Next-Level Gift Baskets!

You guys are all done with your holiday shopping, right? (Ahhhh ha ha ha ha.) Just in case you happen to be looking for gift ideas for the beauty-product lovers in your life, I thought I’d throw out one of my fave ideas : a cute receptacle full of cute stuff. Sure, you could buy a pre-fab gift set or basket, but putting one together yourself gives you a lot more options, AND you can pick things your recipient would be more likely to dig.

BUT WHAT DO YOU PUT IT ALL IN?

First and best and favorite : Muji drawers. Not exactly cheap at $26 plus a $4 handling fee, but the large acrylic two-drawer unit is ACES for holding almost any kind of makeup. Plus it looks gorgeous, it’s stackable, it’s sturdy, and you can always repurpose it for craft stuff, sewing bits, office supplies, etc.

I’ve also poked around on some of my frequently-traveled sites and found a few other super cute options that’re significantly less expensive :

Target woven basket, $10.39 : At about 16″ x 6.5″ this is a great size for bath/spa stuff. There’s also a 7″ x 8″ version for $5.99 that’d work well for makeup/skincare.

World Market 3″ x 8″ wire baskets : $7.98 for two (in green, white, cream, or red)

World Market 8″ x 8″ woven baskets : $9.98 for two

World Market 12″ wide galvanized bucket : $9.99

My beloved PaperMart also has some great options, especially if you’re doing the same gift set for a bunch of coworkers or friends : this 9″ woven-rush tray comes in a pack of ten for $37.98 and I mean you can barely buy a decent paper gift bag at the grocery store for four bucks each.  There’s also an 11″ woven rush tray with flat edges and handles, at $51.45 for 10.

(P.S. PaperMart also, as previously noted, has everything you could POSSIBLY require for gift packing and wrapping : paper, tissue, a million super nice (and insanely cheap) fabric ribbons, shredded paper fill and raffia, etc, etc, etc infinitum.)

NOW YOU’VE GOT CONTAINERS, WHATCHA PUTTING IN THERE?

Not-Crazy-Expensive Makeup Worth Trying : NYX Liquid Matte liner (still my go-to fave), Wet N Wild Photo Focus eyeshadow primer, pretty much anything from ColourPop (shout-out to the Ultra Blotted lipsticks and the Super Shock and pressed powder shadows) (PS Super Shock stuff is BOGO today!), Chateau Labiotte Wine Lip Tint (the Shiraz Red is still the most potent liquid lip stain I’ve used — stronger and longer-lasting than much-vaunted Etude House Dear Darling), L.A. Colors Tinted Cheek & Lips highlighters in Frosted and Goddess are tiny, adorable, surprisingly great, and one dollar at shopmissa.com.

Amaaaazing Bath & Body Stuff : Cacala Peshtemals were literally life-changing for me (or at least bath- and laundry-changing), quick-dry, packable, all-round fab. They’re about $12 for a generously sized hand towel, or around $22 for a bath towel, or a matching set of one of each for about $30 (this would be GREAT as a fancy “lining” for your chosen basket). A hammam glove is still my fave and most-effective body scrub/exfoliator, and the Natural Elephant ones are still my go-to — they come in black and lavender and run about five bucks each. My other “can’t function without it” shower item is still a palm body brush, which you can’t beat for scrubbiness, leverage, ease of use, non-hideousness and a quite reasonable appx $6 price.

Tools & Disposables : Everyone can use these for SOMETHING — micellar water, toner, polish remover, whatever. I love Muji’s cut cotton squares ($3.50 for 165) best, but if you don’t have time to get an order in, even the boring ol’ drugstore ones are super useful. But if you ARE ordering some from Muji, you should know that their cotton swabs ($1.50 for 200) are also A+. They’re the same length as standard q-tips, but with slightly narrower and firmer tips, which means they’re even better at cleaning up eyemakeup accidents. For manicures, an Orly Buffer is great for smoothing out nail repairs or mattifying your polish; and a good glass nail file like the OPI or similar (check the reviews to make sure it’s a quality ground-glass surface, not a sprayed-on grit) is faster, better, less harsh on nails, and will last years.

Other : Spend those Sephora rewards points you’ve been hoarding and pick up some great minis! Order some obscure and fabulous perfume sample vials from SurrenderToChance or LuckyScent! Find a cool leather-wrapped flask on Etsy! (I’ve ordered quite a few from DonRebel over the years and they’re always excellent — the “crumpled paper bag” one below is my fave.)

Images from DonRebel on Etsy.

Hit your local health food store for fancy handmade soaps, unusual incense, and essential oils! If you’re in/on World Market, grab a bunch of unusual imported candies and snacks! Throw in a spare phone cable or a portable charger!

Sooooo, done with your shopping? Not even started? Freaking out yet? (HOW IS IT ALREADY DECEMBER, IT WAS JUST HALLOWEEN LIKE LAST WEEK.)