Sublime scents, skincare and grooming products for the holiday season

Words by Mhairi Mann
Last updated: November 24, 2022

From cult products to new buys, discover covetable skincare and fragrance for the holiday season and beyond

Lean into thoughtful skincare and wellbeing rituals this holiday season, from soothing balms to butter-soft creams and cleansers, for supple and beautifully scented skin. Refillable skincare and beauty products are still rightly on the rise, as more brands move towards a responsible packaging model.

Elsewhere, bathroom and shower essentials are elevated by advanced formulas and artful branding, which add a chic edge to any sink. New gender-fluid fragrances are grabbing attention, alongside Soho House’s debut skincare line. As part of our ROADBOOK festive gift guide, scroll on for stellar, sustainably-minded suggestions to place under the tree this Christmas.

The best beauty and skincare for Christmas 2022 | refillable Susanne Kaufmann, Tan-Luxe drops

From left: The Face self-tan drops by Tan Luxe, £36, net-a-porter.com; Retinaldehyde Cream Serum by Naturium, £24, naturium.com; Skin Forever Eye Masks by Dieux, £22, cultbeauty.com; Purifying Cleanser Gel refil by Susanne Kaufmann, £55, susannekaufmann.com

 

This season, thoughtful skincare champions simplicity, from singular, hybrid products that do it all, to comforting creams packed with natural ingredients and aromatherapeutic benefits. The ultimate sustainability status symbol is a glass bottle by Susanne Kauffman, noted for her bath, body and skincare products, responsibly made from natural ingredients foraged in the foothills of Austria’s Bregenzerwald Mountains. Each glass bottle can be easily refilled, which cuts carbon emissions by 69 per cent.

Kjaer Weis is another brand that offers refillable beauty and skincare. Based in New York, the Danish make-up artist’s eponymous line focuses on organic and sustainable products with a distinctly Scandinavian aesthetic. Nourishing elixirs include the aptly coined Beautiful Oil, and a gentle but effective toner with soothing chamomile water.

Naturium, created by Susan Yara, focuses on biocompatible, plant-powered skincare at an affordable price. Select a gentle cleanser whipped up with purple ginseng, and travel-friendly tubes, such as the lauded Retinaldehyde Cream Serum.

The best beauty and skincare for Christmas 2022 | Augustinus Bader, Haeckels, Aesop, Kjaer Weiss

From left: protective lip balm by Aēsop, £13, net-a-porter.com; The Toner by Kjaer Weis, £68, net-a-porter.com; The Body Oil by Augustinus Bader, £79, net-a-porter.com; Eco Marine cream by Haeckels, £48, haeckels.com

Haeckels, a pioneer in sustainable beauty, has undergone an exciting revamp and expansion this year, following an undisclosed investment from Estée Lauder. There is a refitted flagship store on Broadway Market in London’s Hackney, and an increased line-up of inventive products. The Margate-based brand has stayed true to its ethical ethos, with compostable packaging, and a focus on marine ingredients, including their signature seaweed, harvested from Margate’s beaches.

Elsewhere, Augustinus Bader, the stem cell and biomedical scientist turned skincare supremo, remains top of the Christmas wish list for his high-powered products, which match cutting-edge science with responsibly sourced materials. Augustinus Bader converts are fiercely loyal, rarely straying from the brand’s ever-growing stable of skin and body care.

The best beauty and skincare for Christmas 2022 | Wildsmith handwash, Necessaire body lotion

From left: Shower Oil by Wildsmith, £38, wildsmithskin.com; The The Deodorant Balm by AKT London, £19, aktlondon.com; Soap bar by Loewe, £40, net-a-porter.com; The Body Exfoliator by Nécessaire, £30, net-a-porter.com

Wildsmith Skin is the in-house brand from English countryside hotel Heckfield Place, named for the 19th century naturalist that cared for the arboretum in its grounds. Wildsmith’s products are loaded with botanical ingredients, and the brand carries out rigorous clinical trials on both ingredients and formulations to ensure the utmost quality. Its bestselling hydrating hand wash and lotion are each housed in matte glaze English stoneware, made by artisan potters in Stoke-on-Trent, England. Complement the minimalist aesthetic with Nécessaire’s effective, environmentally-friendly bathroom essentials, from gentle exfoliators to washes and a nifty deodorant gel.

The best beauty and skincare for Christmas 2022 | Loewe hand cleanser, Haeckels soap

From left: Exfoliating seaweed block by Haeckels, £18, selfridges.com; Tomato Leaves hand cleanser by Loewe, £50, selfridges.com; All-Over Oil by Mount Sapo, £42, farfetch.com; Dissolvable body wash, £12, cleanwith.plus

Another particularly dashing hand pump is Loewe’s Tomato Leaves hand cleanser, a nourishing no-rinse formula with wintery notes of fir and oak moss. One simple spritz will keep palms clean, soft, and beautifully scented.

Elsewhere, Mount Sapo’s all-over oil has quickly gained cult status for its nourishing blend of zesty, nutrient-rich oils. Products are made in small batches in Dorset, UK, and a portion of profits go to Plant-for-the-Planet, which supports reforesting and education on the climate crisis. PLUS is also a notable brand that puts the planet first, specialising in dissolvable sachets of hair and body wash, which disappear in under 30 seconds.

 

From left: Sculpt hair polish by Aēsop, £23, mrporter.com; Purifying Face Mask by Horace, £12, mrporter.com; Resurfacing Glycolic Pads by Malin + Goetz, £44, mrporter.com; Face Cream by Soho Skin, £55, sohoskin.com

 

Soho House expanded into skincare this year, with a range of genderless, vegan and cruelty-free products, designed with busy travellers in mind. Further cementing its position as a global lifestyle brand, the collection was designed to be effective enough that guests could confidently leave their own skincare essentials at home while staying overnight at one of their houses.

Further gentleman’s gifting includes well-priced natural skincare by Horace, hailing from France, and Malin and Goetz’ exfoliating pads, which are just the ticket after a night of festive partying.

From left: Saffron by Perfumer H, £170, perfumerh.com; Eyes Closed by Byredo, £130, selfridges.com; Hinoki Fantôme by Boy Smells, £105, harrods.com; Amber by Laboratory Perfumes, £80, libertylondon.com

With warm notes of cinnamon and cardamom, Byredo’s new Eyes Closed scent is the perfect accompaniment to Christmas morning. The gender-neutral fragrance, launched with a campaign shot by Alasdair McLellan featuring kissing couples, promotes intimacy and togetherness and stepping away from screen time – and if that isn’t an excellent message for the holiday season, we don’t know what is.

Further olfactive pleasures include Hinoki Fantome by Los Angeles-based Boy Smells, based on the brand’s popular candle of the same name. Tobacco leaves, oakmoss and smoked leather are lightened by amber and creamy orris for a warm, woody, gender-neutral scent.

Read more: the finest fragrance to take you around the world

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