VIOLET GREY founder Cassandra Grey reveals how to impress every type of recipient on your gift list this holiday season.

Dear Customers,

You are always right.

Survey says the majority of you—and the people on your gift list—want an experience this year (that and a less-divided country). I have always thought of beauty as an experience. It is not about lipstick, but rather the moment you enter a room and jaws drop. It is not about moisturizer; it’s about great skin that causes people to ask if you’ve had work done.

That said, my gift guide this year pairs beauty heroes from our shelves with equally memorable experiences. Please note that while every beauty product is vetted by committee and therefore VIOLET CODE approved, I alone—and, in some cases, Leonardo DiCaprio—have vetted the experiential giftables. Also note that although I use female pronouns, these gifts are for everyone. I believe beauty knows no gender, and soon it will be acceptable—even mainstream—for men to wear makeup. Chanel just launched Boy de Chanel, its first makeup line for men, which is fitting given that Madame Gabrielle Chanel herself gave us ALL permission to wear pants. Can you believe there was a time, not too long ago, when it was unacceptable for women to wear pants? Without further fodder, please find 12 to-die-for gifts for all the most important people on your list.

GIFT No. 1

For your 25-year-old daughter who still sends you her gift list in October and really needs nothing—apart from maybe a job.

Gift her The Violet Box with the top 10 best-selling products at VIOLET GREY, and a gift certificate to the week-long Hoffman Process to help her find herself.

Gift No. 2

For your famous friend who gets $150K to post her gummy bear vitamins and gets everything for free.

Gift her Heretic Melrose Place, a limited edition bergamot fragrance infused with clean ingredients and made just for VIOLET GREY customers. Then take her to a diner and an old-fashioned movie theater and post pictures. It is now very cool for celebrities to look like they do normal things on Instagram.

Gift No. 3

For your bougie best friend who drives fast but prefers to be driven.

Gift her the only VIOLET CODE–approved vibrator by Crave that doubles as a necklace, engrave it with her initials so it feels extra personal, and gift her a one-night stay at the Chateau Marmont (or whatever no-tell hotel is in your town).

Gift No. 4

For that friend who picks you up from the airport and sends you Eric Buterbaugh flowers when you get a promotion at work.

Gift her 12 hours with a professional organizer and the Vitruvi Stone Diffuser to freshen up her newly decluttered space. And if that isn’t enough, nothing is better than being gifted a meditation retreat at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur.

Gift No. 5

For your passive-aggressive mother who always says she doesn’t want anything, yet never misses an opportunity to brag about that time your brother bought her a Loro Piana cashmere sweater.

Gift her Hollywood’s It skin cream by Augustinus Bader for a firmer, brighter, and tighter complexion. Include a handwritten note and a gift card for a world-class five-step skincare routine customized by a VIOLET GREY artist. This gift may run you upward of $1,000, but becoming the envy of all of her friends is worth every penny.


For the wife you knew you were going to marry the first time you saw her.

Gift her what Into The Gloss called “the face oil to end all face oils.” Splurge on the limited edition Vintner’s Daughter bottle (it’s almost twice the size of the OG) and pair it with a handwritten invitation to go shoe shopping for the kind of shoes that aren’t made for walking. If money is no object, take her to Paris to have the Christian Louboutin atelier make a mold of her feet and design a custom pair of Louboutins that fit her like the proverbial glass slipper.

Gift No. 7

For your nana who still puts her face on every morning before your grandfather wakes up.

Gift her the Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Blush Stick from the in-demand collection from celebrity makeup artist Gucci Westman. Plus, give her a gift certificate to have her hair and makeup professionally done. If Glamsquad doesn’t serve her area, call the local salon and arrange for an artist come to her house.

Gift No. 8

For your annoying sister who describes herself as someone who doesn’t care about makeup, yet is religious about her fancy 12-step skin care routine from Whole Foods.

Gift her the May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon Beauty Balm Concentrate, which will immediately calm her stressed skin, and an appointment to try the latest super cleanse trend: drinking Amazonian frog poison. Google it, go down the rabbit hole, and DM me four hours later.

Gift No. 9

For the preschool teacher who takes care of your toddler with genuine love, patience, and grace.

Gift her Susanne Kaufmann’s aromatic Mallow Blossom Bubble Bath and a gift certificate for a legit masseuse to come to her house. Call the nicest spa in your town and request an at-home appointment. If you really want to go all out, give her two nights at what Leonardo DiCaprio refers to as the most beautiful place in the United States: Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur.

Gift No. 10

For the mom at your kid’s school who pressures you into play dates and would literally die if you sent her a gift.

Gift her Byredo’s Loose Lips, a lipstick-inspired candle (think notes of rosewater, violet, and morello cherry), and a handwritten note that invites her to a girls’ night out at a scene-y restaurant.

Gift No. 11

For your boss who always has your back and gets more out of giving you credit than taking it herself.

Gift her the VIOLET CODE–approved hero products from the Playa clean hair care line, founded by a female entrepreneur and beloved by the pros. Then make a donation in her name to Step Up, an organization dedicated to preparing girls for high school, and encourage her to sign her up to be a mentor in the program!

Gift No. 12

For your best friend who cares about the environment and has a genuine disdain for those who do not recycle.

Gift her the Kjaer Weis Dazzling Bronzer (the packaging is refillable and the ingredients are natural) and sponsor a rainforest in her name here.