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Gifting beauty products is a tricky game, and the result can go one of two ways. Either you hit it out of the park, or your big swing turns into a big miss. That’s because many people have a particular regimen they stick to, ranging from the hair and skin brands to which they remain loyal (since it can be a gamble to switch away from the products that consistently deliver a good hair day or clear skin). Plus, things like makeup and nails are a matter of one’s own 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 the beauty gift is a guaranteed win, then? Here are a few tips, followed by our picks for the best products to gift for a special occasion.
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. This usually boils down to the individual and your relationship to them, however.
Nothing too personal: On the one hand, you do want to give them a gift that feels thoughtful and personal, but again, things like nail/lip/blush colors and hair care products might be received poorly if it’s not exactly the product that they are already using. One exception could be if you find a perfect color match of a brand they’re using and it’s something elevated above what they’re already using. “I saw that you use lots of muted red lipsticks, so I got you a few from (this top-shelf brand) that I thought would last you a long time.” Similarly, if you gift something like a fragrance, make sure to say that 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. Because they probably already have a go-to signature scent, and any gesture that suggests it be replaced would be passive-aggressive. And on that note…
Nothing too passive-aggressive: Avoid anything that says “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 it’s one that’s safely crossed if you truly know the giftee, and if you have that assumed permission to give them something useful. 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 thorough skincare regimen, then you can give them something in support of those efforts, like an LED device or a top-tier overnight skincare kit. But 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 certainly wouldn’t gift this to someone who hasn’t expressed disdain over the constant act of shaving, or who isn’t already visiting the dermo or esthetician for routine hair removal. But if your giftee would love a shortcut to hair removal—and would love to save thousands of dollars on those waxing and lasering appointments in the long run, then an at-home IPL device will feel thoughtful as opposed to passive-aggressive. It’s all in the delivery, how you position your thinking, and above all, how well you know the person and their wants/needs.
Nothing too 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. But something like “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. But 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 15 Best Beauty Gifts of 2023
Here are 15 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 (like a hair dryer or laser hair removal device), but if you truly know the giftee, then you won’t have to second guess yourself.
CurrentBody 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.
Kilian Paris Can’t Stop Loving You Eau de Parfum
This floral scent contains multitudes, which reveal themselves over the course of its wear. It opens with orange blossom and jasmine, and graduates into a rich resinous heart. But its zenith is in the sweet honey base, tinged with both vanilla and oak moss. It’s 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.
Omorovicza Budapest Bath Salts and Bath Oil
Bring the healing powers of Budapest’s thermal waters home with this bath duo from Omorvicza. 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 Nordstrom (Bath Salts): $60
Buy Now on Nordstrom (Bath Oil): $66
Le Labo Ambroxyde 17 Candle
If you’re shopping for someone who likes to light a candle while they soak, may we humbly suggest Ambroxyde 17? It’s Le Labo’s first new candle in nearly two years, and its gentle, 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.
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.
Buy Now on Dr. Barbara Sturm: $990
Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
Dyson’s hair dryer is the gold standard when it comes to quick drying, precise styling, and damage mitigation. Other dryers cause breakage and frizzing over time, but this one dries strands from the inside out, without any damage to the cuticles. Plus, it comes with five useful nozzles that help target specific needs, from a curl diffuser to a wide-tooth comb to a gentle dryer head.
Golden Door Golden Peel-A-Way Masque
This nourishing, exfoliating mask is as delightful to wear as it is beneficial. As it dries on the skin, it forms a brilliant, gold mask that makes its wearer feel fancy and opulent. It then peels away cleanly to reveal brighter, radiant complexion.
Westman Atelier The Brush Collection
If your giftee wears makeup, then a top-shelf brush set goes a long way—and feels far less risky than choosing a color palette for them. Westman Atelier’s set of nine handcrafted Japanese brushes equips your recipient with all the necessary tools, and the best ones at that.
Deborah Lippmann Instruments 5-Piece Manicure Set
We’d foremost suggest gifting a trip to a professional manicurist a pedicurist so that they can get proper buffering and pampering; but still, no self-respecting person wants to go without the right tools for the task at home, either. This manicure set from nail-care name-brand Deborah Lippman will arm the giftee with the best instruments for at-home maintenance, in between those salon-caliber re-ups.
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, and won’t clog pores or impress themselves upon skin.
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 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 likes. Just make sure not to gift it to anyone who hasn’t expressed some need or frustration, as it might otherwise read as “please take care of your hairy situation”.
Dr. Dennis Gross Spectralite LED Eye Mask
This 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.
Buy Now on Dr. Dennis Gross: $169
Diptyque Best Sellers Fragrance Discovery Gift Set
These five classic Diptyque scents are sure to stay in rotation, giving the giftee a mini library of options for different occasions. 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.)
Claus Porto 9-Pack Deco Assorted Soaps
These scintillating, nourishing 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!)
Buy Now on Bergdorf Goodman: $80
Missoni Home Giacomo Cotton-Terry Robe
As visually striking as it is soft, this terry cloth robe invites the giftee to cozy up with a cup of coffee in the morning, or a glass of red in the evening.
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 trio of calming essential oil blends.