Skincare, like sunglasses or perfume, is wildly hard to gift. It takes a master’s finesse—knowing everything from your recipient’s most recent Top Shelf, to their skin type, to their moon sign (you know, just in case). But with great risk comes great reward; you could be on the precipice of introducing your nearest and dearest to their next favorite product! A satisfying sensation if ever there was one. And you’re an expert. Why? Because you’re here on this very site right now.
If you accept this challenge, there are a few recommended routes. It all depends on the effect you’re going for. And the nuance and intrigue of your personal relationships. There are many layers to this onion. You’re on safe and appropriate ground when you’re buying….
Anything for the body
Standard. Expected even. But this gift so often falls into the “they wouldn’t buy it for themselves, but they should” category—so treat them! When in doubt, start at the Kiehl’s counter. Various tubs and bottles of their fan-favorite Creme de Corps will run you from the $30 range to the $50 range, depending on your Secret Santa limit. The hand cream is also a good apothecary chic option…works with any Top Shelf style. Another direction is fancy-ass body wash. The Maison Louis Marie Body and Hand Wash is a little less intimate than something from Molton Brown—maybe they’ll keep it in the kitchen! Up to them and where they like to wash.
Hydration in general
You’ve got options. Hyaluronic acid is nearly always a safe bet, particularly for a cousin who lusts for skincare but isn’t really sure where to start. Masks, too—but err on the side of comforting, nurturing ingredients and not anything that claims “clarifying” or god forbid “anti-acne.” That’ll do you in for a mighty uncomfortable conversation. (“What are you trying to say???”) Hada Labo serums are a favorite around these parts, as is the mask duo coming at ya from Summer Fridays (Jet Lag and Overtime). Both relatively innocuous but a good time for the skin. Don’t overthink it—self-care is a great gift.
A lip mask
Talk about luxury impact. Nothing says “I’m the person who needs nothing and has everything so my friends and family had to buy me one of the niche-est of beauty product in the whole damn world” like a lip mask. It’s a pot that sits next to your bed, comes with a little spoon, and makes you feel like a queen when you apply right before lights out. Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask is the one, no question. But for a bit more showy extravagance, you could go for the lip SHEET masks from KNC Beauty or Patchology. Less effective than the Laneige, but arguably more fun.
ITG’s most mentioned anti-aging serum
OK, so you know this person really well. Like so well. Like you share a bunch of DNA with them and maybe threw up on them when you were a small child. (This person is probably your mom.) You’ve got to be extra careful when gifting highly targeted skincare like the Skinceuticals CE Ferulic Serum, so keep it in the family. Whomever you choose, they’ll appreciate your discerning taste and unparalleled level of service. And know that not everyone deserves the brightness, firmness, and elevated environmental protection that CE Ferulic offers. Gotta check that list twice, for damn sure.
Photo via SNL.