The Absolute Best Beauty Stocking Stuffers Under $30 – New York Magazine

Photo: Retailers

It’s mid-November, which means frantic holiday shopping has officially commenced. And I’m going to let you in on a little secret: When it comes to filling up a stocking, there are few things more appropriate — in size and general delightfulness — than beauty products. Whether you’re loading a stocking for your TikTok-obsessed niece or your partner with dry elbows, look no further. Below, a list of the best skin-care and hair-care stocking stuffers.

These absolutely adorable pimple patches aren’t just cute little stickers: They’re made of hydrocolloid material, which helps suck the gunk out of a whitehead, leaving flatter, less inflamed skin by morning. Consider these for anyone who loves pimple patches or who needs to stop picking at their skin.

I gasped when I saw this set! This adorable quartet of Cosrx’s best sellers is an ideal stocking stuffer for just about any skin-care lover. It includes the brand’s Good Morning Cleanser (great for purifying and balancing pH), AHA/BHA Clarifying Toner (excellent for clarifying the skin), Snail Mucin Essence (one of my all-time favorites for nourishing and repairing the skin), and Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion (a lightweight yet effective day or night cream).

This is not your average bar of soap! It’s packed with a blend of calming CBD and hydrating manuka honey as well as sunflower, coconut, and grapefruit oils to moisturize and nourish your body as you cleanse.

If anyone you know or love has a diligent hair-care routine, this towel from Aquis is an absolute must. It’s made with something called “aquiflex fiber,” a fabric that not only dries hair in less than half the time it takes a standard cotton towel (I swear, less than half) but also is so gentle — it doesn’t tug or weigh hair down, and it will leave your hair looking great and feeling soft.

I can’t get over how adorable this candle is! It’s fragrance free (especially good for people who love an ambience but hate an overpowering scent) and comes in an enamel mug with a Finnish Moomin character on it, so when you’re done, you can use it for tea and coffee.

Anyone who loves skin-care gadgets will love this gold bar, which is a dead-on dupe for the $200 Jillian Dempsey one. It vibrates and gets into all the little nooks and crannies of your face to massage, lift, and invigorate. Apply it with a good old face oil in the morning to liven up your skin. Also, Tracee Ellis Ross is a fan!

Got a Gen-Z little sister? Perhaps the cultiest, most Instagram-friendly lip balm around is this one from Glossier. It comes in many flavors and tints, so there’ll be one to match your stocking recipient’s preference. My personal favorites are Blackberry (a berry, jammy shade), Coconut (which is clear but smells amazing), and Fig (the newest of the bunch, which has a coral-y tint).

These stainless-steel, freezer-friendly tools are a wonderful way to depuff your under eyes and knock down any kind of inflammation from stubborn breakouts. Be sure to place these on your skin for one minute, then take them off for one minute to be sure you don’t burn your skin with the freezing cold. This is an excellent gift for anyone who has an early wake-up call — these freezing tools won’t just de-puff, they’ll wake you right up! — or anyone who has a little bit of a skin-picking problem, as they’ll relieve the redness from a spot without poking and prodding.

This mask from Jessica Alba’s line, Honest, is an adorable, selfie-appropriate purple-y color that happens to be jam-packed with good-for-your-skin ingredients like shea butter (for hydration), vitamin E (for repairing and protecting the skin), and super-fruits (which have antioxidant abilities). Reach for this whenever your skin needs a pick-me-up.

You can’t go wrong with Skin Food! It’s a deeply, deeply moisturizing multipurpose balm that can be used on elbows, hands, cuticles, or really anywhere you’re feeling dry or dehydrated.

This peeling solution from the Ordinary went viral after one TikToker posted a video claiming it had dramatically improved her hormonal breakouts. After the video went up, 52,000 people purchased it! It’s a blend of AHAs and BHAs, so it works to deeply, deeply exfoliate and resurface your complexion. This is a great stocking stuffer for anyone you know who’s a little bit too obsessed with TikTok. It’s strong, though — so be sure to tell them to use this once a week max!

For any French-drugstore obsessive, this neutral, non-fussy moisturizer gives your skin the perfect slip for makeup and is beloved by just about every major makeup artist, from Hung Vanngo to Pat McGrath.

If there’s a skin-care lover in your life who’s always buying and discarding single-use eye masks, do them a favor and introduce them to Dieux, a brand that has created a remarkable and effective reusable eye mask. Just tap on your favorite eye cream, then apply these masks on top; they help create an occlusive barrier that allows your skin to absorb the product better. When you’re done, wash the masks and put them back in their little case for next time. Pro tip: Keep them in your fridge for an extra-cooling and depuffing effect. You’ll be grateful after you’ve had one too many glasses of wine with dinner.

This little leave-in conditioner is great for just about anyone who loves caring for their hair, but it’s especially excellent for adding another boost of moisture to any kind of bleached, dry, or damaged hair when you step out of the shower.

This lip mask from Tatcha is an excellent bedtime treatment after those cold and windy winter days. A blend of omega-rich camellia oil and Japanese peach calms irritation, while rose extract hydrates chapped lips. It’s a little thick for daytime use, but I absolutely love it as an overnight treatment whenever my lips are really dry.

There’s a reason this is one of the most popular products for damaged hair. Olaplex No. 3 is an at-home treatment (not a conditioner) that helps repair protein bonds that are broken during chemical processes like bleaching, dyeing, and relaxing. Apply it to damp hair, leave it on for about ten minutes, then go about your normal shampoo and conditioning routine.

This sea-salt scrub is a shower time twofer — it can be used on your body (as an exfoliator) or on your hair (as a deep cleansing, volumizing scalp scrub). This is excellent for anyone with flat hair, an itchy scalp, or anyone who loves a good scrub in the shower.

Just about anyone could benefit from having this hydrating, pick-me-up mask in their skin-care arsenal this winter. This mask’s cooling, moisturizing, gel-based formula incorporates rose-hip seed oil and aloe leaf juice to hydrate, plump, and smooth dry skin.

This gel-to-foam, non-stripping body wash from Necessaire is a favorite of many beauty lovers, including Fenty Skin’s global ambassador and licensed aesthetician Sean Garrette. It comes in sandalwood, eucalyptus, or fragrance-free — all are an absolute dream.

This mask trio was created to help treat all skin concerns, according to the brand. Big Drip, a sheet mask soaked in a cocktail of hydrating and reparative ingredients such as omega-rich Irish moss, antioxidant-rich marula oil, and calming rosa centifolia; Big Glo, a balancing, radiance-boosting mask that uses vitamin C–rich pomegranate and healing white lily; and Big Chill, a restorative and soothing mask that uses calming aloe vera and anti-inflammatory centella. Big Drip seems ideal for days when skin’s feeling tight from all that dry winter air; Big Glo for when you’ve picked at your skin (don’t!) or stayed up past your bedtime; and Big Chill for when you’re looking red and blotchy after a day of walking around in the cold in a face mask.

These gel “stickers” make a professional-looking at-home manicure incredibly easy. Just apply the sticker onto a clean nail and file away any of the bits that hang over your natural nail. And, unlike most manicure stickers, they don’t peel off immediately the next day.

This New Leaf cleanser from Soko Glam’s brand Good (Skin) Days is a creamy treatment that hydrates while simultaneously giving the skin a deep cleanse. A blend of soothing, healing, and moisturizing ingredients like fermented green tea, spinach, celery, and crushed mugwort diminish irritation and redness. Your skin will feel clean, refreshed, and bouncy, with no tightness whatsoever.

Hanahana Beauty’s founder, Abena Boamah, prioritizes ethically sourced, high-grade ingredients; its shea butter comes from the Katariga Womens’ Shea Cooperative in Ghana. This Shea Body Butter lotion uses a mixture of moisturizing butters (shea, cocoa, and mango) and natural oils (like jojoba, grapeseed, and hemp oil) to soothe, hydrate, and replenish dry skin. This is a great stocking stuffer for anyone with chronically dry hands, arms, or legs.

This soothing, moisturizing facial mist is fragrance-free, dermatologist-tested, and has received the seal of approval from the National Eczema Association, so it’s suitable for even the most sensitive-skin types. This mist uses a stabilized form of hypochlorous acid, which is naturally found in our white blood cells, and can help defend our skin against (and heal our skin from) environmental stressors and bacteria. The gentle, three-ingredient formula makes it great for liberal application: You can use it at the end of your skin-care routine or whenever you want a moisture boost. This is a great gift for any hypersensitive-skin types who are wary of any stripping or astringent toners — you can assure them this facial spray product won’t trigger irritation.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.