How to Throw a Secret Santa Beauty Party With Your Pals (Even When You’re Busy or on a Budget)

BY Lindsay Tigar · November 25, 2016


With age, so much of your life changes. You multiply the responsibilities and expenses, start to value sleep over champagne (most of the time) and staying in sometimes feels so much better than staying out until 3 a.m. You also begin to accumulate so many friendships from the variety of places in your life—work, organizations and ultimately, your partner’s circle, too. During the holiday season, you’re probably tempted to buy gifts for, well, everyone, but that bank account of yours doesn’t afford that degree of thoughtfulness.

One solution? Taking a different approach with your close circle of girlfriends. Your most precious asset (and thus gift!) to one another is your support and company throughout all 12 months, so why not be a little more lighthearted with your holiday present? Consider doing a Secret Santa Beauty Party, and make it more about glamming up than being sentimental.

Here’s how to go about it:

Let Technology Be Your Pal

Between your bestie who works long hours into the nights to the one who seems to always have plans post-work and the one who absolutely can’t miss her spin class, finding a date to get together is no swift act. Luckily Doodle does the dirty work for you. All you have to do is email the link, everyone fills in their availability—and boom you have a date! The same goes with Elfster for selecting who will buy for who in the gift exchange. You likely already know all of your friends’ favorites, but just in case you need to know their exact signature shade of lipstick or what perfume sends them floating, you can fill in that info, too. Don’t forget to set your budget before you send, too.

Splurge On the Cocktails and Bites

Instead of going out for a multi-course dinner, consider trading those sparkly dresses for a sequinned sweatpants set and set yourselves up inside. You can each bring an appetizer and a bottle of somethin’ somethin’ and you’ll all end up saving cash, and spending more time getting smashed off bubbly. You could even make the treats and drinks beauty themed, with cookies shaped like cosmetics or fizzy drinks you might sip on while you’re shopping at a high-end boutique. Another perk of keeping it at home instead of in public? You can test your beauty gifts right then-and-there.

Make it Charitable

If you take a look at that junk drawer, your medicine cabinet or your guest closet, we bet you’ll find some items you no longer need, from hair tools that you no longer use to unopened bottles of lotions you hoarded during sitewide sales. Make it a point to donate your old stuff before you get new stuff. You’ll all feel better knowing you made a difference—all while having a fun celebration!

Get Started With These Ideas

There are so many beauty brands right now, both luxe and drugstore, so if you’re a little unsure, here are some ideas for every beauty lover:

For the Friend Who Loves a Minimalist Look

Got a bestie who looks super-sleek even with a no-makeup makeup look? She’ll love this holiday set from Lipstick Queen ($45). These brilliant makeup products—though emerald green on the outside—will adapt to her skin’s natural pH, transforming into the perfect hue of pink upon contact that will flatter her skin tone. The best part? Even if you buy one for yourself, the finished look will be entirely different!


For the Yogi

If your gal pal strikes a downward dog long before you wake up from your 8-hour savasana, she’s about to love this gift that’s all about being zen. So much so that it’s in it’s name: EverCalm ($49)! This cleansing milk, redness-reducing serum and day cream will send her all of the good vibes all year round.


For the Mom of the Group

She has the Band-Aids, the headache medicine, an extra hair-tie and always the perfect thing to say. Show her how much you love her helping hand by giving her a little nourishment with First Aid Beauty FAB Holiday Cheers ($42). Not only does this kit includes everything she needs to rescue her skin, it’s also small enough that she can take this anywhere with her and use it whenever she (or you!) needs them.


For the Girly-Girl

Some women wake up fresh faced and ready to tackle coffee, workouts, work and happy hour, and other ones like to take their time primping for the day with all of the makeup. Since she’s always the one who can tell you how to master a cat eye or what shade would look best with your skin tone, give her an on-the-go lippies kit ($48) that’ll take her lipstick game to the next level!


Lindsay Tigar

Lindsay Tigar is a writer and editor in New York. She writes lifestyle content for Bustle, YourTango, AskMen, Woman's Day, Women's Health and many more. She’s an aspiring boxer, wannabe yogi and lover of cardio dance ... Read More >

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