If you thought makeup junkies were hard to shop for, skincare enthusiasts are on a whole other level. Skincare is a very exact science, spanning numerous industries from East to West, with each brand providing something different. The sheer bulk of products and tongue-twisting ingredients found in each one can make skincare shopping a more mind-boggling task than buying makeup, especially when things like skin sensitivities and preferences are considered.

Don’t sweat it if you can’t tell the difference between an essence and an ampoule. We’ve designed a proper shopping list for you to navigate, should you need to shop for your skincare enthusiast pal. Just ask a few preparatory questions before shopping to figure out their skin type, what their needs are, and if they have brands they’re partial to. Once you’ve got that information, you’re good to go.

If there’s nothing here to your (most likely their) liking, we have two other beauty-related Christmas shopping lists here: Lifestyle Asia’s definitive beauty gift guide, and a slew of festive cosmetic releases to wow your makeup loving friend.

Dr Jart+ Holiday Best Kit

The parent of all Korean skincare brands, Dr Jart+, has combined its bestsellers from its popular lines into one fun gift box for those with sensitive skin. They products come in handy cabin sizes, so you can bring this whole kit on your flight and be sorted from take-off to landing, with its Dermaclear Micro Foam to cleanse, the Water Drop Moisturiser to hydrate, Ceramidin cream to reduce flakiness, and its premium BB cream to even out the skin tone.

S$59. Available at Sephora.

This Works Dream To Sleep Set

Good sleep is the foundation for great skin, so get this for a bud who’s been experiencing insomnia. The Dream To Sleep kit comes with three products: A nourishing sleep oil to apply to areas with dry skin, which promotes relaxation, as well as a pillow spray made with lavender, vetiver and chamomile to soothe the senses. A fleece-lined eye mask caps it all off, ensuring no light gets in the way of your bedtime.

S$53. Available at Sephora.

SK-II Revitalising Set

This SK-II box set is filled with the luxury label’s greatest anti-ageing hits, including its Facial Treatment Essence, Whitening Derm-Revival Mask, and the Cellumination Deep Surge moisturiser. If you know a diehard SK-II fan, get them this.

S$369. Available at Sephora and SK-II counters.

First Aid Beauty Tales of FAB Skin Kit

First Aid Beauty is one of the most sensitive skin-friendly brands out there because all its ingredients are hypoallergenic. It’s even suitable for those with eczema, thanks to the presence of nourishing oatmeal and coconut in its products. This kit comes with a primer, cleanser, lip therapy and face mist, making it deal for morning skincare prep before heading out the door.

S$81. Available at Sephora.

Sulwhasoo Signature Set

Sulwhasoo is the cream of the crop when it comes to Korean herbal skincare labels, and once you start using its products, you can rarely go back. The Signature Set combines eight of its most popular products from the First Care and Ginseng line — a perfect present for a dedicated Sulwhasoo user or someone you really want to treat.

S$413. Available at Tangs.

Clinique Great Skin Home & Away (III/IV)

If you know someone with oily, aggravated skin, get them this gentle Clinique kit. It comes with three of the brand’s cult favourites, the facial soap, the Clarifying lotion, and the Dramatically Different moisturising gel in both cabin and full-sizes. Each product is tailored to reduce blemishes and keep sebum production at bay.

S$150. Available at Tangs.

Chanel Blue Serum

Chanel’s anti-ageing Blue Serum is one of the biggest luxury skincare surprises this year because it works ridiculously well. The lightweight formula contains three active ingredients known to help reduce visible ageing: Extracts from the Grecian mastic tree, green coffee, and olives. Youth is the greatest gift to give anyone, and this Chanel Blue Serum is all of that in a bottle. It does have fragrance included, though, so make sure your recipient doesn’t have sensitive skin, before making the purchase.

S$160. Available at Chanel Beauty counters.

By Terry Preciosity Baume de Rose Trio Gift Set

Baume de Rose is By Terry’s best-selling line. This handy gift set in limited edition gold packaging is the best introduction to all its rosy goodness. The box includes the hand cream, a lip gloss, and its popular face cream made with rose wax and rose hip oil to plumpen the skin.

S$118. Available at Escentials.

Foreo Luna Play Plus

Clogged pores are a serious nightmare that everyone can relate to, and most cleansing tools are too much of a hassle to deal with. This pint-sized Foreo tool has easy-to-clean, soft silicone bristles that can scrub dirt out of your pores without causing any damage to your epidermis, unlike other more aggressive cleansing brushes.

S$79. Available at Sephora.

Advanced Night Repair Essentials

Everyone knows the power of the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair. It’s one of the French label’s best-selling products, fortified with an effective, patented anti-ageing matrix. This kit comes with the serum, the treatment lotion and eye formula from the same line. Get this for anyone above 25 years old, and they’ll adore you for it.

S$180. Available at Estée Lauder.

Beatrice Bowers
Features Editor
Beatrice Bowers writes about beauty, drinks, and other nice things. When not bound to her keyboard, she moonlights as a Niffler for novels and can be found en route to bankruptcy at your nearest bookstore. Don't tell her boss.