Experts Helped Us Find The Best Beauty Gifts From Small Businesses

Get a red light therapy wand, esthetician-grade skin care and some decadent hair masks, all from small businesses.
The Solawave red light therapy wand, Osea's seaweed-infused body oil, the Empress Stone gua sha from Wilding and a hyaluronic acid serum by Alphascience.
Solawave, Osea, Amazon
The Solawave red light therapy wand, Osea's seaweed-infused body oil, the Empress Stone gua sha from Wilding and a hyaluronic acid serum by Alphascience.

I love big name skin care and makeup brands as much as the next beauty-lover, but often shopping small is the secret to discovering a new favorite product that I don’t know how I’ve lived without for so long. Any beauty-obsessive person you’re shopping for this holiday season might share a similar sentiment.

If you don’t know where to start in your search for the best in small-business beauty gift, take guidance from the experts. We asked experts from board-certified dermatologists to medical aestheticians to celebrity makeup artists, all of whom have gone through their fair share of product testing, to divulge their favorite small biz items.

In the gift guide ahead, shop sumptuous skin care oils made with artisanal methods, butter creams that harness the beauty of African traditions and clinical skin care systems that are sure to whip any complexion into shape.

HuffPost and its publishing partners may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change. The experts consulted for this story do not necessarily endorse the products ahead unless otherwise noted.

A seaweed-infused body oil
Dr. Gendai Echezona, a Connecticut-based anesthesiologist who works in medical aesthetics, said the Osea Undaria Algea body oil is a thoughtful and luxurious gift that also happens to be a personal favorite in her own collection of beauty goods.

Made by a small women-founded business that takes ingredient inspiration from the sea, this body oil is a fast-absorbing, never-greasy and seaweed-infused moisturizer that's been crafted using artisan methods.

"[It's] enriched with antioxidants to nourish the skin and enhance elasticity, resulting in a smooth and firm appearance," Echezona said.
A tinned collection of butter creams from 54 Thrones
Tisha Thompson, an Atlanta-based makeup artist and founder of the clean makeup brand LYS Beauty, previously told HuffPost that if someone struggles with chronically dry skin, then this set containing five 54 Thrones' African Beauty Butter creams for the hands and body, all beautifully tucked away in a collectible tin, is the gift to give.

"These mini hand creams are made with shea butter and provide restorative hydration for the hands," Thomson said, adding that she keeps one in her purse, car and nightstand for easy access.

Inspired by 54 Thrones founder's Christina Funke Tegbe's Nigerian heritage and her celebration of African culture, each tube is uniquely and decadently scented with fragrances like Ugandan vanilla with Ethiopian honey and Kenyan hibiscus with Moroccan rose.
A red light therapy facial wand
Vanessa Coppola, a New Jersey-based nurse practitioner and founder of Bare Aesthetics med-spa, suggested this portable facial wand by Solawave that she said can provide a spa-worthy treatment in the comfort of home.

"It combines red light therapy, which has been shown to promote collagen formation, reduce inflammation and has numerous anti-aging benefits," Coppola said, adding that the SolaWave also uses microcurrent technology and massage to help promote lymphatic drainage and stimulate muscles for a tighter, smoother appearance.
A firming and brightening set by Shani Darden
"A lot of people hear 'retinol' and become instantly intimidated, but this Shani Darden set is a gentle and effective way to begin combating fine lines, dark spots, and enlarged pores," Thompson said of this three-piece collection that's perfect for creating smooth and makeup-ready canvas.

Founded by expert esthetician Shani Darden, the brand's starter set includes a silky cleansing serum, signature retinol formulation and an exfoliating lactic acid treatment that helps to brighten skin.
An empress stone gua sha tool
Dr.Keira Barr, a dual board-certified dermatologist and menopause specialist based in Seattle, suggested a tool for gua sha, a centuries-old traditional Chinese technique that is said to stimulate circulation, decrease inflammation and temporarily improve the overall look of skin, from the brand Wilding.

"Wildling is unique in its design with several different types of edges so you can lift, plump and sculpt all your skin’s nooks and crannies," Barr said of the Empress Stone gua sha that's crafted from 100% authentic Bian stone by this all woman-founded brand.
A restructuring cream for aging skin
Vallejo, California-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Serena Mraz said the Ultra Deep Cream by Alphascience, a French-based small business dedicated to sustainable practices, should be part of every person’s bedtime routine because it's a potent moisturizer containing powerful and unique ingredients to activate stem cells. According to Mraz, this process can do everything from preventing collagen breakdown to reducing redness and the appearance of pesky fine surface blood vessels.
A plumping hyaluronic acid serum
Mraz also suggested Aphascience's HA Booster serum, a glow-inducing hyaluronic acid forumula meant to provide long-lasting hydration that she said is suitable for all skin types.

"This product not only moisturizes, rejuvenates, and helps the skin hold on to precious water throughout the day, but it also makes the skin instantly dewy and glowy with only a few drops applied to the face, neck and décolletage," Mraz said, adding that HA Booster is compatible with other skin products and can be worn seamlessly under foundation or tinted sunscreens.
A reparative and lush hair mask with clean ingredients
Dimitris Giannetos, a celebrity hair stylist based in New York City and Los Angeles, loves the Healing Power Hair Masque by Raw Sugar, a small business dedicated to clean ingredients and product formulations.

"Not only is it affordable, but it's also a great staple for any hair care-lover looking for a masque to add shine and glow to their hair," Giannetos said.

Also available in a formula just for curly hair and one for purifying the scalp, this particular blend has avocado oil, seed oils and a variety of fruit extracts to nourish hair that's been overworked and over-processed.
Lime Crime
An easy-to-maintain hair dye kit for adventurous beauty lovers
"For any of your hair obsessed friends who can't seem to stick with one color, I recommend the Lime Crime Dye My Hair Kit," Giannetos said. This set from woman-founded beauty brand Lime Crime comes in variety of fun fashion colors and includes an ultra-conditioning dye and a damage free-bleach.

"This kit makes it so easy to change your hair at home with minimal hair damage. I even used this dye on Megan Fox recently, and it is so easy to maintain," he said.
A fully comprehensive skin management system
"High-quality skincare systems, like the Jan Marini skin care management system, eliminate the guesswork from at-home regimens," Echezona said. She said this comprehensive system includes everything a beauty-lover would need, from cleanser to sunscreen, ensuring the maintenance of healthy and youthful-looking skin.

"Moreover, it lays the groundwork for any advanced skin care treatments considered throughout the year, making it an excellent choice for anyone seeking a well-rounded skincare routine," she added.

This set contains skin care essentials geared toward normal to combination skin types, however, Jan Marini also has a regime for dry skin, very dry skin and skin that's recovering from more invasive in-office treatments.
A pair of smoothing wrinkle patches
You may have seen these wrinkle-smoothing patches on TikTok, and according to Mraz, they live up to the hype. Developed by Wrinkles Schminkles, a woman-founded skin care brand, these patches are made of medical-grade silicone and can be used up to 20 times a patch, depending on a person's skin type.

"They can be applied for 20 minutes before an event or overnight on a regular basis to markedly improve skin quality and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, skin dehydration and under eye puffiness," Mraz said.
A lifting carboxy gel treatment
According to Echezona, this luxury facial treatment by woman-founded C02Lift is a great product to have on hand ahead of a special event, or for a true pampering experience at home. She claims that this topical and non-injectable carboxy gel formula delivers essential hydration and works on fine lines, irregular skin texture and overall skin tone. (Carboxytherapy is a type of in-office skin treatment typically involving the use of carbon dioxide and superficial injections to target everything from cellulite to loss of skin elasticity; this product is instead applied like a mask at home for less than an hour.)
A depuffing eye cream
This depuffing eye treatment was previously suggested by Dr. Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist with New York City's MDCS Dermatology.

"For anyone looking to reduce under eye puffiness this holiday season, this eye cream is a great option," Garshick said of the Longevity Eye Cream by TruSkin, a hidden gem of a skin care brand that may be small, but is also responsible for an internet-beloved vitamin C serum.

She explained that this eye cream incorporates bakuchiol, a plant-based retinol alternative especially good for those with sensitive skin and which can improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. "It also contains coffeeberry extract, which is rich in caffeine to help reduce puffiness, and lingonberry stem cells which helps to brighten the skin," Garshick said.

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