Every holiday season, I have to sit down and have a serious chat with myself about my shopping habits. Am I a bit of a shopaholic? Yes. But do I also make sure I leave enough room in my budget to buy the people in my life a few dreamy holiday gifts they'll adore? Also yes. This year, I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I could use some advice. After all, this time of year is our busiest and I'm a tad overwhelmed by all the options.
What do I do when I feel this way? Call in the experts, of course. As a beauty editor, I'm constantly thinking of ways I can give functional gifts people will love that also keep them looking and feeling their healthiest. That's why skincare sets (and individual items, for that matter) make the perfect option. I turned to two leading dermatologists, Dr. Marisa Garshick and Dr. Azadeh Shirazi to see what they'll be buying for their friends and family this year for the holidays. Their picks did not disappoint. They're high quality treasures any skincare enthusiast needs in their arsenal. Keep scrolling for their top picks and a few of my own picks below.
Dr. Marisa Garshick, MD
"With people more focused on their neck, a splurge-worthy neck cream is definitely on my gift-giving list. This cream works to hydrate, strengthen and firm the overall appearance of the neck, while also improving crepiness and skin laxity. It is easy to apply and can be used one to two times per day.
"When it comes to skincare, especially during the winter months, it is important to always remember the lips and there is no better way than with a variety pack of Vaseline healing jelly ointment in sizes small enough to fit in your pocket or bag, so you never have to leave home without it. This variety pack offers different flavors, but all work to provide a protective barrier for your lips. It can also be used on minor cuts and to help dry skin heal."
"What type of dermatologist friend would I be if I didn't gift sunscreen? And this sunscreen is well-loved by dermatologists. It's an ultra light zinc sunscreen that absorbs so well it is often hard to believe it contains zinc. It also contains DNA repairosomes and antioxidants to help protect against and repair DNA damage, making it particularly helpful in an anti-aging skincare routine. It glides on and is easy to apply under makeup as it doesn't leave a greasy finish. It can also be used on all skin types."
"While not the same as getting injectables, for someone looking to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, this serum is a great option. It incorporates a combination of key ingredients including niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, peptides, ceramides, panthenol, antioxidants, and more to help smooth fine lines while also improving the overall texture of the skin."
So yeah, even derms consider mascara to be extremely important skincare. "As choice of mascara can be very personal, I love this gift set that allows you to try out three different award-winning mascaras, selecting a different one for a different mood or you can layer them together. I especially love that it incorporates the latest Upgraded Treatment Mascara, which doubles as a mascara and a lash growth product. It contains Widelash which has been shown to improve length, volume and thickness after just two weeks of use."
"As the newest eye complex from Colorescience, this hydrating cream uses humectants such as glycerin and sea buckthorn fruit oil, emollients such as meadowfoam seed oil and squalane to support the skin barrier and improve the overall texture of the under eye area. It also incorporates the Total Eye Complex which works to firm the skin and improve discoloration, as well as caffeine which helps to reduce overall puffiness. It is safe even for those with sensitive skin as it is free of parabens, phthalates and synthetic fragrance."
"This set of three serums contains key essentials for healthy and glowing skin. The NIA 10 features niacinamide to help calm redness and soothe the skin, while the Glow Maker serves as an antioxidant containing vitamin C, E and ferulic acid. The hydrating serum, known as the Hydrator B5 Gel, contains hyaluronic acid, panthenol and resveratrol which help hydrate, soothe and deliver antioxidant protection."
"This vault contains a combination of products that provide an answer to any and all skincare concerns. Containing nine full-sized skincare products, this set includes some of the latest additions to the collection, including the Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum to help with hyperpigmentation and Plum Plump Hyaluronic Acid Serum which helps to boost overall moisture. The best part is that each of the products come with a fruity scent, leaving your skin feeling refreshed."
"This set is a great option for someone who wants a skincare routine and doesn't know where to start as it incorporates some key ingredients to start your day. It includes the C Firma Fresh Day Serum, which provides antioxidant protection throughout the day, B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum to boost moisture, the C Tango Vitamin C Eye Cream to help brighten the under eye area and another favorite, the Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer to seal it all in."
"For the friend with sensitive skin who still wants great skincare options, I like this roundup from First Aid Beauty. It includes some best-selling favorites, such as the Facial Radiance Pads to give the skin a perfect holiday glow, the Eye Duty Niacinamide Brightening Eye Cream to help brighten the under eye area as well as a gentle cleanser, moisturizer and the KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub. The scrub is especially helpful for those with rough and bumpy skin this time of year."
Dr. Azadeh Shirazi, MD
"All my friends need to protect their skin. I love this bundle because it offers SPF products in different formulations and tints. I'm obsessed with SPF powders as they make it so easy to reapply throughout the day and soak up moisture and oil. We tend to forget about our lips, and lip gloss can magnify UV rays. It's like baby oil when you are outdoors. So I love the lip plump with SPF 30."
"Given it's dry and cool out, the Laneige kit is perfect for most people this time of year. I love how they include their lip sleeping mask as we often forget about our lips in our skincare routine. Skin hydration is important for all skin types."
"Normally a post procedure serum to help with skin regeneration, but my patients love this in their skincare routine especially if using a lot of exfoliants. Enhances healthy skin by helping to clear damage and debris in the extracellular matrix"
The Beauty Editor Picks
Acaderma's holiday gift set is the complete four step routine of dreams. You can mix and match the brand's moisturizers and serums in the set to tailor it to your specific needs. Personally, I love the Lunar Glow serum and Better With Age Replenishing Light Cream. Buy this for the friend who wants a solid skincare routine with incredibly well-researched and effective ingredients that also isn't toxic or overly heavy.