I am of the firm belief that you can never go wrong by giving beauty products as a gift. After all, have you ever gotten a bar of luxurious soap that you didn't use? While there are many amazing Mother's Day gifts mentioned on this page, there are also a few I suggest you avoid.
Beauty: What Types of Mother's Day Gifts to AvoidThink twice before gifting foundation, concealer, lipstick or face powder, unless you know exactly what your mother wants/uses. These products require a good skin tone match. Perfumes are usally poor Mother's Day gifts unless she's picked out a favorite -- like jewelry, perfumes can be too personal. A fragrance you love in the store may not work well with her body chemistry.
Also, avoid pre-packaged gifts bought at department store beauty counters. Not only is it boring, but it screams, "I only had 10 minutes so I opted for what was easiest."
Consider a Bunch of Little Gifts Placed in a BasketInstead of pre-packaged gifts, why not pull together a bunch of fun gifts individually wrapped and placed in a basket? You can also put these gifts in a makeup bag. I love lip glosses or scrubs like Sara Happ's The Lip Scrub, pictured here. Mix in a new flat iron, a hand cream and exfoliating gloves and you're good to go. Some ideas:
Is a Spa Gift Worth the Splurge?I love getting gifts I feel guilty about buying for myself, but spa gifts can be tricky, because the present unwrapping part can be underwhelming ("Thank you for this sheet of paper!") and the chances are great that the certificate will be put away and never found again.
For a spa gift, opt for a shiatsu massage, a wild wrap with fun stuff like seaweed or a deep facial. Better yet, set up the appointment for both of you and make it your responsibility to set the date and make the appointment.
Think Twice Before Giving a Gift CardGift cards, like pre-packaged gifts, scream, "I was lazy so I got you a gift card." That said, some people would rather pick out their own gifts (perhaps this is where the term, "picky" comes from). In this case, do give them a gift card to Sephora or their favorite department store beauty counter.
Help! She Has Everything!In my experience, people who already have everything really appreciate it when you go all Martha Stewart on them and do something creative and unique. After all, taking time out to do something just for them is something all the money in the world can't buy.
Create a custom bath basket for their bathroom. I love this idea because you can spend as little as $25 on this gift or hundreds of dollars. Fill a basket with everything mom would need for a relaxing bath: Bubble bath or bath salts, 4 or 5 tealight candles with glass holders and a big, fluffy bath towel. Throw in a fun paperback or magazine just for kicks and don't forget the matches. We list our favorite bath salts and more in "8 Musts for Every Bath."
Another option is to print out homemade face mask recipes for her skin type and include the ingredients in the basket. Add a fragrant candle, a fluffy hand towel (for steaming), a box of relaxing tea and a pretty jar of local honey. A great tea to gift is Tazo's 'calm' -- that will inspire her to relax.
You could also make your own body scrub by mixing one cup of an oil of choice (almond, rose, olive or coconut) with a cup of either sugar or Epsom salts. Add a few drops of an essential oil, mix it all together and put it in a cute jar with a homemade tag and you're good to go. Avoid: Cast-offs you didn't like yourself. A good rule of thumb is to never give anything you wouldn't love to receive yourself. If you want to get rid of something, give it away, don't re-gift it. Simply say, "I bought this really nice soap, but it doesn't suit me. Would you want try it for yourself?"
Best Mother's Day Gift for the Beach Loving MamaSo your mom USED to love the sun but now drudgingly sticks to life under a hat. Get her a great sunscreen (La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Lait SPF 60 is one of the best) and pair it with a fabulous self-tanner (we love Clarins).
Avoid: A gift card to her local tanning salon, unless it's for the spray tan.
Best Mother's Day Gifts for the Mother Freaked Out About AgingThese tried-and-true products can erase five years off even the most pampered face.
1. Dr. Dennis Gross M.D. Skincare MD Skincare Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel - 30 applications
2. Olay anti-aging, anti-blemish moisturizer
3. Lancome Resurface-C Microdermabrasion Radiance Renewing System Skincare
4. Dr. Brandt's v-zone neck cream
Avoid: These gifts if she's not obsessed with aging. She might think they're rude.
Best Mother's Day Gift for GrandmaI love Crabtree & Evelyn products. The soaps, lotions and body sprays are perfect for discriminating moms and grandmas. But don't settle for the store packaging, buy your own individual products, wrap each one up and put them in a gorgeous bowl she'll use again (we are suckers for Asian bowls from Japan or China). Nestle between the gifts fun extras like bath gloves for exfoliating in the shower, a mini mirror for the purse and perhaps an overnight makeup bag (to encourage visits).