What have been the big trends of 2018? Leopard print for sure. Instagram-friendly poke bowls no doubt. Brass taps for interior design lovers. When it comes to marketing, my chosen profession, a key trend that has been keeping brand teams busy the last few years is personalisation. How can a brand create a product that is tailored to each individual? How can they make each customer feel like the product has been specifically designed with their needs in mind? From monogram phone cases to Vuitton’s personalised leather goods, everyone is at it and the rise of the 3D printer will undoubtedly help increase accessibility and immediacy of made to measure goods. In the meantime though, this year I’ve enjoyed creating customised Christmas beauty gifts for friends and family. When it comes to gifting I do tend to focus heavily on beauty treats, so if you’re still looking for ideas here’s a step by step on how to offer unique presents for all those on your Christmas list.
Choose a personal beauty gift
This is the most important item in the homemade gift set, the main present which you’ve chosen specifically for the recipient and which is unique to this hamper. Working in the industry I always keep up to date on the latest product launches and beauty trends and use this information to decide what would be most suited to the giftee. Are they most interested in skincare, makeup or haircare? Do they enjoy pampering themselves – spa, manicures, facials? Are they time poor and therefore on the look out for multi-purpose products? Do they get through their body weight in lipbalm? Do they have a favourite brand or product, a staple in their beauty routine which never fails to please? Here I’ve picked two Christmas-themed Essie nail polishes for a friend who never steps out of the house without painted talons.
Add a little extra
I really enjoy browsing trade and customer shows, where anything from widely available brands to emerging ones exist side by side. These are great places to unearth niche beauty items that wouldn’t be readily available on the high street. At last year’s Om Yoga Show I went a bit overboard with the purchase of a couple of hefty bags of Himalayan crystal bath salt. I was lured by their pretty peachy pink colour and promise of naturally cleansing and mineral-rich properties. Decanted into a small pot or jar this makes a great addition to the beauty gift for those who enjoy a good soak. For friends and family who are strictly shower only you can swap the salts for a mini body lotion or hand cream.
Pick a sweet treat
Beauty luxuries are all well and good but ensuring a mix of treats keeps the gift interesting and well balanced. When it comes to Christmas presents I feel particularly compelled to include at least one edible treat. You can go the traditional route and prepare homemade mince pies or mint chocolates, or go off the beaten track by bringing back a local treat from your latest holiday. This year I’m including a French specialty which I sample every summer: nougat from Montélimar, a fluffy, whipped, nutty delicacy that feels like the perfect indulgence for any season.
Finish off with a handmade touch
I don’t believe a homemade beauty gift necessarily needs to include handmade products. I’ve created all sorts of gift boxes that didn’t involve a hint of craft, from a travel-themed one (summer read, eye mask for the flight, mini toiletries of course) to a Best of British one (After Eights, Earl Grey, Burberry makeup). But for this seasonal one I’m going with at least one DIY item: the classic orange with cloves which my mum taught me how to make. This is a great way to not only adorn the home with festive decorations but also provide a beautifully Christmassy scent throughout the house – or at least in the designated room. Simply tie a satin ribbon around the orange from top to bottom, twist the ribbon ninety degrees and bring back to the top, finishing off with a bow. This gives you four sections which you cover with cloves, pushing each one into the orange to pierce the skin and releasing the lovely scent.
Don’t forget the festive touches
The packaging you choose and finishing touches really help to bring all the different gift items together. Here I’ve opted for a muted colour palette to let the products do the talking. The bath salt pot is untinted and a simple shape and the cellophane bags are also clear. The bag is a simple brown paper bag against which the silver ribbon and name tag can stand out, and the brown labels complement the bag and reinforce the homemade feel. All items look in proportion, meaning you don’t have a 500ml hand lotion dispenser sat next to a 25ml hand cream.
Obviously this present format isn’t restricted to the Christmas season and can be applied to birthdays, house warmings and baby showers. What products do you include in your beauty gift to make it really special and stand out from the high street options? Leave a comment below to let me know.