I'm a Beauty Editor, and My Holiday Wish List Comes Straight From These Sales

The holidays have looked quite a bit different the past couple of years, and judging by the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, the end of 2021 is looking to be not quite as festive as seasons (way) past. Given the news, you'd be forgiven for searching for some crumbs of serotonin, as the Internet likes to say, and while holiday shopping sometimes gives me a stress rash, holiday beauty sales quell them. 

Whether you're looking to get yourself a treat (like rose-scented bath oil or luxurious soaking salts), polish off your gift list, or just refresh your beauty routine heading into the new year, there's something for everything in the selection below. To paraphrase the holiday tune, the world outside is frightful, but the sales are so delightful.

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Ren Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil

Personally, there is no situation or circumstance where I wouldn’t rather be in a warm bath. Ren has a reputation for excellent clean skincare, so the Rose Otto Bath Oil frequently sells out. Frankly, I’m surprised to see it still in stock right now — and at 20 percent off, no less. It’s seemingly every dermatologist’s top advice to avoid hot showers and baths in the winter to steer clear of dry skin, but with this in the water, you can have your bath and soft skin, too.

Trilogy Vital Moisturizing Cream

None other than Kate Middleton put this brand on my radar — she reportedly used Trilogy’s Rosehip oil while pregnant, so it’s constantly on the cusp of selling out — and it’s now holding a 30 percent-off sale. Said oil isn’t included (although you can nab a tiny bottle of it on sale at Skinstore), but the Vital Moisturizing Cream is just as beloved. “Makes my skin feel like it did 20 years ago,” wrote one user, and another commented that “it helps soften the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and even my acne scars.”

Kate Somerville Wrinkle Warrior Hydration Gel

Give it up for one of the best celebrity aesthetician-founded brands taking almost 30 bucks off the tag of this age-reversing cream. Kate Somerville, the person, tends to the famous faces of Meghan Markle, Eva Mendes, Demi Moore, Kate Hudson, and Kirsten Dunst, and according to shoppers, this lightweight gel moisturizer is like a genie in a jar. Forty-three-year-olds wrote of the “visible changes” they witnessed thanks to it, their fine lines and wrinkles “GONE” with daily application.

Ren Bio Retinoid Anti-Wrinkle Concentrate Oil

Speaking of anti-aging treatments, Ren’s retinoid collection is the stuff of innovative legends. The line calls on bakuchiol to accomplish retinol-esque results without any of the burning, flaking, or dry skin that the anti-aging powerhouse can bring. “I love this oil. It smells good, and it helps diminish fine lines and imperfections,” wrote a fan of its quick turnaround. “My skin is plumper the day after and looks more youthful.”

Versed Deck the Shelves Best of Versed Gift Set

Gifting anti-aging skincare can be delicate, so if you’re looking for something for the skincare aficionado in your life, this gift set is a great idea. It includes five of Versed’s best-sellers in a mix of mini and full sizes, including cleansing balm, brightening toner, face serum, retinol treatment, and gel cream moisturizer, and hit ingredients like niacinamide, vitamin E, and lactic acid mean fantastic results are in the recipient’s near future.

Tula Wrinkle Treatment Drops Retinol Alternative Serum

Far and away, this retinol alternative was one of InStyle shoppers’ favorite buys of Black Friday. The discount is just as good right now, so if you didn’t snag it then, this is your chance. “I’d say this retinol serum is pretty amazing,” wrote a customer with deep forehead wrinkles, vertical lines between their brows, and smile lines. “My skin glows and looks at least 10 years younger.” You guessed it: Bakuchiol is at work in the formula.

Versed The Fix Emergency Eye Mask

Something holiday carols don’t touch on nearly enough is just how stressful the season can be. If you want five minutes of respite, this gel eye mask offers a calming moment that tones down bags and puffiness with vitamin B, vitamin E, cucumber juice, and caffeine. Reviewers see “visible improvement” in their dark circles — even if they’re balancing a toddler and night-owl tendencies.

Merit A/W 2021 The Box Set

This is possibly the classiest that lip gloss will ever be. Though calling it just “gloss” is a bit of an understatement, because while glossy, the oil-based stain goes above and beyond with a formula of rosehip oil, shea butter, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, and fatty acids. The box set bundles four variations on the brand’s sheer wash of color: gold-laced clear, peachy red, sophisticated nude, and stylish brown. Paired with a black liquid liner, the set is anyone’s best bet at channeling the ’90s without cringing in a few years.

Kérastase Masque Chromatique Hair Mask

Kérastase was one of the original bougie, celebrity-favored hair brands, and while it’s been joined by Serge Normant, Oribe, and Virtue in the upper echelon, grabbing Kérastase’s mask on sale is still appealing, especially since Jennifer Aniston uses it. The Chromatique Hair Mask is beloved by customers as well; the texture is “so thick and luxurious,” and leaves dyed hair feeling “silky smooth.” If coloring your hair makes it feel damaged, this will help undo the harm.

Paula’s Choice ​​Expert Exfoliation Duo

Paula’s Choice products are some of the hardest-working ones you’ll ever meet, and this set combines the brand’s best-selling pore-minimizing BHA exfoliant with a line-lightening AHA and BHA peel. Speaking to the latter, one shopper said, “My old skin looks radiant, the pores smaller. I look a bit more youthful. At 70-something, I am grateful for the discovery. In fact, I’m giving it for Christmas as the best thing of the year.” They’re no outlier: Another person testified that thanks to the formula, they’ve been told they could pass for 10 years younger.

Dermstore Collection Dry Brush Exfoliator With Handle

Dry brushing is something of a supermodel open secret; both Miranda Kerr and Cindy Crawford use the technique to ensure glowing, soft, supple skin. Dermstore’s marked-down brush is an easy way to try out the method, and users say after trying multiple tools, Dermstore’s is sturdy, comfortable, and “by far the best.” Trust: Dry brushing before a shower or bath is the easiest way to feel like a whole new person.

Sea Rose Mineral Soak

I’m a sucker for a bath soak, and this blend of salts from the Dead Sea and the Himalayas looks as nice as it feels. Beyond the surface, the brand says minerals like magnesium, calcium, sulphur and selenium soothe tired muscles and rejuvenate skin, and dried rose petals add a relaxing scent. Normally, you’d have to hand over $30 for the experience, but the soak’s 40 percent off right now. Traveling to a tropical body of water is less than feasible right now, but I’ll take a “SEA”-branded soak instead.

Elemis Pro-Collagen Advanced Eye Treatment

“Miracle in a bottle,” said one reviewer of this eye treatment. “This is one of the best skincare products I’ve ever tried. I’m 38 years old, and I don’t have any smile lines around my eyes. People tell me that it’s impossible that I’m that old. My eyes don’t have wrinkles! Since the age of five, I always had under eye bags and circles.” No more, they concluded — their bags are gone, and concealer is no longer needed. At work is a hefty dose of amino acids, protein- and mineral-rich blue flower linseed, and a moisturizing brown algae.

Replenix Glycolic Acid 20 Resurfacing Cream

Glycolic acid is unparalleled for its anti-aging power, and this gentle resurfacing cream combines the ingredient with line-reducing vitamin A, brightening vitamin C, and moisturizing vitamin E (which Drew Barrymore “douses” herself in). An impressed Dermstore customer said their dermatologist recommended Replenix to them: “I’m in my mid-50’s and essentially have no fine lines around my eyes. Will use this forever!” Another seconded that finding, writing, “Diminished the wrinkle line between my brows, faded crow’s feet and forehead lines… I’m telling you, this product is a winner.”

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