Ditch the bath sets: Under P500 beauty gifts your friends will actually love

For most, the holidays conjure up a sense of wonder and joy. For me, however, the onset of December can only mean one thing: stress. The prospect of having to shop for my considerable list usually gives me tiny panic attacks, which is why I often find myself procrastinating Christmas shopping until the last possible moment... resulting in lackluster gift sets that even I know are destined for the “White Elephant” pile.

This year, however, I’ve resolved to turn things around. On the advice of a couple of my similarly mall-phobic friends, I have decided to take to the internet to find the perfect gifts for my nearest and dearest. Of course, online shopping means options can be a mixed bag, but I think I’ve found some winners that the beauty girls (and guys!) in my life, and yours, can enjoy. The best part? Nothing on this list is over 500 pesos (not including shipping).

Convinced? Let’s start hacking Christmas!

For girls on the go: travel kits and skincare sets

Whether your intended recipient is running out of pages in their passport or planning their first trip, they are sure to love these plane-friendly goodies that will have them feeling ready for in-flight ‘Gram glam. Here are some stocking stuffers for the jetsetter in your life!

COSRX One Step Moisture-Up / Pimple-Clear Kit (P210 each, The Skincare Curator)

Korean skincare devotees swear by COSRX, and with good reason: these cult products come with great ingredients and offer amazing results, at reasonable prices. With their One Step Kits, COSRX offers a range of their famous faves, such as the Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser, One Step Pimple Clear Pad, and Holy Moly Snail Mask, in a handy trial package that’s perfect for pampering on the plane. They're available in two varieties: “Moisture Up” for getting that chok-chok glow despite dry cabin air, and “Pimple Clear” for banishing blemishes mid-flight!

Bareblanc SOS Makeup Pack (P130, Althea Korea)

Has your friend’s flawless in-flight makeup routine been ruined by skin reacting to the “canned air”? This handy pack purports to be the solution. The two-step kit features an AHA chemical exfoliator (delivered via an oversized Q-tip) and an ampoule-enriched face mask, both of which are designed to cleanse and soothe the skin so makeup adheres to a smooth canvas. Best part? It’s currently 30% off on Althea Korea! Buy one for a friend... and maybe a few for yourself?

Pixi Skintreats Glow Mud Mask (P390, Glamourbox)

Pixi by Petra products are consistent beauty girl faves but their full-size products can be quite pricey, especially for a first commitment. Thankfully, the Pixi glow now comes in travel sizes via Glamourbox, which sells portable versions of the famous Glow Tonic, Mud Cleanser, and Mud Mask. The latter is perfect for in-flight pampering as this “15 minute facial” ensures skin is free of impurities and looks absolutely radiant, just in time for deplaning!

For your glam squad: cleansers and cute tools

Looking good takes a lot of work, but what most beauty girls will tell you is that it’s not putting on the paints and powders that takes a lot of work... it’s taking them off. For the glamazon in your life, these sets of cleansers are designed to make washing up at the end of a long day a time to unwind!

Ciaté White Choc Pot Nail Polish Remover (P350, BeautyMNL)

For the nail polish junkie, the only thing that compares to putting on a fresh manicure is taking an old one off. Sadly, this experience is slightly spoiled by the often headache-inducing scent of acetone, which is why the mani-maven in your life will love this perfumed nail polish remover from Ciaté. Smelling of yummy candy-chocolate, this non-drying formula is enriched with hydrating marula oil and vitamins B and E; no “solvent” smell and feel here!

Eyeko Mascara Off (P462, Sephora PH)

If your friend is fond of telescopic mascara (such as PV favorite Majolica Majorca Lash King), they they’ll know the struggle is real when taking these budge-proof formulas off at the end of the day! Fortunately, these handy makeup wipes come with an oil-based solution to help melt off waterproof makeup, while aloe vera and allantoin extracts help soothe puffy eyes!

Nippon Skincare Duo (P310, Calyxta)

Don’t let the gentle feel of this formula fool you: Nippon’s Makeup Remover Lotion packs a punch, melting of a day’s worth of foundation while leaving skin feeling soft and supple. An A+ alternative to micellar water for fans of the “double cleanse,” this lotion comes with a pack of the brand’s fluffy Facial Patting Cotton, making sure your friends feel extra-pampered at the end of a long beauty day!

For friends with zen: spa-inspired goodies with great ingredients

December may not be cold in the Philippines but the gift of chill is much appreciated. For friends who can’t get enough of the spa or perhaps need a little RnR after the year that was, why not give the gift of banished blemishes, supple skin, and kissable lips?

Aida Cosmetic Wonder Butter Lip Mask (P260, Althea Korea)

From the matte lippie trend to the tempation of lip tints, a beauty girl’s lips are almost always in need of some pampering! While lip exfoliants and balms are popular, this lip mask takes the wash-of mask trend and applies it to the part of the face that perhaps does not get enough love. Made with shea butter and walnut peel, this cream is left on the lips for three minutes then scrubbed off, leaving a plump pucker underneath. For best results, consider pairing this with the Wonder Butter Lip Scrub, also available on Althea!

Beach Born Witch Hazel Wash (P228, BeautyMNL)

Fans of the Thayers cult favorite toner will be familiar with the blemish-banishing powers of witch hazel, and this locally-made non-soap cleanser comes packed with it. Featuring a low pH, this cleanser is touted as a doing double-duty as a feminine wash, but while we can’t attest to witch hazel’s efficacy in that area, it’s definitely a powerhouse ingredient for controlling redness and inflammation on the face. Grab this for a friend who’s all about natural radiance, and #SupportingLocal!

LuLuLun Moisture Type Facial Masks (P300 for a pack of 7, Calyxta)

The PV girls had a grand time road-testing these masks for a week, with a general consensus of getting glowy, bouncier skin after! Considering that an individual pack of sheet mask can easily cost more than a hundred bucks by itself, the price is practically a steal plus it creates less packaging waste!

What are you getting for the fellow kikay girls on your list? Fancy getting any of these for yourself?