Just like giving unsolicited advice, treating someone to skin care for the holidays should be approached with great care: There’s a delicate balance between passing along useful tips that the recipient will actually appreciate and inadvertently insulting them with an anti-aging eye cream recommendation.
But there’s a way to give your loved ones the priceless gift of better skin — whether that means clearer, brighter, or younger-looking — without coming off as a real jerk for suggesting that they might need to take care of their skin in the first place.
Ahead, the best skin-care gifts to give this holiday season — and how to give them without ruining your relationships and alienating people.
For the person who’s a little flaky (in more ways than one)… Dry-skin gifts are the easiest to gift: It’s very unlikely that any person, flaky-faced or otherwise, would take offense to receiving a nice moisturizing product for the holidays. Really, the only way you could mess this one up is if you gave them an empty box and told them they should really drink more water. Definitely don’t do that — but do give them this cute trio of aesthetically pleasing hydrating products, which contains a smoothing body polish, a hydrating facial mist, and a luxe lip treatment, all infused with coconut and rose and all begging to be Instagrammed. Herbivore Botanicals Coco Rose Luxe Hydration Trio, $39, available at Herbivore Botanicals.
If you’re flying high on your year-end bonus and want to really treat the parched-skinned person in your life, get them this humongous jar of rich, deeply quenching face cream. It’s incredibly luxurious and nourishing, and leaves skin glowing while also acknowledging that they’re going to need to use a lot of it.
Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte’s Magic Cream Treat & Transform Moisturizer, $255, available at Nordstrom.
— PAID — When it comes to gifting skin-care products, going the body-care route is always a safe bet. This wild-rose body oil not only smells amazing (read: like a bouquet of freshly picked stems), but it's also ultra-hydrating, so it'll leave your skin feeling baby soft during the winter season, when it can use the extra TLC. Bonus: If your giftee is into DIY, tell them to mix two capfuls of the oil with 1/2 cup of milk for a relaxing, aromatic bath blend. Weleda Wild Rose Body Oil, $26.00, available at Weleda.
For the person who has their dermatologist on speed-dial… So maybe it’s not the most subtle gift, and on second thought, maybe you actually shouldn’t give it to someone who’s extra touchy about their broken-out skin. That said, this Dr. Pimple Popper-approved kit — which includes a comedone extractor for tackling ready-to-pop whiteheads and a salicylic acid treatment for keeping acne at bay — is hands down the most practical thing to give a blemish-prone loved one. They might be a little taken aback at first, but one day, they’ll thank you. Dr. Pimple Popper Popaholic Gift Set, $45, available at Dr. Pimple Popper.
There's nothing particularly fun or exciting about having acne, or trying to get rid of it, for that matter — but you certainly wouldn't know it just by looking at this three-piece set of space-themed skin-care products, all in varying shades of alien green. Complete with a best-selling mask, toner, and breakout-fighting dry oil (yes, oil), it's the most fun you'll ever have trying to suck your acne into a black hole for good.
Sunday Riley Space Race Fight Acne, Oil + Pores at Warp Speed Kit, $65, available at Sephora.
Right off the bat, you get a self-esteem boost in: You’re already pore-fect the way you are, but here are a few things that can help you become even
more so. This limited-edition lineup contains four cult-favorite products — a cleanser, hydrating gel, setting spray, and the universally beloved peel-off mask — that get their deep-cleansing, skin-purifying properties from charcoal. Who knew it was better for more than just a barbecue? Boscia You’re Pore-fect Charcoal Set, $41, available at Sephora.
For the person who’s surviving on caffeine and a prayer… Nobody wants to be told that they look tired, so when words fail, hand your most visibly exhausted friend this gift set in silence: If the vibrant colors and youthful, kitschy design aren’t enough to wake them up, the multitasking products inside most definitely will. The rejuvenating night serum, gentle cleanser, rich cream, and luxurious facial oil can make anyone look like they’ve had 12 hours sleep — or six, for that matter. Drunk Elephant Volume 1: Hot Date, $98, available at Sephora.
Save time; get your skin care in while you sleep. This trio includes three of the brand's top picks to hydrate and brighten overnight, Sleeping Beauty-style, except there's no evil witch and we aren't 16 anymore.
REN Silent Night, Wake Wonderful, $58, available at REN.
The holidays always seem so magical in movies, but in real life — the kind that does not star Hugh Grant — they can be a real drain on the energy reserves. This four-piece set offers a month's supply of skin-soothing, mood-boosting face wash, eye cream, and moisturizer for morning and night, which should be just enough time to see your giftee through the hard parts.
Skyn Iceland Detox Kit for Stressed Skin, $35, available at Ulta.
For the person who wants eternal youth without selling their soul… Always tread carefully with anti-aging skin care, no matter how well-meaning you might be in your mission to help your mother-in-law stop her crow's feet from progressing before it's too late. This trio, with its clean white packaging and no mention of the word "aging" anywhere to be found, is a whisper rather than a shout — use me to keep your skin healthy, not you look old and need my help. Amore Pacific Green Tea Me Gorgeous, $108, available at Sephora.
What's in a name? Everything, really — at least in the case of this anti-aging set, which was practically made for your friend or family member who keeps asking you if they should get Botox. (The answer is simple:
Yes, if you want to.) Seeing as looking fabulous but not frozen is the ultimate goal, these five products are a means to a younger-looking, age-defying end, and they're way cheaper than fillers. Dr. Brandt Look Fabulous Not Frozen Kit, $89, available at Ulta.
ancienne — French for ancient — is not there to indicate that the person at the receiving end is incredibly old; rather, it alludes to the formula's roots in botanical ingredients and technology that have been used for thousands of years. As long as you're prepared to explain that before you hand over this intensely nourishing, skin-illuminating serum, which is the topical equivalent to turning the lights on inside your face, you're good to go. Otherwise, you just spent $240 to make your nana feel bad about her wrinkles. Fresh Crème Ancienne Supreme Face Serum, $240, available at Sephora.
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