From a cult moisturiser to the perfect perfume, what to buy a beauty addict this Christmas

Madeleine Spencer puts her obsession with beauty products to good use...

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Madeleine Spencer19 December 2023

Most Christmas gift guides will rightly encourage thought and sentiment, but I am going to resoundingly buck the trend and tell you that when buying someone a beauty gift, there are only two ways to go — and neither of them involve thought or sentiment.

First, buy them an extension of something they’re already into. If they exclusively wear Chanel No 5, for example, give them the body lotion. You could also supersize or stock them up on a favourite, of course. That’s never going to go down badly.

The other route: let an expert who is thoroughly obsessed with beauty products do the leg work for you. You are in the right place for that; my Christmas list has nearly exclusively been comprised of beauty products since I was around thirteen, and my job as a beauty editor means I try a whole lot of stuff so have an encyclopaedic knowledge. 

Below are all things that I’d want to unwrap myself after more than two decades of having slathered and spritzed away. 

Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream

Augustinus Bader

There isn’t a beauty fan under the sun who won’t ooh or ahh if given this. It’s cult, sure, but in this case it’s really warranted thanks to its ability to soothe, soften, and keep skin happy for hours on end.

Buy now£225, Cult Beauty

Olverum Bath Oil


Give this to a bather, any keen bather, whatever their sex, preferences, or age. They will either already know about it (and, trust me, to know Olverum is to love Olverum), or never forget that you introduced them to this herbal delight and therefore be forever in your debt.

Buy now£43.50, Liberty London

Guerlain Scented Hand Soap


If you’re at a loss and need to buy someone something special and just can’t decide which way to go, opt for this. Everyone washes their hands — or they should, anyway — and this makes doing so an olfactory and visual pleasure that’s hard to beat. 

Buy now£70, Harrods

Grace de Monaco Ombre Sereine

Grace de Monaco

Recommending perfume as a gift is a tricky business, but the minute I smelled this, a list of people I’d like to give it to formed in my head and I realised it’s a universal winner thanks to being both beautiful and classic — much like Grace Kelly, who’s the inspiration for the brand. In the mix is a clean, airy blend of fleur d’oranger, jasmine, and mimosa. Sadly it doesn’t come with a chateau. But wouldn’t that be nice.

Buy now£220, Harrods

Sisley Eye Contour Mask


This is yet another can’t-go-wrong gift because: 1) everyone loves Sisley; 2) everyone gets dry and tired skin around their eyes, 3) this mask is very good at refreshing and hydrating and therefore would be welcomed by anyone in possession of skin and eyes.

Buy now£112, Net a Porter

Sensory Sleep Vegan Silk Eye Mask

Sensory Sleep

This delivers where other eye masks fail - it completely knocks out all light, banishing every little ray of it, and it’s terrifically comfortable. As if that weren’t enough to recommend it, it also contains little slots into which (provided) heated patches can be slipped. There is no better eye mask on the market and anyone you know who needs some excellent sleep will be very happy with it.

Buy now£59, Sensory Sleep

Victoria Beckham Satin Kajal Liner: VB’s Greatest Hits

Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham’s Satin Kajal Liners are things of utter joy and every beauty enthusiast has enthusiastically snapped up one or many since they launched for their creamy, long-wearing formula. Buy this clutch of eight of the most adored to give a liner lover a gift that’ll continue to keep their eyes smoky all year.

Buy now£195, Victoria Beckham

Parfums de Marly

I am going to add a caveat here: yes, this is Parfums de Marly’s bestseller, and yes it is rose, lychee, cashmere-y combination that makes me weak at the knees, but you do need to buy it for someone who likes sweet scent. If they do, they will be in heaven when they get this.

Buy now£130, Harrods

Nest New York

I’ve recommended this brand probably a thousand times by now, but I will continue to champion them because the diffusers distribute scent like none other, keeping rooms fragrant until the very last drop has evaporated. I am also a huge fan of the different blends, and would usher you towards the Himalayan Salt & Rosewater one if you’re unsure of someone’s preferences — nobody who’s ever walked into my house and smelled it hasn’t immediately ordered one on their phone.

Buy now£56, Sephora

Jones Road

Lots of brands issue brush sets and many people snap them up and then they sit gathering dust either because the brushes are too extensive and nobody needs that many, or because they’re not curated properly. This falls into neither pitfall, containing the precise four brushes that are needed on a day-to-day basis. They are also shorter than the norm so fit well in a handbag (or in the little Jones Road pouch), and the quality is high.

Buy now£57, Liberty London

Diptyque Baies Scented Candle


I've never met anyone who doesn't go a little weak at the knees when presented with anything Diptyque - and this 3-wick big boy is the ultimate in their most iconic scent, Baies. Very big bonus points to Diptyque for the enormous jar which begs to be turned into something ornamental once the wax has burned away.

Buy now£168, John Lewis