Photography by Luis Llerena/Stock Snap
We’ve all been there, you know, scrambling at the 11th hour to get an extra-special present for someone important on your list. These last-minute gifts are so thoughtful, they’ll never know you just picked it up.
If you’ve exhausted your options for a gift for that special guy in your life—because he’s either too picky or has almost everything—consider a portable Bose speaker. This one is water-resistant (great for camping and hiking), has full-range sound and is durable and simple to use.
Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth® Speaker II, $181.
Most ornaments go on sale in early December, so this is the kind of gift that’s perfect to pick up last minute because it will actually save you money. Sweeten the deal and give an ornament hanging from a bottle of wine.
Glitterville Antler Ornament, $7.50.
Still missing a gift for your Mother-in-law or your dear aunt that always bakes you fruit cake? Head to Shoppers Drug Mart and give her the gift of Amazing Grace. This best selling fragrance from beauty brand Philosophy smells clean and beautifully feminine with a powdery floral air of sophistication and polish. This collection includes Eau de Toilette, shampoo, bath and shower gel and whipped body crème.
Amazing Grace Holiday Set, $60.
What do you get someone with sophisticated taste and a thirst for the finer things in life. Easy; Champagne.
Veuve Cliquot Yellow Mailbox, $70.
Need a gift ASAP, but don’t have time to leave the house? Simple, order online and give the gift that keeps on giving with a new pair of socks every month, for a year! These vibrant and graphic socks are available for both men and women.
One pair every six months, $78. One pair for a year, $146.
Need a little something special for your child’s teacher or your next door neighbour? Pick up a tin Voluspa candle. The packaging is beautiful and the two wicks give off a rich glow. This scent smells of sweet apricots muddled withs superfine sugar and crisp Prosecco.
Voluspa Prosecco Bellini Two Wick Tin, $16.
There are few places that are open on Christmas day, but Starbucks is one of them. If you’re on your way to your holiday dinner and realized you forgot something for that caffeine loving cousin of yours, make a pitstop at your local Starbucks and grab one of their festive drinkware cups. We love the ceramic sweater cup with a swivel lid.
Sweater double wall traveler, $27.
Headed to one of your besties for your annual friends holiday dinner and need something clever to bring? Gift something useful and beautiful with a little bit of whimsy, like this marble cheese board. Crafted from creamy white marble, the cool surface is ideal for serving cheese and charcuterie.
Expressions marble and copper cheese board, $37.
Nothing’s better than a fresh pair of jammies on Christmas morning.
Men’s plaid sleep set, $20.
Need something for your teenage niece, but have absolutely no idea what she’s into? Whether she’s artistic, sporty, goth or one of the "popular girls" at her high school she’ll be into something from NYX Cosmetics. We especially love these palettes, choose from one of seven that houses eight shades of shadow and one liquid matte lipstick.
NYX Cosmetics Wanderlust Lip & Eye Collection, $25.
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We speak to a skin-care professional about how to treat a parched complexion.
Preserving glowing, flake-free skin can be difficult at the best of times. In wintertime, when the harsh elements lead to skin-cell breakdown and shorter days mean less patience for skin care, it can seem almost impossible. But trust us: Dry skin needs an effective treatment regimen, especially during the winter.
We spoke to Dr. Nowell Solish, cosmetic dermatologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto, for insight into how dry skin operates, what ingredients you should embrace and avoid, and which treatments will faithfully work year after year.
How does dry skin occur?
“Our skin has natural oils and a barrier of protection,” says Dr. Solish. “If we’re in an environment that causes our skin to evaporate more water, or the surrounding temperature is cold and dry and the humidity is low, our skin will get drier.” Moving between a warm interior and the cold exterior aggravates skin, causing it to dry out more during the wintertime. Irritating detergents can also lead to dry skin.
Who is prone to dry skin?
According to Dr. Solish, the oilier you are, the less parched your face will get during the winter months. Age is also a factor. While teenagers have high hormone levels that lead to oily skin, postmenopausal women see a drop in hormone levels, causing oil glands to shrink and resulting in less sebum production.
What body parts experience the worst dry skin?
Commonly, the arms or the tops of the hands tend to easily become dry, but this varies as everyone’s skin has different abilities to absorb moisture and adapt to climate changes.
How can we prevent dry skin?
The most effective method is staying hydrated, so drink a lot of water throughout the day.
The next step is to select an appropriate moisturizer. “A moisturizer itself is a barrier,” says Dr. Solish. “It stops water from evaporating out of the skin. The best ones actually grab water and try to bring water into the skin.”
Keep in mind that facials are simply a temporary solution to a problem that has the tendency to reoccur. “Skin looks better and younger after a facial, but the effect is temporary because you’ve added moisture to that area.”
Certain fabrics against the skin can also affect skin moisture levels. Ideally, wear cotton or sweat-wicking fabrics to allow the skin to breathe. Avoid polyester, which can increase sweat buildup, which can cause irritated skin.
What products combat dry skin?
Look for soapless cleansers, such as Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser, that won’t strip your skin of its natural oils. Avoid acne cleansers for this reason; effective as they are in treating acne, they will dry out your skin faster. “They have salicylic acids that help break up the skin because they’re treating the acne,” says Dr. Solish. “But they’re very drying.”
When it comes to choosing the right moisturizer, a thick cream contains the most oil and will also be the most hydrating. However, some people will break out when using cream that contains too much oil. To determine how much oil your moisturizer contains, apply a small amount of the product to your skin and pay attention to how your body reacts. If the skin becomes warm, there’s a lot of oil in the moisturizer; if the area feels cool and refreshing, the moisturizer contains a lot of water and not much oil.
When choosing a cream, look for ingredients such as ceramides, natural lipids that help to build up the skin’s barrier that can be broken down by unforgiving weather or lactic acid.
When does dry skin turn into something more serious?
If you still find that you’re experiencing itchy, red or irritable skin after testing several moisturizers, you may be developing eczema. Consult your doctor who can prescribe a topical steroid.
What products can treat a dry scalp?
To treat pesky dandruff, which is so prevalent during the colder season, your best option is to use a specially formulated shampoo that exfoliates dry skin on the scalp. “Dandruff itself is not always due to dry skin,” says Dr. Solish. “It can be due to a naturally occurring yeast buildup on the skin, so a lot of dandruff shampoos contain ingredients to kill the yeast that is making your scalp flaky.”
If worst comes to worst, apply a leave-in oil treatment at night and shampoo it out the following morning. Look for leave-in treatments, or even nourishing hair masks, made of natural oils such as coconut or olive.
Over 50 and fabulous? Our guide to aging gracefully helps you choose the skincare, hair and makeup products that are right for you.
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