December's beauty must-haves: It's all about self care and holiday flare

A budget-friendly statement lipstick, innovative eye serum and pretty gifts are among this month's finds

Posted: December 06, 2018

As the year comes to a close (seriously, how did that happen?), we're all about gift giving, sprinkled with a little bit of self care. And the new offerings in the beauty industry tick off all those boxes and then some. Whether you're looking for a new statement lipstick, super nourishing lotions and potions or you want to amp up your gifting game, the following list covers all those beauty bases.

Happy shopping and see you in 2019!

Lip smacker


They're really cute, and really budget friendly! Coming in flavours like strawberry and vanilla, these Hard Candy lip glosses are a great stocking stuffer or a fab little gift that you can pop into your bestie's purse as a sweet holiday surprise.

Hard Candy Holiday Smooches Flavoured Lip Glosses, $2,

Swipe right

'Tis the season for dull, dry skin, are we right? If you're looking to keep your complexion dewy and fresh (aren't we all?) lean on these vitamin C rich cleansing pads from all-natural brand Indie Lee. This blend of exfoliating acids from java plum, banana extracts and caviar lime, as well as mango-derived beta-carotene, aims to leave skin smooth, bright and even in tone. Use once a day on a dry, clean face, or two to three times a week if you have sensitive skin.

Indie Lee Radiance Renewal Peel, $85,

Elevated (beauty) basics


We're now six weeks post legalization, so it's no surprise to see a line of skin and body care come out that is centred on the powerful compounds that are found in the cannabis plant. Licensed producer Up Cannabis launched a line of apothecary products, aptly called Upothecary, this time incorporating terpenes into each formula to create buzzworthy body products that can uplift you or help you to chill out. Their lineup includes shampoo, conditioner, bar soap, bath salts and more, all created by the brand's in-house horticulturist Katie Iarocci. We recommend the bar soap, each with a distinct mission to help your skin, and without any actual cannabis, so you will not be impaired. The sativa hybrid bar has uplifting terpenes such as limonene (found in lemons) and pinene (yes, that's pine!), blended into Australian red clay and ground adzuki beans, which help detoxify and exfoliate the skin. If you're trying to find your chill, try the indica hybrid bar, which contains linalool (found in lavender), shea butter and coconut oil for a nourishing, and more relaxing experience.

Upothecary Sativa Hybrid and Indica Hybrid Body Bar, $15,

Gifting the good

If you're still looking for a quick beauty gift for someone on your list, pop this colour-safe, paraben-free shampoo and conditioner in your cart. Paired with a rose-infused body wash and a tote bag, this set from Love, Beauty and Planet will be a welcome treat this holiday for a few reasons: The brand is working to keep their carbon footprint as low as possible, they use only recycled material in their packaging and each product contains natural and ethically sourced oils and extracts.

Love, Beauty and Planet Gift Set, $24,

Blown away


Dyson added another much-hyped product to their roster this year, bringing the Airwrap styler to the market with the help of hair guru to the Kardashians, Jen Atkin. The styler acts as a dryer and curling or wave iron, but without extreme damaging heat (the wand self regulates so it doesn't heat up over 150 degrees), and uses powerful bursts of air to help create your favourite look.

Dyson Airwrap Styler Volume + Shape, $600,

Cult classic find

Although they're not new per se, the hard-to-grab Kylie Lip Kits have made an appearance at retailer Showcase (they have over 100 locations across the country!), meaning you can snag a kit for your sister, niece, bestie, aunt or mom.

Kylie Lip Kits, $40, for in-store locations go to

Clean it up


Do yourself or other beauty fans that you know a huge favour and introduce them to Beautycounter through this lip gift set that contains eight mini versions of their top selling lipstick. The brand prides itself on clean beauty, and was behind an army of people who went to Capitol Hill earlier this year to fight for better ingredient regulations in the beauty industry in the US. In Europe, over 1,300 ingredients are restricted, while in Canada we only have limits on 600. In the US, that number is far lower, at a paltry 30, so they're doing some good work, to be sure.

Beautycounter Mini Colour Intense Lipstick Vault, $102,

The eyes have it

Our peepers are going to be a little tired now that holiday party season has kicked into high gear. Prep those babies for late nights and good laughs with a little help from Jowaé, a new brand that marries the principles of French beauty with Korean innovation. Pronounced tcho-wa-é, the brand utilizes the powers of brown seaweed extract, red ginseng and hyaluronic acid to help tighten, tone and plump the complexion.

Jowaé Eye Serum, $37,

Energize it


Kora Organics was founded in 2009 by model Miranda Kerr, and has finally made its entry into Canada via The Detox Market. Be sure to grab staple product Noni Glow Body Balm, which consists of coconut oil and cupuacu butter, and comes in stick form for convenient application. Each one of Kora's products is energized with rose quartz, infusing them with the vibration of love — if you're into that sort thing.

Kora Organics Noni Glow Body Balm, $42,

SPF remix

Usually when you hear the words SPF and retinol in the same sentence, it's someone stressing how important it is to wear SPF after you've applied your retinol the night before. But CeraVe is here to change all that — the drugstore staple brand has just launched their Skin Renewing Day Cream, which features an encapsulated form of retinol (1 per cent) that works slowly over the day to help fight wrinkles while it protects your complexion from damaging UV rays. It also contains hyaluronic acid and three ceramides in its non-irritating formula.

CeraVe Skin Renewing Day Cream SPF 30, $25,,, and

Canadian made


Locally made, with ingredients sourced in our home and native land, spa-inspired brand Céla continues to prove their worth with their latest launches, which includes the Essential Face Mist. While there are a lot of mists on the market, the reasons to reach for this one are plenty — it contains super hydrating aloe, and the brand's proprietary complex, which is made up of six Canadian botanicals like elderberry, juniper berry, lavender and evening primrose. The blend also contains snow algae, a hardy ingredient found in polar climates, which helps stimulate the complexion's defense cells and reinforce the skin's natural barrier. Use it as a face hydrator or to set your makeup. And then call this a true Canadian classic!

Céla Essential Face Mist, $28,

Statement maker

Beauty behemoth L'Oréal knows how to make a good lippy. Enter their new Signature Matte Liquid Lipstick, a lightweight matte ink they say is 2x thinner than lipstick, and more matte. But they also promise that it won't flake, smudge or dry out lips, while lasting for 24 hours. And the shade range includes a juicy grape purple, a hot pink, a classic coral orange and a red called "I'm Worth It", naturally.

L'Oréal Paris Rouge Signature Matte Liquid Lipstick, $13, across Canada at drugstores and mass market retailers

Let's get festive


Peppermint has been the flavour of Christmas since 1670, when it is believed that a choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral handed out the first candy canes to children participating in the live nativity scene to help keep them occupied. Spread some sweet smelling joy yourself with to The Body Shop's Sack of Peppermint Candy Cane Delights — it includes a body butter, hand cream and body scrub, and would make a great hostess gift if you are willing and able to part with it.

The Body Shop Festive Sack of Peppermint Candy Cane Delights, $28,

Up and at 'em

Do you rise earlier than the sun itself? Actually, that's not actually hard to do when that beautiful orb doesn't make an appearance until 7:30am at this time of year, if it makes an appearance at all. Lack of sunlight can often mean lack of energy in the morning, so everyone's favourite authority on all-natural beauty came up with a solution, called G.Day. Goop's latest power products are designed to help invigorate mornings with choice ingredients that are infused with positive vibes only, naturally. The Black Pepper + Rose Hip Energy Body Oil, made with organic Indian black pepper, Bulgarian rose hip and Korean red ginseng, will at the very least leave you with soft, supple skin even in the dead of winter.

Goop G.Day Black Pepper + Rose Hip Energy Body Oil, $84,

Affordable luxury


Two bits of good news came out from Canadian all-natural beauty brand Earth Luxe this month — they just opened their first stand-alone store in Yorkville Village in Toronto and they launched a host of new products. This nourishing hand lotion, with notes of lavender, orange, bergamot and geranium will help keep dry skin and rough cuticles at bay, and is the perfect addition to your purse this frigid season.

Earth Luxe Hand Therapy Lotion in Shangri-La, $10,

Silver seeker

Whether it's due to aging or style, silver hair is here to stay — just look to celebs like Stacy London (love love love her single streak!), Diane Keaton, and Zosie Mamet, along with Insta-stars like Sarah Harris, Grece Ghanem and Linda Rodin for inspiration on how to pull off this glam look. And now your hair care can keep up with the help of Redken's new Colour Extend Graydiant, which helps to nourish and strengthen grey hair, while it neutralizes that unwanted yellow tinge. The conditioner itself deposits silver pigment into the hair for a sparkling finish. And yes, this is made for colour treated or natural hair.

Redken Colour Extend Graydiant shampoo, $22, and conditioner, $23, across Canada at drugstores and mass market retailers

Every day of the week


Keep acne at bay, cleanse and tone the skin, even on-the-go, thanks to Thursday Plantation's new tea tree oil infused facial wipes. These are perfect to pop into your gym bag for a much-needed refresh after your early morning sweat session. And they're available online now and will hit store shelves in February.

Thursday Plantation Facial Wipes, $13,,

Masque it

With party season in full swing, it's high time to add some beauty weapons into your arsenal, like recharging eye pads from Canadian beauty brand Elizabeth Grant. Packed with hydrating ingredients, they're also rich in caviar extract and Torricelumn which helps to tighten skin and improve its elasticity, meaning those late nights won't show — on your face at least.

Elizabeth Grant Caviar Cellular Recharge Super Eye Pads, $35 (pack of 6),

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