By Annie Tomlin
Hear that? That’s the sound of Champagne bottles popping in the C-suites of prestige beauty brands as, late last month, NPD shared a mighty bright and bubbly glimpse into the holiday shopping season ahead. Though mass sales are slumping year-to-date, prestige beauty is poised to wrap up the year with a big ole flashy bow — as in double-digit growth in dollars and unit sales. (In fact, among the 14 discretionary retail spending categories tracked by NPD, prestige beauty is the only sector that’s growing in unit sales.)
Nearly 30 percent of people plan to buy beauty products this holiday season, and — barring a major Covid surge — they’re planning to spritz, spray, and sample the goods in person. And while the overall global economic outlook may be shaky, NPD is doubling down that this uncertainty will actually spur shoppers to indulge in luxury beauty products. Because, in the face of skyrocketing inflation, soaring energy costs, and rising interest rates, a M.A.C. lipstick or a Charlotte Tilbury moisturizer seem like a steal as compared to, well, just about anything.
So, what will some of the hottest luxury product holiday gifts of 2022 be? Scroll away to see a full list of beauty editor recommendations!
The Globally Aware Giver:
Kathleen Hou, Beauty Director, Elle
Buly Baume des Muses, $24.69
“In our dreams, every gift we give would be incredibly useful, personalized, and induce the reaction of: ‘I always wanted that! How did you know?’ This monogrammed lip balm gives you a 50/50 shot of achieving those dreams, but as Wayne Gretzsky says, ‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.’
Almost everyone likes seeing their initials on things, and if they don’t, at the very least, they probably need lip balm. There are plentiful color options so you can decide if your mom is more of an ‘Azur Shagreen’ or an ‘Orange Marble.’ This lip balm also comes in a slim box, rather than a tube, making the whole experience of soothing flaky lips a little more of an aesthetic experience.”
Binu Binu x Tajimi Custom Tiles Incense Holder, $120
“I never grew up with candles, but I did grow up with incense. It gives you more immediate scent gratification than a candle, and you don’t need to let it burn for several hours to get max impact.
I love the brand Binu Binu, who creates bath and body objects based upon Korean bathing culture. They have beautiful incense sticks and holders, which look more like beautiful sculptural objects. Their holiday collaboration is with Tajimi Custom Tiles, a Japanese tile maker, and features an elegant open flower design, inspired by the traditional design of Korean ceramic roof tiles. I love the richness of the indigo, and the mottled glaze is so soothing to look at. It’s a great gift for the holidays, because it can also be used as a soap dish, an ashtray, or a paperweight.”
Serge Lutens La Couche du Diable and Fleur D’Oranger Eau de Parfums, $158 each
“Luxury scents were a big hit during the pandemic, and this means that more niche brands are becoming popular (just look at Baccarat 540). The fragrance community is so strong on TikTok and very passionate, especially about lesser-known brands.
A friend of mine was in Paris recently and asked where she should buy perfume. I immediately directed her to the Serge Lutens store at the Palais Royale. Lutens’ scents are so different from anything out there, featuring stories turned into perfume, and I am just waiting for TikTok to discover them. Some are unusual (like his Dent de Lait, meant to recall the experience of losing your first tooth), but all are beautiful.
My picks for holiday? ‘La Couche du Diable’ — so you don’t also make this mistake, [like me], due to bad French — the scent is not “the devil’s couch” but ‘the devil’s bed sheets;’ and his Fleur D’Oranger is one of the best renditions of orange blossom perfume.”
The Luxury Beauty Soothsayer:
Jenna Rosenstein, Beauty Director, Harper’s Bazaar
Oribe Gold Lust Shampoo & Conditioner Liter Set, $295
“I’m a big fan of utilitarian gifts — the stuff I know people will actually use and appreciate. If someone gifted me this jumbo-sized Oribe Gold Lust Shampoo and Conditioner I would probably cry. It’s so thoughtful: You don’t have to think about buying shampoo or conditioner for the next few months, and the culty Gold Lust hair formula is such a dream for dry, damaged hair because it delivers on the promise of instantly healthier, shinier, softer hair. These giant bottles mean your shampoo and conditioner will last for months and months, so you don’t feel as guilty for buying new plastic.”
Dyson Airwrap Multi-Styler Complete, $599.99
“The Dyson Airwrap sold out nearly all year after going viral on TikTok. It’s now back in stock — and now is the time to buy it, because it underwent a total transformation. The old Airwrap required two different attachments for different curl directions, left and right. They have now figured out how to adapt one attachment to curl hair in both directions, so it’s even easier and faster to use than before. Plus, it comes with other attachments for all kinds of styles. [Shapers to straighten hair and smoothing attachments for blowouts or to polish your hairstyle.]
I don’t have the new attachments yet, but I really, really want them. I use my first-gen Airwrap frequently on second-day hair to add back a little body and bounce, and it’s such a time-saver. This is an investment in time back from styling your hair each morning. It’s one of the biggest gifts each holiday season and it’s only going to be more in-demand this year with the upgrades.”
Net-a-Porter 25 Days of Beauty Advent Calendar, $299
“Beauty advent calendars continue to get bigger and bigger with every passing season — and the good ones sell out really fast. They’re just so fun to give and receive, and I love the idea of getting to try so many buzzy products all at once. Plus, the mini versions of the beauty products are perfect for travel as we head into the new year.
What separates this advent calendar from the rest is that it features 12 smaller items along with 13 full-size products from editor-loved brands like Charlotte Tilbury, Westman Atelier, and Augustinus Bader. It’s truly a great beauty deal that you can only get around the holidays. No wonder it sells out so fast.”
The Winter Beauty Prophet:
Maya Allen, Beauty Director-At-Large, The Cut
Off-White Solution No. 4 Fragrance, $185
“This past spring, ‘Paperwork’ made its beauty debut with the launch of fragrance and makeup, an expansion of fashion house ‘Off-White,’ created by the late Virgil Abloh. In New York, we’re in the midst of fall and the onset of cold weather is quickly approaching, so I’ve been drawn to the warm and comforting notes of Solution #4. It’s an alluring blend of eucalyptus, lavender, and woods and has truly been the gift that keeps on giving in my life. One spritz of the musky notes emits a sensual yet powerful aroma that feels like a warm hug. I want to give this spicy scent to all the strong women in my life.”
Augustinus Bader The Eyebrow and Lash Enhancing Serum, $150
“I’m a firm believer in brows being the most defining feature of every face. So, I take my brows (which I call “sisters, not twins’) very seriously. When I’m not sitting in the incredibly talented brow artist Joey Healy’s chair getting them shaped to perfection and filling them in with his Brow Architect Stylo Pencil ($29), I’ve been prioritizing maintenance with the newest innovation from Bader: The Eyebrow & Lash Enhancing Serum.
With the help of fast-acting ingredients like biotin, red winter algae, and hyaluronic acid, I’ve noticed my brows have a bit more density and an overall fuller, thicker appearance.
Sometimes when I use run-of-the-mill brow and lash serums, ‘Is this actually doing anything?’ is in the back of my mind. I naturally have a slow brow cycle, so I’m always searching for solutions to speed up growth to achieve my desired shape.
I’ve been using this fast-acting formula consistently three to four times a week for the past two months and can confirm it actually lives up to its promise. The bigger the brows, the better in my book! I also apply the gentle solution to my lashes, which have been looking a little more luscious and lengthy lately — and my sensitive eyes never get irritated. Wins all around.”
Dior Makeup Backstage Eyeshadow Palette in Burgundy, $49
“When I really love a limited-edition product — the way that I love this new Dior Makeup eye-shadow palette — my heart breaks a little because I know that I have to savor every last bit of it. From smoldering rosy tones to golden neutrals, these shades are so universally beautiful. For makeup enthusiasts, beginners, or women on the go with limited time, this palette serves up every shade you need to create your desired look. I love sitting in front of my mirror with a good getting-ready song on and playing around with this palette, and I come up with different looks every time.”