Every year, this weekend and next week is focused on buying gifts as the official kickoff of the holiday season. But Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and holiday countdown offers are also the best times to stock up on your favorite skincare, haircare, body care, makeup and perfume. If your inbox is any indicator of the amount of deals being currently marketed, you’ll find that even high-priced beauty brands can offer discounts – making it the perfect time to also score gifts with purchase, buy-one-get-one deals, and free samples. Plus, you can usually save even more money by buying kits or gift packaged best-sellers from your favorite beauty brands. So, in other words, treat yourself! Merchants put a ton of time into planning and creating the best gift sets for their brands, with a main focus on value. The Christmas season is the biggest time of competition for every shopper’s dollar, and so it’s totally worth checking out your favorite brands to see what kind of deals you can find right now.
First tip: Buy beauty in bulk and save $$$! For example, Clinique offers jumbo sizes and gift sets of their best selling cleansers, clarifying lotions, and moisturizers at ULTA, Macy’s, and Sephora, which equal big savings. LORAC always offers fantastic gift sets of my favorite lip glosses for just $25 at ULTA and Kohl’s, which if individually purchased would total $102. Kits are also a great way to try new colors, and you can refresh your look easily throughout the year with a new shade. And First Aid Beauty makes some of the best skin care kits around – you can get their iconic Ultra Repair Cream, Lip Therapy, Intensive Peel, Facial Radiance Pads and Pure Skin Facial Cleanser together for only $14 more than what the full-size Ultra Repair Cream normally retails at! These are also great ways to try a new brand, stock up on your favorites, or get bonus travel-sizes for the gym or your desk. And don’t forget haircare! This time of year offers fantastic deals on hair dryers, curling irons or hot styling tools. As for prestige brands, the sales are totally worth it. I buy my favorites from L’Occitane (a French beauty brand) in multiples during this time of year, since their products usually do not go on sale. I love their Shea Butter line during winter for deep and soothing hydration, and 20% off makes for a great time to stock up! More on this brand in future blog posts…
Second tip: Be careful buying beauty or perfume as a gift for someone else. Unless you know the recipient’s favorite brand, colors or specific scent, a cologne or perfume or makeup gift set can be rather awkward to receive. Especially if the gift receiver has never worn the scent or doesn’t like it, has severe allergies, or doesn’t wear makeup often. You will also see a ton of blockbusters promoted this time of year – a “blockbuster” refers to the absolutely gigantic makeup kits that are sold at retailers or drugstores, usually containing every color under the sun. These are typically marketed to teenagers, or as easy gifts that an Aunt or Grandma can purchase and give to the younger girls in the family. But unfortunately, these kits often don’t have the higher quality of products that you’d expect – they can contain fragrance, a ton of glitter, or other ingredients that may cause allergic reactions. If you know the gift receiver wouldn’t wear every color of eye shadow possible, I’d say a nude eye palette would be a more suitable gift than something that looks like Rainbow Bright’s closet exploded. Another thing to consider is that perfume and cologne gift sets almost always come with scented body wash and lotion. But these are often so heavily fragranced that if the receiver does have sensitive skin, they risk a rash or dermatitis developing from the higher percentage of scent in the product than their normal body care products. Proceed with caution, and know your gift recipient’s tastes before taking a gamble.
Lastly, if you aren’t already part of a loyalty program for a retailer, you are definitely missing out. Kohl’s, ULTA and Sephora are among my top favorite loyalty programs for buying beauty products, and it can make a huge savings difference during the holiday season. Kohl’s Cash can’t be beat as an overall deal, and being an ULTA Platinum Level Ultamate Rewards member certainly has its perks. They offer birthday gift freebies, extra bonus items with your purchase, and also first-looks at sales or discount offers before the general public. And some of the best product samples that I’ve received are from Sephora’s Beauty Insider program, which clued me into new favorites (looking at you, First Aid Beauty). In short, take the time to sign up, and then USE it! Especially if you love brands or products that these retailers carry, you’ll see the savings pile up over time and it’s free for anyone to use.