Gift Guide: Pamper your loved ones with these pick-me-ups

We all benefit from a little pick-me-up, whether it’s a muscle-melting massage, some deep contemplation, or (if you are so inclined) a fresh coat of lipstick – but sometimes we need to reach a crisis point before we’re willing to make time for ourselves. Give the gift of pampering to a friend in need via my top five picks for beauty and wellness gifts.

Skoah is a tried-and-true skin gym where you can slip in every few weeks for a personalized facial that will defend your face against whatever stressors come your way (with a line of killer products to match). This holiday season, they’re upping the ante with a limited- edition facial that marries a treatment mask, hand and arm exfoliation, and massage with rich products from their holiday collection that smell like brown sugar and vanilla. Pick up a gift certificate or pop in for some much-needed holiday me-time. At skoah locations, from $80.

Float House

Float House
The world is busy and crazy and stimulates us at every turn; it’s hard to unplug. Hell, I fall asleep with an iPhone in my hand. So I can see a lot of benefit in a session at the Float House: letting the non-stop madness of my urban life drift away as I float in the cozy, warm, silky blackness of one of their top-of-the-line sensory deprivation tanks. I’ve heard the experience can disconnect you from your body, and take you to a new level of consciousness. I think we could all use some of that. At Float House, from $75 at


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I love mineral make-up. It’s a really great ally for your skin, especially if you’re wearing make-up all day and you don’t have time for touch-ups. It doesn’t flake off, and it can offer some of the most natural-looking cosmetic looks in the marketplace. Youngblood recently launched a fantastic starter kit for those interested in giving mineral cosmetics a try. Each kit contains natural mineral foundation, crushed mineral blush, and mineral rice setting powder. They come in a variety of skin tones and are paraben free. If Santa (or my husband) is reading this, I’d love the Shanghai Nights pressed mineral eyeshadow quad (in earthy shades), too. At London Drugs, from $52.

Chi the spa

CHI Journey
I’m a sucker for spa experiences that whisk me away from an hour or two. Located in the flash Shangri-La Hotel, CHI, The Spa is an oasis of calm and rejuvenation. Between the Asian-inspired décor and top-notch service, it’s easy to unplug and surrender to body therapies, wellness massages, and the full range of hand, feet, and facial care. The best deals can be found on the CHI Journey menu, which combines two or more treatments with an aroma spa bath or steam shower. Top of my list: The 2.5-hour Indulgence of Time journey, comprised of a CHI Balance Massage and Refresher Facial. At CHI, The Spa, from $295.

Lise Watier

Aurora by Lise Watier
The Montreal-based cosmetics firm always brings its A-game: Fun packaging (sometimes including built-in lights: A lifesaver when you’re painting your nails in front of the TV); elegant colour combos; a decent price point. But they’ve got something special with their winter collection, Aurora, whose luminous and shimmering products (include the must-have eyeshadow palette) were inspired by Canada’s Northern Lights. At London Drugs, from $20.  W

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