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Beauty Gifts You'd Never Guess Were Less Than $25

January 1 | 3 minute read

Memo Gifts Under 25 Hero 16x9

Words by Kerri Gordon

Originally published on | November 29

The MECCA HQ Kris Kringle has two rules. One, in my opinion, reasonable; spend $25 - no more, no less - and the other, less-so; no MECCA allowed.

After almost five professional years of falling in love with the brands and products we meticulously curate, I still feel a tinge of jealousy seeing MECCA bags sprawled across cracker and bubble-laden tables in the Instagram Story coverage of my friends’ work holiday parties. We almost make it too easy to ditch the dust-gathering gifts for little luxuries that come in under budget, but feel like so much more - artful Kaylene Whiskey-emblazoned bag and a flurry of tissue paper intact.

These beauty gifts under $25 will leave your lucky recipient surprised, delighted and convinced you blew the budget (and me, wishing I were on the receiving end).

They had a big year (and it shows): Go-To Glowy Face

I’ve watched our trusted makeup artists slip a Transformazing sheet mask onto every model, founder or celebrity that has ever stepped on set - including Go-To founder Zoe Foster Blake herself. It does to one’s face what a cold brew does to my mind and soul. This set makes for a winning beauty treat, with Transformazing all dressed up for the Holidays in Alémais with a plus-one - the brand’s bestselling lip balm - by its side.

They’re the personality hire: MECCA MAX Mini Mix Eyeshadow Palette 

A fully functioning, super pigmented and actually useful eyeshadow palette… for less than an Erewhon Skin Glaze Smoothie? You betcha! This six-pan palette comes in six different shade arrangements (from bright, poppy colours to easy neutrals) so you’re able to find a gift that feels as thoughtful and considered as it is fun. I will note, however, that if you’re bringing this to the ‘Bad Santa’ table, you may cause a rift in the group dynamic.

Their instagram is 90 percent beach: Frank Body Friendly Acids 

Like a snake, I require a week or two to shed from my spring scales and emerge with smooth, shiny limbs. This set expedites the process and in doing so, brings on the confidence boost soft, glowing skin bestows. So you’re basically gifting confidence which is, as I hope you’d agree, priceless. The hot pink packaging serves serious Kenergy too, perfect for those who, come summertime, their job is “just beach.”

They’re kind of an ‘it-girl’: Kitsch Recycled Plastic Assorted Claw Clips 

Wet-hair up-dos are in (or so says Sofia Richie Grainge) and a good claw clip is the ultimate ally of the trend. But this isn’t just a claw clip; it’s two claws - one perfect for buns and twists, the other for half-ups - and one flat clip, efficient at keeping bun-missing baby hairs from grazing the nape of your neck. It feels generous and substantial and beats the one hair elastic I've been holding onto for dear life.

You know absolutely nothing about them: Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1

When it comes to the appropriate amount of lip balms one person might own, the limit does not exist. In fact, if Abraham Maslow and I were to ever cross paths, I would argue a new base tier of ‘lip balm’ be added to his hierarchy. This particular one from Kiehl's is formulated with squalene, aloe vera and vitamin E, so you know it’s going to actually heal and nourish lips rather than masking the problem. It’s simple, utilitarian, carries an element of indie heritage, and you really just can’t go wrong.

Still searching for the perfect gifts? We’ve got you covered. Take our gift finder quiz to find the presents you seek in seconds.

Related topics and brand tags

Go-ToMECCA MAXFrank BodyKitschKiehl's

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