The goodness of olive oil has been documented in countless ways and using it to cleanse your face is just one of them. While there have been many versions over the years, DHC Deep Cleansing Oil ($28) is a standout. It's olive-oil-based, making it not only excellent at melting makeup away, but also perfect for delivering natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and omega-3 nutrients to your skin. Apply it directly to dry skin while your makeup is still on, massage over your complexion, and rinse away with warm water. You'll be surprised at how clean your skin will be — without that taut, dried-out feeling.
The perfect blowout is one of those things that can seem just oh so elusive. But the truth is that with the right products, you can achieve a salon-quality blowout at home . . . no joke. The Drybar VIP Pack ($25) lets you do just that. The kit contains the perfect trifecta of blowout products: Drybar's Southern Belle mousse, Money Maker hair spray, and Detox dry shampoo, which, when used together, can help you create (and maintain) the easiest at-home blowout ever. Use a small amount of the mousse on your wet hair before you dry with a round brush, and set your look with the hairspray. Then, as your blowout starts its downward slump, spritz on some of the dry shampoo to revive it. And did we mention the products are travel-sized? That means that even a trip home for the holidays will be full of blowout glory. Your mother will never complain about your hair again. Your boyfriend? You're on your own with that one.
The smoky eye is one of the holiday season's most coveted eye shadow looks, but applying all that black shadow can get pretty ugly if you don't know what you're doing. For those of us (ahem . . . like me) who aren't so skilled with smoky eye application, Topshop has gifted us its Smoky Eye Kit ($44). The kit contains the brand's uber-luxe kohl liner, a full-sized tube of its 3D Curve Mascara, and a palette with four shadow shades. While I love the liner and the mascara, my favorite has to be palette, mostly because it does the work for you. Along with your typical black shadow, Topshop's Tuxedo palette houses burgundy, purple, and cream shades, making it easy to create a bunch of different looks. This may be the only kit you need to get you through the holiday season. And as if that weren't enough, the entire kit comes tucked inside a fluorescent envelope clutch. Christmas has come early!
There is nothing more soothing than a spa facial complete with a steam treatment. But if you're looking to keep a couple hundred dollars in your pocket this season, you can get a similar effect at home with the Maijan Nourish Healing Herbal Facial Steam ($17, originally $24). The scent alone will immediately transport you to a more relaxed place. The dry-skin formula, my personal favorite, has dried rose petals to give it a strong floral smell, and there are also rosemary and peppermint to help soothe inflammation. After just five minutes of hovering over a bowl of steaming water mixed with this potpourri, my skin had a healthy glow and soft texture I usually have to wait until Summer to achieve. It's also the perfect way to clear out pores before putting on a mud mask. Just make sure to keep your jar safely concealed in the bathroom vanity, or some unsuspecting guest might mistake it for tea.
Ah, the advent calendar; that Christmas tradition we all loved as kids. But now that we're grown up, we can still get in on the fun with Benefit's Countdown to Love Advent Calendar ($68), and there's just enough time to pick it up for Dec 1. Now, while you might be thinking an advent calendar is a little juvenile, just wait till you start popping open each day. You'll find mini sizes of some of your favorite Benefit products, like Benetint and They're Real! Mascara, along with some other fun trinkets. We think that's a good trade-off for some chocolate treats, right?
I've sworn by Kate Somerville ExfoliKate ($22-$175) for years, and when I don't use it, I realize how much my clear, glowing skin is a result of regular appointments with my Kate Somerville tube. The original formulation is the perfect blend of physical and enzymatic ingredients, so you can be sure you're getting the optimum results with every use. Plus, the formula smells like cinnamon, so it feels like Thanksgiving in a tube!
Try using it when you first step in the shower and leaving it on your face while you do the rest of your routine, so the enzymes get a chance to do their sloughing action. Plus, there are other formulas designed for sensitive skin and acne-prone complexions. Say goodbye to breakouts, scarring, and uneven texture, and say hello to that gorgeous skin you always knew you had.
Nothing like packing and unpacking constantly (thanks, holiday travel!) to make you want to reduce the number of items you take with you. Eye shadow singles are bulky in my bag and can shatter easily, which is precisely why I am obsessed with Le Métier de Beauté kaleidoscopes, which I discovered in the POPSUGAR Must Have Box with Neiman Marcus. And since our limited edition Pretty in Punk is all about bold pink tones, I needed a warmer, neutral counterpart for my everyday looks when I'm traveling. Enter the Carnaby Street eye kit ($95), with layerable shades that will easily take me from work to a holiday party and will help me get cleaned up to face a barrage of relatives on Christmas Day. All in one very chic, very compact little stack.
When I shop for body scrubs, I like something with the serious exfoliating power — think sandpaper, but safer. Sugar and salt scrubs have the tendency to melt before you even get the opportunity to apply, but that's not an issue with the Juara Invigorating Coffee Scrub ($37). The Indonesian coffee grounds give dry elbows and knees a heavy-duty scrub when applied to damp skin, so sensitive skin types should use with caution. While some body scrubs are submerged in oil, this one is mixed with a gel cleanser, meaning you can skip the body wash. Just don't expect a frothy lather, since this product is 100 percent vegetarian (meaning no sulfates). Warning: this scrub will make a mess in your shower, so be prepared to find brown granules in the tub for days. But the powerful exfoliation is only matched by an equally invigorating coffee scent, so you might just be able to skip your morning cup after your rub down.
A deep red polish is like a good wool cap for Fall: it's something you always wear, but you're always looking for the next best one. Enter Formula X For Sephora in Obsessed ($11). Not only is the deep merlot color clutch for the upcoming season, the formula is actually one of a kind. A luminescent ingredient enhances shine and revamps color, giving it an incredible sheen. And for those of us who are less than patient (ahem), it's quick-drying, so you don't have to use your blow dryer as a makeshift polish hardener. The result is a finish so smooth, so flawless that you'll be staring at your nails all day. Who needs a professional manicure when you can get saturated color at home?
I love my Asian features, but having no eyelid crease makes finding the perfect smudgeproof liner difficult. After trying endless pencils, markers, gels, and liquids, I have finally found the only highly pigmented liner that can stand up to my eyelids' demands. Maybelline Ultra Liner ($6) is a liquid formula that comes with a fine-tipped brush, and while it takes a little patience to master at first, the results are worth it. I use it to create my go-to winged eyeliner look, and the fact that it dries to a solid state means once it's in place, it doesn't budge. To take it off, you can literally peel it off your lids, so you don't have to rub makeup remover all over your eyes. So despite my naturally greasy eyelids and squinting at my computer all day, I know when I go home to wash my makeup off, my liner will actually still be in place. And after using it for practically a decade, I know there's nothing else that compares.