Ever heard the expression, “You can’t pour from an empty cup”?

You can’t care for others before you’ve cared for yourself. That’s where self-care comes in. While self-care can look different for everyone, the act is all about taking time to nurture yourself right here, right now. And anyone who has mastered the art of self-care knows it’s essential. Without caring for yourself first, you’re running on empty, with zero energy, focus, and strength to care for others.

Self-care is important for everyone. If the holidays are approaching, your loved one has a birthday coming up, or you’re looking to treat yourself on a random Tuesday (we’re all for that), this collection of our favorite self-care essentials can point you in the right direction to find something to buy.

Self-care is often mistaken for self-improvement. But instead of working to fix something about yourself, self-care is about nurturing yourself just as you are.

The idea of indulging yourself is often considered self-care, but this practice isn’t supposed to be an excuse for bad behavior. In other words, anything excessive — too many cocktails, hours upon hours of scrolling social media, or eating way too many desserts — doesn’t fall into the realm of self-care.

There’s one other thing to remember about self-care. You don’t need lots of time or money to do it. It can be as simple — and as restoring — as a walk in a park, a few minutes of mindful breathing, or a quiet, calming bath.

We based our self-care gift ideas on products designed for pampering. And to cover everyone, we also aimed for options that work with all budgets.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $30
  • $$ = $30–$70
  • $$$ = over $70

Best gift for tired feet

Naturally London Spa Pedicure Bundle

  • Price: $$$
  • Who it’s best for: people who prioritize a holistic lifestyle

This trio from Naturally London is designed to soak, exfoliate, and moisturize hard-working feet. It includes three nourishing products for a soothing experience:

  • detoxifying foot soak to soften and cleanse
  • moisturizing foot polish to smooth dry, rough skin
  • healing foot balm to hydrate and protect

The female-, veteran-, and Black-owned company focuses on botanical foot and hand care. This means their products have no synthetic colors, artificial fragrances, parabens, mineral oils, sulfates, petroleum, waxes, or micas.

Pros

  • specifically designed for cracked, dry feet
  • free shipping on orders over $99

Cons

  • more expensive than comparable options

Best gift for the outdoors lover

Ursa Major National Parks Soap Set

  • Price: $$
  • Who it’s best for: a sustainable lifestyle

Your outdoorsy friend will love this set of three soaps inspired by America’s most iconic national parks. The Zion, Acadia, and Redwood bar soaps are vegan and all-natural. They’re made with clean ingredients and no petrochemicals, parabens, synthetic fragrance or color, silicones, or polyethylene glycols.

The grounding, energizing scents help turn shower time into a self-care ritual. And as a bonus, 5% of every purchase supports the work being done by the National Parks Conservation Association.

Pros

  • made with botanical ingredients native to the parks
  • gluten-free, vegan, cruelty-free

Cons

  • currently out of stock (s of September 20, 2022)

Best gift for better sleep

Mauli Sleep Dharma Pillow Mist

  • Price: $$
  • Who it’s best for: anyone who wants to fall asleep more quickly

In our busy lives, a restorative night’s sleep is definitely a form of self-care. This pillow mist is blended with bergamot, chamomile, lavender, vetiver, geranium, clary sage, and marjoram. The calming botanicals are designed to be subtle yet soothing.

Your gift recipient can spritz this mist onto their pillow to help create a tranquil sleep environment. And bonus — this pillow mist is free from parabens and synthetic fragrances, with packaging made from recycled materials.

Pros

  • made with nature’s most soothing botanicals
  • subscribe and save option available
  • vegan, cruelty-free, and 100% natural

Cons

  • customers report extremely slow shipping time

Best gift for the tub

Esker Restorative Bath Kit

  • Price: $$$
  • Who it’s best for: natural homes

There’s a reason bath time is considered a form of self-care. This restorative kit from Esker can be a great addition to that ritual. It has items designed to give your gift recipient a tranquil bath, including:

  • a hand poured candle in a custom terrazzo vessel
  • Esker body oil
  • Esker body wash

All items are packaged in a plastic-free box, and the set is designed for all skin types. Esker uses organic ingredients that are Leaping Bunny certified. You can pair this bath set with the Esker body plane, a tool inspired by Greek and Roman bathhouses, for a gift that will soothe and smooth.

Pros

  • 15% off your first order
  • skin care quiz available to verify which products are best for you
  • made with natural ingredients

Cons

  • doesn’t have many customer reviews to know if it’s worth the price

Coziest self-care gift

Seek & Swoon Decorative Throw

  • Price: $$$
  • Who it’s best for: consumers who value sustainability

Feeling snug and cozy in a favorite blanket is a wonderful way to nurture yourself. These knit throws from Seek & Swoon can be part of that experience. Each throw is made with cotton-poly blends or recycled yarn. The materials come from a second-generation, family-owned knitting mill.

The designs are influenced by scenic places and come in three sizes, including baby, standard, and jumbo. Whichever you choose, your gift recipient will be cozy.

Pros

  • made in the USA from recycled materials
  • numerous options for colors and patterns
  • free shipping within the U.S.

Cons

  • on the pricier side

Best gift for meditation

Kate McLeod Grounding Stone

  • Price: $$
  • Who it’s best for: natural beauties

These body stones are solid lotion bars that soften on contact with skin. Cocoa butter and nourishing oils help leave the body soft and fragrant, but the self-care component is in the application. Body stones are designed to be warmed in the hands and then glided along the body before massaging into the skin. These waterless moisturizers are very concentrated, so a little goes a long way.

Each body stone starter kit comes with the stone and a reusable bamboo container, making it a great gift. Plus, it’s available in a mini size if you’d like to gift a few different scents.

Pros

  • multiple size options available, including refills
  • sustainable, vegan, recyclable, and plastic-free

Cons

  • free shipping is only available for subscriptions, or orders over $75

Best gift for pampered hands

Bare Hands Gift Set

  • Price: $$
  • Who it’s best for: homebodies

Taking time to pamper the hands is another form of self-care. It’s a chance to relax and practice a little mindfulness. Bare Hands developed the “no makeup” look for the hands, and this set can help your gift recipient have a relaxing, DIY dry gloss manicure at home:

  • the Polisher
  • a cuticle oil pen, which can be scented or unscented
  • a chamois cloth
  • two orange wood cuticle pushers

All of these tools come packed in a cozy flannel pouch.

Pros

  • includes everything you need for a professional manicure at home
  • achieve a natural, high gloss shine without paints or solvents

Cons

  • can require some self-training

Best gift for head-to-toe pampering

Formulary 55 Botanical Bath & Body Gift Set

  • Price: $$
  • Who it’s best for: anyone who wants a full-body spa day for an affordable price

This botanical bath and body gift set is made for giving. It comes with a moisturizing shea butter soap, shea butter hand and body creme, and a sparkling bath tablet, all tucked into a botanical print box. Sets are available in six scents, but we’re partial to the clean, zesty fragrance of the Aloe Leaf & Mint option.

Whatever you choose, this can be a thoughtful way to encourage your gift recipient to thoroughly pamper themselves from head to toe.

Pros

  • vegan, certified cruelty-free, and paraben free
  • high quality ingredients

Cons

  • scent can be overwhelmingly strong

Best gift for a beauty lover

Amika Gotta Have It Bestseller Mask Indulgence Set

  • Price: $$
  • Who it’s best for: someone experiencing hair dryness and damage

A good hair mask is a common way to self-care. This set from amika includes three options for all hair types:

  • the Soulfood nourishing mask for deep conditioning
  • the Flash instant shine mask for quick shine
  • the Kure multitasker for intense repair

All three masks are color safe and free of sulfates, parabens, and mineral oil. Plus, all amika products are vegan and cruelty-free.

Pros

  • cruelty-free and vegan
  • good for all hair types

Cons

  • limited edition and currently out of stock

Best gift for facial pampering

CBD Face Mask

  • Price: $
  • Who it’s best for: anyone looking for natural calming effects

Unwind for the night with this CBD face mask made with broad-spectrum CBD. With powerful spa-quality ingredients packaged into an easy-to-use sheet mask, this product promises to help hydrate, tone, soothe, and purify tired and stressed skin. The mask has a 10-minute activation time.

The face mask has five formulation options, from charcoal for brightening to rose for moisturizing. The masks are suitable and effective for all skin types.

Pros

  • medically approved
  • choose from five formulation options
  • made in the U.S.

Cons

  • expensive shipping for an affordable product

Best gift for constant relaxation

Ellia Aroma Diffuser

  • Price: $$$
  • Who it’s best for: essential oil lovers

Use the Ellia Aroma Diffuser to help your home smell calm and feel peaceful all day long. Create your own personalized aroma with the essential oil(s) of your choice. The diffuser is quiet, provides ambient color-changing light, and has up to 10 hours of continuous runtime so that it will last all day long.

The diffuser comes with a remote and an AC adapter. The diffuser itself is made from ceramic and wood to match any space.

Pros

  • beautiful lighting options
  • seller communicates well

Cons

  • users report that it dies quickly for the price
  • doesn’t include essential oil samples

Best gift for beauty sleep

Brooklinen Silk Eye Mask

  • Price: $
  • Who it’s best for: frequent travelers

Give the gift of better shut-eye with the Mulberry Silk Mask from Brooklinen. According to the brand, sleeping with the luxurious Mulberry Silk protects your skin and hair from friction damage. The material is breathable and cool to the touch, so you won’t sleep hot.

The mask features a charmeuse weave and a gentle elastic band. It helps prevent creases around your eyes, and it’s machine washable for easy cleaning at home.

Pros

  • multiple options for colors and patterns
  • soft and silky

Cons

  • too tight / doesn’t block enough light (according to some reviewers)

Best relaxation gift

Pacifica Body and Pillow Mist

  • Price: $
  • Who it’s best for: lavender lovers

This 4-oz. pillow mist is made in the U.S. with globally sourced ingredients. It smells like lavender with a hint of rose — the perfect aromatherapy blend to help you get a good night’s sleep.

To use the pillow mist, spray a light mist onto your body, pillow, or sheets before going to bed. This plant-powered, water-based spray is appropriate for all skin types.

Pros

  • can help with nightmares
  • creates a relaxing environment for sleep

Cons

  • only available in lavender scent
  • scent may not last long (according to some reviewers)

Best gift for mental health

The Five-Minute Journal

  • Price: $
  • Who it’s best for: your writer friend

Start your day off on the right foot and end it with gratitude by using this painless, science-backed Five-Minute Journal. The journal is full of structured exercises to help you focus on the positive and become more mindful of who you are.

The journal’s cover is made of linen fabric, while the pages are created from recyclable paper. With 1.7 million copies sold around the world, the journal is undated so you can start it at any time during the year.

Pros

  • encourages self-reflection and time alone
  • multiple color options

Cons

  • if used daily, only lasts 6 months

Choosing the best self-care gift for a friend (or yourself!) can seem like a big decision. You can make it easier by considering your friend’s interests and hobbies, then look for a gift that relates to something they enjoy.

You’ll also want to consider your budget, how long the gift will last (is it a small bottle of lotion that will run out quickly?), and whether the brand you’re purchasing from is sustainable and high quality.

How do I make a self-care kit for a friend?

To make a self-care kit for a friend, consider your friend’s hobbies and interests. Do they enjoy going out and being active, or are they a homebody? What line of work are they in, and how do they prefer to relax? Try to purchase items that line up with activities your friend enjoys.

However, don’t stress about it too much! At the end of the day, your friend will love whatever you get them.

What are some good self-care kits?

If you want to assemble a good self-care kit, try picking a theme to center the box around. You could design a “spa day in a box” and buy pampering products. Or encourage your friend to take an evening off by creating a “movie night” self-care kit with a DVD, popcorn, and other movie snacks.

What do you write in a self-care card?

If you’re writing a self-care card to somebody you love, encourage them to take the time they need to care for themself. Remind them that resting isn’t lazy. Taking good care of yourself — physically, emotionally, and on every level — is productive, and incredibly important! Tell your loved ones that you care about them, you’re thinking of them, and you want them to experience well-being in every aspect of life.

With gifts like these, you or your loved ones can enjoy a little “me time.” Self-care is important, and these thoughtful gifts will serve to remind people of that — and encourage them to actually make it happen.

Jessica Timmons has been working as a freelance writer since 2007, covering everything from pregnancy and parenting to cannabis, chiropractic, stand-up paddling, fitness, martial arts, home decor, and much more. Her work has appeared in mindbodygreen, Pregnancy & Newborn, Modern Parents Messy Kids, and Coffee + Crumbs. See what she’s up to now at jessicatimmons.com.