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Stocking Stuffers: Holiday Grooming Gift Guide 2012

by Mark Thompson
EDGE Style & Travel Editor
Monday Nov 12, 2012
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Let’s face it, most of us are suckers for skin care products: the packaging, the presentation, the promises, the promotions. A little swag with a purchase and a nice shopping bag: sometimes it’s the little things that make us the happiest.

Think about how nice it feels to walk out of a store with some new product in hand. You’re feeling younger already; there’s a spring in your step. You just know that emollient is going to work wonders on your visage; you’re feeling good and looking good - and you haven’t even smoothed that serum all over your mug.

Now think about sharing the happiness. If a good grooming product can make you so happy, then think about spreading the happiness and sharing those elixirs with the nice (and the naughty) on your holiday gift list.

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Matriskin Technology: Collagen MP Serum

It’s the most wonderful time of the year - yeah, yeah - and fixing a smile on your face all through the long holiday season can leave you with a rictus of repulsion rather than your customary sweet, gay holiday mien.

You need something to banish those "Oh, you shouldn’t have" smile crinkles and those "More Champagne, please’" expression lines. Fortunately, Matriskin Collagen MP Serum contains the purest combination of marine collagen and hyaluronic acid to help tired-looking skin and provide an immediate smoothing effect.

Created by renowned dermatologist, Dr. Pierre Huet, the mastermind behind brands such as Dr. Sebagh and Meaningful Beauty, Matriskin was developed as an alternative to cosmetic and plastic surgery. After launching in Europe in 2008, Matriskin developed a cult following among celebrities including Eva Longoria, who contends that Matriskin has "dramatically reduced the wrinkles in my face."

Apart from minimizing signs of aging, Collagen MP Serum has been proven effective in treating acne (in as little as three days) while also dramatically improving the skin’s luminosity. This revolutionary anti-aging serum is formulated with matrixyl, which stimulates the production of collagen - and the addition of 47 different peptides helps to increase skin firmness and elasticity.

Matriskin Collagen MP Serum visibly fills and reduces wrinkles - in less than thirty days; which means that if you start applying Matriskin Collagen MP Serum on Black Friday, you’ll look twenty-two by Christmas. Hello, Mr. Santa Claus!

PRICE: $145.00 / 1 oz. / 30 ml.
LINK: Matriskin Collagen MP Serum

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Sia Botanics: Desert Aloe and Jojoba Collection

Dry skin is the bane of our winter existence. What else to do but look to the desert and see how indigenous flora cope with extreme dryness in a harsh climate? That’s what the founder of Sia Botanics decided in coming up with her line of Desert Aloe & Jojoba products.

Founded in 2011 in Arizona by Christina Mahar, Sia Botanics focused on the Sonoran Desert to formulate its proprietary formulas that help to accelerate skin repair and restore moisture. The potency of pure aloe vera juice is combined with the "youth" mineral potassium, while the addition of jojoba liquid wax esther increases suppleness and inhibits signs of aging.

Think about it: cacti in the desert living to be a hundred years or so - and still producing cactus flowers so gorgeous and radiant. Must be something in the desert water - and your face wants it, too.

The four-product gift set includes Desert Aloe & Jojoba Cream Cleanser, Scrub, Moisture Mask, and Cream, all of which are infused with aloe, jojoba beads, and desert botanicals.

All Sia Botanics products are vegan and free of gluten, parabens, and other irritants and are available at Whole Foods or www.SiaBotanics.com.

PRICE: $71.00
LINK: Sia Botanics Desert Aloe and Jojoba Collection

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Liz Earle: Smoothing Line Serum

All through the holiday season, you keep running into people who knew you when and haven’t seen you in forever. And, let’s face it, you want your best face forward. You want all of them to lie a little and say, "Oh, you look fabulous." And if you really do, it might be because you’re using a little Liz Earle.

Founded in 1995 by two long-time friends with beauty industry backgrounds, Liz Earle’s award-winning skincare products are formulated with the finest quality naturally active ingredients. Smoothing Line Serum, for example, is a light, oil-free serum that helps to plump and firm the skin around the eyes and forehead.

Take a look at the natural ingredients in Smoothing Line Serum: grapeseed extract, a major antioxidant that helps protect skin from free radicals, and natural-source vitamin E, which is three times more potent than the synthetic variety, and pro-vitamin B5, which moisturizes the skin and stimulates cellular renewal.

Liz Earle products are never formulated with animal ingredients or genetically engineered ingredients - which makes Liz Earle products a perfect gift for those vegetarians on your gift-giving list.

PRICE: $24.50 / 0.3 oz
LINK: Liz Earle Smoothing Line Serum

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Own: Firming Silk Concentrate

You’re running around, through hail, rain, and wind, all holiday season, and your skin is look peaked, pallid, anemic, and ashen. You need a week in the sun. But first, you need to take care of that complexion - before you head home to the family.

One of the best products you can pack into your travel bag for the holidays is Own Firming Silk Concentrate. One of Own’s most popular products, this rapidly absorbing facial treatment utilizes a water-free formula to promote collagen production and leave skin silky smooth to the touch.

Own Products is a natural skincare collection that utilizes CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), a derivative of the safflower plant, to help fight aging in all three layers of the skin. CLA boosts cell metabolism and aids in moisture retention, while helping to activate cell renewal and promote collagen production.

Best of all, CLA has been shown to be as effective as retinol - without the adverse side effects. Formulated with vitamin E and coconut oil, the oil-based formula promotes skin elasticity, while leaving a velvety finish.

The entire Own line retails for under $25, which makes it perfect for "Secret Santa" and stocking stuffer gifts.

PRICE: $25.00 / 1 fl. oz.
LINK: Own Firming Silk Concentrate

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(Holiday Grooming Gift Guide continues on next page...)


Skin&Co. Roma: Sicilian Body Lotion

Some of us grew up in a house where it wouldn’t be Christmas morning unless there was an orange in the stocking. Never mind that no one wanted an orange and no one ate the orange; the orange had to be there, bulging the bottom of the stocking - or it wasn’t Christmas.

Sometimes holiday traditions need to refreshed. Instead of another orange in the stocking, you might think about Sicilian Body Lotion from Skin&Co. Roma. A soothing emollient that contains calendula, olive oil, almond oil, and witch hazel, all of which work together to help treat sensitive or irritated skin, Sicilian Body Lotion absorbs quickly, leaving behind a light scent of Sicilian orange extract.

Founded in 1911, Skin&Co’s first emporium in Umbria, Italy produced personal hygiene products for a local clientele. A century later, Skin&Co. is still owned and managed by the third generation of the founding family.

Packaged in elegant containers that look like something the royal families of Europe might sanction, Skin&Co products are as seductive on the shelf as they are on the body - and they’re every bit as nice to receive as an orange at the bottom of a stocking.

PRICE: $26.50 / 8.45 oz.
LINK: Skin&Co. Roma Sicilian Body Lotion

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Ursa Major & Topo Designs: Limited Edition Dopp Kit

Some people we know spend a lot of time at the gym. Other people we know are always on the road, shacking up at a hotel. If you know people who are always on the go and rarely using their own bathrooms, then here’s a gift for those peripatetic travelers.

Ursa Major has joined forces with their friends at Topo Designs to create a limited edition dopp kit and skincare set, which contains four Ursa Major products in a sturdy triangular handmade travel bag made of Cordura fabric and water-resistant pack cloth.

Founded in Vermont by two erstwhile New Yorkers, Ursa Major was created to offer men a natural and effective product line from a sustainable company. Introduced in 2011, Ursa Major Stellar Shave Cream became a cult phenom with its intoxicating blend of aloe, willow bark, birch sap, and oat protein. The extraordinary natural aroma of ginger and pink grapefruit, with hints of rosemary and vetiver, causes some people to wax poetic about lost summers and halcyon days. If you’re new to this product, then you’re in line for happiness.

All of Ursa Major’s products are more than 98% natural and formulated with the highest-grade natural ingredients from family-owned, sustainable growers. The four-unit dopp kit contains full-size containers of Stellar Shave Cream, Fantastic Face Wash, 4-in-1 Essential Face Tonic, and Fortifying Face Balm - and 5% of the sales from this limited edition dopp kit will be donated to the preservation of the habitat for the American Bison.

Go ahead, give one to your personal trainer - and see how he treats you then.

PRICE: $125.00
LINK: Ursa Major & Topo Designs Limited Edition Dopp Kit

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Lush: Dirty Springwash Shower Gel

Sometimes in the dead of winter you yearn for that outdoor shower at your summer share. The one where you showered with six other... Well, never mind. The point is, everyone loves an outdoor shower: the scent of the ocean, a meadow, a mountain stream - and the sun shining overhead.

If you’re still pining for summer, then take a shower with Lush’s Dirty Springwash Shower Gel. The fresh fragrance of spearmint fills the bathroom as you lather up and your skin begins to tingle. That’s the sodium bicarbonate, which softens the water and deodorizes your skin. Slather your skin and hair and breathe in the sweet, minty aroma. Aromatherapists use spearmint to help combat stress and headaches. No wonder you’re smiling.

Pop this one in the stocking of somone you’re yearning to shower with - and you can play the Doublemint Twins.

PRICE: $18.95 / 8.8 oz.
LINK: Lush Dirty Springwash Shower Gel

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Kate Somerville: DermalQuench Liquid Lift

One look at the futuristic silver matte metallic vessel lets you know you’re in for something that might well have fallen from a more evolved galaxy. One where wrinkles are unheard of, for example, a planet where everyone’s skin is flawless: Planet Perfect Skin.

In less than a year, DermalQuench Liquid Lift has become one of Kate Somerville’s most popular products, thanks to its ability to mimic the effects of a surgical face lift - without going under the knife. Formulated with HydraFill, a potent combination of hyaluronic acid, oxygen, and antioxidants, this lightweight foam filler is absorbed almost instantly to plump up the skin and diminish the appearance of wrinkles.

An esthetician for nearly twenty years, Kate Somerville battled her own skin issues as an adolescent, which has helped make her product line synonymous with the phrase "complexion perfection."

A scientific breakthrough in anti-aging, DermalQuench Liquid Lift gives you that kind of glow that usually only happens after you’ve downed a couple glasses of bubbly.

With DermalQuench Liquid Lift, you can smile your way through the holidays.

PRICE: $95.00 / 2.5 oz.
LINK: Kate Somerville DermalQuench Liquid Lift

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(Holiday Grooming Gift Guide continues on next page...)


Copper Chemist: Shampoo and Conditioner

Of course there might be more than a few moments during the holiday season when you feel like pulling your hair out: peevish cashiers, hailing a cab in the sleet, slipping in the slush and falling flat on your ass with an armful of shopping bags.

Regardless of what wrecks your last nerve, don’t take it out on your hair - and especially if your hair is thinning.

Your hair is under holiday stress, too, which means it needs extra tender loving care - and good product. Created by hair restoration expert, Dr. Robert Leonard, Copper Chemist Shampoo and Conditioner is formulated with copper peptides, which have been shown to increase hair growth. Copper peptides nourish the scalp and promote hair density while adding volume.

Copper Chemist Shampoo and Conditioner also utilizes antioxidants such as green tea and red algae extract to combat free radicals, while the addition of nutrient-rich oils and alpha hydroxy acids from sugar cane and fruit extracts promote a healthy shine for your hair.

The refreshing rosemary mint fragrance of Copper Chemist Shampoo and Conditioner leaves you feeling invigorated - for another day of holiday mayhem at the mall.

PRICE: $16.00 each / 8.12 oz of shampoo or conditioner
LINK: Copper Chemist Shampoo and Conditioner

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Keep America: The American Line Fragrances

A certain kind of man doesn’t bother with fragrance - not unless it’s Old Spice or Brut or Aqua Velva. You know who we’re talking about: men like your pilot father and your uncle who works at the Pentagon and your brother who’s in the Marines. Men from the military, in other words. Men who grew accustomed to a regimented life style and rarely veer from the tried and true.

The American Line is a five-bottle line of colognes that are inspired by the men and women of the United States military. Named for each branch of the military, the five variations include Army Patton, Marines Devil Dog, Navy Liberty, Air Force Stealth, and Coast Guard Riptide.

Riptide is a blast of the sea and wind, with notes of citrus and spice (that just might wean someone you know off of Old Spice) while Patton is a pistol shot of cedar and sage. Stealth, in honor of the Air Force, evokes the wild blue yonder with a cloudlike combination of basil and brushed suede. Liberty is evocative of a Navy sailor on leave in the throes of Fleet Week: a rush of aquatic notes anchored by hints of woody amber. Dedicated to the Marines, Devil Dog is as fresh and clean as a Naval Academy graduate, smelling lightly of sandalwood and cedar.

Perhaps as important as the fragrances within each bottle, the American Line donates a portion of the proceeds of each sale to the Veterans Administration.

An officially licensed product of the Department of the Navy and the United States Marine Corps, The American Line is also sold at www.KeepAmerica.com, the online source for all things made in the USA.

This holiday season, give a little something back to the US military - because it’s open to us all now.

PRICE: $35.00 / 3.4 fl. oz.
LINK: Keep America
The American Line

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Dermablend: Quick-Fix Concealer

Okay, so binging and overindulging are the byproducts of the holiday season - and we all know there’s going to be hell to pay on the face. Be prepared. Lessen the misery with a little preparedness.

Dermablend Quick-Fix Concealer is a lightweight concealer for skin flaws (which is a nice way of saying boo-boos and bumps and blemishes and bruises and skin irrirations and rashes and saddle bags and dark circles and...).

Smooth and blendable, Dermablend Quick-Fix Concealer provides all-day hydration and is suitable for sensitive skin. Formulated with high purity pigments that diminish the appearance of wrinkles, Dermablend Quick-Fix Concealer is available in ten shades with SPF 30 sunscreen.

Go ahead, grab another Champagne truffle and guzzle the bubbly; Dermablend has you covered.

PRICE: $23.00
LINK: Dermablend Quick-Fix Concealer

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Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day: Holiday Candle Tins

You know that holiday game "Stinky Santa" where everyone brings their smelliest gifts to pass off to the unsuspecting? Worst gift wins - yet another stinky Santa gift.

Here’s one way to change up "Stinky Santa" this year: bring out the gifts that bring out the smells of the holiday season. So much of the holiday season is all about the smell of it: pine boughs and cloves, cinnamon and citrus. Okay, and maybe a few spilled drinks and some empty bottles of booze.

Mr. Meyer’s Clean Day can help you through the messes of the holiday season - and this year that indomitable domestic has introduced two holiday candle tins in two joyful holiday scents: Crisp Iowa Pine smells like a freshly-cut Christmas tree - without all the mess and wood chips and falling needles, while Orange Clove evokes those hot mulled drinks that are always brewing at Martha Stewart’s houses.

Available exclusively at Target stores nationwide, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Holiday Candle Tins are perfect for stocking stuffers, secret Santa - as well as "Stinky Santa."

And, after all those holiday parties, clean up the mess with Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Season’s Cleanings Set in both fragrances - just to keep the best parts of the holidays lingering a little longer.

Best of all, the more you clean with Mrs. Meyer’s, the more Mrs. Meyer’s donates to the Arbor Day Foundation, which replants trees in damaged forests.

This season, clean a mess and plant a Christmas tree with Mrs. Meyer’s Season’s Cleanings Set.

PRICE: $2.50 / 2.9 oz. candle
LINK: Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day


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Veil: Illuminating Complexion Fix

All through the holiday season, you’re trying so hard to put your best face forward - but dashing through the snow with Donner and Blitzen, running hither and yon, it’s not so easy. What you need is a short cut to beautiful.

Veil Illuminating Complexion Fix is a concealer treatment to increase lumimosity and give your face that holiday glow that makes everyone wonder how you do it all and do it so well.

Created by celebrity make-up artist, Sebastien Tardif, Veil was inspired by Tardif’s background in art and fashion. A fusion of skin care and color science, Veil Illuminating Complexion Fix is a face pen that veils dark spots with light-infused pigments.

Lighter than a snowflake on your cheek, Veil Illuminating Complexion Fix might well become one of your favorite things - like silver white winters.

PRICE: $38.00
LINK: Veil Illuminating Complexion Fix

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A long-term New Yorker and a member of New York Travel Writers Association, Mark Thompson has also lived in San Francisco, Boston, Provincetown, D.C., Miami Beach and the south of France. The author of the novels WOLFCHILD and MY HAWAIIAN PENTHOUSE, he has a PhD in American Studies and is the recipient of fellowships at MacDowell, Yaddo, and Blue Mountain Center. His work has appeared in numerous publications.

This article is part of our "2012 Holiday Gift Guide" series. Want to read more? Here's the full list»

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