For as fun and social as skincare can be - who doesn’t love swapping serum recommendations or posting a good #sheetmaskselfie? — the way our skin behaves, and how it reacts to certain products is as unique as a fingerprint.
So the hard truth is that it can take years of trial and error to find the products for our skin that actually delivers the results we're chasing.
Now, imagine trying to find great products for someone else’s skin. A tough, but not impossible task, the gift of good skincare is a way to say you care about someone's well being and encourage them to take some time out for themselves. Plus, finding the right products to give is actually totally achievable, with the help of this guide.
With so many holiday sets out there, we've broken down the best skincare gifts for each and every skin type and concern.
For the Skincare Noobie: The Inkey List The Holiday Heroes Set
Real talk: Building your first skincare routine can be overwhelming. Not only are there a lot of ingredients, there are even more products to choose from. That's where this Inkey List set comes in. The four products can serve as a skincare starter kit for a number of common skin concerns, formulated with some of the most popular, tried-and-true ingredients. There's caffeine for dark and/or puffy under eyes, vitamin C for dark spots and free radical protection, hyaluronic acid for a boost of hydration, and retinol for fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven texture.
To buy: $35; sephora.com.
For Dry Skin: Summer Fridays The Hydration Set
'Tis the season for dry, flaky skin, and this Summer Fridays set of minis has thirsty skin covered, whether it's seasonal or year-round. The brand's cult-favorite Jet Lag mask is a rich hydrating cream that can be used as a rinse-off or overnight treatment, CC Me Serum is a vitamin C treatment that targets hyperpigmentation and protects against environmental stressors, and the Lip Butter Balm soothes and nourishes parched, cracked lips.
To buy: $75; sephora.com
For the Facial Fan: Dr. Dennis Gross All is Bright FaceWare Pro Set
Regularly scheduled facials may not be in the cards this year, so the gift of at-home treatments are the next best thing. This Dr. Dennis Gross set contains come of the brand's cult-favorite products, including an LED light mask that uses a combo of red and blue light to treat acne, discoloration, and loss of firmness. The selfie-worthy mask can be used in conjunction with the exfoliating peel pads and the retinol and ferulic acid solution and eye serum for a complete mini facial.
To buy: $435; sephora.com.
For the Skincare Traditionalist: La Mer Miracle Moments Collection
Whether you're gifting this set of mini classic La Mer products to one very lucky person in your life or yourself, it's worth the splurge. The four products are infused with the iconic brand's infamous miracle broth, a fermented juice which is said to renew cells to improve skin's overall appearance, including minimizing dullness and fine lines.
To buy: $160; sephora.com.
For the #Skincare Hashtag Follower
Drunk Elephant is one of the most popular skincare brands on social media, but for good reason. The formulas all contain all-star active ingredients like retinol, peptides, and AHA acids, with a focus on plant-based ingredients. This p.m. routine set comes with five of the brand's cult-favorite products including the E-Rase Milki Micellar Water and Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser for a double cleanse, resurfacing Framboos Glycolic Night Serum for uneven skin tone and texture, moisturizing Lala Retro Whipped Cream, and F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial for extra hydration. Plus, a compact mirror to admire your glow.
For the Skincare Minimalist: Youth to the People The Power of Three Holiday Kit
Your skincare routine doesn't need 13 steps in order to be effective. For skincare minimalists, this Youth to the People three-product set covers all of the bases. The cult-favorite Kale + Green Tea Superfood Cleanser rinses away makeup, dirt, and excess oil without stripping skin, while the Adaptogen Deep Moisturizer moisturizes, smoothes, and soothes redness. Rounding out the trio is the Dream Mask, an overnight treatment that brightens and provides additional hydration.
To buy: $44; sephora.com.
For the Glow Chaser: Tatcha Ritual for Radiance
Who doesn't love glowy, supple skin? This six-piece Tatcha set is curated with the product equipped to give you dewy dolphin skin. It includes the Camellia Cleansing Oil, The Essence, Violet-C Radiance Mask, The Rice Polish, and of course, the aptly named, Dewy Cream.
To buy: $90; sephora.com.
For Acne-Prone Skin: Rosen Clear Routine Max
While acne was the most common skin concern in the country pre-COVID, this year has created a whole new category of breakouts: maskne. Whether your friend, sister, mom, cousin, or partner is dealing with blemishes, they will appreciate you investing in their journey to clearer skin by gifting them this Rosen set. The brand specializes in acne-prone skin, with formulas that utilize effective alternatives to common acne ingredients, which can be drying or irritating. It includes a cleanser, toner, serum, spot treatment, moisturizer, and two masks that can be used to treat skin pre, mid, and post-breakout.
To buy: $70; rosenskincare.com.
For Oily Skin: ESPA The Balance Collection
There's a fine line between dewy and oily skin, and this ESPA set is here to help. It comes with a cleanser, toner, moisturizer, serum, and face oil to hydrate, brighten, and balance oily skin types.
To buy: $117; espaskincare.com.
For the K-Beauty Buff: Peach & Lily Glass Skin Discovery Set
As any K-beauty fan knows, glass skin is a level up from dewy skin. It's best described as clear, poreless, glowing skin that's as reflective as glass, and it's all over social media. Peach & Lily's kit comes with four products (cleanser, essence, serum, and moisturizer) that can help anyone achieve next-level luminous skin, regardless of their skin type or major concerns.
To buy: $39; ulta.com.
For Dull Winter Skin: Biossance Illuminate Overnight
This gentle but effective Biossance trio includes a full-size moisturizer, plus a lifting eye cream and exfoliating serum. Together, the simple routine can help repair dryness and uneven texture so skin appears smoother and brighter.
To buy: $58; sephora.com.
For the Maskne Sufferer: The Ordinary Balance Set
With a salicylic acid mask (the gold standard of acne-fighting ingredients), and a zit-minimizing niacinamide serum with zinc, hydrating cleanser, and rich moisturizer, this uber-affordable set from The Ordinary has all the tools your friend (or you) need to treat maskne or just plain old acne struggles.
To buy: $29; deciem.com.
For Sensitive Skin: Ren Stop Being So Sensitive Set
No one's skin is exactly the same, and a product you love might cause your sister or friend irritation. That's where Ren's set comes in. The products are formulated to be gentle on all skin types, but still deliver results. Consider it a foolproof option for anyone in your life who's into skincare (or yourself).
To buy: $30; sephora.com.
For the One Who Likes to Travel: BÉIS x Shani Darden Wander & Glow Kit
Regular travel might not be in the cards for the foreseeable future, this kit is perfect for staycations, too. Celebrity esthetician Shani Darden teamed with Shay Mitchell's BÉIS luggage brand to create this limited-edition travel-friendly skincare routine and case. It includes a full size of Darden's cult-favorite Retinol Reform, plus minis of her Cleansing Serum, Sake Toning Essence, and Weightless Oil-Free Moisturizer.
To buy: $138; shanidarden.com.
For Your Best Friend: Best of Dermstore The Essentials Kit
Your BFF deserves the best in life - including the crème de la crème of skincare products. Dermstore has curated this 10-piece set of minis from some of its top brands and their hero products, which cover a number of common skincare concerns, including fine lines and discoloration. A few examples? Sunday Riley's Good Genes, Dr. Dennis Gross' Alpha Beta Extra Strength Peel Pads, and iS Clinical Active Serum.
To buy: $60; dermstore.com.
For the Multitasker: Lancôme Glow Baby Glow Hydration Radiance Bestsellers
This trio of best-selling Lancôme products do a little bit of everything. The toner hydrates and cleanses skin, the eye and lash serum brightens and moisturizes the eye area, and the serum targets fine lines, wrinkles, and dullness.
To buy: $96; sephora.com.