21 Beauty Products I've Tried This Year That I'd 100% Recommend for Gifting

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Who What Wear

How's that holiday shopping going, team? This year has been a lot, and as we creep toward the finish line, it can feel so tempting to just phone it in. Gift cards might be calling, as they're easy to procure and always appreciated, but the fact is that they're impersonal. So what's the solution for locating the perfect gifts that are both thoughtful and cool? Checking in with team Who What Wear, of course!

As your friendly neighborhood beauty editor, I'm here to drop some insanely good gift ideas on you. As you know, I spend a ridiculous amount of time researching, swatching, and playing with the best in beauty, and I've got some finds in mind that would send any true-blue beauty lover into hysterics (the good kind). Keep scrolling to see the 21 products I tried this year, some brand-new and some tried-and-true, and to shop for those you love most. Just try to not keep everything for yourself.

Makeup

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@court_higgs

Clean makeup is a category that really popped off for me this year, and Westman Atelier is one of the brands that piqued my interest the most. Of all its offerings, this mascara and lip tint happen to be a couple of my favorites, and this chic set includes them both. Not only are the products perfect, but the packaging they're housed in is also so cool.

These aren't your average liquid lipsticks. As opposed to thick, chalky coverage, they offer a soft flush of matte color that is so pretty and stays put for hours (even under a face mask). Plus, who doesn't love a gift from Chanel?

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@court_higgs

I couldn't have imagined how much I'd grow to love Selena Gomez's Rare Beauty line. Not only is the general ethos wonderful, but the vibe of the brand is also so uplifting and fun. Take, for instance, this palette (haphazardly swatched above), which contains the prettiest eye shadow colors I've seen all year. Any eye makeup savant will love it.

Skincare & Devices

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@court_higgs

There isn't a clay mask on earth I'd recommend over this one by Klur. Even though its founder, Lesley Thornton, is one of my favorite people on the planet, I can say without bias that this is one of the best skincare launches of the year, period. This mask combines the detoxifying benefits of kaolin clay with a blend of panthenol, calendula, and cacao, resulting in a detoxifying treatment that's not overly drying. When you buy from a brand like Klur, you can be sure that you're getting an artisanal product made with care that's perfect for gifting.

We all know the Versed love runs deep over here, but this collection of its best sellers is such a fun gift idea. It has some OG favorites along with newer releases like its Guards Up Sunscreen, which has quickly ascended to cult status. 

Buttah skincare is a vibe. It's the kind of line you use when you're really feeling yourself—or when you need a little boost to remind yourself that you're that girl (or guy!). This gentle cleanser and pulsating brush are the perfect gifts for that friend who loves to bring moments of luxury into their everyday routine.

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@court_higgs

If there's someone on your shopping list known for their love of skincare gadgets, this LED light therapy mask will send them through the roof. Sure, you look a little nutty while wearing it (see above for proof), but it works to diminish fine lines, soften wrinkles, and even treat acne.

It's not the chic gold tube that makes me love this product—it's the intense moisture and the scent! It's soothing and spicy and is the perfect nighttime treatment to slather all over after a long bath.

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@court_higgs

The SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic ($166) is out-and-out famous at this point, and anyone who lives according to the skincare gospel of Gwyneth Paltrow or Tracee Ellis Ross is, undoubtedly, interested in the stuff. It's pricey, though, so now is the perfect time to gift it. I love this set that comes with the brand's top-rated moisturizer.

Bath & Body

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@court_higgs

For anyone on your list who believes that shower time is the best time, this collection of bougie favorites is the perfect gift. Not only does it have the iconic shower gel and body lotion from Nécessaire and clean deodorant by Corpus, but it's also got my all-time favorite face wash, the IS Clinical Cleansing Complex.

I think we need to have a moment of silence for this fragrance. Not to be dramatic, but it's one of the best perfumes I've ever smelled. It's both sweet and spicy and just smells rich. There's an unhinged Slack exchange about it between me and my fellow beauty editor Erin Jahns (we are obsessed!), and we both agree it's one of the best scents of all time.

Speaking of winning fragrances, this duo is perfect for the perfume lover who's also partial toward soft hands. 

Hand sanitizer might be the most 2020 gift of all time, but here we are. Thankfully, there's sanitizer out there—like this one from Megababe that I absolutely love—that smells really good and doesn't make your hands crack from dryness. This is the perfect stocking stuffer.

If you're gifting a candle lover this season, Baies is a perfect choice. It's Diptyque's best-selling scent and is universally adored. I always keep one on deck.

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@court_higgs

Know someone who needs to chill TF out? Buy them this aromatherapy oil. I've been taking in deep breaths of it before bed for the last couple of weeks and can honestly say that I haven't slept so well in months. It's magical.

The DedCool Milk Layering Fragrance ($90) is one of my absolute favorite scents (and it was the one that got me the most compliments whenever I wore it to the office when going there was still a thing), so when the brand launched laundry detergent, I knew it would be a winner. It is! What a fun new way to layer your fragrance and make your whole wardrobe smell as good as it looks.

Aesop made its foray into candles recently and, of course, knocked it out of the park with the scents. I love Aganice, which brings in notes of cardamom, mimosa, and tobacco. It exudes a muddled, sophisticated sweetness that makes your space smell heavenly, even when it isn't lit. Plus, it's so pretty!

Who could have guessed one of my favorite body lotions of the year would come from famed tattoo artist Dr. Woo? His pared-back formulas comprise the perfect care arsenal for sensitive skin (tats or no tats).

Hair

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@court_higgs

Headwraps have become a mainstay in my styling routine, and I love the ones by Wrap Life. There are endless ways to fashion them, and they come in all kinds of colors to suit any number of sartorial needs.

I'm extremely picky about what I use on my hair, from products to tools, and the boar-bristle brush by Crown Affair is one of my favorites for smoothing my tresses into buns. I can hardly believe how well it works on my thick, coily hair. This box comes with a detangling comb, hair towel, and serum, all designed to give your hair a little extra TLC.

In all honesty, I haven't tried this hot brush for myself just yet. But so many major hairstylists I trust have touted it as the perfect tool for adding volume and styling haircuts like the ever-popular shag cut that's been making the rounds among the fashion set.

Up next, 31 Last-Minute Beauty Gifts You Can Still Get in Time for Christmas 

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