Under-$30 Secret Santa Skin-Care Gifts Everyone Will Love

What makes Secret Santa fun — the challenge of finding the perfect present within a certain price bracket, the joy of buying something for someone who may not usually be on your list, the element of surprise upon revealing yourself as the gift-giver — is also what makes it anxiety-inducing. After all, once you draw that name out of the Santa hat, there’s no turning back, and you could end up with anyone: your uncle who barely speaks except to yell at sports on the TV, a distant friend of a friend, your mom’s new boyfriend who you and your siblings suspect may have moved to Florida to escape a warrant out for his arrest…

This holiday season, avoid the missteps and go for a skin-care gift instead of what you think they might like but aren’t quite sure. Whether it’s an estranged family member, an acquaintance, or a possible man on the run, everybody needs to wash their face before they go to bed at night (and if they aren’t doing it already, well, you might just be giving them the gift of a complete lifestyle change). Ahead, five gift sets you can count on to take the stress out of Secret Santa, without exceeding $30.

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The ideal gift for anyone who’s ever washed their face — or even just considered it — is this two-piece ornament, which contains both a travel-sized version of the iconic Eve Lom balm cleanser and a 100% cotton muslin cloth to gently exfoliate and sweep away all traces of dirt, debris, and waterproof makeup. It’s pure luxury without the price, so you’ll look way more generous than you actually are.

Eve Lom Iconic Cleanser Ornament, $24, available at Sephora


The vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, paraben-free person in your life is hard to shop for — whether it’s your high-maintenance friend who’s always asking for special modifications when you go out to eat or your second cousin who you know very little about except that she went to UC Berkeley and now wants to be called Tree Witch. This clean discovery set, which contains a Brightening Cleanser, CoQ-10 Toner, and olive-derived Squalane Facial Oil, is excellent for everyone, including (and perhaps especially) those who opt for plant-based lifestyles.

Indie Lee Discovery Kit, $29, available at Credo


What is there to say about this set of travel-sized masks other than that literally everyone can enjoy it? With six different formulas to hydrate, purify, resurface, and more, it’s especially good for anyone in your larger friend group that you don’t know very well but see multi-masking on Instagram Stories all the time.

Peter Thomas Roth Mask Mashup, $25, available at Birchbox


There comes a time in every budding skin-care enthusiast’s initiation process where they’re ready to dip a toe in the good stuff — the pricey, the buzzed-about, the cult-favorites. Save them the trouble of begging for samples at Sephora with this travel-friendly kit of four bestsellers from Sunday Riley. With deluxe sample sizes of the Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser, Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream, C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum, and Good Genes All-in-One Lactic Acid Treatment, it’s a whole new try-before-you-buy routine in a handy zip-top bag.

Sunday Riley The Birchbox x Sunday Riley Kit, $20, available at Birchbox


The inherent ridiculousness of pointedly gendered skin care notwithstanding, lots of men are hesitant to use grooming products unless they match the socially conventional standard of Things For Men. This trio — which contains the Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser that can double as a pore-purging mask, the lightweight matte-finish Clean Break Oil-Free Moisturizer, and dual-purpose Turbo Wash Energizing Cleanser for Hair & Body — aesthetically fits the bill, but it’s also just a solid skin-care routine that anyone, male or female, would be tempted to steal from their S.O.’s shower.

Jack Black The Fresh Man, $25, available at Jack Black

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