Gifts of royalty

Kidderminster Shuttle: Gifts of royalty Gifts of royalty

Channel the Three Wise Men with infusions of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Lisa Haynes presents some opulent regal beauty offerings.

By Lisa Haynes

With all the holiday hype, biblical references can be lost in the commercialisation of Christmas. But look to the beauty shelves and the gifts of the Three Kings can be found all year round.

While frankincense and myrrh are niche notes in fragrances and moisturisers, gold is the ultimate in decadent packaging.

"These valuable items were standard gifts to honour a king or deity in the ancient world," explains perfume designer Azzi Glasser. "Gold as a precious metal, frankincense as perfume or incense, and myrrh as anointing oil."

Follow the beauty star and tuck these traditional gold, frankincense and myrrh finds under the tree. They weren't called the Three Wise Men for nothing...

Gilt-edged offerings

If gold jewellery seems a little too obvious, look to gilded beauty.

"Gold bottles are most appealing to the consumer, as it suggests luxury, prestige and empowerment," says Glasser.

"The colour gold reflects light and makes it stand out, making the product appeal as a real gem. There has been a huge trend in the perfume industry for gold bottles, and I once made a limited edition fragrance that had real gold leaf in the perfume!"

:: Add instant decadence to the dressing table with a shiny gold fragrance. Dolce & Gabbana's The One Limited Edition Gold Eau de Parfum is pure gold perfection, £63.50 (Boots), while Gucci's Guilty Stud Limited Edition EDT is ideal for an edgier recipient, £53 (www.harrods.com).

:: If you can't afford a bar of actual gold, gift the next best thing (for beauty lovers, anyway). Make-up maestro Charlotte Tilbury has created a Bar of Gold Skin Gilding Highlighter that makes your face and decolletage look like it's bathed in candlelight, £30 (www.charlottetilbury.com).

:: Work some Cleopatra-inspired body bling the subtle way. Roger&Gallet Bois d'Orange Eau Sublime Gold Shimmer Fragrant Water smells like orange blossom and coconut flower and scatters minute flecks of gold onto limbs for a sublime shimmer, £32 (www.marksandspencer.com).

Frankincense finds

Those that favour lingering, oriental woody scents will adore frankincense notes.

"I particularly love frankincense as it can add freshness and depth, and coolness and warmth to a fragrance all at the same time - quite magical," Glasser reveals.

"Frankincense acts as a base note in perfumes and can add great longevity to a fragrance, making a perfume live longer on the skin. Frankincense essential oil has a warm sensual balsamic sweet aroma with a conifer-like undertone."

:: The woody nature of frankincense makes it ideal for unisex fragrances. Share a bottle of Annick Goutal's Encens Flamboyant eau de parfum for dominant notes of frankincense essence mixed with other wintry elements, like balsam fir and nutmeg, £99 (www.liberty.co.uk).

:: Transform a bathroom into an old-fashioned apothecary with frankincense potions. Balm Balm's Frankincense Organic Skincare Collection Cracker includes Frankincense Hydrosol, Deep Cleansing Balm and Light Facial Oil, all 100% Organic, £22.50 (www.feelunique.com).

:: Indulge in pure frankincense oil to rejuvenate, tighten and tone the skin. Up the intensity of an anti-ageing regime with Neal's Yard Remedies' Frankincense Organic Spa Collection, £39.50 (www.nealsyardremedies.com).

Myrrh marvels

Don't miss out on myrrh if you know someone who loves to revel in deep, sensual scents.

"Another one of my favoured fragrance ingredients, Myrrh has a warm, woody, musky aroma which is sensual and haunting as a character in perfume," Glasser says.

"It is widely used in both men and women's perfumery and adds depth and passion to a fragrance - myrrh appears in the base note which adds an exotic richness and deep longevity to the life of the scent."

:: Journey to the Orient for a unique fragrance with distinctive notes. Giorgio Armani's luxury Myrrhe Imperiale eau de parfum fuses two precious, natural ingredients, myrrh and benozin, for a captivating combination, £190 (www.harrods.com).

:: Capture the warmth of the festive season via nurturing handcare. Molton Brown's Myrrh Musk & Cypress Hand Wash and Lotion duo arrives topped off with red ribbons and gift box decor, £36 (0808 178 1188).

:: Transform a bathroom into a festive spa stable by filling the air with the unmistakable scent of myrrh. Indulge in Diptyque's Myrrhe Candle for a woody, sensual aroma, £40 (www.diptyqueparis.co.uk).

Tried & tested

Victoria Burt aims to de-puff party bags with a rescue eye mask

In the pre-Christmas rush, I've worked longer hours and partied harder, resulting in a lack of sleep and some telltale dark circles under my eyes. Filorga Eye Recover Anti-Fatigue Eye Mask promises to leave the eye area feeling firmer, make tired peepers appear more rested - all in just ten minutes flat. It sounds too good to be true but I'm curious to give it a go.

The 'mask' actually comes in the form of 30 gel covered compress patches, so there are 15 applications in each pack.

The ingredients, including algae, cornflower and liquorice extracts, are said to help smooth and moisturise the eye area, relax eye contours and improve circulation, which, in turn, reduces dark circles and puffiness.

They're simple to use - the kidney-shaped patches fit snugly under each eye. As I popped them on, the gel formula felt cooling, and I was impressed that they stayed put really well, so I could carry on pottering around the house, rather than having to sit still for ten minutes. Afterwards, the area under each eye felt smoother and my dark circles did actually appear lighter and instantly brighter. At almost £50, the product does seem a bit pricey, but I was impressed - so I'll be using them sparingly as a treat and stocking up on some much-needed beauty sleep in the meantime.

:: Filorga Eye Recover Anti-Fatigue Eye Mask, £45 (www.marksandspencer.com)

Buy it now

Bag a party clutch and morning-after beautifying in one hit. Clark's Botanicals has teamed up with New York fashion designer Thakoon for a sparkly black bag containing travel-size minis, Cellular Lifting Mist, and Ultra Rich Lip Tint in 24k Kiss for mistletoe moments. Limited edition Thakoon Holiday Set, £42 (uk.spacenk.com).

Beauty bulletin

:: Chart toppers

It's One Direction vs Lady Gaga in the battle for Christmas number one - in the fragrance chart that is. One Direction's 'Our Moment' is selling five times more than any other celebrity fragrance, with one bottle sold on FeelUnique.com every single minute. Lady Gaga is the highest selling female, beating Britney Spears and Nicki Minaj, while Taylor Swift has dropped to sixth place after topping the Christmas bestseller list in 2012. Siobhan McDermott, manager at FeelUnique says: "It's no surprise that in the run-up to Christmas, fragrance is flying off the shelves. It just proves that women will quite literally do anything to have Harry Styles's scent on their skin."

:: Recessionista alert

B. gifted this holiday season at Superdrug. Cosmetics line B. is spreading festive cheer with a free beauty box gift containing miniature make-up and skincare products when you splash out on the three for two promotion. Spend £15 on the B. range and you'll also get a £5 voucher (valid between January 3 and March 31, 2014). Offer available until December 30 in stores only, while stocks last.

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