How to give beauty products: avoid the landmines and they can be great last-minute gifts | Beauty

Picking beauty gifts can be a minefield. While they’re not all-out bad gifts like puppies, personal care products can end up looking like a pointed hint – deodorant and mouthwash are excellent passive-aggressive gifts for people you hate. Beauty products are also highly individual, and unless you’ve spent the last few weeks staring closely at your recipient’s face, you’re probably going to pick the wrong foundation shade or a cleanser for entirely the wrong skin type.

But if your giftee is a prolific user of beauty products then something beauty-related could well be the perfect gift. Here are some tips for choosing something they’ll love.

The safest bet

Like for other gift categories, the safest option for a beauty fan is probably a gift card to a popular store such as Mecca, Sephora or Adore Beauty. If this feels too impersonal, you can add a small product to go with it. For Australians I’d suggest sunscreen, since we live in the skin cancer capital of the world, and you end up compromising your results from skincare unless you’re also using sunscreen regularly. SPF-boosted lip balm is a great option too.

Organisers and makeup brushes are safe bets when it comes to gifting beauty products. Photograph: Nemida/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Organisers are a bit more beauty-adjacent, but probably very welcome in a beauty addict’s home. Clear acrylic drawers, revolving holders and shelves are a great way to make sure everything is neat but easily accessible, and you can pick them up from Kmart, Ikea and Daiso. For something a little fancier, Etoile Collective and Muji sell specialised organisers. As a bonus, they can also be repurposed for jewellery and food.

Facial skincare

To sidestep the “pointed hint” faux pas, it’s probably a good idea to avoid any skincare products that target acne or wrinkles, unless you know your giftee specifically wants (or already uses) them.

If they’ve ever mentioned having sensitive skin, allergies or rosacea, it’s probably best not to gift skincare at all, since they probably have a long checklist of ingredients they avoid in products.

While some skincare products work for almost everyone, they also happen to be incredibly boring things like Vaseline and Sorbolene, which don’t really inspire the excitement that gifts should bring. Gift packs of products for hydration or glow will suit most people who don’t have sensitive skin issues.

Body skincare

Body skin is thicker and less sensitive than face skin, so you can have a bit more fun with these products without risking a skin reaction – unless, of course, your person has sensitive skin.

There are a lot of body gift sets available at most pharmacies, including some that are already beautifully packaged (perfect for last-minute purchases). There are sets for men as well. Body care shops such as Lush and The Body Shop also have a massive range of prewrapped gifts for every budget.


With the massive range of makeup shades available, picking the wrong one can be all too easy. A safe bet is to go for classic shades that suit most people. For lipsticks and nail polish, bright red is always a good bet. Coral blush and neutral eyeshadow palettes are also incredibly versatile. Some brands have gift sets that include their most popular shades.

To avoid the colour range headache, you can go for tools instead: makeup addicts can never have enough brushes, and tweezers always end up going missing. Travel makeup bags are very useful as well, and there are many personalisation options available. Reusable makeup wipes are also fantastic for the ecoconscious beauty fan in your life.

About Dian Sastro

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