CoveyClub’s Best Beauty Gifts for 2021
Everyone needs some pampering at the end of the year...especially this year
Color! Fragrance! Skin and hair care! Covey has you covered for your holiday shopping. We’ve hunted down terrific products, and, even better, most of them are from female founders!
SCENTS FOR SMELLING GOOD AND FEELING BETTER
Australian-born, London-based Yasmin Sewell, known for her style savvy and a thriving career in fashion, is now a perfume entrepreneur. Sewell launched Vyrao — from Latin’s vireo, meaning “I am green” — a well-being fragrance collection last spring, working with expert perfumer Lyn Harris, and Louise Mita, a practitioner in quantum energy medicine, which is an alternative healing method that attempts to correct imbalances in the body. Each of the five eau de parfums has a different purpose, such as “transformation and illumination” for the I Am Verdant scent, and “self love” for the Georgette scent. Every bottle ($190 for 50ml) holds a Herkimer diamond, a double-terminated quartz crystal considered to be highly vibrational by those who espouse crystal healing and which can only be found in Herkimer County, NY. The High Five Travel Set, featuring five 7.5 ml spray flacons for $95, is a great way to try out all five scents. They are available on the brand’s website as well as at Saks Fifth Avenue, Shen Beauty and Canada’s SSENSE. Candles and incense coming soon!
FINALLY! A DARK SPOT SERUM CONCEIVED FOR WOMEN OF COLOR
Are you a woman of color, or is your bestie? If so, try and get your hands on Milk Marvel Dark Spot Serum, the sole product from skin care upstart Eadem. This serum (30 ml for $68) was developed by Alice Lin Glover and Marie Kouadio Amouzame, both women of color, to address the specific kind of hyper- or hypopigmentation — patches of darker or lighter skin — that can occur on skin of color from acne, bug bites, or even just inflammation. Apparently it works so well that, at the time of this writing, it sold out on the company’s website and at Sephora, the brand’s other stockist. The founders met at Google, where they had marketing management roles. Frustrated when unable to find appropriate skin care for themselves, they decided to create their own. The serum’s efficacy is attributed to proprietary Smart Melanin (™) technology, and ingredients including amber algae, ethyl ascorbic acid (vitamin C), niacinamide, and licorice root.
FOR THOSE LOOKING TO SIMPLIFY THEIR HYGIENE ROUTINES
This Minneapolis-based, all-age, inclusive hair care and hygiene company launched at the beginning of 2020 — COVID, anyone? — and reached profitability within six months. It was founded by three friends and working moms — Lindsay Holden, Britta Chatterjee and Shannon Kearny — who were determined to reduce the number of bottles in the showers around their homes, and to leave the corporate world to become entrepreneurs. Odele is an affordable, salon-grade, clean product. The key ingredients in the hair care are amaranth, a plant with oil-rich seeds and high protein levels, and rice tein, a protein. Odele boasts a fresh scent consisting of cucumber, oakmass, ylang-ylang and other florals. The travel set is a great way to keep your hair looking fabulous on the road. It includes smoothing shampoo and conditioner and an air dry styling liquid gel, all 3.4 oz for $15. www.odelebeauty.com
FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO LET DOWN THEIR HAIR
Pioneering hair care company Olaplex, which started in a California garage in 2014 and went public on NASDAQ last fall with a market valuation of a whopping $16 billion, is a hands-down favorite for its ability to repair hair. It was founded by Dean and Darcy Christal who enlisted scientist Craig Hawker and developed a patented molecule, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, that protects hair and repairs damaged tresses. Now it’s run by beauty dynamo, Singaporean JuE Wong, who cut her managerial teeth at Cargill and Pepsico before heading into consumer packaged goods and beauty, leading StriVectin, Elizabeth Arden, and MoroccanOil. Wong expanded Olaplex’s three-product range originally for salons by adding six hair care products to sell in stores and online, including a shampoo and conditioner and bond-building treatments and moisturizers. For the holidays, Olaplex rounded up some of its fan faves into kits, available exclusively on the company’s website. Go for the best-sellers in the Bond Maintenance Kit ($84), which includes the No. 3 Hair Perfector, the No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo, and the No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner, each 250ml or 8.5 oz.
FOR THOSE WHO LOVE A KALEIDOSCOPE OF COLOR
Who can resist this brilliant Black Magic Carnival eye shadow palette, $45, from Uoma? The deeply pigmented hues in this set have names evoking the history of carnival, from the “Rio” deep matte pink to the “Mardi Gras” metallic violet with blue specks. Uoma, pronounced “oma” which means “beautiful” in the Nigerian Igbo language, is an inclusive beauty collection from the Nigerian-born Sharon Chuter, one of the female leaders in the cosmetics industry. When Chuter worked at some of the world’s most important beauty companies, including France’s L’Oréal and Benefit at LVMH, she saw that despite all their talk, they were still flagrantly lacking in diversity. Her experience and insight enabled her to launch her Uoma, starting with the Say What? range of 51 shades of foundations, $39 for 1 oz. Last year, Chuter launched the mass-market Uoma by Sharon C, which sells on the company website as well as at Walmart. Foundations here are $15 for 1 oz.
CLEAN SKIN CARE THAT WON’T BREAK THE BANK
For the person whose beauty checklist includes vegan, cruelty-free, sustainable, Climate Neutral Certified and drugstore prices, run, don’t walk to Versed skin care. Created three years ago by Katherine Power (CEO of WhoWhatWear, co-founder with Cameron Diaz of Avaline wine) and founding president and marketing/branding expert Melanie Bender, Versed features everything from cleansers and toners to body care and sunscreen, and all prices are below $20. We love the Deck the Shelves gift set, $34.99, which includes a cleansing balm, brightening solution, retinol serum, moisturizing gel-cream and a clarifying serum. It will appeal to anyone searching for clean, sustainable beauty. While the brand’s website has the largest selection of products, Versed can also be found at other retailers, including Target and Dermstore.
CLEAN, SPIFFY NAIL CARE FOR SUNDAYS AND EVERY DAY
A nontoxic nail care company that believes in wellness and self-care, with salons where you can practice guided meditation during a mani-pedi? Yes, please! Founder Amy Lin, who came to the US from rural China not knowing a word of English, established Sundays in 2017. This determined dynamo, having earned a scholarship to Syracuse University, left luxury retail after a friend told her about the toxicity of nail polish, and poor working conditions and pay for manicurists. Lin went off to nail school to learn about trade, followed that up with an MBA from Columbia University, and then worked with a chemist to develop an effective, durable and nontoxic nail polish. Thus, Sundays was born. There is a Sundays “Studio” salon at Saks Fifth Avenue in NY, one in Hudson Yards, and next year, one will open on NY’s Upper East Side. Sundays’ range of nail colors seems limitless, and a bottle of polish costs $18. We love the customizable gift sets of three or five polishes, $55 and $86, respectively. The company also offers cuticle serums, a polish remover, and a variety of nail care kits.
FOR THOSE WHO WANT CLEAN HANDS, A COOL HEAD AND A WARM HEART
When Amy Welsman began thinking about hand sanitizer, it was 2019 and COVID wasn’t a thing. But there’s nothing like bringing a newborn home to make young parents worry about germs, especially from visitors. Knowing that well-wishers cannot always get to a sink fast, she and her husband stocked sanitizer around their apartment. But Welsman hated how harsh sanitizer was to skin, how badly it smelled, and how ugly and unsustainable the plastic packaging is. So, she launched Paume, which means “palm” in French, hand sanitizer that contains 69% ethyl alcohol, the key ingredient to fight germs and bacteria. It also boasts witch hazel, aloe vera, an emollient derived from safflower oil along with cedarwood, lavender, rosemary, lemon and orange essential oils for a fresh, herbal scent. The Paume range, thanks to investment money including from giant Unilever, now includes a probiotic nourishing hand cream that comes with cotton gloves, and an exfoliating hand cleanser. Packaging is made up of 65% post-consumer recycled content, and there are refill bags for the sanitizer and the cleanser. Since hand-sanitizing is now part of our daily regimen, we like the Sanitize Essential Bundle, $72, with the 8 oz pump, 17 oz refill bag, and 3 oz travel size bottle.
FOR GUYS WHO CARE ABOUT THEIR SKIN BUT DON’T WANT TO BE TOLD HOW TO
At Covey, we always love to highlight products from female founders. But sometimes we have to tip our hats to the men. No more eye-rolling when we women make a skin care suggestion to a man in our lives, amiright? Say hello to Geologie, a skin care company from Nick Alle and Dave Skaff, who came to the beauty realm from diverse industries including ride share, advertising and marketing. They enlisted the help of dermatologist Dr. Steve Xu to head Geologie’s medical advisory board and work with cosmetic chemists and suppliers on product development. What makes Geologie different is the ability for men to get a customized range of products based on their answers from a diagnostic test. And for those guys too impatient to take a test — and we know who you are — opt for the normal or sensitive skin care offerings. For the holidays, Geologie has a full skin care regimen in 90-day or 30-day size options. The 90-day version includes two 60ml (2 oz) face washes, a 50 ml (1.69 oz) Vital Morning Face Cream, a 10 ml (.34 oz) Nourishing Eye Cream, and a 50ml Repairing Night Cream that normally sells for $150. www.geologie.com
THE BEST NO-GIMMICK TOILETRY BAG
Everyone’s always trying to find the best, newest thing when really, there are some brands that are tried and true. France’s Longchamp is one of those classics. Creative director Sophie Delafontaine, the granddaughter of the company founder Jean Cassegrain, has been with the house since 1995. Those lightweight, colorful, foldable, durable series of nylon bags and accessories? Merci, Sophie! She also can be thanked for staying true to Longchamp’s virtually indestructible yet unbelievably supple grained leather in scores of colors. Longchamp has a wide selection of small leather goods, and the Le Foulonné toiletry bag for men, $210, is the perfect size and shape for holding what you need, and fitting into your suitcase or carry-on.