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May 8, 2019

How to Be the Best Skincare Gift Giver, Whether for Mother’s Day or Any Day

When it comes to giving gifts of skincare or cosmetics, we beauty hobbyists may want to gift the world (or at least 10-steps), but sometimes that’s not the best strategy to converting the recipient to the glow side. Here, beauty expert Leo shows you how to give the best skincare gifts (and a default K-beauty gift that never fails).


Gift giving season may feel like it’s a ways away, but I think we all forgot that Mother’s Day is right around the corner until May hit. Literally May 1st hit and I got a flurry of texts from my friends that are asking what new hot skincare item they should get their mom, and I’m sure some of you out there have considered some Korean beauty products as well. As someone who has a good amount of experience giving cosmetics and skincare gifts, regardless of whether it’s Mother’s Day or not, I have some guidelines I like to stick to in order to boost my success rate in giving someone something and telling them to put it on their face.


Affordable but high quality


Expensive is a term that is relative to everyone, especially when it comes to things like clothing or cosmetics; to some people, a $60 serum is a great value and to others, that’s more than they care to spend on their entire skincare routine. I know it can be tempting to splurge on a gift for someone you care about that may be a little more luxe than what they might be used to, but a moisturizer is not a jacket or a pair of shoes. It’s going to run out, and if they happen to love whatever it is, the price tag may catch people off guard if you go for something that’s outside of their normal budget.


skincare gifts


Of course, use some discernment in this as you all out there know your people best; some people may be totally fine with using something more “luxurious” and then going back to their own rhythm, but I’ve also heard some stories and had some experiences where people feel awkward once they realize that they just blew through a $40 cleanser. If anything, I’ve had the best experiences as the gift giver when I’m able to use my familiarity with skincare (especially when the other person isn’t as familiar) to steer my people towards effective, budget-friendly options because at the end of the day, everyone loves to save some money. Go for that “affordable but high quality” vibe that so many people think of when they think of Korean cosmetics, and you’ll be golden.


Cater it to fit their routine


Another point to take very much into consideration is how much the person you’re buying for is into skincare and/or cosmetics. As much as we all love the idea of a world where everyone is wearing sunscreen every time they leave the house and double cleansing it off every night, some people just do not have the time, motivation, or interest to do all of that. There’s definitely something to be said about introducing someone to skincare if they’re curious about changing what they’re doing, but gifting full-on new routines to someone who isn’t ready for one does not go over well very often. It can be easy to be overzealous and overwhelm, and that’s the opposite of what we want to accomplish here.


anti-aging skincare skincare gifts


Since I’ve entered the industry and started helping people find solutions to their skincare questions, I’ve gotten some very kind words from my industry peers, superiors, and fellow enthusiasts about my own skin and experienced a small amount of what I’m sure @Jude Chao has experienced where people want the details of my exact skincare routine. And while it may be flattering, I would not gift someone a whole set of new products they’ve never used with a ton of different ingredients they’ve never tried. The cons of that could very easily outweigh any benefits they may reap. I think the best thing to do is survey the land a bit and get an idea of what types of products or kind of routine the person in question is currently working with, and just try to provide a small upgrade. Try gifting them a gentler cleanser to replace high pH cleanser they’ve been using or introduce a moisturizing sunscreen to take the place of their lotion they throw on before they go to work in the mornings.


Just like when you’re making decisions for yourself in regards to your own personal routines, you need to go with things that people are going to realistically use. I’ve sat down with friends, broken down entire routines, and done a full renovation of their skincare regimen from top to bottom because that’s what they wanted to do and asked for some guidance. Other times I’ve gifted people a travel-size cleansing balm and travel-size toner because they were interested in expanding their routine but weren’t sure if they would like these new types of products.


And when in doubt …


I’ve literally gifted the COSRX Good Morning Gel Cleanser about a dozen times at this point and the initial lukewarm “oh, this is cool thanks!” has turned into “this is my favorite face wash ever, thank you so much for introducing it to me” every time. That’s more COSRX doing good work than me, but hey, I’ll take a little credit. Much like you’re using your knowledge of skincare and utilizing your resources (like our great editorial section here on Beautytap) to scout out high quality products, utilize your knowledge of the person you’re giving said gifts to and think about their existing routines when making your selections.


skincare gifts
A never-fail crowd-pleaser


I know that all of us product junkies out here can sometimes get the warm and fuzzies when we see a new serum launch or an interesting toner pop up, but again, as someone who has had the privilege of working professionally in the beauty industry and interacting with clients who didn’t necessarily share the same love for skincare, sometimes people just aren’t interested in trying something new. A lot of times skincare is an afterthought to people or something as mundane as brushing their teeth. I think I make up for at least a third of them with how intense I get with my passion about the subject lol. Going back to what I mentioned about finding things that people will realistically use, I think it’s good to keep in mind that if someone views skincare as more a thing they do for hygiene, extra steps like sheet masks or peeling gels that we may find ultra satisfying are things that just have no point to some people, and that’s totally OK too.


And of course, if you’re not in a position to be giving skincare gifts because of financial commitments or something of that realm, do not stress and do not start throwing things on credit cards. All of these occasions really are just a reason for people to get together and spend time with each other in my mind, so a well-written card or just the act of showing up means more than anything that you’ll gift someone.


What are you getting your mom for Mother’s Day? Any  beauty or skincare gifts? Share with us in the comments!



Born in Korea and raised in Washington, Leo is another 20-something member of the K-Beauty Squad that is as committed to his love of skincare as he is to wine and cheese covered snack foods. After working as an educator and trainer in the beauty industry, he joined the team at Beautytap to continue sharing his knowledge and passion for skincare and all things chok-chok. During his free time, he’s been spotted in the wild bingeing Netflix shows, blasting K-pop while playing video games, or (much more rarely) leaving his hovel to venture forth in search of cocktails and Korean BBQ.




Face masks are my favorite small gift to give! Especially the fun ones that have animal faces or other silly prints on it. 5 masks will only sent you back $13~$25 and people don't feel bad about blowing through them since they're single use anyway.


I swear the entirety of my small gift bags for Christmas this last year were stuffed with face masks lol, they really are perfect.


You know, I never thought of gifting the COSRX cleanser, but really, if you think about it, that's got to be the best gift ever — a solid foundation for good skin for life??? I'd dress it up in cute packaging with other COSRX products.

I've personally gifted SanDaWha in the past because it's in a nice glass bottle (read: pricey) but is relatively affordable. But more importantly, it's seriously such a good line, I feel like most people will love it.


I feel like the Liposome Skin Softener is a sleeper hit that people should be talking about more :/


Seriously i looooove that product. i buy it again and again.