Every child loves the sight of a festive sock full to the brim with toys, books and sweets come Christmas morning. As you get older, stocking gifts can become more meaningful, but let’s not pretend that as adults, we don’t love a little luxury too.
If your gift recipient is into make-up or skincare (not forgetting yourself of course), then spoil them this Christmas with some festive beauty treats. Whether it’s something they’ve had their eye on all year, or a staple they’d love to stock up on, when that product comes beautifully wrapped in fun-shaped packaging, you’ll be onto a winner.
In our hunt for the best stocking beauty buys this Christmas, we’ve found a mix of cute mini products housed in festive wrapping and full-sized products we know and love.
Although they should feel like a treat, we believe that stocking fillers, however small, should be things you reach for day to day, so we stayed away from gimmicky options that although fun in appearance, wouldn’t be worth your money.
Miniature-sized products had to be of reasonable stature, and ideally great for travelling with. We also included some new products which you or your gift-receiver might want to try before investing in the full size.
So whether you’re after that eye cream that everyone is talking about on Instagram or a Beautyblender in a bauble, read on for the best beauty stocking fillers of 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.
Face Halo the modern make-up remover, original 3 pack: £17.95, Beauty Bay
As the cotton industry is a major source of environmental pollution, it’s time we all swap out cotton wool pads for something more sustainable. But our tester, who wears a full-face of make-up every day, was far from convinced that these reusable pads could remove it all with nothing but water. She’s been happily proven wrong, as the Face Halo melts away the most stubborn make-up with no other products needed.
The large cleansing pads are made up of fibres that are 100 times finer than human hair, which help to gently scrub off all products, from waterproof mascara to foundation. Easily washable with up to 200 uses, treat the beauty lover in your life to something both economic and environmentally friendly this Christmas.
Fenty Beauty lil stunna mini longwear fluid lip colour: £11, Harvey Nichols
Rihanna’s make-up brand launched its 2019 Christmas collection last month and it features some real gift-worthy goodies. Fenty Beauty has introduced its much-loved lipstick formula to miniature form, say hello to your new favourite winter shade: a deep plum-burgundy called “Underdawg”. The rich, dramatic colour would look gorgeous on any skin tone and is perfect for New Year’s Eve parties.
We love that the small angled brush makes this easy to apply and how opaque, pigmented and long wearing this lipstick is. You’re getting decent value for money here, as this lipstick is half the weight of the full-size product and about half the price. The packaging is just as luxe as the original, plus you can hang this on your Christmas tree. What’s not to love? It’s a limited edition so snap it up quick. If you want the lowdown on Fenty Beauty’s whole Christmas line, read our review of the new collection.
Beautyblender the jewel box foundation sponge set: £19, Selfridges
The holy grail of make-up tools, you can’t go wrong with this hugely useful beauty buy. Anyone who is into make-up will appreciate a new Beautyblender for Christmas, it’s an everyday necessity for applying foundation, blending cream products, and baking (no, not the cake kind). Aside from the cute tree-shaped packaging, this set includes a Beautyblender and a handy sponge cleanser.
The freshly scented, gemstone-shaped soap (who said practical gifts couldn’t be stylish?) is designed to clean the sponge after each use. Simply run the cleanser under water and work into a lather onto your Beautyblender, or other brushes, and make-up rinses off instantly without any mess. A Beautyblender alone costs £15, so along with the cleanser, this set is worth your cash. The perfect practical present.
Charlotte Tilbury airbrush flawless foundation, 30ml: £34, Cult Beauty
We couldn’t wait to get our hands on the latest foundation from Charlotte Tilbury, and it’s hands down our favourite formula of the year. For anyone who longs for a full-coverage foundation that feels weightless on your skin, this is your saviour. It dries down to a matte-satin finish and contains skin nourishing ingredients that give a healthy glow while still delivering serious coverage.
Blending effortlessly into the skin, we found this works well with other make-up products too, from cream contour to liquid highlighter. The new formula is available in 44 shades which, although should be the norm, is impressive for the first launch. We’re obsessed.
Omorovicza perfecting duo: £33, Cult Beauty
This is the kind of set that you definitely don’t need, but really do want – it’s that little bit of luxury that everyone deserves for Christmas. Omorovicza uses mineral-rich thermal Hungarian water as its driving skincare ingredient. As the Earth’s crust is thinner in Hungary, the water is packed full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and other anti-ageing benefits, harnessed by the brand to create top-notch, luxury skincare.
The mini version of the queen of Hungary mist features rose, orange blossom and sage to tone and purify the skin, while apple pectin provides hydration, leaving you feeling refreshed and pampered. The lip balm is rich and nourishing, with shea butter and eucalyptus oil, it replenishes chapped, broken lips into a soft, plump pout. If you weren’t already convinced, the limited edition rose gold packaging and matching pyramid-shaped bauble is sure to bowl you over.
Huda Beauty medium nude obsessions, 10g: £27, Cult Beauty
Make-up brand Huda Beauty recently launched these new mini palettes, and although we definitely don’t need any more nude-toned eyeshadows in our collection, the cute size, pretty packaging, and quality formulas are enough to justify this on our Christmas list. This palette consists of pinky-nude hues, including deep mauve and reddy brown matte shades, an iridescent chocolate glitter with reflects of lilac and a champagne shimmer.
These glittery shades are best applied with a wet brush after using an eyeshadow base for full effect, but the colours translate well on the eye and the shadows blend nicely. This is a versatile palette that is great for travelling and the festive season.
Clinique beauty bauble set: £15, Look Fantastic
What would a beauty stocking filler roundup be without something glittery? Inside this bauble are two of Clinique’s classic products: a miniature pot of the take the day off cleansing balm, one of our favourite make-up removing cleansers which melts away make-up with ease, and its high impact mascara, which separates and lengthens lashes with just one coat. For a fail-safe offering that includes both make-up and skincare at a budget-friendly price, go for this glitzy number.
Urban Decay all nighter setting spray travel size, 30ml: £10, Selfridges
If you want your make-up to stay put for hours on end, there’s no better setting spray than this one from Urban Decay. An old favourite, this is perfect for the party season where you want your make-up efforts to stay flawless all-night long.
The spray contains technology which actually lowers the temperature of your make-up to keep everything in place, which sounds like a fad, but we can testify – after wearing it in the depths of a heatwave on the underground and on a night out until 4am – that it really works.
At £10 for 30ml, this isn’t the best value mini we’ve seen – the full sized product is £24 for 118ml – but as it’s super convenient and cute, we’ve let Urban Decay off. A couple of spritzes of this and the world is your oyster.
Charlotte Tilbury the gift of pillow talk lipsâ: £25, Charlotte Tilbury
When it comes to the perfect nude lip, we all know it’s Charlotte Tilbury who does it best – and she knows it too. That’s why she’s made this super cute little set of her cult-following nude shade, pillow talk, with its matching lip liner.
The duo comes as a full-size lipstick and a smaller-sized pencil (which is essentially free, as the lipstick is £25 normally) in a pretty pearlised box. We also know queen Tilbury does packaging well, not just for outer packing, but on her products too as the lipstick comes in its instantly recognisable rose gold ribbed case with CT on the top.
The products work perfectly together as the liner helps the lipstick stay on for longer, and we found it prevents smudging too. We love the matte shade, which we agree lives up to the hype, as it’s versatile enough for both day and nighttime make-up looks. We’d pair it with the brand’s pillow talk eyeshadow palette too, of course.
Fenty Beauty mini body lava, 30ml: £19, Harvey Nichols
The best kind of mini products are the ones that are perfect for taking on holiday, and this gel-based body highlighter from Fenty Beauty is just that. Many liquid illuminators can feel oily or sticky which is not what you need in 30 degree heat, but this applies almost like a moisturiser, blending into the skin leaving a gold shimmer that instantly makes you look like a bronzed goddess.
This is great for the summer months but also for the festive party season, smooth some of this onto your legs, shoulders, or collar bones for an extra sheen that will leave skin looking luminous. The new shade, cheekily named “who needs clothes?!”, is a rich gold that looks great on everyone, it’s less yellow-toned than “trophy wife” from brand’s main collection.
Ole Henriksen banana bright eye creme, 15ml: £25.50, Boots
This little orange pot has been all over our Instagram feeds as of late, and for good reason. The eye cream is one of Swedish skincare brand Ole Henriksen’s most sought-after products, designed to brighten the eye area, tackle fine lines and dark circles and provide a great base for make-up.
We can confirm it achieves all of this by the bucket load: many other eye creams don’t deliver on big anti-ageing promises but we noticed this instantly lifted our eye area, reducing the appearance of dark colouration and instantly softening the skin.
Inspired by the banana powder – a make-up must-have which similarly brightens under the eyes – this contains colour correcting pigments, vitamin C and collagen to plump and reduce those pesky eye bags. Any skincare or make-up lover will be truly appreciative of this in their stocking.
This Works sleep on it tree decoration body gift set: £13, John Lewis & Partners
After plenty of boozy Christmas dos and as another year comes to an end, we can guarantee that your gift recipient will appreciate anything that will help them get a restful night’s sleep.
We’ve been a fan of the pillow spray from This Works for a long time, the calming mix of lavender, chamomile, vertivert and essential oils immediately plunges us into a more peaceful state without being too overpowering.
This set features two other mini products: the stress check roll-on – another potent mix of eucalyptus, lavender and frankincense to help ease fatigue and tension, and a sleep plus version of the pillow spray for anyone seriously struggling to get to sleep. Although very mini, a little goes a long way with these sleep aids, so at £13, we think this is great value.
Benefit hoola stocking stuffer: £13, John Lewis & Partners
A true cult-favourite for make-up lovers, this little festive treat sells itself. Who wouldn’t love Benefit’s highly acclaimed hoola bronzer in miniature form, encased in cute packaging that you can hang on your Christmas tree? Highly blendable and buildable, hoola toes the line between being cool-toned enough for contouring, and warm enough to bronze up your whole face for a healthy glow.
Be warned that this is very matte, so look elsewhere if you’re after a shimmery bronzer, but other products do sit well on top of this bronzer, so you can add some glow back in with a pop of highlighter. This versatile staple will be well received by any beauty lover this Christmas.
Nars softcore blush and balm set in torrid: £22, Cult Beauty
We love a mini, especially a good value one. And this set is that. Perfect for someone who doesn’t like carrying around a chunky make-up bag full of everything and anything you might need, or for those who like to travel light for a weekend away. The triangular packaging with a glittery red top and bottom has a sophisticated festive feel, that’s exactly right for what’s inside. And although it can’t be hung on the tree, we still think it looks great.
We loved the natural looking rosy tint of the blusher that really perks up our pale skin at this time of year, while the lip balm is hydrating and gives a light and rosy-coloured tint. It’s size is perfect for a night-out clutch bag that just about squeezes phone, cards and keys, and thanks to its cute shiny packaging, it won’t get lost in bigger bags either.
The verdict: Beauty stocking fillers
The Face Halo is our best buy as it will dramatically improve how sustainable your beauty regime is, it’s also great value for money and brilliantly easy to use. If you’re after a mini set to hang on a Christmas tree, we’d go for the luxe Omorvicza perfecting duo, while our favourite make-up offering is the Huda Beauty nude obsessions palette.