MintStyle

MintStyle with Rachel Weingarten: Beauty and Fragrance Sets for Last-Minute Holiday Gifts

Nameless beauty set gift in blue color

You’ve made your list and you’ve checked it twice. You’ve even added it to your Google calendar and synced with your extended family members.

You are probably so efficient that every gift on your holiday list is not only accounted for, but gift wrapped, labeled and ready for the big day. Even Santa looks like a slacker compared to you.

No matter how prepared you are, there comes a time during every holiday season when you need a last-minute gift, which provides the perfect opportunity to take advantage of beauty, grooming and fragrance gift sets adorning nearly every flat, hard surface of your local department store.

Some to consider include:

Winter Skin Repair

The Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Plump Perfect Ultra Lift/Firm Moisture Holiday Set (retails for $80, but we’ve seen it as low as $54.99) is perfect for dry winter skin.

This kit is packed in a glam golden case and includes Complete with Moisture Cream SPF 30, Ultra Restorative Capsules, All Night Repair & Moisture Cream and Eye Cream SPF 15. While some of the products are samples, the moisture cream is full-sized.

Natural Skincare

The Weleda limited edition holiday kits ($21.50, Whole Foods) include full-sized creamy body washes and lotions with quirky combinations and ingredients.

The Citrus kit contains real lemon peel oil, while the Sea Buckthorn combo is meant to nourish dry skin with natural vitamins and unsaturated fatty acids, organic mallow extracts, shea butter and macadamia seed oil.

Lip Gloss

Secret Agent Beauty The Skinnys ($60, http://secretagentbeauty.biz) is a limited edition gift set that includes five lip products: two glossy lip treatments and three plumping lip glosses in a gorgeous black shimmery case.

While this is a pricier gift set, the case and quality of the products make it a smart splurge.

Shaving Kit

The Art of Shaving Mid-Size Kit contains their signature Pre-Shave Oil (1oz), Shaving Cream (1.5oz), Genuine Badger Hair Shaving Brush, and After-Shave Balm (1oz). These products are meant to be used in tandem to reduce ingrown hairs, irritation, nicks, and cuts.

The kit also offers a great way to experiment with the brand’s classic scents: Sandalwood, Unscented, Lavender, and Lemon and retails for $60.

Manicure Kit

SensatioNail Starter Kit ($49.99, Target) offers an affordable way to get a trendy gel manicure for a fraction of the cost and from the comfort of your own home.

The process is a bit different than traditional manicures — it requires a special LED lamp (included in the kit) to “cure” your manicure, rendering it long lasting and smudge-proof for up to two weeks.

The gel polish requires a salon visit for removal, but you can now purchase the Red Carpet Manicure Remove Gel Polish Removal Kit (ulta.com $9.99), which removes gel polish without damaging your nails.

Fragrance Sets

Last but not least, don’t think twice before picking up the Bodycology Body Cream Gift Set (available at Target), which includes six of their most popular fragrances for under $10.

The Boots Extracts Gift Collection (also available at Target) is available in five fruity fragrances, includes a body scrub, body wash and body butter, and offers a mini spa escape for under $20.

Helpful Shopping Tips

Value not Volume: Don’t be taken in by larger size bottles and jars. Instead, pay attention to the best value for your dollar. If you factor in the suggested retail price per item and find that the freebies feel more like filler, consider waiting for a gift with purchase instead.

Limited Edition Distraction: Some gift sets come in limited edition fragrances or formulations. If you’re okay with the idea that the recipient won’t be able to purchase something they might fall in love with, go for it.

Do the Math: Don’t take the packaging copy for granted. Price the individual products along with the perceived product value. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Play the Waiting Game: If want to purchase a gift set for yourself, consider waiting until after the holiday season is over. Even bargain-priced kits are marked down after the New Year to clear shelf space.

You can spot Rachel Weingarten stocking up on beauty gift sets until well into the New Year. Connect with Rachel online at her new gift etiquette and ideas site or on Twitter @rachelcw Write to Rachel with your burning style questions at mintstylerachel [at] gmail.com.