’Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring—except for the frantic procrastinator trying to figure out where to get gifts for their friends and family with mere hours to spare. Sound familiar? Trust us, we can relate!
The hunt for a last-minute gift during the holidays is almost as inevitable as the one for an outfit to wear to an ugly sweater party, and the thought processes for both are often the same. Though we’ve had months to prepare for this, we’re always scrambling to pull something together the eve before.
Nothing says “I had no time to find a present” like a wrapped bottle of Chateau Diana, so to spare you the trouble of carting a bottle of drugstore wine into your next holiday party, we put together a list of great last-minute beauty gifts you can pick up, whether you’re shopping at a department store, the mall, or the drugstore around the corner. The best part? The recipient will never be able to tell the gift was picked up only minutes before being unwrapped. Just remember to remove the price tag.
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If you’re at a department store:
Though it feels like a scramble, you’re in a good place if you opt to shop for a last-minute gift at a department store. Swing by the fragrance counter to pick up a set like Marc Jacobs’ rollerball trio ($ 44; dillards.com), or look for makeup mini sets like Tom Ford’s Lips & Boys Set ($ 96; nordstrom.com)—the mini-tubes fit in even the tiniest clutches, perfect for any party touch-ups.
Not sure of the fragrances or makeup your friend likes? Opt for a gift set that does the body good. You can never go wrong with a Kiehl’s Creme de Corps bundle ($ 59; nordstrom.com), or the Moroccanoil Luminous Body set ($ 90; nordstrom.com) for that matter. Each box is so pretty, you won’t even have to wrap it! For an extra-festive gift that won’t hurt your wallet, seek out Molton Brown’s Pink Pepperpod Cracker ($ 25; saksfifthavenue.com), which combines a fun tradition with a price tag even Scrooge would love.
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If you’re at the mall:
You may have to elbow a few shoppers in your way, but luxurious beauty gifts from the mall is a totally possible feat, just be sure to hit up the usual suspects, and don’t get distracted by any too-good-to-be-true deals. Sephora never disappoints in terms of options, and we certainly wouldn’t mind being gifted Soap & Glory’s Three for All bodycare set ($ 25; sephora.com) or Buxom’s massive Lip Gloss Roulette kit ($ 59; Sephora stores). The latter makes a statement on its own, but is equipped with such a wide rainbow of shades, you can break up the set and split the glosses among three or even four of your friends.
The Body Shop’s Wild Argan Premium Selection ($ 27; thebodyshop-usa.com) is another one of those gorgeous gifts that doesn’t need to be wrapped, and same goes for the Victoria’s Secret Fearless Fragrance Ring ($ 45; victoriassecret.com), which combines a trendy accessory with a sexy solid perfume. When in doubt, bring a candle—the Bath and Body Works 3-Wick version in the Peach Bellini scent ($ 23; bathandbodyworks.com) is decked out in a gold motif that adds a touch of luxury to any surrounding, even after the holiday season has passed.
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If you’re at the drugstore:
Avoid succumbing to those “the struggle is real” types of thoughts—finding a gift at the drugstore is possible if you believe in yourself and seek out the right products. If you happen to find yourself at a Target, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that the retailer carries CHI’s full lineup, so after picking up a pretty patterned version ($ 100; target.com) for your BFF, head over to the home section to get a Caldrea candle ($ 16; target.com) for that colleague who unexpectedly got you a gift, and you need to pick up something in return.
Fragrance gift sets like Elizabeth Arden’s ($ 22; walmart.com) can be found behind a glass cabinet at most drugstores, but if you don’t have time to get an associate to unlock the case, make a beeline to the makeup aisle and find Iman’s Deja Vu Lip Kit ($ 5; imancosmetics.com). Makeup tools and bags always prove to be useful gifts, so grab a few of Drew Barrymore’s Flower Beauty brushes ($ 7 to $ 12; walmart.com) and stuff them into the brand’s Foldover Makeup Bag ($ 10; Wal-Mart locations nationwide), which can double as a clutch depending on the outfit.
PHOTOS: Holiday Gifts at $ 25 and Under