These Mini Beauty Sets Would Make The Most Perfect Stocking Stuffers
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There's nothing that delights me more than a miniature beauty product — and it's not just because I enjoy getting lost in thought while holding it, my imagination creating a world in which I am a giant who is tall enough to step over traffic and people who walk in horizontal lines of four or five down the sidewalk while I'm trying to Christmas shop.
No, miniature beauty products are so much more than that: A travel-friendly solution to keep my favorite brands with me during holiday trips without my carry-on becoming a 100 pound nightmare, the best way to try new brands while keeping my investment in the unknown reasonable, and perhaps most importantly, ideal for holiday gift-giving, perfectly sized for stockings that demand to be stuffed.
Below are some of the best mini beauty products and mini beauty sets for holiday 2017, divided by category to fulfill all your wildest-and-yet-tiniest dreams. There are pint-sized polishes, little-bitty lipsticks, minuscule moisturizers, petite perfumes, and more. Think big beauty, but in a small package.
China Glaze 12 Days Of China Glaze, $30, Ulta | China Glaze Mini Glam Finale Polishes, $2 each, Sally Beauty | Love OPI XOXO Nail Lacquer 10 Pc Mini Set, $20, JC Penney | Ciate Mini Mani Month, $59, Ciate London | Le Mini Macaron Gel Manicure Kit, $35, Ulta
I've been obsessed with beauty products since I was a little girl, and I feel like I've spent the majority of my adult Christmases trying to recreate the joy I felt after receiving an enormous nail polish set, every year from ages six to 14.
Luckily, there is no shortage of available mani goodness on the market this holiday season. China Glaze has some excellent Mini Glam Finale Polish sets in various methods of conveyance (they even have mini polishes inside of candy canes, for people who like to remain as On Brand as possible). OPI offers their Love Opi XOXO holiday hues in collections of 10 or 25, depending on how hard you want to make your stocking work.
Le Mini Macaron has a most excellent Gel Manicure Kit, complete with nail tools and a macaroon-shaped gel light, so you can skip the salon and save money on your gel manicures in the new year. Finally, Ciate has an epic Mini Mani Month calendar, complete with a month's worth of gorgeous polishes and nail tools to surprise yourself with, day after day.
My hair situation is something I struggle with over the holidays: I am obsessed with my hair (I know, #vainAF, sorry) and I'm loyal to a few particular brands. In what I now acknowledge as a Holiday Hair Miracle, all of my favorite hair products come in travel sizes.
Context Skincare has a minimalist set called The Traveler, which includes shampoo, conditioner, styling mist, and texture mist, all in impossibly chic, travel friendly bottles. Ouai haircare always come through in a holiday pinch with their On My Ouai Kit, which offers dry shampoo, a hair mask, a smoothing spray, and a texturizing spray, all housed in the perfect travel case.
Beloved (and amazingly affordable) hair brand Kristen Ess has some excellent mini duos for all of your travel needs, and there's nothing quite as adorable as the Eva NYC Mini Blow Dryer, which won't take up too much room in your suitcase but will save you from the inevitable moment when the aunt you're staying with drops the bomb that she exclusively towel dries. What's more: You might want to use this little guy even when you're not traveling. It's just so damn cute.
Fresh Holiday Gift Sets, $15-$28, Sephora | Herbivore Pink Clay Beauty Set, $45, Herbivore Botanicals | Kate Somerville All Glow, No Glitter ExfoliKate Set, $75, Sephora | Skyn Iceland Cleanser & Moisturizer Duo, $12, Ulta | OSEA Winter Essentials Body Care Trio, $46, Osea Malibu | Drunk Elephant Hit It Off Duo, $20, Sephora
There was one holiday season, perhaps in 2014 or 2015, that I decided not to bring home my skin care products. "Mom will have stuff," I foolishly thought to myself. "If not her, than a sibling." What happened next was a scourge of decades-old Clearasil that I foraged from the medicine cabinet, and a week's worth of dry skin. There's absolutely no reason to forego packing your greatest hits when there are this many choice products on the market.
Fresh Beauty has a boatload of travel-friendly and mini holiday beauty products to choose from, and their festive holiday packaging makes them great gifts as well. Herbivore makes a Pink Clay Beauty set that includes a travel size of their amazing rose face mist, perfect for hydrating parched winter skin.
Kate Somerville's ExfoliKate products have completely transformed the tone and texture of my skin, and now they all come in a travel-friendly gift set. Skyn Iceland's Cleanser & Moisturizer Duo comes in an adorable, no-need-to-wrap ornament packaging for the fellow skin care lover in your life, and Drunk Elephant's Hit It Off Duo boasts the same. Finally, one of my absolute favorite skin care brands, OSEA Malibu, has ventured from making travel sizes for many of their products into the realm of dedicated holiday sets: Their Winter Essentials Body Care Trio is everything you need to combat the winter skin blues — plus, the luxe glass bottles will make any guest bathroom (yes, even your college BFF's shared basement-level cave) feel like a posh homestay.
Traveling with fragrance might be lower on the beauty priority list than other things, but who doesn't want to smell good when visiting friends and family? These sets also have the added bonus of making excellent gifts, as they both include sampling of a full collection.
The Elizabeth & James A Little Bit Of Nirvana Fragrance Collection includes four scents from the popular range of fragrances, all of which are housed in miniaturized exact replicas of the full sizes. The Pinrose Style Kit included nine rollerballs that can be worn alone or layered, which makes the scent and gifting opportunities virtually endless.
MAC Mini Lipstick Kit, $29, Ulta | Fresh Sugar Lip Lovelies, $26, Sephora | Stila Play It Cool Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick Set, $20, Sephora | NYX Lip Lingerie Vault, $65, Ulta | Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Mini Celebrity Lipstick Charms, $39, Nordstrom | Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain Set, $12, Sephora
In my own collection, I prefer full-size lipsticks: After all, I wear two or three a day, so I have to keep quantities high. However, there's no better way to introduce your favorite lipsticks to the Uncertain But Beauty Curious in your life than mini lipsticks. Normally, they come in sets, so the receiver can experiment with different shades of your favorite formulas.
MAC's Mini Lipstick Kit has three shades and comes in a highly giftable glitter case. Fresh's Sugar Lip Lovelies are great for younger beauty lovers, as the kit offers a light wash of color and a ton of moisture. Stilas Play It Cool Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick Set is the best possible entree into the world of liquid mattes, NYX's Lip Lingerie Vault offers a broad range of shades in a popular, comfortable formula, Charlotte Tilbury's Lipstick Charms are adorably tiny and perfect for hiding in the tree, and Sephora Collection's Cream Lip Stain Set is an incredible bargain for shoppers who have more than a few people to buy for.
Away Gift Sets, $45, Awaytravel | Eve Lom The Cleanser Set, $24, Spacenk | Pinrose Twirl Whirl Baton, $24, Pinrose | Diptyque Mini Candle Set, $75, Diptyque Paris | Charlotte Tilbury Magical Mini Brush Set, $65, Charlotte Tilbury | Sephora Collection Snow-fetti Mini Sponge Set, $12, Sephora | Sephora Beauty Advent Calendars, various prices, Sephora
If all of the mini products above have left you confused and wanting more, don't fret: There are plenty of pint-sized beauty gifts on the market in all categories. These are the items that are virtually foolproof when it comes to gift-giving.
Trendy luggage company Away is offering these tiny gift sets, miniature versions of their luggage packed with essential travel gear. Eve Lom's Balm Cleanser is one of the best on the market, and this one comes in a festive ornament and includes a muslin cloth.
I've literally never met another human being who doesn't swoon for a Diptyque candle, and this particular set boasts five: Split them up between your family members, or make your mom the happiest she's been in awhile. Charlotte Tilbury's Magical Mini Brush Set is perfect for the glam traveler in your life, and the Sephora beauty sponge ornament will look adorable hanging from your Christmas tree. Never has there been a more giftable item than the Pinrose Twirl Whirl Baton, which contains three of the brand's best fragrances.
Finally, although the Sephora Collection Winter Wonderland Advent Calendar appears to be sold out online, but Sephora carries plenty of beauty calendars to fill the gap: The Ole Henricksen 12 Days Of Ole Glow and the AmorePacific My 12 Days Of Botanical Beauty calendars are great introductions to the brands.
Call them mini sets, call them travel-sized beauty products, or call them stocking stuffers: No matter your purpose, there's simply no better time of year to stock up on tiny beauty products. Let the magic of holiday minis shine down upon you as you gift all of your friends and families beyond their wildest imaginations and keep your luggage under the airline's weight limit.
Photographer: Ashley Batz
Art Direction: Brit Phillips