Finding the perfect holiday gift can be maddening — is this the color they’d want? Is it something they already have? Is it so last year? — but really, once you have a sense of a person’s taste, it’s not impossible. This season, we’ll be talking to members of various tribes (we’re calling them the Hard-to-Shop-Fors) to find out exactly what to get that serious home cook, skin-care Redditor, or gamer in your life. Think of it as a window into their brain trust — or at least a very helpful starting point.
Today, two Skincare Addiction Redditors, krismenco — who describes her skin-type as “dehydration-prone, fungal acne-prone, sensitive, combination, rosacea subtype 1 and 2” — and ver0nikaa — whose skin skews extremely dry and sensitive — tell us about the skincare gifts they’re looking forward to this year. We’re also adding in our own skincare favorites to help round out the list with some buzzy gift ideas that have been talked about this year. Don’t miss all of the Strategist’s holiday gift coverage right here, too.
Best skincare gifts
If you’re shopping for someone in need of a new cleansing oil, you could go the DHC route — it’s a good one — but ver0nikaa tells us you might be sleeping on this Kiehl’s product, which she hopes to re-up on for the holidays. “Holy cow, removing my makeup has never been so satisfying,” she shares. “This product comes out very easily and the smell is so nice and relaxing. I use it first to remove makeup and dirt, and then I use a very gentle gel-based soap to remove any excess or residue.”
Krismenco’s more of a dedicated K-beauty and J-beauty person. And since she’s already a fan of other Amorepacific brands — it’s the parent company that owns Sulwhasoo, Laneige, and Etude House — she’s been wanting to test this essence from Amorepacific’s house line, because the anti-aging main ingredient, Camellia sinensis, sounds promising. “This has less than ten ingredients, which is a boon for someone with sensitive skin,” she adds.
For the person who’s more into French beauty, ver0nikaa shares that she “recently tried and FELL IN LOVE with” this booster serum from French pharmacy brand Vichy. “Wow, wow, wow, my skincare routine and results drastically changed after I started using it. My skin has never been so soft, moisturized, and glowy,” she says. For the holidays, she wants as much of this stuff as she can get her hands on.
Ver0nikaa’s also been hearing a lot about this Clarins serum and wants to see if it actually works for minimizing her pores. “Now that my skin feels healthy, hydrated, and without any redness, I feel the need to take care of the visible pores. I heard this serum really works and that you can see the results almost immediately.”
And if you’re shopping for someone who’s already hip to the benefits of squalane oil, you might get them Biossance’s squalane rose oil — which was popular enough this year to sell out at Sephora for weeks at a time. It’s one that krismenco has been eyeing because she likes the concept of using an oil blend with vitamin C in it (“a favorite antioxidant of mine”) to maximize her skincare results.
There’s also been a lot of buzz around Peach & Lily’s new line of skincare products — I’m a huge fan of their “glass skin” serum, as is the rest of the internet. But if they’re looking for something AHA and BHA-heavy, this is another standout product from P&L that people are really excited about for exfoliating sans irritation.
If you’re shopping for a sheet mask person, we’ve heard that My Beauty Diary’s bird’s nest masks are the best. As one Redditor, privatecaboosey, puts it: “I don’t see effects from some masks, but my personal favorite — My Beauty Diary Imperial Bird’s Nest — brightens my skin noticeably and helps shrink any pimples/marks on my face.”
For the die-hard skincare person who’s still looking for the ultimate moisturizer, this one designed by a scientist and physician has made the rounds online (and won over several beauty editors) for its ability to reduce age spots and wrinkles over time. It bills itself as “the future of skincare.” I’ve tried the rich cream, and can agree that the moisturizer is very nourishing — but the price is definitely not for the faint of heart. It’s just shy of $300 for the full-size version.
New beauty launches
And for fans of Dr. Jart+ (which has many passionate followers in the Asian Beauty community for its tiger grass and Ceramidin creams), ver0nikaa tipped us off to this very well-rounded beauty gift set from the brand that just launched at Sephora. “I already purchased this for myself and should be getting it in the mail in the next couple of days!”
She’s also keeping tabs on this lip oil from Kiehl’s. “I learned Kiehl’s is coming out with a new lip treatment called Love Oil For Lips, which is kind of a tinted oil treatment formulated with coconut and Moringa oil, plus acerola cherry extract. I would like to get this not only for the hydrating treatment, but also because I can use it everyday as a lip tint.” Incidentally, it would make a nice stocking stuffer.
And for the latest in retinol, there’s been some excitement over these Elizabeth Arden retinol serum capsules, which have a twist-tab top for enhanced freshness. Ver0nikaa says she’s into the concept because of the packaging and the type of vitamin A used: “I haven’t had any luck with retinol products. They all seem to irritate my face, but I’m not giving up on it yet.”
She also recently stumbled upon Korean brand Momiji and is intrigued by their colorful sheet masks and eye patches: “Momiji’s new line of sheet masks is called Sweet Sixteen and has three varieties (brightening/hydrating, anti-aging/firming, and poreless/repair).”
Devices and skincare accessories
In the realm of skincare devices, krismenco hasn’t dipped a toe in derma-rolling yet, but thinks it might be worth trying for her stretch marks: “When I saw this one I was immediately intrigued because it combines red LED light with the microneedling tool. It also has all of those cool attachments and I’m a low-key sucker for tools that can be used in different ways.”
Speaking of LED light devices, here’s one of the fanciest ones you can buy on the market. Most use either blue or red light, or both, but this one uses three: a medley of red light (for inflammation), blue light (for acne), and yellow light (for brightening). I own it and think it really helps for making my skin look less flushed.
And for those in the market for a facial cleanser, here’s one in a mini form that ver0nikaa wants this year. The Cut described it as efficient and good for travel: “It’s so compact that the entire thing can fit into your pocket, plus it only needs a charge once every five months — a big travel bonus.”
For someone who loves getting facials, Dr. Dennis Gross’s steamer would make another good gift. It’s supposed to help with clearing your pores and soothing your complexion. Rio tried it already and liked it: “The steam pressure is gentle but effective — it opens up your pores without being too aggressive and scalding your face off.”
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