2020 Beauty Gift Guides? Yawn

Does the beauty world really need another gift guide? You can only see the same palettes recommended so many times. Maybe its just 2020 in general, maybe its my own exhaustion and short fuse, but even bloggers and influencers who I like have shared gift guide content that I, personally, found exasperating this year. (I still like the content creators. They’re doing their jobs; in many cases, this sort of thing is their main income stream).

So many gift guides are just wish lists for the blogger, anyway – depending on their stature and time in the influencing trenches, they might share wildly out-of-touch picks.

2020 Beauty Gift Guides – Pfft

I’m trying to rein in my cynicism (lol right) and what I recognize to be a grinch-like attitude, but frankly, it is challenging:

  • On one hand the world is a mess; do we really need a $40 lip balm recommendation, Janet?
  • On the other, while I still agree that a $40 lip balm is fucking absurd and indeed borderline offensive, maybe we do need some frivolity to lift our spirits.

My opinion seems to change by the hour on that.

I’m not without empathy, though. If you are participating in some gift-giving this year and by some insanity you have yet to finish your holiday shopping for someone with an appetite for beauty frivolity, might I offer the following suggestions:

If your loved one:

  • is fond of a particular local salon or spa, get a gift card for them to use at that service provider once we can safely and responsibly return to consuming those services. This isn’t an impersonal cop-out; this does triple duty of 1) the obvious gift-giving, 2) giving your loved-one something nice to look forward to when we can reclaim a semblance of safety, and 3) provides that business much-needed cashflow. I haven’t felt comfortable visiting my salon during all this (service areas are a bit small), but I don’t want them to go out of business. You can probably pull this off in time, even.
  • is brave or adventurous enough to attempt (or has been attempting) home haircuts – consider a pair of shears. As I’ve learned from doing my own trims this year, decent pair of shears (scissors) makes the process go a lot nicer. Is it exciting? Not necessarily, but if you want to get all Marie Kondo about it, they spark joy because they make the job easier to execute well…ish. If not shears, there’s something for everyone: clippers, or, apparently George Clooney has been cutting his hair with a Flowbee for almost as long as I’ve been alive. Imagine a world where that was the strangest thing we’d heard this year.
  • likes having nice nails and hasn’t already taken the plunge into DIY gel land, oh, god, get them some nail supplies! Gel polish is user-friendly and more accessible than ever. If they like extensions/enhancements, dual-forms and polygel couldn’t be easier to use. Lamps, electric files, color, consumables (like gel cleanser?! lolol jk – but files, cleanup tools, etc).
  • is creative/crafty and might enjoy things like soap-making, that’s a really cool way to give them control over some aspect of their beauty/grooming products. Not only is it neat to play with, is it skill development! I’ve had good luck with Bramble Berry as a starting resource. Anything in this realm will be late, but in a year in which even things purchased, “in time,” will be late – it will be okay.

If you needed it, I hope this non-gift-guide was useful to you.

Foolproof Beauty Gifting (Last Minute!)

I’m moving Wednesday’s post to Tuesday due to its urgent nature. Did you wait until zero hour to accomplish your holiday shopping? Or did you maybe think you were done only to realize, “Damn! I forgot someone,” where that someone happens to be a beauty enthusiast? You’re down to the wire.

Buying foundation or concealer for your recipient is generally a bad idea unless you know their EXACT shade or unless you leverage an e-Gift feature like Urban Decay’s that let’s the recipient pick their shade. Lipstick can be equally challenging because subtle nuances can take a product from wearable to NOPE pretty easily (but this 4pc Clinique Honey, Honey set [$25] is a safe bet!).

I got you. In addition to the guide I did a couple weeks ago, I’ve put together a foolproof beauty gifting guide. Most of these products can be purchased from retails offering shipping in time for Christmas to save your ass, and the ones that aren’t are available at retailers. Buy online and pickup in store where possible to save your sanity, and to also reap the benefits of eBates.


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2016 Holiday Gift Guide

With Thanksgiving coming up, I’m adjusting my posting schedule for the upcoming week. There will be this post (Saturday evening), the normal Monday post, and the normal Wednesday post, but no Friday post.
We’re officially in holiday shopping season! In the interests of self-preservation, I completed my holiday shopping a month-and-a-half ago. Here’s the Beauty Skeptic 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for those of you still in the thick of it.

Before You Shop


If you aren’t signed up for eBates, go sign up now. Their commercials are weird, but they are absolutely legit. I’ve been a member since January 2012 and am just cents shy of earning $900 cash back over the lifetime of my membership. Here’s a screenshot from my eBates dashboard:


It is free to join, and just like not contributing to a contribution-matched 401k, to not do so is to throw away free money! Don’t leave money on the table, sign up and earn cash back on nearly all of your online shopping. They pay out quarterly via PayPal, Check, or gift card. Disclosure – I do get a referral credit if you use the link above and YOU get $10 in your eBates account, too.


If there’s a promo code, I find it. That said, finding them does take time; usually several websites and then time to apply them to check for validity. Honey makes the process easier via a browser plugin that auto-applies the best-available promo codes for you. It operates via user submissions, so you can add your promo code finds to help the community if you’re so inclined.

It’s also free, and you can sign up hereDisclosure – Like eBates, I get a small referral credit if you sign up with that link. Whether or not you sign up with that link, I use and recommend it myself.



biore aqua rich watery essence

It isn’t often that you can give the gift of health. I love sunscreen as a skincare gift particularly for those who may be a bit lax with their skin. If you’re interested in prestige options, Coola apparently makes some good ones; that said, when it comes to facial sunscreen I can’t be talked off the Biore AQUA Rich ($9) ledge. It’s SPF 50, suitable for all skin types, and not something you can just grab off the shelf in CVS or Target…but even being imported, it is really inexpensive!

Everyone can benefit from some Vitamin C, but especially if your recipient has expressed anti-aging concerns, this is a good pick. This duo from Ole Henriksen ($25) is a cute gift that can boost collagen production and make the skin appear more radiant.


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