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Vox’s self-care gift guide

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Let’s be honest: It’s been a long year. If the folks on your list deserve a little indulgence, look no further than these favorites from our staff.


Dr. Jart sheet masks

Sheet masks — the gauze-like, drippy one-step hydration fixes for your face — have become so popular, perhaps inescapable, that movies and television shows have inevitably begun referencing them (see: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before). There’s something fitting in that given that the best way to pass the time it takes for the sheet mask to kick into effect (you have to lay the mask on your face for around 20 minutes) is catch up with your favorite shows or flip on a movie.

My favorite ones are from Dr. Jart, a Korean brand founded by dermatologist Dr. SungJae Jung and his friend Chin Wook Lee, an entrepreneur, in 2004. Though Dr. Jart offers a variety of masks, my favorite is the Hydration Lover Rubber Mask (the mask is actually made of rubber) for its intense and nourishing moisturizing effects. Its packaging also looks like a lost season of American Horror Story, though I can’t tell if that’s a plus or a minus. (Sephora, $12)

Alex Abad-Santos, senior correspondent


Coloring books by Theo Nicole Lorenz

These coloring books are just straight-up fun. That’s it. Theo Nicole Lorenz’s sense of humor provides a perfect mood for an afternoon (or super-late night) with a coloring book to escape from the real world for a few minutes. Grab some crayons and rock on. (From $7)

— Michelle Garcia, senior editor, identities


Lipstick Lobby cosmetics

The Lipstick Lobby’s Outrage shade.

Gloria Steinem, Elisabeth Moss, and America Ferrera are some of the supporters of the Lipstick Lobby, the brand where makeup meets activism. It launched in 2017 with the lipstick “Kiss My Pink” to help women fight for accessible health care; 100 percent of net proceeds went to Planned Parenthood. The brand has also supported the American Civil Liberties Union and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Now, it’s raising awareness about the mass incarceration of women by teaming up with the unPrison Project and activist Gloria Steinem. And in time for the holidays, LL is releasing holiday kits that match a lipstick with T-shirts, sweatshirts, or tops featuring activist messages like “Outraged” and “Vote Them Out.” (The Lipstick Lobby, $19)

Nadra Nittle, reporter, The Goods


Ecovacs Deebot vacuum

I’ve been trying to convince my husband for ages that we should get a dog. It’ll cheer us up after all those long workdays! It’ll help us get away from our screens! Instead, we got this robot vacuum cleaner. It’s cheaper than the Roomba, it’s Alexa-compatible, it saves us time on housework, and honestly, it’s pretty fun to use. Best of all: Now he can’t use “but dogs shed!” as an excuse. (Best Buy, $200)

—Tanya Pai, copy chief


DNA Discovery Kit

Give the next generation of DNA testing with the DNA Discovery Kit from Helix. It’s the DNA test that unlocks actionable insights on ancestry and wellness. Helix captures 100x more data than most other at-home DNA tests for a happier holiday. Give the Helix DNA Discovery Kit and unwrap more at Helix.com. (Helix, $49.99)


Diptyque candle

These candles are on every gift list, and cost more than any candle should cost, but they really are the best. After years of a crooked septum and sinus infections, my sense of smell is less than stellar. This is the only candle I can smell. Lighting it at the end of a hectic day is the strongest, and best-smelling, signal to my brain that it’s time to shut down. I highly recommend the black vase; it hides the soot from the flame. (Diptyque, $95)

Blair Hickman, director of audience


A beginner knitting kit from Wool and the Gang

This year, more people than ever before have asked me to teach them how to knit. I think there’s a collective need right now for an activity that’s meditative, tangible, and, above all, does not involve looking at the internet. There are a number of ways to help a beginner learn, including buying them a gift card to a local or national yarn store and parking them in front of YouTube, but a kit, like this one by Wool and the Gang, puts all the materials they’ll need in one place, along with comprehensive and non-intimidating directions.

A word of advice: If your recipient claims they’re “not crafty” or gave up on knitting years ago, encourage them to give it another shot. It’s not the end of the world to suck at something for a while, and at any rate, it’s better than refreshing Twitter. (Wool and the Gang, $33)

—Alanna Okun, deputy editor, The Goods


Bamboo bath caddy

A place I’ve come to really like the past few years is my bathtub. It’s a bad idea to bring electronics in there — say, for a random example, your phone. But with this bamboo bath caddy (or really, any bamboo bath caddy, who cares), you can still bring in a glass of wine and a book or whatever else keeps you from looking at social media. (Walmart, $25)

—Meredith Haggerty, deputy editor, The Goods


Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark

For Melissa Clark, cooking dinner on weeknights “is the daily equivalent of a weekend.” She listens to music. Drinks a glass of wine. Chats with her husband. She has fun. The joy Clark takes in daily cooking shines through in the recipes in Dinner. They are quite simple and quick, but unlike so many dull, dutiful get-dinner-on-the-table-fast recipes, they are creative and fresh. The pork meatballs, skillet black beans, and cold sesame noodles have all become mainstays in our cooking repertoire. And a year and a half after buying the book, we’re still discovering new recipes. Give this to someone you love and help them inject some delight into their daily meal routine. ($25)

Eleanor Barkhorn, deputy managing editor


Pottery Barn faux-fur throw

If you ever feel like you need to crawl into a nurturing hole at the end of a long day, this blanket is for you. I received one as a gift, and after I ruined it in the wash (pro tip: don’t put it in the dryer), I purchased another. It is the perfect weight, adds the ideal amount of hygge to your bed or couch, and this might sound creepy, but it’s very soothing to pet while you binge-watch. (Pottery Barn, $129)

Blair Hickman