I get it: Not everyone is into a super-extra, multiple-layers-of-products-before-7-a.m. beauty routine. (I mean, I’m a beauty editor, so I don’t really get it, but I understand these people exist and have even dated some of them.)
However, everyone in your life—including the people with zero self-care strategies or beauty routines—deserves to look and feel great. These are unintimidating, low-effort, high-return presents that will woo even the most beauty averse to the soft, sweet-smelling side.
1. Briogeo Scalp Revival Massager
This thing feels freaking amazing. It’s a handheld massager intended to increase circulation, which can help support a healthy scalp and hair. You can use it on wet or dry hair with your regular shampoo or any massage oil—although it’s also awesome when paired with a scrub (see below).
2. Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub
My friend and stylist Wil Ralston introduced me to this stuff, and I am eternally grateful. If your recipient is someone who uses tons of products (and especially if they abuse dry shampoo), it’s great for removing buildup. And for folks who never do anything beyond scrub their head with soap and water, it also soothes dry, flaky winter scalps.
3. Baby Foot Exfoliant Foot Peel
SO CREEPY. SO COOL. Basically, you stick your feet into these gel-packed plastic socks. Three days later your feet start shedding like snakes, and you end up feeling horrified by yourself but amazed at the same time. This is such a good gift for runners (although they need to have toenails when they do this). There’s also a version for men, which I prefer because it smells like mint instead of lavender and gender is a construct, but it can also be more expensive, so ¯_(ツ)_/¯
4. Waterpik HairWand Spa System
It doesn’t matter if your recipient is a renter or bad with tools—this is an instant shower upgrade that’s really easy to install (it took me five minutes with a crescent wrench, and I am not exactly the most mechanically inclined person). It helps detangle longer hair, and really, what’s better than a relaxing shower with a massaging showerhead?
5. Fresh Facial on the Fly Set
This is just a good value. You get the cult favorite soy face cleanser (everyone needs to wash their face) with the lotus youth preserve face cream (important to keep your skin from chapping in the winter!) and a little tub of Fresh’s excellent rose face mask (a really good introductory version for the uninitiated and excellent for all skin types—it’s super hydrating).
6. Silk by Sleepgram Pillowcase
Using a silk pillowcase may sound like the height of diva-dom, but really, it’s the ultimate lazy person’s beauty secret. Silk reduces split ends and can help prevent wrinkles from forming. It also feels luxurious on your skin and takes exactly zero more effort than putting on a regular pillowcase. Love.
7. Foreo Luna 2
This amazing little brush gently exfoliates your skin and massages it too. I can honestly say I think it’s helped my skin be more even, break out less, and has maybe reduced some fine line formation. There are four variations for different skin types, but if you’re unsure what to pick out, “normal” is fine for basically everyone (I have sensitive skin and use the normal one, and it’s great).
8. Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum
I have given a shout-out to this product in basically every beauty article I have ever written and not because the nice folks over at Mad Hippie are paying me to shill for them (I wish). It’s because I am a true believer in the skin-transforming power of this serum. It brightens, it minimizes acne scarring, it helps reverse some of the effects of sun damage… it is a game changer. If I could add just one 20-second step to everyone’s skin care routine (aside from super-mandatory SPF), it would be this.
9. Copper + Crane Charcoal Body Polish
I’ve noticed that exfoliation is the one beauty concept that people who aren’t into beauty seem to get and like. There’s just something clean feeling about sloughing off a bunch of dead skin. This stuff is great and use uses bamboo charcoal to slough off the old and uncover fresh cells underneath. Give on its own or pair with a good moisturizer for a super-nice winter skin-care combo that’s honestly great for both the uninitiated and total beauty lovers alike.
10. Biossance 100% Squalane Oil
This is the best OTC beauty product I discovered this year. When you first put it on, it definitely has that oily feel, which I know drives a lot of people up the wall, but if you give it just three minutes, it absorbs completely into your skin, making even really rough, dry patches feel incredibly soft and hydrated.
Your body produces a version of this stuff, called squalene, but this is a plant-derived iteration that functions as an excellent emollient (read: dry skin isn’t dry anymore). You can use this oil on your face, body, and hair, although I’ve found that if I put it on my nose too frequently it can cause a few little whiteheads, so, you know, caution.
11. Dyson Pure Cool Link Hepa Filter
According to the EPA, indoor air is often far worse than outdoor air. That’s terrifying, given how much time we spend inside and how dangerous air pollution can be (it can cause everything from dark spots to wrinkles and makes more serious issues like allergies and asthma worse).
Cleaning the air in your home is a really low-effort way to keep your skin (and lungs) intact. There’s good evidence that a high-quality HEPA filter can genuinely reduce the amount of molecular grossness (that’s a technical term) you come into contact with.
I feel like this is an objectively excellent gift, but given that the price tag is a doozy, it probably makes the most sense as one of those, “Oh, aren’t I the most thoughtful! It’s such a good gift for you… and I just happen to live here too!” type presents. And it’s one of Oprah’s favorite things, which means major bonus points.
12. Quip Toothbrush
Yes, a regular old toothbrush is fine, but people tend to brush too hard with them, which isn’t great for your gums. This sweet little electric one comes in cute colors (love the millennial pink, hope it never goes away) and uses sonic vibrations to thoroughly clean your teeth without irritation. And happy teeth are a real confidence booster.
Jess Novak is the senior lifestyle and beauty editor for Greatist. Follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram.
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