We pretend that we carry compacts to powder our shiny nose but really we enjoy having a shiny piece of glamour inside our handbags. Whilst the powder on the inside might serve the purpose of keeping our skin matte, the real beauty of a compact is to wield it like a piece of precious jewellery. If you appreciate the weight, the fit in the palm of your hand and the satisfying closing click of a good compact, then you’ll understand why it is more than just a convenient mirror.


The beauty brands produce their loveliest compacts for Christmas and to feed the collecting frenzy there are of course, limited editions. Estée Lauder produce an annual holiday compact collection that is eagerly awaited by fans and collectors. This year the brand has worked with the jeweller Jay Strongwater on a range of bejewelled solid perfume compacts. They also have the Zodiac collection so that you can make your powder align with your star sign.


For a piece of Baroque hardware, Clarins’ Odyssey Face palette holds a luminous gold-flecked translucent powder. Lovely as the powder is, we’ll admit that the magnetic soft touch closure of the case is what really caught our attention. For that which is as pretty on the inside, Dolce and Gabbana’s Animalier collection includes a leopard print compact that houses an equally fabulous leopard print bronzer.


An enduring beauty talisman, a beautiful compact is to have and to hold, and perhaps sometimes to use.