The Guilt-Free Guide To Returning Beauty Gifts You Hate

Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh.
There’s a reason the internet runneth over every holiday season with beauty gift guides for every type of person in your life: Buying products for people other than yourself is a high-stakes game. No matter how well-meaning the gift-giver (your S.O.’s aunt), or how thoughtful the gift itself (a foot file, for your dry winter skin), the odds are that, eventually, one of these days, you’re going to get something you just straight-up don’t like. A set of shimmery glosses if you’re a diehard matte-lip person, a hydrating skin-care set if you’re as oily as they come — the possibilities are, unfortunately, endless.

When that happens — and it will — stay calm. You know the drill: Act surprised, but not shocked; pleased, but not ecstatic. And as soon as all the hot cider’s been swilled, and the snow starts to melt, and the guests have all gone home, get your gift receipts together and start making moves. The good news is that these eight super-popular online beauty-shopping destinations have policies that make it a breeze to trade in whatever you don’t want for something you do, just as life should be.

So you can in good faith tell Aunt Helen that no, really, you did love her present, since it added up to $40 worth of Sephora store credit in the end. The only way it could have been better is if she had made it a gift card in the first place.

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