Beauty Buys

By Isabelle Lipkin

September 18, 2009 5 min read

The holiday season requires multi-tasking -- buy presents, throw or go to parties and arrange travel plans while still working and maintaining a personal life. Whether you're looking for a present for yourself or for someone else, a spa package is a gift that offers more than just a great deal; a few precious hours of pampering and peace of mind can make all the difference in getting through the hectic season. Consider offering the woman in your life -- or yourself -- a beauty deal that will save time, money or both yet also make her feel cared for. Taking time out for an afternoon at a spa can be a great way to rejuvenate while preparing for a big night out or just shoring up some tranquility against the days ahead. Also, consider the many beauty kits offered as gifts during the season as a kind of portable spa.

There are 31 Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas across the United States, and the company gears up for the holiday season with special packages. Andrea Betts of M Booth & Associates, in New York, recommends the "Red Door Magnolia Body Treatment," which uses the Villa Floriani line carried by Red Door. "It is perfect for the holidays," Betts says, "because it helps to restore skin dehydrated and worn by the transition into winter while providing a relaxing escape from holiday stress through the massage." As is the case at most salons, the larger the package you buy at Red Door the more you save and the more services you get for an all-day-in-one escape into luxury. Red Door salons also offer the "Red Door Magnolia Manicure & Pedicure," which gives the largest savings when booked together. Listed as "exfoliating, hydrating and intoxicating," both services remove dryness while soothing and repairing skin that is winter-worn -- the perfect prelude to strappy party shoes or a way to add festive polish to match an evening dress.

Bliss Spas also are scattered throughout the United States (as well as Europe) and offer several holiday packages. On their Web site (, they offer their top 10 treatments, which include the "Best of Skintentions," listed as including a "fab-for-all facial." Their trademarked "Blissage" boasts a "tension-melting marriage of tension taming massage techniques" -- ideal for the harried shopper or overextended hostess. If you're not in a city with a Red Door or Bliss salon, call a local day spa, and ask what services it offers. Chances are the spa will combine a few in a special holiday deal, which can make for the perfect treat -- a mini holiday within the holiday season.

Another way in which to indulge holiday deals with practicality is to buy the woman in your life a prepackaged set of beauty products. Sephora, found throughout the United States, offers several boxed kits listed as "packed" with their best-sellers and biggest obsessions, all of which were hand-picked "by Sephora's resident beauty buffs." All less than $40, the kits are perfect for travel, as each item included is less than 3 ounces. According to a consultant in Sephora's store in New York's Times Square, the "Splashstash Waterproof Deluxe Sampler" is always a good choice; no matter when or where a woman is traveling, having waterproof essentials available is always handy. Another recommended kit from Sephora is the "Bare Escentuals Get Started Kit." For a fraction ($60) of the full retail price for each product, customers receive two foundation powders, blush, a primer, a setting powder and several makeup brushes. Customers can choose kits to match their skin tones and learn application techniques through the DVD included.

Benefit, a spunky cosmetics company based in San Francisco, also offers several multi-tasking beauty kits for the woman who's on the go. Benefit's "Smokin' Eyes" kit is easy to drop into a purse or stash in a travel bag and offers several eye shadows, eyeliner, primer and a few beauty tools. Or try the company's "Realness of Concealness" makeup kit, which has three travel-sized vials that include the company's top-selling concealers and enhancers -- perfect to mask a post-party hangover. The company claims the kit is "small enough to pass through airport security," making it "perfect for travel." It's "your solution for beauty dilemmas on-the-go." "Brows A-Go-Go" lets busy women tame their brows into submission anywhere, with several brushes, a small pair of tweezers and complimentary shades. Or try "Rush Hour" -- a good-for-all-skin-tones cream, lipstick, blush and even eye shadow that can do double duty -- or more -- just like most women during the holiday season.

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