I absolutely love shopping for gifts. I love finding practical things, or things that remind me of the recipient, or items that might be trendy and push the receiver’s boundaries a little, even if they decide to take it back.
In general, I really enjoy the gift-buying process. However, in years past, my spending has easily snowballed because of how much I tend to find or wanting to match the value of everyone’s gifts. That can’t happen this year, though. The gifts need to be much smaller, and yet I’d still like to have some fun putting them together. So, what I have here is a list of five different, very small gift ideas you can give to the beauty or bath enthusiast you know that will provide them with a luxurious experience. And the best part? They’re all under twenty bucks (not including tax).
Your own version of a “beauty sampler” or “beauty emergency kit”
Stores like Sephora like to sell their own beauty “emergency” kits, but they can still cost quite a few bucks even for the value they might have. Beauty box subscriptions can also be really fun, but they certainly cost more than a flat rate of twenty bucks. If I were to create my own version of sampler for a friend, I might think of it as a “day to night” kit and include the following: a pair of false lashes, a perfume sample, a pack of blotting sheets, a travel-size dry shampoo, and maybe a mini version of some kind of lip color I like.
The fun thing about this idea is that you can really make it your own. And it may sound incredibly cheap, but if you’ve acquired a lot of beauty samples over the past year, perhaps you can select a few of them based on what you know your friend enjoys, package them nicely, and there you go! Done. This is an idea that could potentially cost you under five dollars.
Three of your favorite drugstore mascaras
Come on, what girl doesn’t love opening a new, fresh tube of drugstore mascara? Now, if you go to Target, the prices on cosmetics will be cheaper so I’d suggest shopping there (or Wal-Mart, if you can manage the chaos). Maybe you could determine your gift recipient’s favorite kind of mascara first and include that within the three. What I’d probably do is choose one kind I know they like, one kind I know I like, and maybe a “wildcard”, like a new kind that perhaps neither of you have tried. If you play it right and shop around enough, you can still come out under $20.
For instance, if I swing by Wal-Mart and purchase a tube of Cover Girl’s The Super Sizer by LashBlast ($5.94), Maybelline Lash Sensational ($6.94), and Maybelline Volum’ Express The Falsies ($5.94), I’m at a total of $18.82. Easy.
A couple Korean sheet masks
Korean sheet masks are super trendy these days, but what’s fun about giving them is that you can choose a couple different kinds for different skin needs. For instance, Tony Moly (sold at Sephora, along with a myriad of other brands) sells sheet masks in packs of two and there is huge variety to choose from within this line alone. They have masks for radiance, clarity, hydration, pore care, and many others. One pack of two costs $7.50, bringing your total to just fifteen bucks if you choose to give two packs.
A sheet mask is a nice little end-of-the-day thing to enjoy with a glass of wine and Netflix, or a soothing treatment to use on a plane ride that can prevent dryness. And, the fact that many of your friends may not have tried them makes them a fun novelty that beats another bottle of lotion.
A couple bath bombs or beautiful soaps
Now, I know that not everyone takes baths so you may want to investigate your friend’s bathing habits first, but bath bombs are my current fave form of entertainment that doesn’t involve Cheetos or spending more money (although I guess you can always eat Cheetos while taking a bath- I’m not quite there yet). Lush Cosmetics makes fantastic, completely natural bath bombs that turn sitting in a tub into a fizzy, whimsical, almost chic experience. They all smell amazing in their own way, leave your skin feeling great, and have their own unique qualities that makes choosing just one such a difficult ordeal. Bath bombs, I might add, are also very Instagram-able once they hit water. None of Lush’s bath bombs cost over $7; you could choose one of the bigger ones as a single gift or two smaller ones.
Another similar idea is to give a couple lovely soaps. I know that Cost Plus World Market carries a huge variety of beautifully-packaged soaps for around five or six bucks each, and I personally love displaying them in their pretty packaging or on a cute soapdish to use. Whole Foods carries a nice variety of ethically-made and ethically-traded soaps too for around the same prices.
A single, awesome candle
You can find great candles – and even better, soy candles – everywhere, for a whole range of prices. My favorite thing for candles is to find a small business that carries a few different kinds to choose from. The city I used to live in had an amazing old town area where you could find lots of unique ones; I’d suggest digging within your area for the small businesses and see what they have first. However, you can always go to Target and choose a big soy candle with great packaging that your recipient will enjoy displaying.
Nowadays I get all my candles from Target (as I haven’t explored too many small businesses yet), and they’re the easiest way to make your home feel just a bit more luxurious. Even if I don’t actually like the scent of a candle I receive, I can still burn it outside on my patio or in the bathroom when guests are over. They are always useful, no matter what.
Let me know of any reasonably-priced gift ideas you’ve had for the beauty addicts in your life. A great beauty gift doesn’t always have to be the latest Naked palette or a full-size bottle of perfume. If you offer beauty services yourself, you can even gift a free blowout to a friend, a free mini makeover, or whatever you feel suited to give. I mean, this is always an option:
Merry Christmas! xo, MR