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Gifting Beauty At Christmas

margaret mitchell

Christmas is the perfect opportunity to spoil a loved one with a beauty treat. Whether it’s a delightful fragrance, adding a little sparkle to their regular makeup look or helping them unwind and de-stress – beauty is all about the feel-good factor. Gifting beauty is also incredibly personal, the flip side of which means it can be hard to know what to choose. Thankfully we’ve put together a list of do’s, don’ts and handy hints from Space NK’s Chief Merchandising Officer, Margaret Mitchell, to help you find something they’ll love…

Do: Identify Their Likes & Dislikes

Before you get lost down an internet rabbit-hole, take a second to think about your intended recipient and their likes and dislikes. It may sound simple (spoiler: it is) but those few minutes can save you hours of directionless searching. Consider whether they more of a skincare or makeup fan? Are they sustainability conscious? Do they prefer a relaxing bath or pampering body ritual? Do they have a love or hate relationship with colour? Think about some of their defining characteristics and make a mental note of product types they might like, any brands they swear by and anything to avoid.

Do: Consider A Gift Set

Forget those memories from years ago when beauty sets included unusual shade combinations or less popular products. The latest gift sets are the best way to introduce a loved one to a new brand, an exciting and innovative ingredient or spoil a super fan with travel-friendly versions of their favourite products. Space NK’s Chief Merchandising Officer Margaret Mitchell reveals, “I always opt for a Christmas set with some glitz or glam to it rather than a hero product. It feels more special as you can get the classics in their standard packaging all year round, plus the value savings in the sets make them an even better buy.”

Do: Choose Universally Flattering Shades

For the beauty magpies among us, it can be tempting to reach for the brightest, boldest or most dazzling shade, or your own personal favourite colour. But when it comes to gifting others it’s best to play it safe unless you know their tastes very well. For lips, nude, pink and mauve are a safe-bet. For cheeks stick to soft pinks and delicate reds, but steer clear of anything too highly pigmented. For shadows, a combination of mattes and shimmery shades in soft browns, bronzes and golds are a good universally flattering option.

Don’t: Commit A Gifting Faux-Pas

Gifting of any kind should be all about feeling-good, especially beauty, which is the source of so much joy. So even if a friend or family member has been complaining about feeling worn-out, prevent any awkward present opening by avoiding products related to tired out skin. There’s no quicker way to put an end to festive frivolities than a present that leaves the recipient feeling out of sorts. Our rule? If in doubt, rule it out. Fool-proof favourites focus on pure pleasure: delectable scents, beautiful colour, luxurious haircare and comforting skincare.

Don’t: Panic

Still stuck for ideas? Give the gift of choice with our e-gift card. It will save you a whole lot of worry and allow the beauty lover in your life to choose one of their all-time favourites or stock up on something that’s been on their wish list for a while.

Margaret Mitchell, Space NK’s Chief Merchandising Officer, Shares Her Ultimate Gifting Tips

On Choosing Fragrance For A Loved One…

“Fragrance is tricky as it’s so personal, but my best recommendation if you’re not quite sure what they like is to stay away from super floral or sweet notes, which can be polarising. Unisex scents like soft citruses or woody aromas are crowd-pleasers, which is why we see fragrances like Jo by Jo Loves, Byredo Gypsy Water, or Malin + Goetz Vetiver Eau de Parfum as go-to gift options.”

How To Buy Skincare For A Loved One?

“Skincare can be tricky to buy for someone else, so look for a set that contains either multiple types of products or a universal regime (read: hydrating!). Multi-masking sets are also a safe option. Herbivore’s Jewel Box, Drunk Elephant Midi Committee, or Omorovicza Multi-Masking Collection are three of my favourites.”

On Choosing Lipstick For A Friend…

“I would say it’s fair to assume you know if your friend is a nude lipstick or red lipstick sort of girl. If you don’t know that then play it safe with a lip balm like Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment or By Terry Baume de Rose Lip Care. There are a few fail-safe lipstick shades that will please anyone. For red my stand out is Hourglass in Icon or the Lip Oil in Icon gives the perfect French girl lip and is ideal for the winter party season. Or, try NARS sparkly limited edition Studio 54 option in Carmen for a special touch. For a nude, either NARS Audacious in Anita or Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk, which are both universally flattering shades.”

On A Budget: What Looks Impressive But Won’t Cost The Earth?

“Seek out a set of minis from some of our most coveted brands – they look juicy but won’t break the bank (plus who doesn’t love a mini). My top picks would be Diptyque Surprise Pocket in Do Son, NARS Softcore Mini Blush and Balm Set, or Kora Organics Magic Mask Duo.”

Advice On Gifting Teenagers…

“You don’t want to give teenagers anything that is going to overpower their skin or that will hurt the wallet when they are ready to replenish. Gentle skincare, like Fresh or REN Clean Skincare, or approachable makeup from Charlotte Tilbury or Laura Mercier are great options to start them out.”

Fool-Proof Gifting For Men

“Fragrance is a lovely gift for a man because they often don’t think about it themselves. Skincare or body care are also a nice touch – I find they are a bit nervous to buy these products for themselves and it’s amazing how much they love looking after their skin once they’ve tried it. Malin & Goetz is a great option that looks great in the bathroom and is approachable for men and women alike.

Three Best Crowd-Pleasing Gifts

Jo Loves Plum Pudding Candle, which instantly evokes Christmas morning aromas from the kitchen. Aromatherapy Associates Ultimate Wellbeing Bath & Shower Oil Collection – give the gift of a year of relaxation in a single box (or a month depending on how much they use at a time!) And finally, Charlotte Tilbury’s Starry Eyes to Hypnotize. It’s a beautiful palette with twelve wearable eye shadows perfect for inventing new looks for the holiday season and on into 2020.”


If you’ve enjoyed hearing from our Chief Merchandising Officer Margaret Mitchell’s gifting tips, discover more about her beauty regime at ME+EM in an exclusive interview with founder Clare Hornby.

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