F is for Foreshadowing: Boxing Day Beauty Deals and Steals

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Boxing Day Best of Clinique $35_value $79

So you asked for a professional flat iron and he got you... an iron. Well, fixing that gift-blunder yourself is what Boxing Day is for, as well as for stocking up on beauty treats if you've got enough chutzpah to brave the frenzied crowds.

"We've noticed that men go straight for the electronics department, and while they're checking out big-screen TVs and Wii units, women head for the beauty department," says Wayne Peterson, Divisional Vice President of Cosmetics and Fragrance for Sears Canada, about post-December-25th shopping. "Women have spent the holidays looking after everyone else; this is the time they need for themselves."

Of course, bath sets and spa collections in particular are big attractions. But it's not all about what didn't sell before the holidays -- enticements include travel and trial-size sets from brands such as Shiseido, Estée Lauder and Clinique (Best of Clinique, above, $35 CAN, value $79, at department stores), brought in specially for the Boxing-Day shopping stretch into early January. "Informally, we call this time for women 'All About Me,'" says Peterson. "Sales advisors keep that in mind as they help customers find everything they need to pamper themselves."

Haircare and styling tools are also hot commodities, and should be even more so in Sears' new-concept beauty departments at Square One in Mississauga, ON and Mapleview Centre in Burlington, ON. In place of traditional beauty counters are spacious aisles and open shelving, as well as compact demo stations where customers can sit for a cosmetics application or learn how to augment hairstyles with Ken Paves Hairdo extensions.

According to Rhonda Sorenson, Beauty Boutique Manager at The Ritz location of Shoppers Drug Mart in downtown Vancouver, fragrance, hair and bath-and-body products are a huge draw at drugstores on December 26th.

"Customers also come looking for anything Quo Holiday, and for the skincare and haircare value sets that come out just before the 25th," Sorensen says. Just as in the department stores, watch for special sampler kits from Biotherm, Lise Watier and Elizabeth Arden, for instance, worth significantly more than the purchase price.

But don't expect many festive gift sets to wait around until the big sales. "Makeup collections like the Lancôme Juicy Tubes Holiday Set of eight glosses -- those go before Christmas," confirms Sorensen. "But you might find other pre-holiday sets from then that are further discounted."

It's of course a good time to stock up on basics (Venus razor gift pack, $13.99 CAN, value $20, at mass retailers). And if you're in a forgiving mood, you'll clean up on men's skincare starter kits, too (Gillette pack, $22.99 CAN, value $33.50).

I'll be helpful and stay away, shall I? Happy shopping!

thebasics

Images courtesy of Clinique and Gillette. A version of this story appears in the Metro News.