November 26, 2022

Sure, you can spring for another pair of socks — but nothing brings joy quite like a skincare gift. After all, when a given product changes your skin for the better, it’s only natural to want to share the glow with others. “Skincare is all about sharing knowledge and tips, having fun, and discovering products that really do work for your skin,” says David Kim, MD, a dermatologist at Idriss Dermatology in New York City. “This, of course, is with the understanding that people have different skin types — and not all products work the same on different skin types.”

On that note, there’s the rub: Gifting a skincare product or set can be a little tricker than just picking up a pack of hand creams and calling it a day. There are personal preferences to consider, from fragrance to texture — not to mention their skin type and other conditions in the mix. With that in mind, try these dermatologist-approved tips for choosing the perfect skincare gift.

Make it feel personal

If they’ve never used a highlighting serum before, make it feel approachable and fun by sharing your own experience. Include a note with your Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops that shares why it’s your favorite product, and share tips on how to use it to make it feel personalized.

Or, you can use your intel about their habits to get ideas; for instance, you could write: “I know you’ve got a big presentation coming up and I’m so proud; here’s an eye cream to help keep you looking fresh after a late night of work.” After all, it’s the thought that counts the most, right?

Keep it gentle

While you might swear by a given exfoliant that your skin loves, the general rule for gifting is the gentler, the better. “I typically gift products that are lightweight, hydrating, and gentle,” says Dr. Kim. “I try to find products that are calming and soothing that I know most people will be able to tolerate and benefit from.” With that in mind, a hydrating moisturizer like Plum Plump Hyaluronic Cream is hard to beat.

Do some research

Whether you’ve peeped their skincare routine on vacation or saw a bottle of Dew Drops chilling in their bathroom (and know they’ll eventually need a restock), context is your friend. “It helps to know the type of texture, fragrance, and feel the person likes when recommending new products,” Dr. Kim says. Even better if you know your giftee’s skin type, he says, “so you can customize a regimen that is compatible with it.”

Find out about conditions

If you’re close, you might already know this — but it’s worth asking just in case whether they have any big skincare challenges. “Rosacea and eczema are very prevalent in the U.S. and affect 14 million and 31 million people, respectively,” says Dr. Kim. “Using the wrong products can cause an allergic reaction and break down the skin barrier.” If you’re not sure…

Stick with ceramides

It’s impossible to go wrong with ceramides — since everyone has them, and everyone needs more. “Ceramide is a great ingredient in restoring the skin barrier and hydrating the skin,” Dr. Kim says. “It’s also very gentle and works essentially on everyone.” They star front-and-center in our Avocado Ceramide Recovery Serum, and in supporting the moisture barrier, can improve all skin.

If you know they’re already on the ceramides bandwagon, though, consider peptides instead. “Peptides are great sources of amino acids to help with fine lines and wrinkles, and collagen production,” he says. Argireline is a buzzy one that they might not have tried; you can find it in the Guava Vitamin C Bright-Eye Gel Cream, where it helps smooth and firm skin.

Let them decide

Sometimes, the greatest gift of all is a little spending spree. And therein is the magic (and mass appeal) of a gift card, which allows them to pick out their fave products. While it might feel a little less personalized, it’s still a great option if you’re not clued into their skin concerns and preferences.

Ultimately, the goal is to give a gift that they’ll love — and actually use. And with skincare gifts like these, it’s hard to go wrong.

Read more for other skincare tips worth sharing: