The beauty department subscribes to a one-for-you, one-for-me approach to the holidays, vacillating between the discoveries that work as flat-out amazing gifts and those we can’t resist getting for ourselves. Some of our favorites—like the iconic blue balm from Furtuna, wrapped in a limited-edition only-on-goop box—fit both categories. The glow-inducing balm indulges and hydrates any skin type (it’s especially delectable in winter), and it smells and feels irresistibly good. So it’s an ultrathoughtful prewrapped gift for anyone on your list, but if ever you yourself are in the market for a truly indulgent moisturizer, it’s hard to do better than the Furtuna.
A dream care package for hair is another of these must-get-for-everyone-including-yourself discoveries, along with a brand-new TheraFace mask for skin that really does everything, a fantastic new perfume that smells like sunshine, and more.
Furtuna SkinRinascita Delle Olive Replenishing Balmgoop, $225SHOP NOW
Like a Tinder swiper who messages for too long before meeting in person, I was in love with this scent before I ever smelled it: The exuberant, more-is-more chicness of the bottle was irresistible, and the name, Sun Rae—which evokes so many enchanting things—was even more so. Who doesn’t love a ray of sunshine? Especially when they’re a Leo? And then there’s the legendary Afrofuturist jazz band, the Sun Ra Arkestra.
I don’t know whether the people at Vyrao were thinking of the Sun Ra Arkestra when they came up with Sun Rae, but the association makes sense either way. I met Marshall Allen—the current leader of the Sun Ra Arkestra—at a concert. He sounded incredible, of course, showing up the many assembled jazz greats who were not in their late 90s. While his music was obviously the thing, I found his outfit equally electrifying: a satin sort of bomber jacket paired with a shimmering, paillette-spangled vest depicting a fiery sun, rising or setting depending on your perspective.
Even when it’s your conscious intention to connect with a sense of joy, creativity, and freedom as often as you can, it can be really, really easy to forget about the sunburst-paillette vest inside yourself. This sparkling, glamorous perfume mixes turmeric, cardamom (an aphrodisiac), and vetiver with citrusy bergamot into something that reminds me, every time I spritz it on, of that sunburst-paillette energy. That it lasts all day (I can’t resist sniffing my wrist every hour or so) and comes charged with special crystals is just the icing on a very luxurious cake.
Much to my dismay at the time, I spent a good portion of my childhood camping in the woods. As a result, to this day, even the dingiest Motel 6 has the power to delight me with its four walls, roof, running water, and miniature soaps. At the same time, all I want is a campfire, crackling under the trees (if you ever manage a trip to the Point, do not miss the evening bonfire). This misty-grey glass candle smells like an idealized campfire: Raspberry, juniper berry, cypress, cedar, and oud create a smokiness that’s also somehow fresh. It’s really like you’re in the woods, with the wetness and the cold air and the trails of smoke—all of it.
Crown Affair made a special gift just for us here at goop, and it’s got to be the most beguiling combination of luxeness and practicality I’ve seen in a very long time. It also just happens to contain the sold-out-everywhere Ritual shampoo that the internet is seriously thirsting for. Give the set to just about anyone and leave delight, awe, and fantastic-looking hair in your wake. It comes with four of my favorite things: The Ritual shampoo and conditioner (both famously smell fantastic, instantly upgrade the look of any shower, and nourish your hair for shine and bounce), a wide-tooth detangling comb in a tortoiseshell-esque caramel and cream, and a big silk scrunchie in the prettiest only-on-goop pale pink. The large muslin bag it comes in is also fun to open—get one for yourself and you’ll want to give one to everyone you know.
December is the month my skin hates the most—spritzy cocktails at the Plaza, holiday soirees with epic charcuterie boards, delayed cross-country flights, and blustery walks through the Union Square holiday market add up to puffier, splotchier, more irritated skin. This year I’m prepared. I’ve been using this LED-and-vibrational-massage mask every night before I go to bed, and my skin has stayed fresh, smooth, and totally luminous despite all the usual holiday stress. The nine-minute treatment is my favorite: soothing and tension-relieving, it targets pressure points around your eyes, temple, and scalp with vibration as it cycles through brightening red light, rejuvenating red and infrared light, and blemish-obliterating blue light treatments. (The vibrations turn off during the blue light to prevent the spreading of breakout-causing bacteria.) An added benefit: The treatment forces me to take a full nine minutes to wind down from the day—I put my phone on Do Not Disturb, meditate, and do deep breathing exercises that relax me before bed.
This year, my friends and I are throwing a “favorite things” party: Each person gives everyone in the group their most-beloved beauty or home item. I’m giving these ultramoisturizing body-balm bars. The chicly festive boxes they come in are guaranteed to delight, but I know everyone is going to adore what’s inside even more. The whole beauty department has been obsessed with the stones since they launched, but these limited-edition scents—Orange Spice is calming with orange and cinnamon, while Lemon Drop is energizing with lemon, vanilla, and Cognac—feel like a decadent treat every time I smooth the bar over my skin. (Try it right out of the shower, which makes it moisturize like nothing else.) The bars glide smoothly over any dry spots, melt right in, and leave skin soft, supple, and silky—plus, they can double as subtle, really pretty perfumes.
My everyday look is simple—tinted SPF, brow gel, a swipe of mascara, and a rosy flush of color on my lips and cheeks. This chic makeup kit from top makeup artist Gucci Westman makes the last part easier than ever, delivering the best shimmer-and-flush glow: You get Westman’s bestselling highlighter stick in Biscuit (a glassy cool bronze), lip gloss in Nectar (a glimmery golden peach), and matte powder blush in Petal (the prettiest dusty rose). They brighten my entire face, make my cheekbones pop, and take me seconds to dab on. Right away I look better—naturally flushed and pulled-together. They’re so good, I even caught my visiting little sister trying to pilfer them from my makeup drawer.
I bought this reed diffuser for my sister as a Christmas gift (I like to get my shopping done early). Her house is a cool mix of a somewhat French, almost Baroque sensibility and an organic, nature-centric Portland vibe. French and woodsy? Check, I thought. But when I got it home, the gorgeous ivory box, with its delicately drawn botanicals, really drew me in. Inside that, the sleek glass bottle and black reeds (more luxe than conventional brown ones) were hard to resist. But the scent—sandalwood, cedar, vetiver, cinnamon, and nutmeg—sealed the deal. Inspired by a hiking trail known as Lover’s Lane near the founders’ family home in France, it’s airy, romantic, and earthy all at once. The bottle is now sitting on my living room mantle, and I’ve ordered another for my sister—she’s going to love it.
I used to love salon face peels for the noticeable glow and nearly invisible pores they gave me—until one left my skin looking like carpaccio. I coddled my skin back to health, and I’ve avoided peels since. But I missed the clear, radiant skin I used to get, so I decided to dip a toe back in with a peel I could do at home. I tried several, but then I tried this mint-green gel—and the results are every bit as good as I remember from the salon, without any of the irritation. It’s made with AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs, plus tranexamic acid, so it really exfoliates, while rosemary and electrolytes soothe and hydrate. I apply a thin layer once a week at night after cleansing and wait 15 minutes (it can tingle; that’s the acids working), then rinse with lukewarm water. I follow it with my serum and moisturizer and go to bed. After a month’s worth of treatments, my skin has never looked so good.
My love for algae runs deep. Some of my earliest memories involve playing on Redondo Beach with my friends, wrapping the seaweed that washed up around our bodies from head to toe; now I appreciate its reported benefits (many algaes are rich in copper, iodine, magnesium, B vitamins, and more). I mix spirulina powder into my water first thing in the morning and add kombu to homemade bone broth, and, every evening, I slather algae over my body in the form of this thick, citrusy body oil. It’s made with a particular blend of algae that nourishes and helps improve texture and the look of cellulite (it’s rich in flavonoids said to help with skin microcirculation). Swirled with moringa and cucumber seed oils, the concoction feels like velvet on my skin, which drinks it up.