16 Best Makeup Gifts in 2023
By Franki Hanke
If you don’t use it yourself, gifting makeup is hard, but the beauty lovers in your life who wear and love makeup would love to find it wrapped up as a gift. This year, shop for the best makeup gifts to pick something any makeup artist will love (without knowing anything about makeup yourself).
If you’re on a budget or looking for stocking stuffers, read Beauty Stocking Stuffers Under $15 to find more gifts for your loved one.
Choosing makeup gifts for someone else is intimidating, but you can do it! Most people who enjoy makeup enjoy experimenting with new things, so don’t be scared to give them something fun to try!
Colourpop Eye Shadow Palette – $14
Gift eye shadow with caution. Most people who regularly wear makeup already have a palette (or many) in their faves already, and it’s a product you use up slowly, but if you want to gift a palette, something travel-sized and easy to use is the safest bet!
To pick a color, if your recipient has more pink in their makeup or skin, go for Blush Crush; if they have a neutral or brown in their makeup, go for Going Coconuts.
If you’re stuck on colors, ditch the idea of a palette for a different direction.
Find something in your giftee’s closet they wear often with a unique color, then find a similar shade from Colourpop’s broad range of Super Shock Eyeshadows. By giving them a specific color with a direction for when/how to use it, you avoid gifting clutter.
Lip Products (Four Options)
Lip products are easy to collect. You use them faster than other products, it’s easy to experiment, and there’s so much variation. Here are four top picks for makeup gifts depending on your giftee’s style when they do their makeup.
Hydrating for a Natural Style | Huda Beauty Silk Balm Hydrating Lip Balm ($21)
Somewhere between a lip gloss and a lip balm, Huda Beauty’s Silk Balm is one of my favorite lip products from the year. This is perfect to use over a matte lip product or to refresh lips during the day by adding some shine and moisture back.
How can I tell they’d like this? Is it hard to tell when they are wearing makeup or not? Is their makeup close to their natural color? Do they complain about winter dryness? Then yes!
Glossy for a Made Up Style | Fenty Beauty Gloss Bombs ($21)
Fenty’s lip glosses have been popular since their release years ago. They have shimmer, shine, and pigment with a wider shade range than most other lip glosses.
How can I tell they’d like this? Does their makeup usually have a lot of color? Do they wear eyeliner frequently? Are their lips often shiny, glowy, or glossy? Do they change their makeup looks often? Then yes!
Luxury for a High-End Budget | Dior Lip Oil ($40)
If you want to gift an item that feels like a real treat, and you have the extra budget to pay for the premium surcharge, this is the one. It clings to the lips and adds shine.
However, if you want more bang for your bang, the Glaze Lip Kit below is only $8 more for a whole set of four. When you’re gifting makeup gifts though, sometimes that luxury name recognition is worth it to spoil your recipient!
How can I tell they’d like this? Do they follow the TikTok trends? Do they shop for makeup at Nordstrom counters rather than Ulta or the drugstore? Do they admire packaging styles in their products? Then yes!
Lipstick for a Classic Style | Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Shade ($18 to $35)
Lipstick colors range widely, but Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk is early universal and timeless. This is a great choice if you know they like a bullet lipstick, but don’t know a specific color.
How can I tell they’d like this? Does most of their lipstick look like the classic bullet-shaped lipstick? Is their makeup like an upgraded version of their natural color? Do they wear pinks or browns in their makeup? Then yes!
Sephora Holiday Lashstash to Go – $28
Every version of Sephora’s mascara gift sets is a win for me. This set features five miniature-sized mascaras and a voucher for one full-size. The idea is you can try each mini and then pick your favorite to get a full-size of. Besides being a great value, this product avoids using expired mascara for too long by using smaller sizes with less product to spoil.
Shop on Sephora
Charlotte Tilbury Superstar Glow Kit – $32
With two shades of their Beauty Light highlighter wands, this makeup gift set works for a variety of skin tones with miniature sizes that won’t clutter an existing collection. Charlotte Tilbury has some of the best beauty gifts because of their luxe packaging and high quality. Plus, shimmer is a fun makeup category to be gifted!
Urban Decay All-Nighter Setting Spray – $45
Help makeup last this holiday season with a two-for-one setting spray gift set from Urban Decay. This setting spray has been the brand’s best-selling spray for years. It’s great for long-wearing makeup.
Shop on Sephora
Innbeauty Project Glaze for Days Lip Oil Set – $48
Gifting lipstick can be hard because there’s a lot of variation in colors and formulas, but lip oils are a bit more universal. The Glaze from Innbeauty Project is a hybrid that acts a bit like a lip gloss within a hydrating oil. These can be casual or glam depending on the wearer.
This kit comes with four colors including a new, limited-edition shade.
Shop on Sephora
Other Beauty Gifts
Living Proof Dry Shampoo Duo Set – $41
Dry shampoo is almost a universal hair care win. Women in my life who don’t use dry shampoo are few and far between, so it’s a safe bet for many makeup gifts. This kit comes with the long-time best seller and a new formula to try out.
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Shop on Sephora
Sephora Favorites Perfume Sampler – $75
Choosing an Eau de Parfum or other fragrance gift for another person is challenging, but this discovery set solves that problem! The kit comes with eight miniature spray bottles, but the real gift is the voucher to exchange for a 1+ fl oz full-size of the chosen perfume from the set.
The value of this set depends on which perfume is chosen for the voucher. Some of the chosen bottles are under $75, so if you know which perfume they’d pick ahead of time, just buy the bottle, but the value is close enough that the kit is a good idea if you don’t know their scent of choice!
Shop on Kohls
Lay-n-Go Cosmetic Bag – $30
Instead of more product, gift a makeup bag to hold that makeup. Unlike other bags, this one spreads out totally flat for a quick transition from packed up to spread out! I love this for travel so I can quickly see everything I brought.
Conair Facial Steamer – $41
For folks who want to give themselves spa-level facials at home, a facial steamer is an essential tool. Plus, this is a sneaky savior when winter colds hit…
Shop on Ulta
Most people who enjoy makeup gifts care about maintaining their base layer too.
When buying skincare gifts, remember to look at their existing products and check for low stock. Replacing their current favorite is a perfect gift. Otherwise, shop from our curation of the best skincare gifts.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Mask – $4
A hydrogel mask with hyaluronic acid is intensely hydrating and clings to the skin with less sliding than other options. These masks fit well into larger wellness-themed gifts or as an add-on with other gifts.
Laneige Sleeping Mask – $24
I’ve used 4+ tubs of this sleeping mask, and I’ve mentioned it before as a massive favorite. It’s hydrating and doesn’t leave a gross flavor. Of all the flavors, I’d recommend the classic Berry, sweet Vanilla, or limited-edition Peppermint.
Jack Black Lip Balm – $10+
If Laniege’s sleeping mask is the perfect nighttime lip product, Jack Black’s lip balm is the perfect daytime lip product. With SPF 25 and a variety of flavors, it’s perfect for stashing around in every purse, car, or drawer to avoid dry lips.
Elta MD Clear Broad Spectrum SPF – $41
Useful gifts are the unsung heroes of the holiday season. If you want to give something they’ll definetely use then this mega-popular, high-performing SPF 46 is sure to please.
If they don’t wear sunscreen enough, this is the perfect excuse to remind them about wearing it too.
Shop on Dermstore
Elemis Cleansing Balm – $68 to $120
I love this cult-favorite balm as a gift because its spa-like scent is a luxurious self-care experience to give. Plus, it’s a bit of a splurge that wows as a gift. This balm cleanser melts makeup off with a moisturizing formula.
For a bigger impact, gift the three-piece kit which includes the classic, naked, and rose scent variations.
If you’re stuck on picking a scent, I’ve tried the three existing scents and prefer the classic; there’s also a brand-new Green Fig scent. If this is a new product for your recipient, go for the classic or the trial kit. If they’ve already used it, gift them the new scent so there’s some novelty!
Dr. Jart+ Hydrate & Glow Best Sellers Kit – $78
Every year I look for a gift set with my favorite redness-fixing moisturizer because Dr. Jart+ loves to offer full-size products at a better value in these holiday kits! This set includes full sizes of their Tiger Grass Color-Correcting Treatment and Skin Barrier Moisturizing Cream, both of which I’d highly recommend, plus four face masks.
Shop on Sephora
Items I’d Avoid
Unless you have a specific wishlist from your giftee, there are makeup gifts ideas I’d skip.
- Makeup brush sets tend to have duplicates for anyone with an existing collection. If someone needs a specific brush, opt to buy a high-quality single over a kit with extras.
- Skin type specific products like certain skincare. For example, an acne treatment kit won’t work for everyone’s skin and may feel like a call-out if gifted without knowing it’s wanted. Moisturizing and hydrating products are more universal if you’re unsure what’s wanted or needed.
- Huge kits from non-specific brands often pop up during the holidays, but their quality tends to be poor. A single, smaller high-quality product will get more use than a low-quality bundle.
- Best by request items like color-correctors or concealers could seem like a statement in the wrong context (“You should cover up your flaws!”). If you also use makeup and discuss products or know your giftee wants these, then go for it, but if you’re buying makeup for the first time, opt for these more fun products than concealing items.
If you’re still on the hunt for the right holiday gift for Hanukkah or Christmas, keep reading our other gift guides from the best advent calendars to stocking stuffers, we have ideas for everyone on your list! If you want more makeup gifts ideas, browse our full Makeup sections for other specialized recommendations.
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