In probably what has been the most challenging year in recent memory, time still manages to march on and we already find ourselves in November. Even though the holidays will look different for a lot of us this year, it is still indisputably “the holiday season.” So in an effort to continue to bring you some normalcy from my little corner of the internet, I’ve got not one, not two, but three holiday gift guides with a twist! I’m calling it my Beauty Insider Holiday Gift Guide series, and no it has nothing to do with Sephora! This year I asked three friends and colleagues who work in the beauty industry a simple question: what would you recommend as gifts this holiday season for the beauty lovers out there? These are ladies who try A LOT of products, so you can bet they have some great recommendations!
My friend Heather Fink, the Founder & CEO of indie cosmetics brand The Sexiest Beauty is here today sharing her loves and go-to’s in this first installment of my Beauty Insider Holiday Gift Guide. If you’ve been with me on here for a while, you may remember that I’m a bit in love with Heather’s Rose Glow Face Balm, which I reviewed this summer. She’s an industry vet, and a true beauty insider with a resume that includes stints at time-honored brands like Estee Lauder and MAC. All of her gift guide picks are from small female-owned indie brands, so if you feel passionate about women-empowering-women, and you like to discover emerging beauty brands, you’ll love her picks!
We’ll start the guide off by going through her MAKEUP picks for the season, and then segue into SKINCARE, BODY CARE, NAILS and HAIRCARE. FYI – each product listing is accompanied by Heather’s own narration, not mine.
I know all the founders listed here and use these products myself so I know they are efficacious, and I trust to recommend them to you. I love products, but I love the people and the stories behind them equally as much…well ok more! Getting to know these women has been a joy and pleasure and I love watching them succeed. Being a founder is generally a very tough, grueling, lonely undertaking. I know it’s a struggle and how meaningful it is to hear that someone understands and appreciates what they’re doing. Some days that’s all that keeps me going…so collaborating and supporting each other is a passion of mine.
MORE POSTS FEATURING THE SEXIEST BEAUTY
SHANL BEAUTY MINTY LIP OIL – $10.00
I met the owner Khadijah at Beautycon a few years ago. She’s gorgeous, talented, a total doll and a hard-working mama of two young ones. She is a beauty professional and recently launched her own line so of course I had to try it out! I fell in love with this lip oil because it smells minty, feels tingly and juicy on the lips, and looks cool with the gold leaf flecks. The rollerball applicator makes it easy and not messy to apply. I love her price points because you can buy a bunch and not feel ashamed! In fact, she’s teasing doing some holiday gift packs which will make great gifts!
Shop the Shanl Beauty Minty Lip Oil
MOONPLAY COSMETICS STROBOSCOPE POWDER IN VOW – $43.00
I met Jess at a Refinery 29 event and we bonded and have done a lot of collabs together. Her powders are very special finely-milled pigments that can be mixed and custom blended with any product in the world. They’re amazing to mix into my DSL Gloss or to dip my lippies, but most often I sweep it on as a highlighter and glow for days! Perfect for the holidays to glitz and glam up all your looks!
DOME BEAUTY BLACK MAGIC MASCARA – $22.00
I met Mar and Geneva via our shared retailer Beautyque, and they’re both so talented and generous in collaborating and sharing products. I had the luxury of trying their new mascara which is “holy grail” – clean, lengthening AND thickening. It makes my lashes look like they not only exist again but are long & lush.
Shop the Dome Beauty Black Magic Mascara
DOME BEAUTY METALLIC DIAMOND SHADOW IN SIERRA STONE – $23.00
Their metallic eyeshadow is super rich, pigmented and creamy. It blends like butter, with no creasing and super long wear.
SUE PHILLIPS HOUSE OF FRAGRANCE X THE SEXIEST BEAUTY – ROSES ARE RED PERFUME & LIPSTICK ESCENTIALS – $145.00
I’ve long been an admirer of Sue’s genius for fragrance, and her Rose perfume blend is my personal obsession! As fellow entrepreneurs during this difficult time, we have uplifted and kept each others’ spirits up. In our chats, we felt it would be the right time to collaborate and revisit two iconic beauty must-haves to inspire your everyday. Wearing lipstick and fragrance is equivalent to a suit of armor for both of us. We want everyone to feel equipped to take on this brave new world. This trio set is the antidote to the “new normal” and the perfect holiday gift for that special someone in your life.
TZOL’SKIN TURN DOWN & RECOVER CREME – $55.00
I met Yasmina on Instagram or LinkedIn, I can’t remember. But I’ve followed her journey from ideation to execution to being featured in Vogue for this very product. I’m not surprised, she’s the real deal. Her formulas are amazing, and the Mayan influence is a strong story. I’m a huge fan of the superpower emollient benefits of squalane and use this ingredient often in my own formulas. I love using this creme at night because the lavender scent is so soothing and relaxing. Give the gift of soft skin and a good night’s sleep all in one jar!!
Shop the Tzol’skin Turn Down & Recover Creme
KT CREATIVE GOODS WHIPPED BODY BUTTER IN COCOABUTTER – $22.00
I met Kate on Facebook, I think. I love her spirit and enthusiasm so I had to try her products. She creates all-natural bath, body, wellness and aromatherapy self-care products. All of her goodies are hand crafted in small, artisan batches. My skin gets incredibly parched and her body butter made with shea butter, mango butter, cocoa butter, luscious sweet almond oil, and lavender essential oil is like heaven in a jar! I also use her allergy blaster rollerball to deal with my sinuses; it works like magic. Her self-care sets make the perfect pampering holiday gifts! Her price points are affordable and her customer service is exemplary!
NAOMI NAIL LACQUER IN SAND AND SKIN – $14.99
I met Naomi at Thompson Chemists a few years back. She is a pro celebrity manicurist and created her own line of vegan, 10-free polish in the “perfect nudes”. We’ve collaborated and shared products, since “lips & tips” are such a perfect marriage! The brush delivers the polish with no streaking or dragging, with perfect consistency and coverage. My Naomi manicures last well over 2 weeks with no chips, no pushback, no wear, no peeling…and I’m not easy on my nails. Best. Nail Polish. Ever. And I’m so excited for her new holiday shades, coming soon. I know they will be the perfect gifts for yourself and others!
Shop the Naomi Nail Lacquer in Sand and Skin
MASAMI MEKABU HYDRATING SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER – $38.00 EACH
I met Lynn via our shared retailer Beautyque. She’s amazing and so generous in collaborating, and sharing info and ideas. And product! I got to try her (and her partner James’) formulas enriched with the nourishing power of the Japanese ocean botanical Mekabu, and they made my hair so shiny and soft! I feel like I’ve got mermaid hair. It’s super sexy and smells incredible. (The scent is inspired by casablanca lilies!) I am now officially obsessed and can’t live without them. So glad to see they came out with a large size… NEED! The travel size duo is also perfect as a stocking stuffer!
HONORABLE MENTIONS TO INDIE, FEMALE-OWNED RETAILERS
The Sexiest Beauty launched in May at Beautyque NYC which is founded by two women entrepreneurs, Sylvie and Sonia, who also are beauty brand founders! There are lots of very special beauty brands to shop there, many of them women-owned as well.
We launched in October on Dough which is a “Movement To Shop Women-Owned” founded by Anna and Vanessa. They have TONS of great holiday items, beauty and beyond. In fact I did a holiday gift list there as well.
I hope you enjoyed the first installment in my Beauty Insider Holiday Gift Guide series! Come back next Monday for another beauty gift guide curated specifically for you 🙂
xoxo, and be well, Erica