The Glow Up’s Guide to Giving: Better Late Than Never—and Yes, Gift Cards Can Be Glamorous, Too

Illustration for article titled The Glow Up’s Guide to Giving: Better Late Than Never—and Yes, Gift Cards Can Be Glamorous, Too
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If you’re reading this, it’s not too late.

Granted, with less than 48 hours until Christmas, you’re decidedly living on the edge when it comes to holiday shopping, but at this point, you have three options: brave the crowds at the mall (if your local one has survived) and try to score some last-minute finds; give cold, hard cash (always welcome, but not terribly warm); or grab the often bland, but always practical gift card.


Now, for the record: personally, I am a fan of the gift card. That said, I’m also on board with picking out your own engagement ring, because while it may not seem the most romantic option, what’s more romantic than getting exactly what you want (especially if you’ll be wearing it for the rest of your life)? But practicality aside, I also get the reluctance to give a gift card as an expression of love. It seems just a little too easy to make the recipient feel worth the effort, right?

Well, it’s all a matter of how much thought you put into it—or appear to have put into it. A gift card chosen from the right retailer lets your loved one know that you’ve been paying attention and want to treat them to something you know they’ll love—because they’ll pick it out themselves! Not to mention the fact that it’s a fantastic way to subsidize a high-ticket item they’ve been eyeing but may not have been able to afford on their own. (Like, say, travel—a gift voucher for their favorite airline, hotel or festival never goes out of style—Essence Fest 2020, anyone?)

Since the minutes are ticking down, here are some of our recommendations for gift cards that say “this was made for you” while supporting black-owned businesses and designers. Many are brands we’ve featured here—and are therefore Glow Up-tested and approved. But the best part? You can get them ASAP; no wrapping required. (And yes, we’ll be adding to this list through Christmas Eve.)

Beauty & Grooming

Marjani Beauty makes shopping for melanated beauty simple; unlike mainstream franchises, this beauty marketplace was curated with us in mind. Gift cards available from $25 to $100.

Uoma Beauty is a brand-new brand with a well-deserved buzz—and with gift cards available from $25 to $100, the makeup lover in your life can give it a try.

Scotch Porter was made for men, but a fair amount of women enjoy their skincare, too (including this writer). With a current 50 percent off sale on their collections, a $75 gift card will go pretty far.


Hue Noir has been holding down black girl beauty for a decade, and with a gift card from $10 to $100, you can hold down the beauty lover in your life.


Golden Grooming gives back to HBCUs—and The Root’s Terrell J. Starr recently gave it glowing reviews for helping to keep his beard game strong. Gift cards available from $10 to $200.

Hive Luxury Fragrances smell amazing—and can smell exactly as your loved one wishes if you gift them a custom session with perfumer Bambi Montgomery. But with gift cards available from $25 to $1000, they can get it all.


Buttah by Dorian Renaud is the skincare gift that keeps on giving year-round and with gift cards available from $10 to $100, well, it’ buttah.

Heat Free Hair is the premier brand for naturally-textured hair extensions and wigs. While it may seem unnatural to gift hair for the holidays, a $100 to $500 gift card will be much appreciated by the transitioning naturalista in your world.


Clothing & Accessories

Onion Cut & Sewn has the made-to-measure, body-flattering silhouettes she’s craving at accessible price-points. Gift cards are available from $50 to $500.


Reebok by Pyer Moss is giving life to the sportswear arena—just check out their “Sankofa” collection. With a Reebok gift card, you can give them access to athleisure that’s an experience, in and of itself.

Fe Noel has an aesthetic that makes a woman feel like she’s on vacation even while strutting the streets of her own city. Gift her a getaway in luxury clothing with a gift card; available from $50 to $1500.


Hanifa has that elusive mix of feminine elegance and sex appeal on lock—and a $10 to $100 gift card will help your shopper access it.


Brims’ limited-edition hats move fast—so make sure the hat lover in your life is prepared with a gift card, available from $100 to $250.

Brother Vellies has luxury footwear and accessory options for the entire family...with a focus on empowering African artisans. Gift cards available in $100, $250 and $500 increments.


Armando Cabral puts an elegant spin on men’s footwear (from boots to sandals). With a $100 to $500 gift card, you can ensure his shoe closet isn’t living on sneakers alone (though they make those, too).


Home & Hearth

Blk + Grn has the all-natural goods that’ll benefit any household—from skincare to cleaning supplies, this black-focused marketplace will keep it clean and green. Gift cards available from $10 to $100.


Greer Chicago is a stationery mecca that will give every to-do list, thank you note or daily journal an extra-special touch. Gift cards available from $10 to $200.

Soul of Sonoma’s Legacy Wine Club puts a melanated spin on the monthly wine club, offering a trio of black-owned wines for $65 each month.


Jungalow is the home decor brand for bohemian sensibilities—if you’ve got a world traveler in your life (or someone who wants to look like one), gift cards are available from $10 to $500.

Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?