Buying gifts for teens can be a challenge. Perhaps you’re shopping for a moody music lover or a tech-savvy makeup-tutorial binger. Teens create trends, even as they reach back and adopt things from a generation or two ago (believe it or not, the ‘90s are alive and well with a resurgence of Friends reruns).
Don’t know where to start? The financial services company Piper Jaffray published the survey Taking Stock with Teens. Gen Zers (born between 1997 and 2012) reported that their favorite brands include Lululemon, Vans, iPhone, Urban Outfitters, Amazon, Adidas, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, and Nike. Beauty brands sold at Sephora that sell well with teens include Tarte, Too Faced and Mario Badescu. They imbibe at Starbucks. Instagram and Snapchat are top social media hubs. They are passionate about the environment.
Need specifics? We’ve got them here.
For the athlete (or wanna-be)
Lululemon Fast and Free Tights are made with sweat-wicking, ultra-thin Nulux fabric for optimal running. Rejoice in the added functionality of pockets big enough to store keys, credit cards, even your cell phone. Add a Swiftly Tech Long-Sleeve Crew and Energy Sports Bra to complete your athlete’s look, whether they’re competing or just mall-ratting.
White chunky platform sneakers are still on-trend. Take it up a notch, literally, with Nike Air Force 1 Sneakers, kicks that are both modern and classic at the same time.
For the best face forward
Only the rare teen escapes a bout of acne. Mario Badescu The Icons: Drying Lotion & Rose Facial Spray Duo targets surface blemishes with a fast-acting salicylic acid, sulfur, and calamine formula. Rose and clarifying thyme spray infuses skin with dewy radiance. Pair with a Foreo Luna 2 Facial Cleansing Device made with waterproof antimicrobial silicone.
Though over-the-counter acne remedies have significantly improved over the years, treating your teen to professional facial positions them for a winning complexion year-round. HydraFacials remove impurities and replenish nutrients for a healthy, hydrated glow.
For those who have an affair with their hair
We’ll say it again: the ’90s are back. The Perfect 10 Scrunchie Set at Urban Outfitters features scrunchies of various tones and finishes including satins, metallic and oh-so-hip velvet. Oh, and this trend is unisex. Hunky Jason Momoa at the 2019 Oscars wore pink perfection.
For the eco-cool
For the environmentally-conscious teen who wants to limit plastic waste, SipWell Stainless Steel Drinking Straws are reusable straws that resist rust and can go anywhere. But also, make sure your teen washes them completely inside with the included thin wire brush, because of ugggh, gross if they don’t.
For the tech-obsessed
There are so many cool tech gifts to give your teen, but first and foremost you want to make sure they’re safe and fully powered up. The Anker PowerCore 20100 portable charger does the trick. Other useful and fun tech gifts include Elago Personal Charging Hub, Airpods (is that Billie Eilish playing?), a Selfie Ring Light and Popsocket. A phone case from amps up the look.
For those who say it loud and proud
For the outdoorsy one
The Herschel Supply Co Backpack works for books, workout clothes, outdoor adventures and more. Pair with a sturdy Hydroflask to help your teen stay hydrated on the go. Add on sunglasses and more from brands like Toms, Feed or People Tree that gives to a good cause and/or is committed to fair trade.
For lip service and more
Many at this age are just starting to wear makeup and experiment with “entry items” such as gloss and mascara. The Tarte Lip Ornaments Lip Gloss Set is a good gateway; also take a look at holiday offerings from Fenty, Glossier, Too Faced and Burt’s Bees. They’re beauty-full gifts that they’ll love—with decidedly less chance of eye-rolling.