Dare we start to mention Christmas already? Oh yes, we do. While Halloween, Fireworks Night and Thanksgiving (for our American friends) are still yet to come, nothing quite gets us as excited as Christmas. We’re already counting down the days until the lights are hung, the tree is up, and the gifts are bought.
This year, we may be cutting back on Christmas spending, with the cost of living increase not too far from anyone’s mind. But you don’t have to spend a small (or big) fortune to show special someone you care, in fact, you don’t have to give a gift at all. The whole point of Christmas is getting together with your loved ones, right?
For those who would consider it a crime to forgo gift-giving – guilty as charged – we’re already testing out the most brilliant and best things to buy, from iPhones and e-bikes to mattresses and alcohol, ready to spread yuletide glee in style. And beauty is, of course, one of the most popular picks for many too.
With blissful bath salts and a new mascara, eyelash curlers, perfume and more, we’ve curated a handpicked edit of our tester’s favourite treats, and the best part is they’re all a tenner or less. So, whether you’re after stocking fillers, a secret Santa steal or just want to keep things cheap and cheerful this Christmas, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ll be updating this list as new beauty buys drop from all our favourite brands in the run-up to the big Christmas countdown, so be sure to check back in every now and again for a fresh list of favourites for all your friends and family.
How we tested
We’ve included our beauty tester’s favourite finds within the budget, be it a hand cream or hair serum, testing each one as best we can to confirm it makes a great gift.
The majority of Christmas-themed beauty buys are yet to reach the stores – we’ve had a headstart for those keen to beat the rush – but as soon as they do, rest assured they’ll go through our vigorous testing routine and will only feature on this list once they make the cut.
As the winter weather starts to make an appearance, everyone will need a good hand cream. This Hello Sunday pick is one of our tester’s favourites. Coming in a cutely packaged box, it’s sure to be incredibly easy to wrap and looks much more expensive than it is. Our tester loved the fresh, clean scent, how quickly it absorbed into dry skin and the fact it includes an SPF30, shielding skin from the sun on those bright and crisp days.
No7 lift & curl eyelash curler: £6.76, Boots.com
Named best for a natural look in our round-up of best eyelash curlers, we now have two testers raving about this beauty tool. An eyelash curler can last for years, so long as you replace the rubber pads every few months, if using it regularly. This No7 option is cheap, cheerful and easily gets the job done in just a few seconds. Including a full-sized eyelash curler and two spare pads, it’s another bargain price we think anyone will love.
Essence hydro gel eye patches: £1.50, Wilko.com
Now, this is a real bargain buy. Perfect as a stocking filler, secret Santa gift or even just to treat yourself, the Essence hydro gel eye patches are among our tester’s secret low-cost pick-me-ups. Packed with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, they’re sure to brighten tired eyes and leave you with 15 minutes of relaxation on even the most stressful days. Our tester even pops them in the fridge for an extra boost of de-puffing.
Byoma creamy jelly cleanser: £9.99, Byoma.com
Cheap and cheerful, Byoma is one of the most affordable beauty brands at the moment. While all of the range falls under £15, this cleanser is the lowest cost option of the lot. Housed in a bright yellow recyclable container, it was love at first sight for our tester, and the green tea and liquorice-root formula sealed the deal, with a lightweight, slightly foaming cleanser that was a joy to use morning and night.
A new release from budget beauty brand Collection Cosmetics, this mascara falls well under budget, coming in at less than £7. With a vegan formula, it’s suitable for everyone, and the ruby-red colour just screams Christmas. Our tester has been using this for around a month now and has been pretty impressed – clump-free, fuller and longer lashes don’t have to break the bank.
Many haircare products tend to be on the more-expensive side, yet Noughty has a nice niche of being a more-affordable option. Coming in at just under £10, this pea-sprout and coffee-bean hair-growth solution is sure to go down a treat for anyone who loves their locks.
Lottie London stay press’d heart to heart: £6.95, Lottie.london
Press-on nails aren’t for everyone, granted. But those who go mad for a manicure are sure to love the Lottie London kits, and we’re sure some more festive-themed designs will come through soon too. With three full sets of funky nails in a variety of sizes, a mini nail file, vegan nail glue and stick-on patches, it seems like a bargain for the price. Our tester is more of a natural nail gal, but found these incredibly easy to use, received a huge number of compliments and was able to get around one week of wear out of them too, so we’re hard pressed – if you pardon the pun – to find a bad side to this buy.
Anyone mad for make-up is sure to love this Kiko lip gloss. Housed in a sleek silver and clear tube, it looks much more expensive than it is. Coming in 26 colours, there is a shade for everyone, yet our tester did find shade 20 chestnut to be their favourite. The soft doe-foot applicator dispenses a good amount of product for a Y2K-inspired glossy lip, and it even comes in a handy box making it easy to wrap. Plus, usually £8.99, it’s currently on offer for £4.
Dove renewing care bath salts Stacey Solomon limited edition: £5, Asda.com
Many of us know (or are) a bath lover. Carving out time in the day for a sudsy soak becomes an almost ritualistic practice, and the lotions and potions we add to the hot water really can make a difference. These bath salts from the Dove Stacey Solomun collection have held pride of place on our bath-loving tester’s bathroom shelf for a good few weeks now. In a 900g bag, it’s a generous size for just a fiver and is sure to go down a treat for anyone with a soft spot for a soak.
We’ve already rounded up the best cheap perfumes to buy on the high street, and this Scentology one is topping our stocking wish lists. Named best sweet scent in our savvy saver’s scent guide, it’s another bargain buy that is likely to surprise when it comes to cost. At 100ml it’s a great sized bottle with a sleek and sophisticated design. It even comes housed in a handy cardboard tubing, making it easier to wrap. Our tester fell in love with its sweet scent, and its price, and is sure to be gifting these to all their friends this Christmas.