There’s an industry saying that comes to mind during 2021’s gift blitz: Beauty always fits. The best limited-edition and ultra-luxe makeup of the season is at once minimal (Chantecaille’s restorative Lip Potion, packaged in a chunky compact shaped like a tiny white hat box), extravagant (Dior’s 35-piece lipstick set arranged in a logo-print velvet case), and easy to share, thanks to the one-size-fits-all nature of a Victoria Beckham Beauty eyeliner, for example. In these final moments of holiday gifting, makeup is less personal than perfume (though there are plenty of casual fragrance flings to be had), more exciting than a card, and light enough to ship across the country without the stress of excessive bubble wrap.
In the cultural sphere, makeup has become its own power move. The celebrity cosmetic boom is the latest phenomenon: Pop stars Harry Styles, Halsey, and Addison Rae to joined the space just this year, while Lady Gaga and Rihanna feel like long-time pros after launching their lines in the late 2010s. Still, the most opulent pieces are often designer-driven, like Valentino’s powder compact that doubles as a cross-body accessory, Tom Ford’s gold leather lipstick case, Gucci’s logo nail decals, and YSL Beauty’s eye shadow palette that mimics a quilted clutch. Insiders know that, for many fashion houses, beauty really runs the business. These pocket-size luxuries are frequently the quickest products to disappear around the holidays, making designer drops that much more collectable. This fall’s Hermès nail polish (every bit worth the buzz) is already sold out across the usual retailers, which proves the point—but we’ve found a source with express delivery.
Here, 15 makeup gifts that define 2021’s limited-edition and luxuriously chic cosmetic frills and thrills.