21 best beauty gifts under £50: Make-up, skincare, candles and more for a real treat
Treat them to something they’ll love without breaking the bank
Everyone needs a bit of a pamper at this time of year, which is why opting for a beauty treat for your loved one will always be a winner.
From balms and brushes to candles, creams and crackers, we’ve trawled the latest beauty launches to find the most beautiful, luxurious and interesting beauty gifts around.
We looked for products that deliver great value, companies that care about the environment and are taking active steps in sustainability, and of course anything with a good dose of sparkle.
We’ve tried and tested nearly 100 gifts, and these are the ones that made the cut for 2019.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Skin Alchemists apothecary midnight’s serenade intensive skin treatment: £36, Skin Alchemists
Descended from a family of renowned St Lucian herbalists, Skin Alchemist founder Theresa Edward saw the change in her skin, health and energy after emigrating to a fast-paced London lifestyle. She saw a gap in the market for a truly organic, all natural, vegan, non-synthetic, non-toxic skincare range.
This eco-luxe brand launched in 2019 and many of its sustainably sourced organic ingredients come directly from farmers in St Lucia. We tested the beautiful intensive skin treatment candle, that blends calming jasmine, fatigue-fighting sweet orange, lavender, passionflower and rose de mai, for the ultimate pre-sleep de-stress.
Simply light the wick for 10-15 minutes, blow out the flame and wait a couple of minutes before pouring the molten wax onto your skin and massaging it in. The low melting point of the wax ensures it never gets too hot for the skin, which we found was left silky smooth and nourished. Everyone needs a little TLC at this time of year and this candle is just the treat your loved one deserves.
Victoria Beckham Beauty lid lustre, 5g: £28, Victoria Beckham Beauty
Any self-respecting beauty enthusiast waking up to something from the Victoria Beckham Beauty collection – the most eagerly anticipated beauty launch of 2019 – in their stocking this year will be thrilled. It’s not easy to buy someone else make-up though, so go neutral unless you know their preferences very well. The lid lustre eyeshadows are a guaranteed, failsafe winner and we found the mink and onyx shades the most versatile. Mink for anyone who likes their make-up more natural and onyx would suit for smoky-eye fans. An easy to use, finger-dipping pot of high-shine, pearly, creamy eyeshadow. Utterly brilliant.
Andrea Garland vintage lip balm: From £18, Andrea Garland
It doesn’t get much more sustainable in beauty than scouring flea markets and antique stalls for vintage pill boxes and repurposing them as lip-balm compacts. The brand’s natural, handmade lip balm blends organic beeswax, organic shea butter and antioxidant-packed meadowfoam seed oil for the perfect nourishing, protective skin smoother. There’s also a vegan option that uses candelilla wax instead of beeswax. Made in small batches in Hackney, London, Andrea Garland also offers a lip-balm refill service. If you’re not quick enough off the mark and the original vintage tins have sold out, it also makes vintage-inspired lip balm tins, so you won’t miss out.
Lily England the marble luxe make-up brush set: £45, Lily England
The cruelty-free, vegan bristles in these high-quality brushes are nestled in a super-chic marbleised black cosmetics bag. This incredible-value set is a comprehensive collection of nine great brushes covering every possible make-up eventuality. Among these are a large powder brush, a sculpt and glow brush for contouring, a fan brush for highlighter and five different eye brushes. Perfect for anyone starting a make-up kit, or looking for a cost-efficient way to update old brushes.
La-Eva roseum lotion, 200ml: £20, La-Eva
For the eco-conscious beauty buffs, this surprisingly inexpensive range should tick all the boxes and make a really gorgeous gift. Encased in stunning refillable apothecary-style bottles is cruelty-free, vegan and organic skincare and haircare products which are multi-use. The roseum lotion is a blend of rose geranium with citrus notes of petitgrain and warming clove for an uplifting, nourishing lotion for hands, face and body.
Nars Cosmetics studio 54 free lover cheek palette: £46, Nars Cosmetics
Studio 54-inspired, this Nars collection is a homage to disco sparkle. During a late-Seventies New Year’s Eve party at the legendary nightclub, four tons of glitter was dropped onto the dance floor, a lot of which stayed in the partygoers’ clothes and homes for months. This palette, with its hot-pink glitter lid, contains six gorgeous blush and highlighter shades from a bright coral to a strawberry pink with golden shimmer. We found “luster”, the sheer golden apricot, a really pretty, easy to wear blush that suits everyone.
Victoria Green Emma three in one hanging beauty bag in leopard tan: £32, Victoria Green
Our obsession with leopard print continues with this stylish beauty carrier. We’ve long been fans of Victoria Green’s wash bags; they are spacious, wipeable, leak-proof, and often have clever detachable sections and a hook for hanging. This bag contains not one, but two removable make-up bags for shorter trips. For frequent flyers, one of these clear, detachable bags is the same cubic space as airport single-use plastic bag, so you can confidently fill it with hand-luggage approved bottles.
Ruby Hammer magnetic brush set: £28, Ruby Hammer
This brilliant, space-saving, multi-use brush set contains three brushes – a pointed/crease brush for eyeshadow and concealer, an angled brush for brows and liner and a smudge brush for eyeshadow and lip colour. Swap the three brush sections depending on which one you need to use – the whole device delivers a satisfying magnet click whenever you swap a brush around. All three brushes work with cream, powder and liquid and they’re cruelty-free.
Bare Minerals glam packed: £39, Bare Minerals
Fans of mineral make-up will love this beautiful faux leather make-up bag set, containing products worth £72.50. It includes the oasis eye and cheek palette with its eight stunning nude neutrals, two darker shades for a smoky eye and two blushers. There’s also a full-size vegan mascara, and cult favourite mineral veil finishing powder to set make-up, absorb oil and blur pores. Bare Minerals has also included a two week sample of its best-selling serum skinlongevity vital power infusion, which it claims helps create smoother, stronger, glowing skin in just 14 days.
Hourglass scattered light glitter eyeshadow collection: £42, Space NK
Crushed pearl and light-reflecting glitter in this shimmering trio of creamy, metallic eyeshadows look gorgeous on the eye. Depending on the intensity you want to go for, we found the colour was easy to build from a sheer finish to a full-on sparkly eye. The trio is made up of the coppery bronze shade, foil, a champagne gold, ray, and the rich plum sparkly colour, molten. A great collection for a festive eye look.
Laura Mercier paint with light radiant face illuminator trio: £40, John Lewis & Partners
This pretty palette comes in a warm and cool versions – we tested the cool one, which looks great on paler skin tones. It contains three large discs of pink, gold and champagne-coloured illuminating powders. For a sheer, diffused glow, apply using a fan brush, or for a more defined highlight use a smaller, denser brush on cheekbones and eyelids. We found you can also use fingers to work in the product to so it really looks like part of your skin.
Kooky Botanicals multi-purpose balm, 30ml: £12.95 for 30ml, Kooky Botanicals
“Kind to your skin, kind to your pocket, kind to the planet” is Kooky Botanical’s message and we think it’s cracked it with this new multi-purpose beauty balm. Created by two sisters with a background in make-up artistry and skincare, this is a true kitchen table beauty brand. We love how calming this lemongrass and ginger balm is, featuring an uplifting zesty hit and relaxing lavender.
Alongside essential oils, the balm also contains shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba oil and vitamin E – the perfect winter skin saver recipe. We found it to be a real multitasker as it’s great for nails, flyaway hair, keeping eyebrows in place and soothing dry winter lips. The balm also comes in other scents as well as a fragrance-free version. They make perfect stocking fillers.
Elemis shine bright duo gift set: £49, Elemis
Whatever your skincare preferences, everyone wants brighter, glowing skin. And this purifying, smoothing double act will deliver just that. The facial wash gently exfoliates away dead skin cells and boosts moisture levels, while the facial pads will turbo-charge your glow, smoothing and brightening lacklustre winter skin. A luminous complexion in the middle of winter requires some dedication, but we found this duo takes the hard work out of it.
Bobbi Brown major crush liquid lip set: £40, Bobbi Brown
For lipstick lovers, this incredible-value set covers all the shades you need. Bobbi Brown’s website handily shows models of different skin tones wearing each shade, which, although it should be standard practice in the make-up industry, is often hard to come by. From the perfect nude to a rich berry shade, these colours are great for winter. The formula is somewhere between a lipstick and a gloss but with all the benefits of a balm, so won’t dry out chapped lips.
Liz Earle the winter refresh cleanse and polish hot cloth cleanser pink pepper and mint: £24, Feel Unique
Containing a full size 150ml bottle of the brand’s cult favourite cleanser and two pure cotton cloths, this festive twist on cleanse and polish features an aromatic blend of spicy pink pepper and uplifting, freshly crushed mint. We find it the perfect pick-me-up for cold winter mornings when our skin needs a boost. The naturally active ingredients slough away the day’s grime and dead skin cells and we found skin looked brighter and more radiant after use.
Aromatherapy Associates forest bathing bauble: £10, Liberty London
A pretty tree ornament or table gift, inside this bauble is a bath and shower oil featuring a blend of natural, hand blended essential oils, including ylang ylang, lavender and petitgrain. These ingredients calm, restore and soothe your skin and body, which is often much needed during the festive period.
Real Techniques metallic dimension gift set: £18.50, Escentual
Arguably one of the best make-up brush brands in the business, Real Techniques has a great reputation for quality products, and this set is no exception. It includes a pointed crease brush, rounded blush brush, blending brush and shadow brush for cream or powder shadows. A clever addition to the set is the quick mix palette, designed to be worn on your finger like a ring so you can blend products together easily as you go.
Stila light up the night eye and lip set: £24.50, Beauty Bay
The three full-size, top-selling products in this set make for excellent-value gifting. Featuring Stila’s waterproof liquid eyeliner in intense black, a beauty boss lip gloss in the shade casual Friday and the brand’s extreme lash mascara, this set is all you need for a simple daytime look.
Baylis & Harding the fuzzy duck sloe gin fragranced luxury bubble bath, 480ml: £8.50, Sainsbury’s
Housed in a fabulously retro cut-glass decanter, this great-value bubble bath delivers impressive bubbles that don’t disappear anywhere near as quickly as many foam baths we’ve tested.
Heathcote & Ivory vintage & co bathing tin: £12, Heathcote & Ivory
A brand that always works hard to ensure its packaging is reusable, Heathcote & Ivory has housed this bathing gift set in a circus-themed tin. Inside you’ll find a full-size 100ml shower gel and a travel sized 50ml body lotion in a festively fragranced blend of warming pomegranate, red berries, sweet orange zest and vanilla.
The verdict: Beauty gifts under £50
Our best buy goes to Skin Alchemists midnight’s serenade candle as the brand’s eco credentials are excellent and it’s exactly the kind of de-stressing gift we need under the tree this year. If you’re looking for make-up, the Nars Studio 54 palette is one of the most stunning products we’ve tested.
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.