Self-care Gifts for Quarentine Birthday
April 23, 2020 10:02 PM   Subscribe

Help me come up with an amazing smorgasbord of skincare / makeup / scents / other to order for my SO while we're sheltering in place.

The problem:
I know exactly zilch about skincare and beauty projects.

How I'm thinking about this:
I learn about a lot of smaller, interesting menswear boutiques from blogs like PutThisOn: lots of local operations that ship around the country, sometimes hand-made, usually part of a community of enthusiasts. I assume there are similar resources in the beauty world: I want to tap into that community like I would for menswear blogs. However: my SO is tuned into a the online communities for skincare, makeup, and scents, and I am not. Help me, mefi!

Some notes:
  • Her style for skincare is natural / thoughtful products for light skin, often with some SPF; with scents she's androgynous and goes for earthier, less sweet options; for makeup she goes more for nude or muted options and usually has several different foundations (sometimes leftover samples) -- but for makeup I'd wager she's open to something high-concept (is there a trend for Gustav Klimt style makeup right now? That would work.)
  • She's tuned in to trends and is discerning. If something is on trend on skincare blogs assume she knows about it -- but I don't know about it I and want to buy it for her if it fits the bullet point above.
  • I keep thinking about Korean beauty product as the baseline -- not sure if that's where I want to go, but I think it's a good start. We've been to some of the Korean beauty places out in Flushing and she was into it.
  • That said, independent, small operations are a plus.
  • We took an outing to a Bushwick perfumery a couple years ago and had a good time trying very high-end local perfumes. We ended up buying a woody, relatively masculine but not aggressive scent that she liked. That level of local/small industry is great!
  • She prefers products that are about self-care, utility, novelty, and fun over fancier brands or price tags (but if you know a good sale, tell me! Pricey things are still a treat).
  • She orders from Sephora for basics.
  • We're shower-only for now. Alas, we cannot field self-care options like bath salts.
  • Budget is $200-300 (Which I think is high, but I'm shooting in the dark here).
  • Prepared boxes would be great, but I'm happy to order from a few different places to put a gift basket together.
  • Sample sizes are good. I want her to be able to try lots of different things over a couple months.
  • Shipping should be 2 weeks delivery at most. We're on the east coast USA.
I'm glad to hear other options that are in keeping with the above. "Self-care" is the operative word here. Really cool candles? Meditative teas? Lay it on me!
posted by postcommunism to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
For scents, check out Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. Definitely browse their site, but perhaps A Glimpse might be up her alley scent-wise?
posted by burntflowers at 10:34 PM on April 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

The r/skincareaddiction subreddit has been sending care packages to healthcare workers who have to wear masks all day every day. Reddit is trash for browsing historically, but if you're patient you'll find a lot of them in the top posts over the last month.

People are posting pics of the care packages they've received and I think you'll get a lot of great ideas by seeing what skincare nerds have selected for these boxes.
posted by phunniemee at 4:25 AM on April 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: For Korean skincare that ships in the US, check out Soko Glam.

Sheet Mask samplers are always a safe bet. You can check out what sheet mask sets Soko Glam has to offer here.

Another domestic K Beauty company I would recommend is Peach and Lily. Here's what they offer for gift sets.

Also, Sephora is having their spring sale right now and they offer a number of gift / sampler sets as well, see here for their skincare gift sets. I have ordered a few shipments from Sephora this past month and all of them have arrived in about 6-10 days, so well within that 2 week shipping window you're looking for.

As far as makeup: if she's looking to experiment/play around with the Gustav Klimt look you mentioned, check out eyeshadow palettes. There are lots of great options but if you're trying to figure out what to choose, palettes by Huda Beauty, Fenty and Urban Decay are all safe bets.

I can recommend specific skincare products (as opposed to gift sets / samplers) as well, if you are interested.
posted by nightrecordings at 5:08 AM on April 24, 2020

I’d get her a couple sample sets of perfume oils from Solstice Scents and/or Alkemia Perfumes - it looks like both are still shipping (I think each may be a one-person operation) . They’re excellent quality, and while a perfume oil sample looks small, it will last for many, many, many wears because they’re super concentrated. You can find reviews of their scents (plus info on tons of other indie perfume, makeup, skincare, etc companies) on the reddit community r/indiemakeupandmore.
posted by insectosaurus at 5:35 AM on April 24, 2020

Best answer: Facetory is also great for K beauty, and has some pre-packaged sets as well as a subscription box (which could be fun, if you want to spread your budget out over some time, so she gets surprises in the future). Their shipping can be a bit slow, though.

For perfumes, you might want to look at a discovery set from someplace like Priya Means Love, Blackbird, or (more local to you) MCMC. Twisted Lily is also a good place to look for samplers. Also, Le Labo is not exactly indie, but is never a mistake.
posted by dizziest at 7:13 AM on April 24, 2020

I can't advise you about makeup, but I can advise you to show her this question after the fact. I'm impressed at how plugged in you are to her preferences in this area, and hope she'll be touched too!
posted by kate4914 at 7:14 AM on April 24, 2020 [3 favorites]

Juniper Ridge has sustainably harvested incense, essential oils, fragrances, candles, tea, and gift sets. They are woodsy and natural and smell amazing.
posted by scrubjay at 7:14 AM on April 24, 2020

Seconding the recommendations for BPAL, Solstice Scents, and Alkemia. I think BPAL and Solstice do bath and body products as well. Arcana is another good indie perfume choice. All these indies are pretty high-concept with the ideas behind the scents, so you could do something like assemble a set of BPAL samples from their Wanderlust collection themed around places you’ve been together or would like to visit, or samples of scents inspired by her favorite books/art. (I have tried lots and can give you specific suggestions if you want!)

Surrender to Chance does decants (small custom-made samples) of perfumes from many different houses, large and small, and they have many sample packs prebuilt around notes or historical significance or things like that.

I subscribe to the Allure Beauty Box... if you think she might like an ongoing surprise through the year, you could check that out, or another similar service. For $15 a month I get a bunch of typically mid to high-end samples of cosmetics and toiletries. Some quite expensive brands. All more mainstream rather than boutique though.

Stratia Skin is my favorite indie skincare line—their Liquid Gold is a lovely rich moisturizer.

Sheet masks are a very nice treat. I’d buy from one of the k-beauty sites linked above—there are counterfeits on Amazon.

For eyeshadow, this MAKE Beauty palette was the first thing that came to mind. I was also going to suggest a “build your own palette” with some of the pressed gold colors from indie makeup company Fyrinnae, amazing quality, unique and lovely colors, and very affordable, but looks like they’re out of palettes—still, some singles would be great. They sell perfumes too, though I haven’t tried any.
posted by music for skeletons at 7:33 AM on April 24, 2020

(Just a note about Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab - they are awesome, but judging from my past experience, ship times are typically much longer than two weeks.)
posted by prewar lemonade at 8:13 AM on April 24, 2020

DSH perfumes is a long-running small indie business out of Boulder. There’s a lot there so I’d suggest starting with a sample pack, perhaps this one.
posted by matildaben at 8:20 AM on April 24, 2020

I just sent two friends care packages that included products from Daughter of the Land, which is a small operation (woman owned!) out of Seattle. The CBD products/oils/balms are fantastic and felt especially luxurious during this time, when we all need a little bit of calm!
posted by something_witty at 9:07 AM on April 24, 2020

IMO Everyday Oil is a nice niche product. It has a very understated palo santo scent and they sell it a a few boutiques around Northern Brooklyn if that's your vibe. It's my daily go to body oil but people use it for all sorts of things. They offer sample sizes.

I agree that you can't go wrong with Le Labo, nor, a Diptyque candle. I mean they just smell good.

I like Into the Gloss to keep up on what's in trend.

And I think that damn Biologique P50 is still something that people aren't always sure they want to pull the trigger on. You can order a sample bottle of it if she's curious.

Not sure how long shipping is for any of these things in the current environment.
posted by rdnnyc at 9:15 AM on April 24, 2020

Best answer: I'm seeing a lot of Stratia skincare recommendations on Reddit these days. Their Liquid Gold moisturizer is particularly popular (and works!)
posted by Everydayville at 10:38 AM on April 24, 2020

Another high-end perfume oil option would be OLO out of Portland, OR. There are many clean woodsy scents, and a much smaller catalogue than BPAL. A selection of samples (@ $6 each) + gift card would fit!
posted by inkytea at 11:31 AM on April 24, 2020

This might be a bit out of left field, but has great beauty products (including K-beauty) at great prices. I'm glad you asked this question, because I went to see if they have anything specific in stock that I'd want to recommend, and there's actually a sale on select beauty products starting today! I already have 3 items in my cart and I'm not even done looking :) Here's a K-beauty set that might be a fit.

I have heard that many (most?) things on can be purchased even without a membership; you just have to pay a surcharge (this article says it's 5%). There are a few items on the website labeled "Member Only Item," so one would certainly assume that means the items not labeled that way are available to non-members.
posted by slenderloris at 11:49 AM on April 24, 2020

On the less serious side, Bic has tattoo markers that look really fun, especially if she likes to draw

Cartoonist Kate Leth recently tweeted about their staying power.

Colourpop is great for affordable, fun products: pastel eyeliner, mascara in bright colors, jelly eyeshadow, and glitter gel.
posted by meemzi at 2:02 PM on April 24, 2020

Beauty subscription boxes are a great way to amass a number of makeup, skincare, fragrance etc. sample size products to play around with, and a year's subscription would fit in your budget. I can personally vouch for Ipsy but there are a number devoted to Korean beauty products.
posted by fox problems at 6:15 PM on April 24, 2020

Response by poster: Incredibly late reply, but thank you everyone! I ended up pulling together a gift bag + subscription from the three comments I tagged as best, but all of your comments were fantastically helpful.

We've been sharing the Facetory subscription ever since. Thank you!
posted by postcommunism at 8:50 PM on February 2

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