Buying holiday gifts is a skill that requires a certain level of finesse, especially when you want to buy the people in your life items that they will truly appreciate and cherish. If you have a variety of cosmetics lovers in your life, buying makeup for them can seem like a no-brainer—until you look at what’s available in stores and realize that the options are complex and endless.
This guide to the best makeup gift suggestions for the cosmetics lovers in your life should come in handy, to help you avoid accidentally buying someone a product that they already own, that may not work for them, or, worst of all, might offend!
Before getting into it, however, here are some general suggestions:
- It is never a faux-pas to ask a person what they want! Maybe they’ve been coveting an item that you’re not aware of, so this will take all of the guesswork out of the equation.
- Unless explicitly requested or for your own child, never buy a loved one facial care products, as you may offend them by implying something is wrong with their skin, not to mention that there is a small allergy risk.
- In the same vein, foundations and concealers usually make for poor makeup gifts because it’s impossible to choose the correct shade without having the gift recipient there to try it on. You may also inadvertently insult them if you buy something that has a higher coverage level than what they like. One way around this issue is to find out what product they are currently using, and either buy them that shade or find an shade match from a different brand.
- Take into account the gift recipient’s personal convictions – you wouldn’t want to buy your vegan friend a product that is tested on animals, for example.
Mom or Grandmother
Suffice it to say that your mother or grandmother both probably deserve a bit of pampering. Since they love you so much and (hopefully!) know how much you love them, they will probably be touched rather than offended if you buy them skincare instead of makeup, and this will also allow you to encourage them to practice some self-care. However, it’s important that whatever gift you choose helps them to relax, so an at-home acid peel is probably a no-go while a luxurious sheet mask can be a fabulous idea.
You can let someone else do the work, and get them a gift card to the local salon or spa for a relaxing facial and gorgeous makeover. The Magic Mask Duo from Kora is also a great choice, as it includes two lovely, nourishing masks that they can use and enjoy in their own time.
Lastly, if you’re a really good child, picking up your mother’s or grandmother’s signature lipstick or blush will show her that you’ve noticed what they love and that you really care, not to mention that this way you’ll know for sure that they will use what you bought!
The Makeup-Obsessed Relative
Everyone has at least one makeup-obsessed sister, cousin, or friend who seems to always pick up every new release before you’ve even heard of it, and owns doubles and triples of products in each category. That’s the cosmetics lover that is often the hardest to shop for, so it’s important to think outside the box.
Unique accessories might be the best idea since they’ll enhance her makeup routine without being redundant. Avoid the mundane (no one needs another makeup bag) or the essentials (she probably already owns an incredible set of Japanese-made makeup brushes), and get something unique yet useful like a lighted cosmetics mirror or a total game-changer like the original Makeup Eraser.
When choosing a gift for your long-term significant other, try and inject a little bit of romance into what you buy. On that front, color cosmetics can often do the trick, since there is something particularly seductive about a gorgeous compact filled with magical powder. Stay away from big drugstore palettes, and instead look at individual products that exude luxury. Beyond this, we also suggest asking your partner first—it’ll show that you really care, not to mention that communication is always romantic.
In general, avoid “staple” products like foundation or mascara unless she explicitly asks for them, and instead opt for products that enhance a makeup collection like highlighters, blushes, and lipsticks. Products from a brand like Hourglass or Charlotte Tilbury are the way to go, because of their extraordinary quality, gorgeous packaging, and ethereal appeal. Another option is perfume, which is almost always classy and romantic.
Buying a gift when you are in a new relationship can be a little tougher than buying a gift for a long-term partner. You don’t want to seem overeager by buying something very expensive, which is why makeup can be a great choice. You can show that you’re excited about them by getting something sexy and a little playful.
The alluring LUST: Mini MatteTrance™ Lipstick Trio from Pat McGrath Labs is a great choice because each color is made to be universally flattering, and there is a special seductiveness to the packaging. If you’re a little nervous to pick out color cosmetics, however, then Laneige’s Kiss Me Day and Night Set will be a cute option instead.
A Daughter Who is New to Makeup
When teens and young women first start getting into makeup, they usually start out with a hodge-podge collection of low-quality products and a few more expensive items perhaps stolen from an older relative. When gifting your daughter makeup, it’s important to choose high-quality items from reputable brands that are made to be gentle on the skin and that will fill gaps in her makeup collection.
One thing you can do is buy her a gift card to a makeup store like Ulta, MAC, or Sephora. Many of these places offer a free makeup application with a product purchase, so your gift card can be used to provide them with an educational makeover from a makeup artist as well as a few products suited to their face. At the very least, take them to get color matched for an appropriate foundation, in order to avoid them wearing awkwardly mismatched foundation for their first few years of wearing makeup. Finally, you can also take the chance to put them on track with good skincare habits by buying them a hypoallergenic skincare set like the Farmacy Sweet Greens Limited Edition Set or The Ordinary Daily Set.
Young Niece or Cousin
When choosing a makeup gift for a young woman who isn’t your daughter, it’s usually a good idea to talk to her parents first to make sure you don’t step out of line by buying something that isn’t age-appropriate or that the parents themselves won’t be comfortable with.
With that said, young women often lack great makeup tools, which are so important for crafting beautiful makeup looks, so buying them a great brush set will be very useful, not to mention meaningful since the gift will last them for years.
The other option is to pick up an eyeshadow palette that emphasizes the fun and creativity involved with makeup, rather than the corrective or gendered elements of it.
The Hippie Aunt
The makeup world has had a clean revolution, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find an amazing gift for the aunt who only eats organic and wears hemp. Show her you respect her eco-friendly beliefs with a gift from one of the multitudes of all-natural beauty brands that have popped up over the recent years.
You can’t go wrong with a Carrot Colour Pot from Ere Perez or an eyeshadow palette from Lily Lolo. As with other distant friends or relatives, it’s better to choose something that will be universally flattering and not overly personal, so eyeshadows and blushes will work while foundations and skincare may miss the mark even if they come from a clean or all-natural beauty brand.
Buying a gift for a colleague can be a little tricky since you want to give them something thoughtful and useful that won’t be overly personal. You might also be dealing with multiple colleagues, in which case you need to find a way to give something to each person in your office without breaking the bank. For the sake of professionalism, stay away from any products with cheeky packaging or double entendre names.
For the holidays, many stores launch makeup and skincare sets comprised of their best selling goodies. You can pick up a few of those sets and then split them up to give one item to each person working in your office. You can stick to body care products, like this hand cream set from L’Occitane or get creative with this lip gloss set from Estée Lauder.
Don’t forget to treat yourself this holiday season! If you’re a cosmetics lover yourself, take the opportunity to buy that new lipstick or eyeshadow palette you have been eyeing. If you aren’t (which is very possible if you’re reading this article), then get yourself some lovely grooming products you can use to pamper yourself before all of the holiday parties you will surely be invited to.
Guest Author Bio:
Matthew Burke is the Managing Editor of Makeup Artist Essentials, a site dedicated to helping cosmetics lovers become makeup artists. He lives in NYC, and he can’t wait to buy his hippie aunt a Carrot Colour Pot from Ere Perez for Christmas.