(Originally I wrote this post in early December for my frugal vegan holiday gift-giving series; however if you’ve been reading my blog you know I was sidelined from blogging from being beaten by a bouncer from Dandelion Market. But I think the beginning of the year is still an appropriate time to discuss this; after all you will still be giving gifts throughout the year. I’ll provide some frugal tips on transitioning to cruelty-free makeup in a later post.)
One of the easiest quick gifts and stocking stuffers for non-vegans are all the beauty and bath gift sets that are sold this time of year.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed yet, but cosmetics that are both vegan and cruelty free can be hard to find as well as kind of … expensive. An Arbonne lip gloss, for example, will set you back $24. A lip gloss from Zuzu Luxe will set you back $18. Ecco-Bella seems a comparative bargain at $15 – but beware, most of their pinks, mauves, and roses (you know, the most wearable, lip-colored colors) have carmine (crushed beetles).
Then there’s the monthly “beauty box” option from Vegan Cuts, where for $19.95 per month you receive a box of 4-7 “sample size” beauty items to try. $20 for 4 – 7 samples? Uhhh, this practical vegan says NO.
Enter Eyes Lips Face, where a lip gloss costs just $1, $2, or $3. This completely vegan and cruelty-free brand (which also supports the HSUS and are partners with PETA in the Caring Consumer Project) has been a favorite of mine ever since I discovered it. Products are unbelievably low-priced but that’s usually just because of packaging, not quality or amount. (If packaging matters to you, their “Studio” brand has the fancier containers.)
The downside: Although a (very) few items are sold in Target, the majority are only available online. Which means sometimes you have to guess a little at the colors. The upside is, the products are so inexpensive it’s no big deal to order several items at a time to find the exact color you want. And, unlike many vegan brands where color selection is limited, they do have colors, lots and lots of colors, trendy colors and those hard-to-find vegan pink and rose colors.
My favorite E.L.F. products include:
- All their varieties of lip gloss and “liquid lipsticks.”
- Lip and eye pencils.
- Their wide and complete assortment of vegan makeup brushes.
- Cream blush in Flirt – shocking pink in the jar, the most natural flushed pink when applied.
- Nail polishes in fun and funky colors.
- Essential All Over Color Stick in Spotlight – to add shimmer ONLY where I where I want it.
E.L.F. usually offers a number of gift sets throughout the year – including brush sets, lip gloss and nail polish “cubes”, plus a number of eyeshadow and total face “palettes” that would be perfect for a teen or the younger woman still experimenting with makeup. Or, if you’re a fairly makeup-savvy woman, you could create your own makeup gift set.
E.L.F. also offers some phenomenally great deals on their already budget-friendly products. B.O.G.O.s are common. There are also free shipping deals, “coffee break” sales, $5 off any purchase deals, $10 – $25 gift cards with purchase deals. Plus, if you order a certain amount of products, they will throw in a free magazine subscription (the magazine varies; everything from Family Circle to Vogue to Allure to Women’s Health to Essence.) It’s truly free; no hidden renewal charges.
Main takeaway: Don’t buy anything at their inexpensive but full price. Watch their site, wait a week a or two, and then choose a deal that benefits you.
Moving on to body and bath products, I have to say I love the Body Shop, which lets you customize bath gels and lotions with personalized fragrance. Their soaps are even appropriate for men. My assistant organizer Laura gifted me and my partner with a hard soap gift set. I haven’t seen the soaps since, but Amrik sure has been smelling good lately!
Another frugal option, that’s maybe a little more trendy and funky, is to check out your local independent vegan/health food store for interesting soaps, lotions, and creams, often made locally.
In Charlotte, NC check out Eco-Licious and The Greener Apple. Both have a variety of intriguing personal-care products. I especially like O My Soap (made in Newton, NC) at Eco-Licious
and Meow, Meow, Tweet at The Greener Apple.
If you feel your gift still needs a little oomph, go to Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, or Homegoods – or a thrift store or a yardsale – for a soap dish for that soap or a holder for those brushes and lip glosses. But don’t go to the bathroom section! Instead, check out the china and glassware. A cute candy dish or dessert plate could make an awesome soap dish. A cut-glass water goblet could make an excellent holder for a set of brushes, and a pretty parfait glass would make colorful storage for lip gloss. If possible, pick up a color that coordinates with the recipient’s bathroom.