2017 Gift Guide: Health & Beauty

We don’t talk a whole lot about beauty and hygiene here on Design Milk but that doesn’t mean we don’t love indulging in wellness, skincare and self-care behind the screen (although we have shared some of our essentials when we’re traveling; see here and here). In my opinion, giving someone an excuse to pamper themselves is always a safe bet because everyone likes to look good and feel good! It’s also a plus when items have beautiful packaging and these days, there are a lot of options. Instead of stepping into a dizzying cosmetic store wondering if an item will hurt more than help, check out the roundup below for gifts that will delight any recipient who wants to reserve a little time to take care of themselves.

A new gender-neutral skincare line that simplifies your morning and night routine.
Panacea Skincare Aegis Kit \\\ $92
The Korean skincare routine is known to be effective but complex (there are anywhere from 7 to 10 steps in the daily regimen). Not everyone has the time to dedicate to the time-consuming, twice-a-day practice. Panacea Skincare solves this by paring down the regimen to three steps – cleanse, moisturize, protect – with the Aegis Kit. After using just the kit for an entire week, I found that the trio ticks off my beauty requirements (minimalist packaging, enjoyable to use, effective results) to land a permanent stay on my shelf.

Instagrammable gift-sets for the natural beauty junkie.
Herbivore Botanicals TRUE BLUE Skin Clarifying Duo \\\ $29
Herbivore Botanicals Coco Rose Luxe Hydration Trio \\\ $39
By now you may have come across Herbivore Botanicals through your Instagram feed. Not only is the social media-friendly skincare brand seemingly in everyone’s flat lays, it’s also on everyone’s face. The brand has built a cult-following for its natural and non-toxic products. It’s a pleasant surprise that I can actually pronounce or recognize all the ingredients in these two holiday sets! With products so rich in nutritious extracts and oils, I can feel safe gifting them to friends without worrying about getting an angry phone call later on. (Additional recommendations: the Phoenix Oil and Lapis Oil are my saving graces in these colder, drier days.)

The makings of a good meditation session.
Nippon Kodo Green Tea Incense \\\ $10
Good Thing Gully Incense Holder \\\ $38
It was only in the past year that I started meditating more often. For me, it helps to set the mood and atmosphere because I’m always anxiously thinking about other things instead of focusing on actually meditating. Lighting an aromatherapeutic green tea incense stick in my Gully, a modern incense holder designed by Good Thing, helps me concentrate on the scent and the task at hand instead of thinking about my overflowing inbox.

Sculptural soaps that are almost too pretty to use (until you smell them).
UME Studio ERODE Soaps \\\ $48
At this year’s WestEdge Design Fair, UME Studio was one of our vendors at our curated Milk Stand. Every time I passed their booth, there was always at least five people checking out their ERODE soaps. I knew why too. Not only do the soaps smell unbelievably pleasant (with intriguing mixes of various oils and scents like lemongrass, cedar, coffee, chamomile, cardamom, patchouli; to name a few), they look like marble sculptures. UME Studio hand-pours and hand-casts each one so no two are the same.

Solving your skincare concerns with a flashlight.
Skin Inc. Optimizer Votage Tri-Light \\\ $265
The Skin Inc Optimizer Voyage Tri-Light is a space age-y looking device that promises to address all your trouble areas with light technology. Using the power of colored LED Chromotherapy with low frequency stimulation, the device switches between different colors (red, blue, and yellow) to target blemishes, dull skin, and fine lines. May the good skincare be with you.

Smells like relaxation.
Vitruvi White Stone Diffuser \\\ $119
I’m a believer that aromatherapy works. When I turn on my diffuser and those eucalyptus or jasmine scents start wafting through the room, I feel noticeably calmer and relaxed. Vitruvi makes a beautiful diffuser handcrafted from high quality porcelain and offers essential oil blends created to start your day or calm down your night.

Bye-bye, bacteria. Hello #shelfie photo.
Norden Goods Handwash \\\ $25
Not only do these hand washes by Norden Goods look great on counters with their monochromatic packaging, they smell great because they’re inspired by the outdoorsy scents of Yosemite, Montauk and Kaaterskill Falls. Looks great, smells great, will have your gift recipients thinking you’re great.

The easiest way to take care of your parents.
Care/Of Gift Card \\\ From $30 to $120
It’s never too late to supplement a diet with vitamins + minerals and who’s more worthy of that care than your parents? Send them a personalized gift card and they’ll receive packets of vitamins personalized with their name and notes (which you can create yourself or choose from themes like “Feminist AF” and “Around The World In 30 Packs”). They’ll think of you every time they take their vitamins.

Back to basics.
Hidrate Spark 2.0 \\\ $55
It seems like a myriad of skin and health issues can be alleviated by the most basic of the commandments: drink more water. Admittedly, I am the worst at this (I’ve been known to go a couple days without drinking any water). Jaime introduced me to this smart water bottle that’s able to track my H20 drinking problem. The bottle glows to remind you when to take a sip and syncs to an app to track your water intake.

That satisfying feeling of having all your shower products match.
m/f people Shower Kit \\\ $49
Greg Alterman, who co-founded the popular Juice | Served Here chain, created this gender-neutral apparel and skincare brand based on the principles of minimalism. This shower kit includes a shampoo, conditioner, body wash, scrub, and lotion – all of which smells pleasant and looks beautifully cohesive on the bathroom shelf. For the design lover that cares equally about what’s outside and inside the bottle, this is a satisfying sight to see.

As the Lifestyle editor, Vy Yang is obsessed with discovering ways to live well + with intention through design. She's probably sharing what she finds over on Instagram stories. You can also find her at