and sephora.sg
A Lil’ Love My Story Plate, $39
Newly founded local homeware brand A Lil’ Love has an innovative offering to help parents and young children with mealtimes.
Suitable for kids up to six years old, My Story Plate works as a food exploratory plate – with five numbered pods that help with portioning, separating food types and learning about numbers – to guide kids to eat continuously till they finish their food.
Founder and first-time mum Rachel Raeburn was inspired to design it after struggling to get her daughter to finish her meals. She realised counting down the number of spoonfuls motivated her daughter to eat.
Made of antibacterial bamboo fibre, the plate comes in two themes – The Unicorn and The Race Car – with cute graphics for imaginative storytelling. You can also personalise each plate at an added cost.
Available at alillove.sg
Moom Health Sleep/Well, $39.90
Both new mums and dads are going to need this. Local wellness brand Moom Health’s second standalone supplement launch, made with 100 per cent natural ingredients, is said to help you fall asleep in 60 minutes on days you take it.
The pills are formulated with low-dose melatonin to help with the immediate action, and combined with herbs including passiflora, valerian root and L-glutamine that work together to create natural melatonin in the body – to improve sleep health and quality.
Available at moom.health and The Wyld Shop, 412 Joo Chiat Road
L’Occitane Holiday Hand Cream Trio, $43
Soothe mum’s soon-to-be weary hands with this trio of L’Occitane’s best-selling shea hand creams that include two new festive scents – green chestnut and golden latte. They come in pretty packaging to boot.
Available at L’Occitane boutiques and sg.loccitane.com