11. Retro Inspired Budget Beauty Gifts

Have a friend who is into the whole vintage beauty thing? Don’t know what to get them? Can’t afford the expensive stuff?
Here’s a few examples of budget friendly gifts that are still elegant enough to create that wonderful vintage image.

  1. Foam Curlers/Soft Rollers
    Whatever you want to call them. These bendable rods are fantastic for creating vintage style hair, are very gentle on the hair, and they’re cheap. A great practical gift. You can buy as many sets as you like and maybe even of different sizes. I’d recommend getting two packs of medium sized ones if you don’t know the person’s preference when it comes to curl sizes, but two sets are usually needed for a full head of curls. Here’s an example of soft rollers from Sally Beauty. Mine are from Manicare and I bought them at a local pharmacy, I think they cost about 7 dollars per package.

2. Cosmetic Bags
Now, this is something that comes in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. It’s also something that most people need. This is an example of a two bag set from David Jones available for approx 25 bucks. There’s vintage and rockabilly patterns available at specialised stores and cheap ones that still look good are sold at mainstream stores.

3. Hair flowers
Hair flowers can be worn by anyone, just make sure you adapt the type of flower to the length of the person’s hair to ensure they can use it. You can buy hair flowers on bobby pins from places like Target or specialised pinup ones from Rockabilly themed stores. This site shows just how versatile hair flowers can be, please note that I’ve never used them and thus can’t vouch for this site.

4. Indie Brand Gift Certificates
It’s not always possible to know what kind of products another person uses, especially not when it comes to makeup. I’d recommend getting a gift certificate from a small business for three reasons. Firstly, this means that the person who gets the certificate will likely be exposed to products they haven’t seen before. Secondly, you’re supporting a small business. Thirdly, since they’re often cheaper than other stores you can get a decent amount of products for 20-25 bucks. Some brands you might want to have a look at include Hello Waffle Cosmetics, ColourPop Cosmetics, and Geek Chic Cosmetics. This also saves you the trouble of shipping not arriving in time for Christmas.

5. Sheet Masks
Ideally, you want to find a W Cosmetics or other Korean store since they carry good quality masks for a low price. Failing that, try sites like Korea Depart or the online version of W Cosmetics. There are western stores and brands that have started with sheet masks too, but they tend to cost three times as much. The masks in Korean stores cost 1-3 dollars each and you’re meant to use them say once per week. This means that 10-30 dollars of mixed masks could provide someone with a chance to try a new product every week for months. By selecting a diverse range of masks as opposed to a multi pack of one mask, you decrease the risk of the person being allergic to the majority of the content. This isn’t necessarily exclusive to people who are interested in a retro style, but flawless skin is an important part of vintage style makeup.

6. DIY Cosmetics
A lot of women had to create their own beauty products in the past, especially during times of rationing. If you know someone who is really into the vintage side of things, you might want to consider reviving some good old beauty DIYs. Just make sure to try the product first to ensure that it’s not a Pinterest Fail. This site has 22 things you can try, just ignore the fact that it’s lacking in scientific understanding (commercial eyeliners aren’t toxic for fuck’s sake and EVERYTHING CONTAINS CHEMICALS, including you).

7. Makeup storage
If you look in antique stores, at markets, or do some DIY, you’ll often find that various boxes are sold for almost nothing. Same thing with glass jars. I use a glass jar to store makeup brushes and eyeliner pencils. Beauty products tend to spread in a similar way to pet hair, they go everywhere. Putting things in boxes or jars really help. Heck, even a bobby pin and hair elastics box can make a world of difference. If they don’t need more makeup storage, they can put anything else in it too. Or let their cat use a big-ish box to sit in. Point is, boxes, tins, and jars are always needed for something. Or make your own interesting storage item…


8. Sample boxes.
See the photo above? Those are all the free samples I got when I spent a weekend in Seoul. It ranges from makeup removers to sheet masks to lip tints. Collect free samples you get from various places, put them in a nice box or pouch or a whatever, add a bow and a Merry Christmas. Done. I have samples from brands like Bésame and pretty high end Korean brands. Just because it’s a sample doesn’t mean it’s bad. This is also something you can do with things you get in Beauty Boxes (like Beauteque or Bella Box) but don’t want to keep for yourself. It’s like a treasure chest for adults. Just make sure it’s a decent amount of samples and that they’re relevant to the person (don’t gift foundation samples that are obviously the wrong colour), otherwise you’ll just look dumb. This is the cheapest option on this list, it’s also the most difficult one to pull off.

9. Emergency Kit
Everyone needs a kit for beauty related emergencies. This includes things like a nail file, extra bobby pins, dry shampoo, etc. It can be as small or as big as you think is appropriate. If you want, you can include such things as needle and thread for emergency mending and focus it on clothes instead. Put it in a cute makeup bag or a box with an appropriate label. Add one of those vintage e-cards or make your own.

10. Spa Day Kit
Yes, I have a thing for kits. Home spa days are amazing and something everyone needs every now and then. Include the person’s favourite tea, some exfoliation gloves, travel sized bottles of shampoo and other shower products (The Body Shop has amazing shower washes for like 5 bucks), re-usable gel patches that you put in the fridge before putting them on your eyes (Manicare sells them). Perhaps a bottle of nail polish in the person’s favourite colour, some body butter (again, The Body Shop), or some DIY sugar scrubs.

11. A Book of Beauty
Buy a decent looking notebook. Write down beauty tips from the past. Vintage tricks all women used to know. Add some modern ones. Perhaps include some notes about historical styles and icons. This is possibly the easiest DIY thing ever. It’s a hybrid between a scrap book and a christmas card but a lot more fun. Leave room for the person to add their own tips & tricks.


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