Or you know… yourself

Christmas and makeup seem to go hand in hand, particularly when you’ve no clue what to give your girlfriend or secret santee. But what do you gift someone who already has everything? Enter holiday sets, which curate a good variety of minis, and are also the prime way to get cult favourites and bestsellers at a fraction of the price. We took a dive into the wondrous world of Christmas collections and tested them out in real life, to scope out the best few perfect for fellow beauty nerds.
 

Alcheme

This homegrown skincare brand is barely six months old, but already one to watch. With just a small range of products, alche{me}’s focus is on made-to-order, customisable skincare tailored to every individual. After a quick personalisation questionnaire, I wind up with an anti-acne toner, and a bespoke serum and eye serum formulated to brighten my mildly sensitive skin. On first application the serums feel clean, light and have the most subtle fragrance. More impressively, I see instant results, which you don’t always get with skincare. In just two days, the dark under-eye circles that have plagued me from birth lighten, and my cheek acne clears. Is this magic what Singaporean brands are capable of?

For a more comprehensive introduction to the brand, get the cre{me} de la creme Collection ($150)— a steal considering you get a full-sized bespoke serum, 15ml bespoke emulsion or eye serum, a curated toner and a face mask. Everything comes neatly packaged with a free makeup pouch too, if you’re bad at wrapping. There’s nothing more benevolent than gifting your friends the gift of good skin this Christmas.

Available online
 

Drunk Elephant


Easily the year’s most anticipated beauty drop, Texas-founded Drunk Elephant landed last month with its Instagram-endorsed promises of great skin and zero toxicity. After a few weeks of religiously pumping the C-Firma Day Serum ($80) into my daily morning routine, there’s an obvious all-over glow to my face that no amount of oral consumption of Vitamin C can ever give me. It’s an enviable, healthy sheen that will work with both no-makeup and full-coverage days. That alone makes the hefty price tag worth the while—plus, you get to be that great friend who spent $80 on one person. But if you’re looking for value, get it in the festive Agent Ellie Kit ($124) that comes together with a mix of mini products from the range. The best part about minis is that if you’re truly economizing, you can always split up the quirky kit into single products for a whole group of friends.

Available at Sephora
 

Dr. Jart+

Green and red may be Christmas colours, but we’re good keeping them off our face, thanks. For that friend with enduring redness in his/her skin, the Cicapair X-mas Jungle Spell Book ($65) packages the brand’s bestsellers from the Cicapair Tiger Grass line—formulated to neutralise redness—in one cutesy box. You get the Color Correcting Treatment in a full-sized and mini portion, plus a 5ml tube of the Re.Pair Serum. Textured more like a lightweight BB cream and less like a moisturiser, the Treatment cream instantly evens out redness while bringing light to my face—a welcome addition early in the morning. Concealer and the rest of my full-face routine go on smoothly after. If you’re torn between being a generous friend and wanting to try it for yourself, you can always gift the full-sized jar and keep the mini.

Available at Sephora
 

Natasha Denona

Natasha Denona is notoriously—nay, obscenely—expensive, so I jump instantly at the Mini Star eyeshadow Palette ($28). It’s five tiny but beautifully formulated shadows, curating some of the top shades from the original Star Eyeshadow Palette which costs a whopping $250. The stories are true though; the quality of the powders are so smooth and finely milled, and the three shimmer shades are almost offensively pigmented. In a week I’ve created three different looks from this one tiny set. Aside from the fact that they’re all very holiday-appropriate colours, the biggest draw here is really how the entire palette is smaller than an iPhone. It’s so travel-friendly I take it with me on a tasting for no logical reason, just because I can.

Available at Sephora
 

Nudestix

As an ardent supporter of Nudestix, I’m always on the lookout for their curated sets that make this fuss-free brand slightly more affordable. The new limited edition Nude & Bronze Lip + Eye Kit ($39) is definitely that. It comes with a deep nude lip that doubles as a cream blush, a metallic bronze eyeliner, and an eyeshadow in the same chubby pencil formula Nudestix built its popularity on. The latter makes for an easy, one-swipe smokey eye with no hassle for brushes—perfect for when I’m running late in the morning but still have an event to get to at night (which, let’s be real, is everyday). It works great for me and will do for you too, when you’re running on little to no sleep preparing for your Christmas party. The lippie stays on through lunch and two SGIFF films, and I’m pleasantly surprised by how non-gaudy the metallic eyeliner looks. Considering how each product typically costs $20 a piece, this one’s a win.

Available at Sephora
 

Sephora Collection

The Christmas cracker packaging is already a win, but the Surprise Cracker Set ($22) actually hides a bunch of value-for-money deals inside. The Blush To Go and Luminizer To Go ($19 each separately) are a bit of a turn-off at first, what with their cutesy K-beauty-style packaging. But it’s love at first swipe with these soft cream-to-powder sticks. Because of their dome shape, they glide smoothly onto your face without tugging or getting grimy inside the tube. The blush in 02 Miss Audacious adds welcome rosiness to my cheeks, and I throw the highlighter into my bag everyday for the next week for quick touch-ups at night when my glow has faded. The last product in the set is a Sephora Cream Lip Stain in the shade 13 Marvelous Mauve, which as expected, applies flawlessly. Honestly, the Sephora Collection is one underrated house brand.

Available at Sephora