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In the News: Toronto Beauty Reviews 2020 Holiday Gift Guide

by Whitney Poma |


WE MADE IT. The end of 2020 is in sight, and what better way to celebrate than by spreading a little joy with a present for a loved one?  Read on to learn more about our top 2020 gift ideas, from homewares to lifestyle products and beauty and wellness faves

{TBR’s 2020 Gift Guide!}

Disclaimer: Products identified with an asterisk (*) were provided to me at no cost for editorial consideration. All opinions are my own.

Holiday shopping & celebrating looks different this year. We first want to acknowledge that this holiday will be an exceptionally difficult one – financially and emotionally – for many families. We’re sharing our favourite 2020 gift ideas on this post, but we know that the best gift is really to know that our loved ones are safe and healthy.

Secondly, we know that many folks want to have all their purchases delivered directly to their homes for safety reasons, want to prioritize small businesses whenever possible, or have other considerations for their 2020 gift purchases. To help you make your decisions, we’ve labelled our suggestions with some special interest areas in mind:

  • W indicates that the business is owned or operated by a woman
  • ECO indicates that the business or product is eco-friendly
  • BIPOC indicates that the business or product is created or run by a person of color
  • CAN indicates that the business or product is Canadian

Empress 1908 Gin*: This Victoria-based spirit, handcrafted in small batches, takes any gin cocktail to the next level. Empress 1908 ($49.95) gets its stunning color from butterfly pea blossom and its luxurious flavor from the inclusion of the Fairmont Empress Hotel’s signature Empress Blend tea in the recipe! An elegant (and delicious) showstopper! [CAN]

Grange Vineyard Tasting Kit*: If you’re not sure what type of wine your giftee prefers (or are looking for a fun activity to do together over Zoom), check out Grange Vineyard’s Tasting Kit ($21). This adorable set brings all the fun of a winery tour directly to your home! Included in the box are four 1-oz wine samples, a glass, and tasting notes styled with “Drink Me” labels that Lewis Carroll would love. [CAN, W, ECO]

Soap delivery from Saponetti Inc*: What’s more 2020 than an eco-friendly soap delivery company?! With just a few clicks, this downtown Toronto company can bring soap, tea, personal care products, and cleaning essentials right to your door! Refills are delivered in glass mason jars, and empties are collected, sanitized, and reused – giving your giftee access to bulk prices of premium Canadian-made products without any waste. Help your loved one keep their house squeaky clean and their carbon impact low by putting a Saponetti gift certificate under the tree! (Gift certificates available for values of $30 and up) [CAN, ECO]

Oath The Label candles: Some candles are meant to be burned, and some candles are so beautiful they’re more objet d’art than ambiance. The latter is the case with Oath The Label candles, hand-poured soy candles shaped into sensual and voluptuous female busts in a range of body types. My personal favourite is Iris ($20), just over 9cm tall and sexy as hell. [W, BIPOC, CAN]

Province Apothecary Antiseptic Hand Cleanser*: If you’re a regular TBR reader, you know that the list of PA products and services we love is a mile long! Our recent fave – and a perfect stocking stuffer – is PA’s new Antiseptic Hand Cleanser ($22). This Health Canada-approved cleanser is both beautiful and effective, killing 99.9% of germs without destroying your hands. (Or nose.) [W, CAN]


Muffle Up slippers: If the recipient of your 2020 gift is constantly cold, help them bundle up with Muffle Up! These hand-crocheted slippers are made using reclaimed leather soles, repurposed sheep’s fur lining, and cozy Merino wool. The huge range of patterns and styles makes it easy to find something for the cold-footed loved one in your life. These are the only pair of slippers I’ve ever had that actually keep my feet warm while being incredibly comfortable. And durable! I’ve worn mine every single evening since April and they show almost no signs of wear. ($39.99 for kids’ and baby slippers up to $150 for boot-height adult slippers.) [ECO, CAN]

Yoga Jeans*: I think it’s safe to say that most of us could use a little more stretch in our jeans this year. (Quarantine snacking, anyone?) Quebec company Yoga Jeans has got your giftee’s butt covered with their patented 4-way stretch and a range of classic washes and cuts. Yoga Jeans design and manufacture their denim locally, and use eco-friendly processes to produce each pair with the lowest possible carbon and water footprint. Bonus shout-out to all my tall girls: some styles even have a 34” inseam! My personal fave is the Alex Bootcut in Buddha ($168), but their just-released loungewear collection is definitely on my Christmas list, too! [ECO, CAN]

Dr Liza shoes: I’ve already waxed poetic about my love for Dr. Liza shoes.  The heels are as comfy as anything I’ve ever worn, and the flats keep my look casual without causing foot fatigue. The brand has also expanded to include purses, backpacks, slippers, and shoe accessories – all with Dr Liza’s signature blend of fashion and function. Use this link and code SHARE35 to get 35% off any purchase – even sale items! *This is an affiliate link, meaning I will make a small commission if you choose to purchase. This commission helps me with the upkeep costs for TBR. Purchases made using the discount code can be returned for store credit only, unless otherwise indicated. [W, BIPOC, CAN]


Quo Beauty Holiday Collection*: Quo’s Holiday collection is all about bringing the glam without the fuss. They’ve put together gift-ready sets of makeup, brushes, tools, hair accessories and more – all cruelty-free and at accessible prices. The lip masks (pack of 3 for $10), All is Bright eyeshadow palette ($25) and Sweet Dreams Satin Cat Eye Mask ($12) are some of my fave pieces of the holiday collection. Shimmer and sparkle shouldn’t break the bank! Bonus: since Quo Beauty is a Shoppers Drug Mart exclusive, you can snag these gifts in-person even at the last minute!

Basd bodycare*: Since an actual spa day won’t be possible anytime soon, why not create a DIY body treatment set as a 2020 gift? Basd products are cruelty-free and plant-based, making them the perfect present for an eco-conscious giftee who needs a little pampering. Their body lotions and body washes now come in a 240mL tube size so they’re easy to mix and match! Basd body wash ($11.99) and body lotion ($16.99) come in fragrances of mint, crème brûlée, grapefruit, or sandalwood. Their coffee scrub ($19.99) comes in crème brûlée or mint.  [W, CAN, ECO]

ALO’s Mini Duo*: ALO by Fruits & Passion is another fantastic Canadian bodycare line. Their Mini Duo in Ocean Flower ($8) contains a travel-size shower gel and whipped body cream in one of ALO’s signature fragrances. While we might not actually be able to go anywhere this holiday season, the exotic fragrance conjures up (wishful) waves and lush tropical visions. [CAN, ECO]

Graydon Skincare’s Face Food*: As the weather gets colder, I find my skin gets easily irritated under my mask. My mid-day lifesaver is a spritz (or five) of Graydon Skincare’s Face Food Mineral Mist ($46). This baby hydrates, soothes, and balances all in one go. Your giftee’s skin will thank you! Like all Graydon products, Face Food is vegan, cruelty-free, and free from SLS, parabens, and other questionable ingredients. Face Food is also part of Graydon’s Holiday Gift Set ($75), along with two of Graydon’s other bestsellers – Full Moon Serum and Berry Rich Face & Eye Cream. That’s over $130 worth of product! [W, CAN, ECO]

Attn:Detail Beauty Details Gift Set*: The world of eco-conscious products can get kind of overwhelming (especially with no standard meaning of “clean” ). That’s why I love companies like Attn:Detail – they take out all the guesswork and do the curation for you. This Ottawa-based company sources high-quality sustainable goods from small businesses across the country, offering a one-stop shop for all your beauty and home needs. Their gift sets are particularly stunning, filled with thoughtful and creative products that your recipient will love. My personal fave is the Beauty Details gift set ($76), which includes bamboo facial rounds, a mesh laundry bag, charcoal-lavender soap, biodegradable cotton swabs, a cedar soap tray, a bath soak, and a konjak body sponge. Now excuse me while I wash and scrub away the rest of 2020. [W, CAN, ECO]

The Weed Whacker from Manscaped*: 
As we often say here at TBR, self-care and beauty are for people of every gender. If the person on your gift list has some pesky nose or ear hair that needs taming, hook them up with the Weed Whacker from Manscaped ($50). This powerful and comfortable device makes it easy to groom in or out of the shower. Or, for someone interested in some more intensive ~ downtown gardening~, check out the Performance Package ($169.99). This deluxe set includes everything a guy could need for a full body routine: the Weed Whacker, The Lawn Mower, boxers, travel bag, and more. Just be prepared for your guy to spend more time getting ready than you do.


Yoga and meditation products from B Yoga*: Since the pandemic, folks have turned to home workouts and meditation like never before. Whether your recipient is dreaming of fitness accessories like the perfect yoga block ($20) or a meditation cushion ($106) to help find their zen, B Yoga can help you gift some calm this season. [CAN]

Literally anything from Crying out Loud: As soon as I walked into Crying Out Loud (formerly known as Lost & Found) last year, my entire body relaxed. Being in a space that so clearly validated and honoured mental wellness was deeply nourishing, and their huge array of carefully selected products made it easy to spread the love. I’ve lost count of the number of gifts I’ve purchased at COL: children’s books, bath salts, candles, games, puzzles – there’s genuinely something for everyone. If the recipient of your 2020 gift is at all interested in mental health and wellness, give COL a look. [W, BIPOC, CAN, ECO]

Momful Supplements*: Give a new mom some peace of mind with supplements from Momful. From lactation supplements ($26) to DHA boosters that help both mom and baby’s brain health ($26), Momful offers community and care to new moms as they begin their parenting journey. Products can be purchased individually or as a subscription (one less thing to remember!). [W]

And that’s a wrap on our 2020 gift guide! Will you be putting one of our recommendations under your menorah?

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