Can you BELIEVE it’s almost December! This year has somehow flown by, even with the ongoing pandemic – It feels like it was just March and we were only starting to hear about COVID-19. Yet it’s almost holiday season & with holiday season comes my favorite part of the year: shopping for gifts! I love looking through a holiday gift guide to figure out what will be best for my loved ones.
If you are wondering what skincare to gift your loved ones (or yourself), look no further than this guide. I put together my absolute favorite products I used and/or discovered this year, all of which have earned holy grail status for me. In some of the sections I’ve also included runner-up options that I also love, in case you need more choices.
P.S. If you’re hoping for some more specific gift guides, I will be publishing a gift guide for men, a gift guide for those new to skincare, and a gift guide for content creators later in the month. Stay tuned 🙂
Now, let’s get into this gift guide!
First Cleanser: Deviant Skincare Cleansing Concentrate
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that Deviant Skincare is one of my absolute favorite skincare brands ever. I reviewed their entire line here, and also talked specifically about their incredible cleansing concentrate in this review. Their commitment to effectiveness and transparency, as well as the fact that they are an entirely bootstrapped brand run by just two people, is so impressive.
I cannot recommend their cleansing concentrate enough as a first cleanse. It is the only balm cleanser I keep going back to again and again. The CC, as it is affectionately called, has a beautiful luxurious texture. While cleansing can sometimes feel like a chore, with this product it feels like a spa treatment to look forward to each night.
The cleansing concentrate comes in 3 sizes: 50ml, 100ml and 200ml. Its price ranges from 31-69 British pounds ($41.36-$92.07). Everything about it, from the packaging to the product to the customer service, is exquisite. Buy this for either yourself or your loved ones and they will be singing its praises too. P.S. If you shop through this link, you’ll get 10% off your purchase (and I get 100 points for their referral program!)
However, I do know this balm is pretty expensive, so I wanted to make sure I included a few other options that I’ve enjoyed as well:
- Banila Clean It Zero cleansing balms
- Then I Met You cleansing balm
- Farmacy Green Clean cleansing balm – this isn’t my absolute favorite, but it does the job and is well-loved
Second Cleanser: Romer Skincare Cleanse
We can have a debate about the merits of clean skincare/whether it’s just fear mongering, but regardless of where you stand it is nice to know what you’re putting on your face. That’s why I’m such a big fan of Romer Skincare, particularly their cleanser. It contains manuka honey, aloe vera, and caffeine extract. The best part about Cleanse is that it works for all skin types, so no matter if you have dry, sensitive or or oily skin, this cleanser will be a great option.
I reviewed their whole line here and also shared some details about the founder & the company’s beginning that I think make them such a unique brand in the skincare space. They are definitely worth checking out, especially if you are looking to support small businesses this holiday season.
Some runner ups worth mentioning:
- Youth to the People Superfood Cleanser
- Allies of Skin Molecular Silk Amino Hydrating Cleanser
- Rosen Earth Cleanser
- PSA Skin Reset Cleanser
*Disclosure: I have been interning with Romer Skincare since May and received product as part of my internship, but all thoughts/opinions here are my own and I was not asked to include them in this gift guide.
Mask for Combatting Acne: Eminence Clear Skin Probiotic Masque
Everyone suffers from acne at one point or another. While clay masks are one of my favorite ways to treat & reduce acne, it’s also important to use masks that don’t completely dry my skin out. That’s why this cream mask is so incredible: It uses willow bark extract (where salicyclic acid is derived from) as well as yoghurt to soothe inflammation and treat acne while also hydrating the skin. It’s pricey, but very worth it.
Some runner ups worth mentioning:
Hydrating Mask: Fresh Beauty Black Tea Mask
There are so many fantastic hydrating masks out there, but the one I’ve repurchased the most is this one from Fresh Beauty. It’s not just hydrating: It’s also soothing, smoothing and redness-reducing, leaving behind a clearer, “perfected” complexion. I reach for this one before any event and also when my skin needs a little pick me up. My favorite part is probably the whipped marshmallow texture, tied with the wonderful cooling effect it has. This mask is a little pricey, but that’s what makes it an awesome option as a gift.
Fresh Beauty is one of my favorite skincare brands, so if you’re interested in reading more about their products you can check out my full brand review here.
Some runner-up options worth mentioning:
- Korres Hydrabiome Mask
- Sand & Sky Superbounce Mask
- Fresh Beauty Creme Ancienne Ultimate Nourishing Honey Mask
- Romer Skincare Treat Mask
Toner: Indie Lee COQ-10 Toner
I love using a toner after I have cleansed & masked to prep my skin for the rest of my routine, and this Indie Lee COQ-10 toner has been a staple for me for years. It’s hydrating and refreshing – perfect for both my morning and evening routines. I haven’t found another toner quite like it!
P.S. If you would like to shop through my affiliate link & support me, you can visit the Indie Lee site through this link (I receive a small commission from sales when you use my link).
Mist: Tower 28 SOS Spray
Face mists are another important part of my skincare routine. It’s so important to keep your skin damp in between steps, especially when you’re applying hyaluronic acid serums. I have quite a few face mists I enjoy and rotate between. This Tower28 Spray earned my top spot, however, because of the hypochlorous acid. A powerhouse ingredient for combatting acne & redness, this mist helps to soothe my skin and keep it looking healthy and irritation-free. It’s also quite reasonably priced for a face mist.
Some runner ups worth mentioning:
If you’d like to read more of my face mist recommendations, you can check out my face mist roundup post here.
Eye Product: MOX Mind + Body Eye Serum
Whether or not you actually need a separate eye product is up for debate, but nevertheless I still enjoy using one. I prefer lightweight eye serums as opposed to creams (although I do have some favorite eye creams I’ve used!), which is why this Mox product wins this category for me. This Colorado-based CBD skincare brand is changing the game when it comes to using actives in skincare. Their eye serum actually makes a difference to my under-eyes. They appear brighter and smoother. I also feel like they are more hydrated.
If you’d like to read more about Mox, check out my full brand review here.
And if you’re looking for more eye product recommendations, here are a few more of my favorites:
- Fresh Black Tea Firming Eye Serum
- Fresh Black Tea Age Delay Eye Concentrate
- Indie Lee Eye-Waken Eye Serum
- Youth to the People Dream Eye Cream
Pretty much every skincare brand has a hydrating serum, so it can feel overwhelming to decide which one is right for you. I’ve tried a lot that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, but one knocked the rest out of the park this year: sand & sky’s tasmanian spring water splash serum.
This lightweight, citrus-smelling hydrating serum is somehow seriously moisturizing but doesn’t clog my pores or weigh my skin down. It sinks in effortlessly and leaves my skin looking radiant and plump. I’ve already gone through two bottles and will definitely be making this a repurchase.
Some other serums I enjoyed this year:
- Farmacy Beauty Honeymoon Glow
- Allies of Skin Mandelic Acid Serum
- Allies of Skin Multi Hyaluronic Acid Hydration Serum
- Volition Beauty Strawberry-C Serum
A moisturizer that costs $109? You might be looking at me like I’m crazy… but when I tell you this little tube of magic is worth it, I mean it. I have a lot of favorite moisturizers but this one is truly something else. It makes my skin look supercharged with energy. My complexion appears smoother, brighter and firmer. You also only need the tiniest amount with each application, so my jar has lasted me three and a half months – and counting! This would be an amazing gift for any of your friends or family who are skincare junkies.
If you want to know the tea on all of Allies of Skin’s pricey products, check out my full brand review where I share exactly which products are worth it – and which aren’t.
And if you want some slightly less pricey moisturizers, here are a few of my other favorites:
- Youth to the People Superfood Air Whip Moisture Cream
- Youth to the People Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream
- Sand & Sky Tasmanian Spring Water Hydration Boost Cream
Facial Oil: Deviant Facial Oil
If I was going to put a brand on this gift guide twice, it had to be pretty damn good. Well, Deviant REALLY is that good. I am obsessed with this facial oil about as much as I am obsessed with the cleansing concentrate. It’s super luxurious yet my skin absorbs it quickly. The best part? It’s safe for acne prone skin to use.
P.S. If you shop through this link, you’ll get 10% off your purchase (and I get 100 points for their referral program!)
Some of my other go-to facial oils are:
This year, one body care brand became a true holy grail for me: Necessaire. Before discovering this brand, I had never felt truly excited about body care. To me, it was definitely secondary to my skincare. Yet with Necessaire products, self care is enjoyable – it’s now an important part of my routine.
If you’d like to hear my full thoughts on the Necessaire line, be sure to read my blog post all about them here.
P.S. If you would like to shop through my affiliate link & support me, use this link to visit the Necessaire site. And if you’d like to take an extra 10% off your order, my code 10AMBER lasts until December 14th!
Haircare: Briogeo everything!
With how much I’ve raved about Briogeo over the last two years, is it any surprise that they’re my haircare recommendation for this gift guide? You only have to take a look at my love letter – I mean, brand review – about them to see why they’re my favorites. Briogeo has truly transformed my hair and I can’t recommend them enough.
The best part? With so many products, they have something that will work for everyone, no matter your hair type.
My favorite products from Briogeo are:
- the Scalp Revival Charcoal Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo (truly the best scalp scrub EVER)
- the Be Gentle Be Kind Apple + Matcha Shampoo and Conditioner
- the Be Gentle Be Kind Avocado + Kiwi Hair Mask
I can’t recommend them enough. If you gift someone on your list Briogeo, their hair will thank you forever.
Leave in Haircare Product: Gisou Honey-Infused Hair Oil
This is one of those products that people always wonder: is it worth all the hype? I’m here to tell you that YES – it really is.
While I don’t think every Gisou product is amazing (as I share in my brand review), this one blew me out of the water. It leaves my hair incredibly soft and silky and has completely changed my post-shower haircare routine. It’s the only hair oil that doesn’t weigh my strands down and leave them looking oily.
The best part? You only need a small amount with each application so buy your friend the travel-sized version – it’s slightly cheaper yet still lasts for a long time.
Sunscreen: Keep Cool Soothe Bamboo Sun Essence
The final product recommendation for my 2020 holiday gift guide is probably the most important one: sunscreen. Gifting your friends & family a sunscreen they will love is the best gift you could give them; cancer is no joke, and sun protection is critical. Even if they haven’t worn it before, it’s better late than never.
This sunscreen has earned my top spot for its lightweight texture, ease of application, and the way it doesn’t even feel like a sunscreen. No white cast, no heavy feeling on your skin, and no breakouts. It will turn even the most staunch anti-sunscreen individual in your life into an SPF lover.
If you’re curious about some other sunscreens, here are a few more recommendations:
- Elta MD Clear SPF 46
- Colorescience Total Face Protection
- Love Kinship Self Reflect SPF
- Paula’s Choice RESIST Youth Extending SPF Liquid
I hope you found this holiday gift guide helpful as you think about what to get for yourself, friends & family this holiday season. Happy shopping!
P.S. Please note some of the links on this page are affiliate links, meaning I make a small commission (at no extra cost to you!) should you choose to purchase through them. This means I can put more money into making better content for you on my blog and instagram!