Want to get your friend a skin care gift for the holidays but stumped on what will be perfect for them? Get some expert advice with Charlotte Cho’s holiday gift guide.
Skin care is never a one-size-fits all model. So when people ask me what skin care products they should gift their friends or family for the holidays, I am known to give out very specific guidance. This is because skin care is super personal and you need to consider their skin type and goals in order for the gift to be well received (and well used)!
Since there is nothing more I hate than a skin care gift that goes unused or discarded, I’ve put together some tips for you to ensure your skin care gifting this year is a success!
Know their skin type
Are they dry, oily, or something in between? Even having a general sense of what spectrum their skin lies will help you decide what they should put on their face. If you’re unsure and you have to make a decision ASAP, the general rule of thumb is to assume they are sensitive when you pick out the goods.
Know their skin goals.
Are they more concerned about fine lines or are they frustrated with the sight of cystic acne? Or do they see skin care simply as a way to pamper themselves after a long week? Knowing what motivates them will help you decide whether a pack of sheet masks to indulge in during the weekends or a high powered facial oil to keep wrinkles at bay will make them the happiest.
What type of skin care user are they?
You know your friend better than me. Are they complete newbies to skin care who rarely wash their face and has often scoffed at the idea at the double cleanse? Or are they so well versed with skin care (i.e. they’ve got the 10 step routine down pat), that nothing excites them more than experimenting with the latest and greatest to come out of K-beauty? Be honest about what their current view of skin care is and make sure your picks fit their lifestyle, and not yours.
Now that you know what to keep in mind while you shop for others, here are some of my picks that could potentially be their next game changers, according to skin type and goals!
Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum: For your friend who has the basic skin care steps down, but wants to step it up a notch with a high powered serum.
Skin goals: Brighten uneven skin tone and fade acne scars
Skin type: Oily, combination, normal, sensitive.
This vitamin C serum contains 5 percent ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and it has been stabilized by Klairs so that it doesn’t oxidize as fast as one that has more ascorbic acid. Although it’s not the strongest vitamin C serums out there, it’s also the safest bet to gift (yes, even for sensitive skin types). Also, it’s important to note that it’s been loved for years by the Soko Glam community for delivering results for a bright, more even-toned complexion.
Tip: If they’re ready for something with higher vitamin C content and they are more of a skin care aficionado, direct them to the Cosrx Triple C Lightning Liquid—the winner of this year’s Soko Glam People’s Choice Award winner.
For a friend who needs an essence in their routine or loves natural skin care products.
Skin goals: Hydrated, supple skin to get them through the winter
Skin type: Sensitive, normal, dry, and combination
This fragrance and alcohol-free essence is made with 93 percent natural, fermented ingredients. It’s a perfect essence to layer and help achieve that “honey skin,” we’ve been obsessed about. Its sleek, glass bottle will not only sit pretty on their shelf, but once they see their skin gobble up the hydrating fermented yeast, birch juice, and rice extracts, they’ll be motivated to keep this essence as a regular part of their routine.
British M Organics Annatto Hair Oil: For the friend who has their skin care routine down, and is open to exploring the world of Korean haircare.
Hair goals: Wants to tame unruly, dried locks, and transform them into shiny, silky, healthy-looking strands.
Hair type: All hair types (yes, even curly!)
This hair oil is a bonafide gem that we discovered at a super ritzy celebrity hair salon in Seoul. After curating it, rave reviews poured in for this magic hair elixir that made dry, brittle hair into soft, healthy locks! The main point of difference for this hair oil—formulated with pumpkin seed oil and argan oil—is how lightweight it is; it leaves strands silky smooth and not at all greasy. I’d recommend this luxe hair oil for all hair types in a heartbeat!
Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream: For a friend who always uses fragrance-free, organic skin care
Skin goals: To calm and nourish sensitive, acne-prone skin.
Skin type: Normal, combination, sensitive, oily, acne-prone
Klairs prides itself in delivering high powered ingredients for even the most sensitive skin types out there. The secret is in their use of skin-calming ingredients, such as guaiazulene and centella asiatica extract. The natural blue coloring of the cream is not just for Instagrammable photos, but is in fact an extract from camomile, which is known to calm and soothe the skin. With this bottle of skin-benefitting ingredients, you may even get the most basic skin care user hooked on K-beauty.
Hanskin Bio Origin 369 Oil: For your friend who thinks La Mer products are the only worthy anti-aging products
Skin goals: Dry, cracked skin needs
Skin type: Normal, combination, dry
Korean cosmetic companies have a knack for creating really lightweight oils that don’t make your skin feel greasy or your pores clogged. That’s why I recommend the Hanskin Bio Origin oil for those who love facial oils, but are looking for something that is fast-absorbing and sinks into skin for that velvety-smooth softness. For dry, dull skin, this is a winne,r thanks to natural fatty acids (fermented omega 3, 6 and 9 to be exact!) that will bring your skin more elasticity and bounce after only a few weeks of use!
The Essentials Value Gift Set: For your friend who’s ready for a complete skin care overhaul
Skin types: All skin types
Skin goals: Hydrated, clear, bright complexion
When I put this set together, I wanted to make sure all skin types would be able to pick this set up and see glowing results. The formulation for all three products is lightweight enough for oily skin types, and easily layerable with the most hydrating ingredients for dry skin types.
The Benton Snail Bee High Content Skin has been a Soko Glam favorite for years now and it’s most known for its use of effective, K-beauty hero ingredients such as snail mucin and bee venom. It’s that powerful duo in this toner that keeps skin hydrated and smooth as you prep the skin for the next steps into your routine. The Neogen H2 Dermadeca Serum Spray (a Soko Glam Best of K-Beauty Winner) is the innovative serum mist that lightly coats your skin with vitamin C and centella asiatica to brighten your complexion. Lastly, lock all those ingredients in with the Missha Ultra Waterfull Clear Cream (another Soko Glam Best of K-Beauty Winner) which uses birch juice as the main ingredient to ensure your skin is flooded with the right kind of moisture.
Sets can be hit or miss, but this has been carefully curated for anyone who wants to start their very first skin care routine, or someone who wants to stock up on our best sellers at a discounted price!