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When you give someone someone a beauty product as a holiday gift, the result is usually either a home run or a total strikeout. That’s because many people have a particular regimen they stick to—after all, it can be a gamble to switch away from the products that consistently deliver a good hair day or clear skin.
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Plus, things like makeup, fragrance, and other grooming and beauty products are a matter of incredibly personal taste; it’s best not to guess which color palette or shade your giftee needs, and instead trust that they’ve got themselves covered in that department. How, then, can you ensure that a beauty gift is a guaranteed win? Here are a few tips, followed by our picks for the 19 best products for the holidays, special occasions, and beyond.
Gifting Tips for Beauty Products
The most important, overarching advice we can offer is to avoid anything too personal, too passive-aggressive, and too lazy. Here’s how to do it.
Keep it somewhat impersonal: On the one hand, you do want to give them a gift that feels thoughtful and personal. You don’t want to go to the trouble of wrapping something up that won’t get used. A gift card would just be lazy. So, you have to find the middle ground.
One exception would be if you find a perfect color match to a brand they’re using in a more elevated presentation. “I saw that you use lots of muted red lipsticks, so I got you a few from (this top-shelf brand you already like) that I thought would last you a long time.” Similarly, if you gift something like a fragrance, make sure it’s a scent that you feel suits their character, and that you don’t expect them to make it their daily signature scent—but that you wanted to give them something that they could add to their existing scent rotation. That way, it’s thoughtful without feeling forced. And on that note…
Avoid being passive-aggressive: Nix anything that might be misconstrued as, “I wish you looked like this instead,” or, “I wish you smelled like this,” or, “I noticed your skin was breaking out or looking tired”. With beauty gifts, that’s often a very fine line, but you can find safe ways to cross it. For example, some of our suggestions below play into “anti-aging” skincare. By name alone, this category is a passive-aggressive one to gift. However, most skin care is anti-aging by nature, and most people with a thorough regimen are aiming to prevent things like wrinkles, fine lines, collagen loss, and so forth. So, if your giftee already has a skincare regimen, then you can give them something in support of those efforts, such as an LED device or a top-tier overnight skincare kit. But certainly don’t give them something and say “You’re looking older, so I thought you would like this”, because that’s going to land you in the doghouse.
Another product on our list is a laser hair removal device; you wouldn’t give this to someone who hasn’t expressed disdain over the constant act of shaving, or who isn’t already visiting an esthetician for routine hair removal. But if your giftee would love a shortcut to hair removal—and would also appreciate saving thousands of dollars on those waxing and lasering appointments in the long run, then an at-home IPL device will feel thoughtful. It’s all in the delivery, how you position your thinking, and above all, how well you know the person and their wants and needs.
Don’t be lazy: You need to rationalize the gift. If it’s just “Hey, here’s a fragrance” or “Hey, I heard people like aromatherapy”, then it’s not going to feel as special. Instead, imagine something that you can preface with “You mentioned wanting to take more baths, so I thought these salts and oils would entice you to do that” or “You’ve been mentioning having difficulty falling asleep, so I thought this diffuser could help. You can put lavender oil into it to calm down before bed. And you can swap different oils during the daytime when you’re working at home or having guests over.”
Give everything a little color when they open the gift; that thought process will ensure a home run, we promise. And don’t simply replenish the products they already use; that’s one step above a gift card, and while the gift is likely to be appreciated and used fully, it’s not going to have the same thoughtful impact.
The 19 Best Beauty Gifts of 2023
Here are 19 beauty products that should be a hit with most recipients. In some cases, you’ll want to be sure it’s something the recipient would frequently use, but if you truly know the giftee, then you won’t have to second guess yourself.
TheraFace LED Light Therapy Mask
If your giftee spends a fortune on skincare, then they will get routine mileage out of this deep-penetrating LED mask. Those red lights stimulate collagen production, boost circulation, and expedite cellular turnover. It’s like an anti-aging serum that never runs dry. And on top of that, it also massages the eye area to destress the mind and stimulate circulation. (Read more about it here.)
Buy Now on Therabody:
Kilian Paris Can’t Stop Loving You Eau de Parfum
This floral scent contains multitudes, which reveal themselves over the course of the day. CSLY opens with orange blossom and jasmine, and graduates into a rich resinous heart. Its zenith is in the sweet honey base, though, which is tinged with both vanilla and oak moss. This delicious scent is the olfactive equivalent of looking across the table at your one and only, and thinking “I’m the luckiest person in the world.” Nothing is sweeter.
Buy Now on Nordstrom:
Omorovicza Budapest Bath Salts and Bath Oil
Omorvicza’s assortment deploys the healing powers of Budapest’s thermal waters, and this duo is basically a sampling of the city’s world-renowned bathing houses. The bath oil combines jojoba oil with the brand’s own healing concentrate, while the salt is a mineral-rich blend of Himalayan, Hungarian, Dead Sea, and Epsom salts that calm muscles, skin, and senses alike.
Buy Now on Neiman Marcus (Bath Salts):
Buy Now on Neiman Marcus (Bath Oil):
Le Labo Ambroxyde 17 Candle
If you’re shopping for someone who likes to light a candle while they soak, we humbly suggest Ambroxyde 17. This recently launched candle is Le Labo’s first in nearly two years, and its alluring scent has a deeply calming effect. It’s named after its titular ingredient, a synthetic version of ambergris which, in addition to being cruelty-free, is also a perfect dance partner for the other soothing components herein, which include jasmine, musk, and woody notes.
Buy Now on Le Labo:
Dr. Barbara Sturm Anti-Aging Night Time Set
All skincare enthusiasts put this name on a pedestal: Dr. Barbara Sturm’s products are among the most coveted when it comes to firming, rejuvenating, brightening, and skin-plumping results. This p.m. set gives the giftee a trio of overnight miracle skincare products—which keep skin looking rested and radiant—as well as a gentle cleanser and calming bedtime supplements. And in terms of gifting something labeled “anti-aging” and risking passive aggression, well, all is overlooked with Dr. Barbara Sturm on the label.
Buy Now on Dr. Barbara Sturm:
Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer and AirWrap Styler
Dyson is the gold standard when it comes to quick drying, precise styling, and damage mitigation. (It’s also one of those brand-name products that are cited across all consumer marketing. “Oh this is the ‘Dyson’ of dishwashers,” or “This is the ‘Dyson’ of leaf blowers.”) Here are two of its top products that are like magic wands for instant “Good Hair Days”: Other hair dryers cause breakage and frizzing over time, but this one dries strands from the inside out, without any wear on the cuticles. It also comes with five different nozzles that target specific needs, from a curl diffuser to a wide-tooth comb to a gentle dryer head. As for the styler, it comes with attachments to curl, shape, and smooth hairs, all while keeping heat damage and static at a minimum.
Buy Now on Nordstrom (Hair Dryer):
Buy Now on Nordstrom (Styler):
Golden Door Golden Peel-A-Way Masque
This nourishing, exfoliating mask is as delightful to wear as it is beneficial for the skin. As it dries, Golden Door’s mask forms a brilliant, gold film that makes its wearer feel fancy and opulent. It then peels away cleanly to reveal a brighter, more radiant complexion. It pairs exceptionally well with a glass of wine, a candle, and a bubble bath.
Buy Now on Golden Door:
Westman Atelier The Brush Collection
If your giftee wears makeup, then a top-shelf brush set goes a long way—and is far less risky than choosing a color palette for them. Westman Atelier’s set of nine handcrafted Japanese brushes equips your giftee with all the necessary tools for a full face.
Buy Now on Net-a-Porter:
Deborah Lippmann Instruments 5-Piece Manicure Set
While we’d first recommend a gift of a professional manicure or pedicure, every self-respecting person also wants to have the best tools for the task at home, too. This manicure set from nail-care name-brand Deborah Lippmann will arm the giftee with the best instruments for at-home maintenance, in between those salon-caliber re-ups.
Buy Now on Amazon:
Slip Silk Frequent Flyer Set
Beauty sleep is never more essential than on a red-eye flight, and this silk traveling kit gives the giftee everything they need to look and feel fresh upon landing. The neck pillow, eye mask, and face mask ensure a restful, comfortable slumber (void of any germ-sharing, too!), plus it won’t clog pores or impress itself upon the skin.
Buy Now on Net-a-Porter:
Braun IPL Silk Expert Pro 5 Laser Hair Removal
If constant hair removal is something your giftee hates having to do, then an at-home intense-pulsed light (IPL) hair removal device can spare them that agony down the line. Sure, it might take 8-12 weeks to get those initial results, but past that threshold, it will save routine shaving, waxing, plucking, and the like. Just make sure not to give it to anyone who hasn’t expressed some need or frustration regarding hair removal, as it might otherwise read as “please take care of your hairy situation”—and that’s an invitation to having an IPL device tossed at your head.
Buy Now on Amazon:
Dr. Dennis Gross Spectralite LED Eye Mask
Dr. Dennis Gross’s FDA-cleared red-light LED mask targets the delicate area around the eyes, ensuring that collagen production stays high, while things like crow’s feet, fine lines, dark circles, and sagging stay gone. Plus, it’s easy to incorporate into every day, given the 3-minute treatment time.
Buy Now on Dr. Dennis Gross:
Amayori Hinoki Bathtub Tray
Hot tip: Amayori is a gold mine when it comes to beauty gifts—most of them centered on the Japanese onsen tradition. Think robes, salts, bath mats, towels, etc. And then there’s this bathtub tray, a picturesque and sleek hinoki cypress propper-upper, handmade in Kyoto at the notable Tosaryu workshop. You can get it in two sizes (27.5 inches wide, or 30.25 inches wide), so be sure to sneakily measure the tub at her house before committing to one. Maybe you could add a bottle of wine and the aforementioned candle, bath salts, and bath oil as well. (Or smother her in Amayori bath goods; there’s an easy gifting win.)
Buy Now on Amayori:
Diptyque Best Sellers Fragrance Discovery Gift Set
Fragrance sampler sets are a great way to gift perfume without forcing anyone to commit to a single scent. They can either find one that they love best (and upgrade), or they can rotate between the set and have something for multiple occasions. These five classic Diptyque fragrances are sure to stay in rotation, giving the giftee a mini library of options that they’ll love unilaterally. We suggest you let them pick a favorite of the five and promise to then gift a full-size bottle of that one, too. (Our money is on Philosykos, but only by a hair.)
Buy Now on Neiman Marcus:
Claus Porto 9-Pack Deco Assorted Soaps
These scintillating soaps from Claus Porto last far longer than any other brand—once they’re opened, that is. Because the real task is getting the giftee to tear into that beautiful art-deco packaging. (If the soaps stay wrapped, they last infinitely longer than any competitors, too!) And on top of all that, you’re going to get an audible reaction as the giftee ogles the box. Truly, it’s beautiful.
Buy Now on Bergdorf Goodman:
Missoni Home Giacomo Cotton-Terry Robe
As visually striking as it is soft, this Portuguese-made cotton cloth robe invites the giftee to cozy up with a cup of coffee in the morning, or a glass of red in the evening. Or, to photobomb Instagram with the robe’s eye-catching design.
Buy Now on Bloomingdale’s:
Aromatherapy Associates Atomizer Electric Diffuser
Diffusers are a terrific way to incorporate fragrance into one’s home, be it for relaxing with a lavender oil diffusion, awakening with a citrus oil, or casting a spritz of one’s go-to perfume into the ether. Aromatherapy Associates has our favorite (and sleekest) diffusers with this atomizer, and no such gift is complete without the brand’s calming essential oils (be it Relax, Revive, Forest, De-Stress, or Breathe).