I have two guiding principles when buying gifts: (1) never buy anything that you wouldn’t like to receive yourself and (2) If you live with your recipient, the gift should be something that can be shared, borrowed or stolen. I see no need to relax these principles when buying for children, so here is my last-minute guide to beauty-themed gift-buying for les enfants …
Right-minded people of all ages love the Moomins. I bought the balm in the picture to the left at the Moomin Store in Covent Garden. At this time of year, lip balm is an essential, but some children – and my son is one of them – prefer to roam the streets with lips cracked and bleeding than allow you anywhere near them with a balm. If you have such a stubborn child, Moomintroll just might break their iron resolve. It’s a firm balm – which is great if your children consider Vaseline ‘slimy’ and lip butters ‘too shiny’. This little plastic ball fits nicely in small people’s pockets and palms and the balm does an excellent job with regular use. Highly covetable, but with an RRP of £2.99, you’d have to be a truly evil adult to pinch this. Buy one for them and one for you here …
I realised that a tube of shower gel that’s easy to squeeze is super popular with children when my son used up my Caudelie. I fobbed him off with Radox Smoothies for a while, but couldn’t resist buying him SOLEIL DES ILES SHAMPOO AND SHOWER GEL WITH MONOI DE TAHITI when it arrived in BeautyMART. This is partly because he’d smelt it in store and loved the Tiaré flower scent, and partly because I wanted to try it and couldn’t quite justify buying it for myself. It does smell absolutely heavenly, and even better on him than on me. The consistency is such that it positively bursts from the tube, and as it’s so lovely you won’t want to waste a drop, so take care when uncapping. It has an RRP of £10.00, and you can buy online or pick it up at BeautyMART. I (mostly) keep my big mitts off my son’s shower gel, but only because I’ve treated myself to the SOLEIL DES ILES GLITTERING BODY BALM WITH MONOI (RRP £10.00) – a luxurious body butter that gives a sparkly shine to the skin and smells like summer in the Elysian Fields.
One of my absolute BEST BUYS of 2013 was Concoction shampoo! I’ve raved about my Concoction experience elsewhere on the site, but this summer, my son discovered the Concoction display at BeautyMART Boxpark. I have tried to coax my son into having his hair washed with everything from Johnson & Johnson to L’Oreal Kids and Lush – nothing worked. He hated shampoo and all its works and deeds. But the ‘shake it to make it’ experience offered by Concoction, and those artful little vials, were just too intriguing to resist. Add to this that he has a passion for the scent of lemon, and the Lemon & Verbena Shampyou had turned him glassy-eyed with pleasure when he’d smelt it at the launch party … maybe Concoction could succeed where all other shampoos had failed. I’ve never been so keen to hand over my cash (£11.00 for the base, and £1.50 per shot).
Was it worth it? Yes! I am delighted to report that the combination of science (the mix), extreme violence (the shake – as pictured above) and THAT lemon and verbena scent has done the trick, and there are no more stand-offs over hair-washing. £14.00 (1 base, 2 shots) might seem a lot to lavish on your child’s locks, but if it breaks what was verging on a phobia? Money well spent. If you and the child you’re buying for have the same sort of hair needs, you can easily share a Concoction ShampYou and one bottle lasts for ages. Buy in the real world at BeautyMART, or online.
If your child is fine with shampoo, but baulks at conditioner, DHC After Bath Hair treatment would make a nice present – although a boy will probably recoil from the extreme pinkness of the packaging. I love this leave-in conditioner. I have fine hair that tangles easily, and I am too impatient to enjoy conditioners that require leaving on and rinsing out. This fine emulsion smoothes and detangles with no fuss, and any girl under ten would probably love the packaging. I discovered and bought mine at BeautyMART, several months ago … I’m not sure if BeautyMART still carry it, but you can buy it from the DHC website and it has an RRP of £12.00.
And if you are buying for a child with a little length in their locks, why not help them create loose ringlets with the tremendously toy-like Curlformers? I don’t like using heat on children’s hair, and wouldn’t feel in any way comfortable wielding a curling tong near a fidgety small person, but this update on old-fashioned curl-papers can bring out anyone’s inner Shirley temple or Little Lord Fauntleroy. Also, as you can see in the photo, Curlformers look fab as an accessory, their curl-making powers are a bonus! Curlformers have an RRP of £8.95 and are found online or in-store at BeautyMART.
As a young girl, I could have paraphrased Josephine Baker, and sung: “I have two loves; horses and ballet”. These are timeless preoccupations, so if you know a youngster pre-occupied with either horses or ballet or both, the following two recommendations should be right up their street.
First up, the Mane ‘n ‘Tail brand, modelled here (picture to the left) by the extremely gorgeous Honey of Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre. Hoofmaker is a dual-purpose product: it was initially developed (and is still used) as a hoof conditioner – but it was realised that it was a boon to anyone in search of soft hands and strong nails. I find hand cream useful for small people during inclement British winters, and Hoofmaker is effective, easy to use, and you only need the tiniest bit. I bought this enormous tub online but you can pick up more reasonably sized tubes of Hoofmaker (RRP £8.00) , and/or Mane ‘N’ tail shampoo and conditioner (RRP £7.00 each) online or in the beauty hall at Liberty.
Did you know the Royal Ballet Company have a line of beauty products? I had no idea until I saw them on the shelves at The Garden Pharmacy! These might be somewhat wasted on anyone under twelve, I think, as it’s a body care range, but are a treat for interested twelves and upwards. The Belle and I were both taken with the Muscle Gel, or ‘Leg Behind the Ear Cream’ as we prefer to call it, but neither of us felt we could justify buying for our inner Sylvie Guillem – so I can’t give you an opinion on the contents. The concept and packaging though? I’m hurling flowers at the stage!
You still have time to snag these products by Christmas Day if you run, run, run to the shops in question (and if they still have stock)! You’ll find The Moomin Shop and The Garden Pharmacy in Covent Garden; Liberty and BeautyMART Top Shop are just a hop skip and a jump away at Regent Street and Oxford Circus respectively. And if the West End doesn’t appeal, don’t forget that BeautyMART can also be found in Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge, and at Boxpark in Shoreditch.
This will be my final post before Christmas. I would like to assure you that no children have been hurt in the making of this post, and that my two have survived years of less than altruistic gifting with no ill-effects whatsoever, as you can see in the picture to your left. Happy Christmas to one and all! xxx