painless shopping

30 Gifts Under $50 From Asian and Asian American–Owned Brands

Photo-Illustration: retailers

Whether you’re searching for a gift for a friend’s housewarming, something small for a sibling’s promotion, or just an I’m-thinking-of-you present for your parents, you don’t need to spend a fortune to show someone you care. To help you out, we put together a list of nice gifts under $50 you can buy from Asian and Asian American–owned brands and small businesses, most of which we’ve written about before, for all sorts of occasions. And if you’re looking for other ways to support the Asian American community, which has been suffering from an uptick in violent and racist attacks, check out our list of organizations that directly benefit the AAPI community.

Abacaxi, founded by South Asian American designer Sheena Sood, makes one of our favorite fabric face masks because, as our resident mask expert, Liza Corsillo, says, they’re “easy to put on, come in a bunch of cool fabrics, and don’t get hot like some other, thicker masks.” Masks aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so a cheerful new addition would make a lovely gift for anyone on your list.

If they need something to store their new mask in, this is one of our favorites.

We’ve written about ADAY before, when trend forecasters raved about its “sloungewear.” Our friends at the Cut also recommend its leggings. But if you’re looking for a small something for that friend who constantly complains about the bright streetlights outside their bedroom window, this sleeping mask covers a lot of surface area and will be sure to block out any unwanted light.

An easy-to-care for plant from Strategist-approved brand The Sill for the person who loves greenery but can’t quite keep anything alive.

Any sneakerhead will appreciate a set of quality sneaker-cleaning products. For just 16 bucks, this bottle of shoe cleaner can clean up to 100 pairs of sneakers, and it comes with a soft-bristle brush that’s perfect for getting dirt and grime off the midsoles and undersoles.

Made out of Dagne Dover’s waterproof and washable signature neoprene, these toiletry bags will survive all sorts of wear and tear, whether it comes from just sitting on a bathroom counter or being tossed into a carry-on. It even comes with a tear-resistant mesh pouch inside, too, for anything that needs safekeeping.

A charming pair of earrings that will be sure to stand out — but not too much — on your recipient’s Zoom calls. Starting in April, a portion of all proceeds will be going toward Heart of Dinner, too.

Photo: kabir fernandez

With the New York State ban on plastic bags still in effect, a gift set of these Strategist-approved Baggu totes will surely be appreciated (and constantly used).

The cool teen in your life has probably seen charm bracelets like this all over TikTok, and if she’s not quite ready to commit to making her own, this one will be just what she wants. Plus, with every purchase, BONBONWHIMS donates a portion of the proceeds to Send Chinatown Love, Stop AAPI Hate, Heart of Dinner, and AALDEF.

$35

A reusable water bottle is always a good idea, but this one from NYC accessory brand Haerfest is especially so.

A new apartment always calls for new cleaning supplies. Gift this sleek, sustainable kit from Blueland that comes with hand soap, multi-surface cleaner, bathroom cleaner, and a glass and mirror cleaner — all of which are refillable.

For the mom who thinks a mix is just fine, this gluten-free and vegan set comes with a carrot currant masala bread mix, banana chocolate chip muffin mix, zucchini double chocolate muffin mix, and a classic base muffin mix.

Any man who’s hard to shop for will appreciate some nice new socks. These are made from Japanese paper yarn, which, on top of being sustainable, is naturally moisture wicking, odor eliminating, and quick drying. And while Paper Project sells a variety of fun colors, navy is always a safe (and stylish) bet.

Or you could give the gift of good skin. Our beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton swears by this cleanser because of how “gentle, hydrating, and brightening” it is.

And if they’re already set for creams, cleansers, and serums, get them this de-puffing face roller from Mount Lai, a brand inspired by founder Stephanie Zheng’s grandmother and traditional Chinese medicine practices.

An excellent thinking-of-you gift for the friend missing their regular mani-pedi schedule. We like this springy coral, but Sundays’ colors run the gamut for every style.

Wing On Wo & Co. has been open since 1925, making it the oldest store in New York City’s Chinatown. It’s known for its porcelain wares, so gift the tea lover in your life with this timeless tea set.

For something a bit more modern, take a look at this gift set from the Qi, which contains tea, a glass cup and saucer, and gold tongs. Instead of using tea bags, you brew the tea from flowers, making it Instagram friendly, too.

And for the tea lover who’s expecting, Rae’s Roots offers a healthy pregnancy-tea formulation of red raspberry leaf and ginger. It also comes with an oversized mug and a peony-scented soy candle.