Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers
Beauty gifts are an excellent off-ramp on your annual road to a holiday-shopping-induced nervous breakdown. Beauty’s great because it’s versatile. You can get something small and casual, like a Jinsoon Nail Polish, to beef up a lackluster gift. Or you can go all out and choose a star beauty product — something like ZIIP’s Margot Robbie–approved microcurrent device. One of my favorite ways to give beauty, though, is through bundles. They’re sort of like gift baskets, in that the items complement each other. I’ve collected some of my and the Strategist’s favorite beauty finds into bundles for all the people in your life — whether you’re shopping for your internet-obsessed little sister, skin-care-skeptical father, or self-care grandma, I’ve got you.
Lately, I’ve been noticing Elf’s $7 Putty Blush pop up in practically every Get Ready With Me video I’ve seen on TikTok. According to reviews, the best way to use this is to scoop a teeny bit out and warm it up on the back of your hand. The heat melts the blush and intensifies the pigment, so the teeniest bit goes a long way.
As far as celebrity makeup brands go, Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty is one of my favorites. All of her products are well designed, allow for finger-blending application (no fussy beauty blenders or makeup brushes required), and are super-pigmented. But I’m certainly not alone — TikToker’s love Rare Beauty, so much so that their hashtag has acquired about 1.6 billion views. And lately, I can’t scroll on TikTok without their contour stick popping up, with creators raving about how the formula is ultracreamy, easy to blend, and great for folks who want to give their skin a natural-looking, bronze-y, sculpted look.
If they have a fringe or tend to go for those bouncy, Cindy Crawford–esque curls, they might just love this hair dryer-slash-round brush from Revlon. This is an especially excellent gift for someone who takes ages to style their hair in the mornings, as the two-for-one product curls and dries hair at the same time, which will help to cut their styling time in half. Not to mention, it’s a fraction of the price of Dyson’s buzzy Airwrap with similar features.
It’s no secret that Cosrx’s Snail Mucin is a staple here at The Strategist — we’ve been writing about how much we love its reparative and deeply moisturizing benefits for a few years now. But the affordable, skin-quenching essence has recently picked up steam on #skincaretok, and we’re glad to see it’s getting the shine it deserves! It’s a great pick for anyone with dehydrated or acne-prone skin, as it can help soothe redness and deliver a big boost of moisture.
As it turns out, Ariana Grande is really good at making perfumes. We’ve long been fans of her OG “Cloud” scent, but it took TikTok’s fragrance community by storm this last year, as creators discovered that the forty dollar bottle was incredible dupe for Masion Francis Kurkdjian’s $500 celebrity-favorite scent Baccarat Rouge. But Ariana’s newest perfume launch, God Is a Woman, comes in a fragranced body oil that sophisticated noses on TikTok seem to love for its fruity but musky smell and intense staying power.
If I asked my brother what his skin type was, I can guarantee he would ask what a skin type even is. So if this sounds like your brother, too, a safe skin-care starting point is this affordable dermatologist-beloved, hydrating cleanser. It’s a gentle, super-neutral choice that’s suitable for pretty much any skin type, even the most sensitive.
Use the family gathering time to encourage him to get into the habit of applying sunscreen daily. This lightweight formula from K-beauty brand ISNTREE is not just reasonably priced, it also has a cosmetically elegant, creamy formula that blends beautifully into the skin. It’s excellent for both sunscreen newbies and skin-care aficionados.
If your brother is new to skin care but complains about his cracked dry skin in the wintertime, this drugstore hyaluronic acid serum from L’Oreal is an excellent choice. It’s an excellent way to integrate a hydrating serum into his routine without committing to an expensive product.
This is a real dermatologist-office staple, as it’s gentle enough to use on even the most problematic skin. (I myself reach for it during my worst eczema flare-ups.) The formula is rich in ceramides and non-comedogenic, so it hydrates cracked or scaly skin while ensuring it won’t break you out. It also comes in a giant tub, so you can use it on both your face and your body.
This peel will leave even the most cracked, winter-boot feet feeling like smooth little seals. Slip your feet into Patchology’s liquid filled socks, wait sixty minutes, and then wash and dry your feet. A few days after using them, their skin will shed like a snake, revealing silky smooth, callus-free feet.
We all know someone who loves that chic, barely-there, buff-and-shine manicure. They love going to the nail salon, but hate the idea of committing to a colored polish. For those types of people in your life, this ultra glossy, pinky-hued polish from Dior is the perfect your-nails-but-better polish. It creates a subtle, fresh, and super healthy effect.
Jin Soon polishes are beloved for their super pigmented lacquer and high shine finish. And this trio-set of beautiful, glossy red shades — a poppy red, one bluer shade, and one deeper, vampier color — are superb for moms that love that classic, elegant manicure.
For anyone that’s trying to grow out their nails, this cuticle oil from Deborah Lipman makes for a great gift. If you didn’t know, Deborah Lipman is a veteran in the industry, with multiple products in her line dedicated to repairing and nourishing cracked or dry nails. This elegantly formulated cuticle oil uses vitamine, jojoba seed oil and coconut oil to strengthen and moisturize your nail beds to encourage growth.
If you have an aunt who always has bright platinum hair or fresh highlights, K18’s treatment mask is an absolute must have. This restorative and deeply hydrating treatment was once a salon only treatment, but in recent years, they launched their incredible formula for at home.
If your aunt is a natural or faux blonde, she’s gonna love this hair mask from French colorist Christophe Robin. Baby Blonde is equal parts conditioning mask and toning treatment, so it will keep brassiness out of your hair and help maintain that bright, just-left-the-salon blonde while delivering rich, hydrating ingredients like shea butter and sweet almond oil to your hair.
When it comes to hair oil, you want a product that’s able to smooth frizziness and add shine to your hair without that heavy, sticky feeling. And this honey-based hair oil from Gisou is exactly that! A teeny tiny drop goes a long way, and immediately adds a shine and softness to your hair.
Your bleach-blonde aunt can’t wash shampoo every day (it’s too drying). Help her keep her hair matte and bouncy with this Strategist-approved, never-sticky dry shampoo.
Tell dad to leave this giant tub of face and body sunscreen right by the front door in case he needs a quick hit right before he heads out to the garden. It’s non-greasy, blends easily into the skin, and doesn’t stick your eyes when you sweat.
For those who spend a lot of time out in the sun, this UV hat was created specifically to protect the skin against damaging and potentially dangerous sun rays. Okay, admittedly, this hat is a pretty specific look, but not only does it protect against the sun, it also keeps the sun out of his eyes. He’ll appreciate it, trust me.
Your dad might already have a Carmex in his pocket, but you should let him know that the skin on your lips is the thinnest on our whole body, and you can get seriously sunburned, cracked lips if you’re spending your afternoons outside in the garden. This one from Elta has SPF 36, protection as well as hydrating ingredients like glycerin to moisturize and protect his lips all day long.
Even with sunscreen, it’s possible that your dad might miss a spot and catch the sun every now and then. And if and when he does, this aloe vera gel from K-beauty brand Benton is a great way to soothe inflamed, dry, or irritated skin and calm any kind of burns.
Yes, she already owns a gua sha. But what’s awesome about this particular one from Sachue is that it is made with stainless steel, so it’s antibacterial (meaning it’s much less likely to accumulate bacteria and break her out) and it also has a natural cooling effect, which is especially great if she relies on her gua sha for depuffing.
This ZIIP microcurrent device is a celebrity favorite (Margot Robbie and Elizabeth Olsen are fans) and it’s definitely on the very, very pricey side. But if she likes getting microcurrent facials and/or is partial to a fancy beauty gadget, she might just fall in love with the ZIIP. The micro and nano current work to sculpt and lift the face for both immediate and long term effects.
This LED mask is far from cheap. But if your wife is passionate about skincare, and you know her ideal Friday night is lounging on the sofa with a face mask on, she’ll love this terrifying looking (but very effective) LED face mask from Dr. Dennis Gross. In three minutes, this mask uses high-tech red and blue light to target and treat breakouts, fine lines, and wrinkles.
As a skincare obsessive myself, I can vouch that cryo sticks are an awesome thing to have in your freezer for a wide range of issues. For one, if your wife tends to wake up with swollen under eyes, these crysosticks can work to chill the area and bring down some of that puffiness. But another, often forgotten perk of cryosticks, is that they’re incredible for preventing skin picking. So if your wife also happens to be the type of person that attacks her face every time she gets a breakout, these cryo sticks are a great way to reduce the swelling of zits without breaking the skin.
If your grandma is a lady of luxury, body oils are an excellent way to integrate hydrating and soothing ingredients to her post-bath routine in the most lush way possible. This body oil is a blend of cold-pressed coconut and tuberose.
Speaking of luxury, there are few things more opulent than showering with a gel that matches your favorite perfume. And if your grandma likes Byredo (what’s not to like!), this aromatic shower gel can make her at home shower feel like a full on, spa-like experience.
If you have a grandma that likes feeling feel warm and snuggly when she gets out of the bath, Parachute’s cotton robes are an excellent choice. They’re ultra toasty and thick, and feel like a robe from the most expensive luxury hotel.
This soak is infused with Himalayan pink salts, chia seeds, and frankincense that relax the mind, hydrate the skin, and ease muscles while in the bath.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.