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Thanks to Zoe for today's question!

What is your favorite makeup to give as a gift?

Unless I have a good idea about their makeup preferences, gift cards. I’d rather enable someone to buy something they genuinely want when it comes to makeup! If I have something extra that I want to pass on to a friend/family, then I often deliberately pick something a little outside their comfort zone, since it’s not a gift given for a specific occasion, just a random gift.

— Christine

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52 Comments

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I’ve given the Eco Tools retractable kabuki brush. No one has a single bad thing to say about it. My friend (health store manager) gives me lots of body butter samples.

Definitely gift cards! None of my friends or family are really into makeup, most wear none or very minimal amounts, and I would have no idea what to get them.

Profile photo of Nicole

I agree about gift cards. I usually prefer to go that route as well. Makeup is so personal on so many levels, from ingredients a person may be allergic to all the way to brand preferences. I do have to admit that I have once given someone makeup that I chose for them-I gifted a friend with a few Lipstick Queen sets because I had bought them for myself and loved them and we have close enough taste/skin tone that I thought she would too. Although after that I seriously wondered why I didn’t give her a gift card instead. I feel like that was a weird lapse in my judgment, even though as far as I know she’s happy with them. It’s just so much more fun to pick out your own products. I have also bought someone makeup that they specifically mentioned as being something they wanted to try, but I don’t think that counts.

I don’t have a whole lot of people in my life who are really into makeup, so if I have extra that I don’t want to sell I tend to be like “Please take it! I don’t want to throw it away!”

Profile photo of Pearl

For my mom, it’s lip liner and lipstick. For my sister, its staples like MAC mascaras or palettes, especially since she will never splurge on something like that for herself. For my best friend, it’s basically everything I like, so it’s fun to shop for her because it’s like shopping for myself.

I hate the formality and pressure of formal gift-giving and I always get so nervous – I still do it and participate, but I can’t wait until the whole thing is over with and the gift is received and we’ve moved on. I’d rather just leave an out-of-the-blue present somewhere they will find or like my sister who lives out of state, I just ship something to her every once in awhile. Eventually I’ll get a text or a call asking, ‘did you leave this for me to find?’ or a thank you and I prefer that so much more than a formal occasion where you have to watch them unwrap this gift and then sit there and wait for the reaction and obligatory thank you. When it’s my idea and a spontaneous ‘oh, they’ll love this!’, then I really enjoy it.

lipstick! I’m known for my lipstick collection and being knowledgeable about it and stuff so for christmas etc. I usually go for lipstick gifts. I really enjoy picking out colors I think people will like

Nail polish sets are usually a safe bet for me since products like lipstick or even eyeshadow can be very personal. Tools can also be pretty easy to give, like an eyelash curler or a brush set. If it’s someone I’ve spoken about makeup to before, it’s generally something I think they’ll use (e.g Stila Stay All-day Eyeliner if that person likes to do cat eyes, an eyeshadow primer if they love doing eye looks)

Eyeshadow, though I don’t have many friends who want makeup in general. The one who does I either ask her or know what she likes already.

I would have to say Burberry Fresh Glow Nude Radiance No. 1 is my favorite gift to give. It’s a beautiful under makeup base that is also amazing as a highlighter! The packaging is gorgeous and this past Holiday season it came with a gold cap. Burberry just screams luxury to me and that’s also part of the reason I like to gift their products. Can’t blame me for spoiling those I hold dear!

Profile photo of Fran

I agree with you, Christine — unless I know exactly what someone wants, or want to give a gentle nudge in what I think is the right direction to a really close friend, a gift card is the best. After all, part of the fun with makeup is shopping for it, getting to choose 🙂

Profile photo of Mariella

With actual makeup, it’s not something I ever give as a gift, except to my daughter because I always know what things are on her “wish list”. With friends, it’s stuff like gift sets of body/bath items – the type you can get at Christmas – like Caudalie sets (I gave those a few years ago), Cake Beauty (how I wish I’d bought 2 or 3 more of those) or L’Occitane…the sorts of sets that contain a body oil and/or lotion, some hand cream, a body wash or shower oil, etc. I know those will be well received and used but with colour cosmetics, it is very tricky. I’d also worry that it would be seen as a bit of an insult – if I were to give a friend a blush, would she think I was sending the message that she looks too pale or that her current blush isn’t flattering?

Profile photo of Julia

I’ve given 2 of the Naked palettes to my sister in law, so I’ve broken my own rule (dangit, she’s hard to shop for!), but I don’t think cosmetics are generally a good gift. It’s a really personal decision and I don’t think I’d like other people picking things out for me, either. Maybe nail polish sets if you know they like to do their nails, since those are a little more one-size-fits-all.

It depends on the person, but the ysl tint in oils or makeup bags are nice universal gifts that I like to give. I also like gift sets that have multiple items, so the recipients can test colors or products they don’t have.

I know it’s not /really/ makeup, but BRUSHES!!!! SO many women show me their makeup bags and pull out their 4 brushes that they’ve had for 10 years and i’m like, “WHAT?!?” and instantly rush off to buy them a new brush set. Even if I don’t know them that well.

Profile photo of Rachel R.

I don’t often give makeup as gifts, because most women in Oregon aren’t really into makeup. The last time I did, I took my friend shopping and let her pick out a few things. Otherwise, I’d try to get something they’d mentioned wanting, or else get them a gift card. Makeup preferences are so personal, in most cases I wouldn’t want to just guess.

I have given ColourPop eyeshadows as gifts a few times recently. Tame colors like Fringe, Amaze, I <3 This, etc, that are easy to apply with fingers. Inexpensive and easy to use. To my mom I tend to give blush or lipstick, because those are the products she wears everyday and she wears them down really quickly.

High five for choosing my question!

If I give makeup as a gift, and to people whose makeup preferences I know, then I usually go for things that make me think of them, staples products, or limited edition stuff they might not have access to.

I have given in the past: Eyeliner pencils, lipstick and lipgloss, eyeshadow palettes, “overshadow” glitter, nail polish, and glitter liner. I would say only the glitter liner was not a good pick.

I find eyeshadow to be a good gift for someone you know well. I gave my sister in law the Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette, which she loved. She also loved the Birchbox subscription I got her. I have also given as gifts Too Faced Natural Eye, Too Faced Boudoir Eyes, and the UD Vice 4 palette (that one was for a teenager). As for others, I have gotten holiday gift sets. Sephora Favorites sets are great for gifts.

I like the sephora favorites sets. usually either the lip ones or the fragrance sets because with the fragrance ones they can redeem the perfume that they like.

The Sephora Favorites curated collections! I’ve given sets of high end eyeliners, mascaras, skin care and have an order with several of the new Paint it Pink sets coming.

i have never given makeup perse. What I usually do for a girlfriends birthday is give her a cute makeup bag and I stuff it with mini-sized mascaras, travel sized moisturizers, clear lip gloss and all things small from Sephora or Ulta. They are really like stocking stuffers and don’t cost a lot but make a cute gift.

Profile photo of Trish

I gift a lot of special collection items- Tom Ford summer pallets, Chanel eyeshadow quads, and MAC special edition collections. Anything limited I purchase multiples immediately- such as Dior’s Glowing Gardens Illuminating Powder from earlier this year and Guerlains Holiday Snow Globe. I’m pretty good about knowing what to buy for my daughter (everything) and my nieces and lastly my lady friends. Seems if I have it they want it too!

if i choose to give makeup its usually a palette. if i dont know their makeup preferences i give a giftcard

It would be gift cards for me, too. I think makeup is too personal and trying to guess what someone else would want unless they specified it exactly, would be too much for me to try and do.

Profile photo of Lisa

Only for someone I know who is really into makeup (my sister), I tend to get more luxe things she wouldn’t normally splurge on herself. Like a nice highlighter, or nail polish. I’m thinking of getting her some proper brushes her next birthday since I feel that’s the area of makeup most women often neglect.

For someone I don’t know well, makeup wouldn’t be my first choice, but if I had to, I’d get a nice lip balm like the Fresh ones, or something along the lines of a sheer, balmy lipstick. I think nail polish and body stuff are a safe choice too.

Profile photo of Genevieve

I tend to give bath and body products to my friends from Natio – plant based, cruelty free and tolerated by even the most sensitive of skins.
I do give any pink lipsticks I get as a gift with purchase to my daughter in law. Other than that, like you Christine, I give gift vouchers.

Profile photo of Genevieve

I might add, that I prefer being given selected makeup items for my birthday, Christmas and Mother’s Day. It is always something from my wishlist and I get my sons or husband to get it for me. Otherwise they would have NO IDEA what I would like.

I have a few friends who are close and all love different makeup. Amongst my close friends, whether it be for bday or xmas, or just because, the common rule is – None of us mind if gifts are returned or exchanged because it is the thought that counts. I might gift a Sephora card if I knew they were wanting some basics or something but I tend more to buy lavish expensive things like a great new palette or $50 lipstick. I always pay with cash, and I always tape the receipt (folded with final cost inside) to the box or on the back of the greeting card.

Just recently, I got my girlfriend an Armani lipstick and she exchanged it for cash and bought clothes. Nordstrom is great for exchange/refund. I think it is fun to buy lavish things one might not buy themselves. When I get giftcards to Sephora, I try not to buy foundation or cleanser – like to get something exciting.

I always

Profile photo of El

Same, a gift card unless I have access to their wishlist or something similar. Or occasionally if it’s an item that relates to something about them, i.e., I have a friend who is a fan of Formula One motorsports and who likes to paint her nails, so I bought her a bottle of Butter London’s nail varnish named British Racing Green.

I never give makeup as a gift. I do know my Mother’s favorite shade of lipstick and every once in a while when I go to visit her, I will leave a new tube of it in her makeup bag as a surprise, but I don’t ever give her makeup as a gift.

I don’t really have any friends or family who are as into makeup as I am but if I do buy them makeup as a gift, it might be a nice lipstick, an eyeshadow palette, or nail polish. I’d also consider giving a posh highlighter or bronzer if I know that person likes them.

Profile photo of Deborah

I always give gift cards from the cosmetic company that I know is a favorite of the receiver then they can buy an old favorite or something new!

I agree with your gift card idea. With my daughter and granddaughter, unusually know what they like so I can get them specific gifts but would probably add a gift card too so they can shop.

Profile photo of Pamyla

Although make up is personal, I have, on occasion gifted many UD , MUFA and LM eye shadow palettes, brush sets, and bite lipsticks. Jo Malone perfumes and LM bath and body sets are also great gifts!

Profile photo of Alexa

I usually know exactly what to get them if I’m getting them makeup. My friends who like makeup talk about it a lot, so I’m usually clued-in as to what they want. I’m getting my best friend the Too Faced Sweet Peach palette – the perfect gift bc we’ve both been talking about it literally since we saw the first sneak peeks months ago. I also know what to gift from my own collection again because people talk about certain colors and I’ll just pass something along. I don’t otherwise give makeup to people if I don’t know exactly what they want (mostly because if I can’t figure out exactly what they want, they don’t usually care about makeup enough to want it as a gift, lol)

I’m not very fond of gift cards as I fell those are a little impersonal. Most of my friends or family members doesn’t use so much makeup so I tend to go for a more pampering related ítems as body lotions or body washes, bath bombs, hand creams or even candles. If my friend wears makeup, a lipstick is a good option as it’s easy to know her go-to shades and finishes.

I love giving high end lip balms like fresh sugar or a curated set they put out. The colours are very sheer, and I haven’t had a single complaint. Tons of raves! I’ve also given the Bite Maple Lip Mask. Big hit!

I give Nars stick blush and/or lip gloss in “Orgasm” with a card that says, “…because a girl can’t have too many of these.”?

I like giving lipsticks, eyeshadow palettes, and skincare to my family as gifts, mainly because they tend to buy themselves the cheaper stuff 🙂

Mascara is a favorite no-brainer gift item for me. Most girls I know, even those who aren’t makeup fiends, at least wear mascara. I like to gift Rollerlash because it’s a fairly newer one that my friends may not have tried, and it’s my all-time fave, and I’m pretty sure they’ll at least be tickled by its packaging! (Versus giving a plain, black tube in a plainish box).

Profile photo of Cat

I’m pretty good when it comes to gifting makeup that others will actually like and use… but I will sometimes give my daughters palettes that contain colors I’ve never seen them use to try to inspire them to be more creative. I guess I like gifting palettes the most, but not limited to eyeshadow palettes. I gave my youngest daughter the Too Faced bronzer palette and she loves it!

Profile photo of Emilie

I would either give a brush set or eyeshadow, since those things are usable no matter what the skin type. I don’t know anyone who’s as much of a makeup junkie as me, but if I did I would definitely stick with a gift card to avoid getting them something they already have in their collection or something that they just won’t use with all their other stuff. If it’s someone I know who doesn’t use a lot of makeup but I know they like certain kinds of shades, then I’ll get them something in that category (for example, my mom had an eyeshadow she liked that was really old and kind of cheap in a palette so I got her a single one that was similar and better quality from Urban Decay– now it’s practically the only one she uses and carries around, so I think it was a good gift! I’ve done pretty much the same thing for my grandma, she now has two Urban Decay singles that she loves!)
Emilie Recently Posted: My favorite eyeshadow has always been Beautymarked even before I knew it was Beautymarked. Contrast is like Beautymarked but blue instead of red. Both will make light blue eyes look faaaaantastic. Looking in my palette, the shades with the most wear seem to be Pink Freeze and Goldmine. Happy curating!

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