Photography by David Wile Credits: Photography by David Wile
Drake General Store, Urban Outfitters, The Face Shop, Uniqlo
It should be easy, but sometimes finding a gift within a certain price range that is still thoughtful can be difficult. Let us help.
Finding the perfect Secret Santa gift is more difficult than it seems. First, if you're buying for someone specific, you want to gift to be thoughtful—but that can be difficult if you only have a limited budget. And that's the thing about the budget—you need the gift to be less than, but close to, your budget (whether it's self-imposed or part of a larger secret santa mandate). Plus, sometimes you don't know who your secret Santa is! And shopping for a mystery person means you need to get something that will appeal to pretty much everyone.
Got it straight? No? Don't worry. We've compiled some of our favourite gifts to give that fit into your Secret Santa budget—whether it's $5 or $30.
Gifting beauty is always a good idea if you ask us. These face masks are inexpensive so feel free to pick up a few.
Patches are a great way to personalize your style—but they're also creative and compact expressions of art.
This item combines two of our favourite things—the Toronto Blue Jays and lapel pins! Not a sports fan? Luckily there are plenty of lapel pin options to make sure you find the right one for your giftee.
We know not everyone is a fan of slippers—but these ones are so cozy and a steal at $15!
Colouring books have shown to relieve stress and help people meditate—they're also super fun!
Having a hand cream in your bag all winter long is necessary to avoid dry, cracked hands. A practical gift has never been so indulgent!
Cloth napkins are a much more environmentally-friendly pick than their paper alternatives—and super chic around the holidays.
Give the gift of a cozy home. We especially love this limited edition scent from Canadian brand Province Apothecary.
Everyone loves a scented candle—especially a rich, warm scent that makes staying in that much better.
A calendar for the new year is something we always forget to pick up in December. Make sure to find one that suits your giftee's personality.
Having a notebook on hand is a requirement for many people. This fun pack is Pantone-coded!
It's a problem if you don't have a hat come December. The Drake General Store wants you to wear your provincial pride on your head with these colourful picks.
We know that cleaning out your beauty kit can feel like a chore, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming thanks to our quick and dirty guide to de-cluttering.
When to toss old product
You have to let go of the old to make room for the new—and there are new products being released every day. Remember that beauty products do expire, especially the liquid ones like foundation, mascara, and skin-care. There should be a guideline on the packaging (it will look like a cream jar with a number on it—that number is the amount of months after opening that the product is good for), but if you can’t find it or don’t remember when you opened it, here are a couple of things to look out for.
Look for changes in consistency. Lumpy formulas or a separation of oil and pigment are red flags. If the smell resembles something rotting or the colour has darkened or oxidized in the bottle, it’s time to throw the product out.
If there’s a bad odour when you open the lid or the product is crumbling and breaking apart, you probably shouldn’t use it. Also, if you constantly have to scrape off a top layer of grime, throw it out.
If you detect a bad odour or if your lipstick is drying out or applying patchy, toss it. If your lip gloss is goopy and coming out in lumps, you don’t want to put that on your lips.
Quick tip: If you live in a warm climate, it's a good idea to keep your skin-care products in the fridge to preserve freshness.
There are times when you find yourself not using certain products because they’re stored in the backs of your cabinets or drawers. Out of sight is out of mind so get those products back in sight. Try pulling them out the night before and keep them on your vanity or dresser so you can remember to add the items to your rotation.
When to give away perfectly good product
If you’ve got products that are as good as new but you don’t find yourself using them, take a moment and ask yourself: Why did I buy this product? Why did I stop using it? Can I add this to my makeup routine or skin-care regimen?
Chances are if you haven’t used it yet, you probably won’t. Perhaps pass it along to a family member or a friend who might get better use out of it. Or even take a box full of your unused items to a women’s shelter. If you are going to donate, make sure your items are in clean and sanitary condition.
How to sanitize your beauty products:
For powder compacts, wipe the powder with a piece of Kleenex to remove the top layer. Then, take a new piece of Kleenex—fold it or cut it down to the right size—and place over the powder to avoid bacteria from getting into the fresh layer. If you threw out the box, seal with tape; no one but the new owner should be opening it. This works for face powders, blushes and eyeshadows.
For lipstick, lipgloss and other stick products, wipe them down with a piece of Kleenex sprayed with the cosmetic disinfectant. Once again, seal boxes or the products themselves with tape.
Always use a mini spatula for products that are in jars so you’re not dipping your fingers in there. Also, don’t throw away the plastic divider that covers the cream. When you want to give it away, all you have to do is seal the outside with tape.
Cosmetic sanitizers can be found at most beauty stores and makeup artistry stores. Always keep a sanitizer and a brush cleaner on hand.
Over 50 and fabulous? Our guide to aging gracefully helps you choose the skincare, hair and makeup products that are right for you.
Getty Images Credits: Getty Images