There are basically two kinds of people in this world: Those who want Kylie Jenner's lip kit and those who would rather try to track down a vintage tube of the same lipstick that Marilyn Monroe wore. OK, so while that's a bit of an oversimplification, surely you have people on your list who are beauty snobs or tricky to shop for. For them, we offer you this guide to off-the-beaten path beauty gifts. While designer products are great, hidden gems can be even better. Here are 10 to gift, or to put on your own wish list:
In 2008, Germany-based Zoe Boikou lamented the fact that she couldn't find affordable makeup brushes, and so, in a story that is becoming more and more familiar in the beauty world, she decided to make her own. Beauty vloggers, including the likes of Lisa Eldridge, took note and catapulted the brand to Insta-fame. Zoeva eye shadow palettes are now hitting the U.S. via Space NK, but the brand's site, which is based in Germany, will ship to the U.S. since brushes aren't available here yet.
It's difficult to overstate how delicious Bonpoint products smell. Imagine a roomful of posh, rich babies in France all wearing the chicest fresh organic cotton onesies, and that sort of gives you an idea. These beautiful body products are marketed for moms and babies, but feel free to indulge even if you don't have any progeny. The products are luxe, gentle and absorb beautifully into skin.
This simple, "healthy" makeup brand, started by a former beauty exec who moved from NYC to California and got the clean living bug, is a real looker. The packaging is hefty and looks like smooth stones, and many of the products are multitasking. This holiday kit includes one dark and one shimmery champagne lip/cheek tint for endless face combinations.
Several years ago Pamela Barsky started making starkly printed pouches featuring NYC- and makeup-related witticisms, and they've become favorites of the fashion set and Instagram It-girls alike. Favorites include: "I Am the Girl You Made Fun of in High School," "My Butt Is Exactly the Right Size" and "My Mother Thinks I Wear Too Much Makeup." And there are tons more where those came form.
This is quite possibly the most popular beauty brand you've never heard of. (Read more about it here.) Beauty vloggers have catapulted this mega-affordable brand into the stratosphere. Its matte liquid lipsticks and zillion eye shadow shades make frequent guest appearances all over Instagram.
Brooklyn-based perfumer Joya makes unique, artisanal fragrances, and its candles are always covetable. This collaboration with wallpaper design label Calico is a total winner. You can repurpose the holder after the beautiful citrus-inflected candle burns out.
Lindsay Modeling Masks
These rubbery masks, courtesy of the vast cosmetic playground that is South Korea, are like Play-Doh for your face. (In a good way.) Give someone a set or use them as stocking stuffers.
Think of this Netherlands-based retailer as a Bath & Body Works for grown-ups. While more outposts are starting to pop up in the U.S., Rituals still isn't a household name here. The products smell divine (without that sickly sweet scent you might associate with mall brand body products) and come in various innovative formulas.
Not all beauty products come in a bottle or tube. I was very skeptical of this at first, but I'm now a convert to the silk pillowcase, which purports to decrease bedhead and hair static (it does), decrease those annoying sleep creases on your face (it does) and have antiaging benefits (questionable, but it is soft and decreases my stress upon laying my head down on it, so that must contribute to antiaging, right?).
Know someone who goes to the gym a lot and is also into "natural" beauty products? You likely do. This brand was actually conceived as a beauty brand for yoga practitioners, and the products are free of stuff like parabens and synthetic fragrances. This travel size kit, which includes a body mist, cleansing cream, wet wipes, hand cream and body conditioner, is perfect for stashing in a gym bag.