18 Affordable Gifts For Teens That Get the Stamp of Approval From Real-Life Teenagers
Throughout the year, and especially the holiday months, there's no better feeling than finding the perfect gift for a person you love dearly — especially if they're a hard-to-please teenager. If you're shopping for a sibling, friend, niece or nephew, or classmate and don't know where to begin, we can promise you that these affordable gift ideas for teens are the coolest finds of 2023. How do we know? Well, we asked two real-life teens.
Here, Winter (14) and Ella (13) give POPSUGAR a sneak peek at their holiday shopping wish lists — with nothing clocking in at over $100. And TBH, we're really glad we asked: did you know that teens are clambering for Crocs, cozy fashion, and budget-friendly skin-care . . . but have stopped listening to "Harry's House"? (Olivia Rodrigo is queen!) You do now.
— Additional reporting by Macy Cate Williams and Abbey Stone
Best Affordable Beauty Buy For Teens
"I want this on my list," Ella says of this Glow Recipe set of the brand's best-selling products. For under $40, you get the travel-size version of six products, which comprise an entire skin-care routine: cleanser, moisturizer, eye cream, exfoliating serum, and more.
Best Skin-Care Gift For Teens
Bubble is a line of gentle, cruelty-free skin-care made specifically for teens and tweens — and the kids love it. This lightweight moisturizer uses zinc PCA and niacinamide to even out skin texture and includes proteins to protect the skin from blue-light damage. (The price point, meanwhile, is as easy on your wallet as the product is on their skin.)
Best Gift For Music-Loving Teens
Is your teen a record-loving Swiftie? Then why haven't you gotten them Taylor's latest drop yet? Even if your teen doesn't have a record player, this album is a great collectable and can be hung on their wall or find a place of honor on their bookshelf.
For the Makeup Maven
Ella is hoping to get this rotating makeup stand for the holidays. Its multiple tiers make it easy for your teen to find their fave products and makeup tools, even when they don't have much space on their vanity or dresser.
Best Affordable Jewelry For Teens
JacqMaria Metallic Stackables ($45, originally $48)
Your teen can mix and match these gold beaded bracelets, which come in different styles and sets of one, three, or five. Ella says she thinks they're "really pretty" — and you'll love the price tag.
Best Fragrance For Teens
Made with safflower oil, uplifting essential oils, and upcycled rose, this perfume oil from Ashley Tisdale's beauty line is a great way to incorporate mood-boosting aromatherapy on the go. All they need to do is roll it onto their skin and gently dab. It's clean and vegan, so you can rest assured this gift contains no bad chemicals.
Polaroid Hi-Print Printer ($70, originally $100)
Winter recommends getting your teen this Bluetooth printer from Polaroid. Instead of lugging around a bulky camera, your teen can use the device to print snaps in the classic Polaroid style right from their phone to swap with friends or hang in their room.
For the Tween With Their Nose Stuck in a Book
Subscription to Anyway Magazine ($40, originally $44)
If you grew up reading American Girl Magazine or Girl's Life, you'll be thrilled to discover Anyway, a new magazine dedicated to making the messiness of growing up a little less stressy — and a lot more fun. The physical magazine makes a great stocking stuffer for your younger teen (the mag's editors say their target audience is tweens ages 9-15).
For Coffee-Drinking Teens
W&P Design Porter Mug ($20, originally $25)
The teen in your life can take their coffee on the go with this cute mug. It comes in a rainbow of colors, but we love this fun terrazzo option. It's microwave- and dishwasher-safe and is made of high-quality ceramic for easy sipping. The mug has a matte silicone sleeve that's super easy to grip.
Best Gift to Set a Mood
Sunset Projection Lamp ($14)
Take mood lighting to a whole new level. The head on this glowy lamp can be rotated 180 degrees to adjust the size and shape of its sunset projection. It's small enough to be placed anywhere, whether it be a nightstand, dresser, or shelf, making it a great gift for practically anyone to enjoy — including a teenager. "This is very fun; I'd love to get it as a present," Winter says.
Best Design Gift For Teens
Winnie Floral Taper Candle Set ($14, originally $18)
We didn't know candlesticks could get any more romantic until we saw this set. The candles, which feature dried flowers inlaid in paraffin wax, are available to shop in a wide variety of colors, including orange-hued and multicolored sets. Winter recommends getting your teen a graphic box of matches to go along with the candles.
Best Footwear Gift for Teens
Crocs Classic Clogs ($37, originally $50)
My friend, Crocs are in. (Note from this millennial editor: I know, I didn't believe it either, but I've fact-checked this!) If you want your teen to love you forever, score a pair of these fuzzy Croc slippers, which seem to be always sold out.
For Teens Who Don't Leave the House Without Lip Gloss
According to Ella, this is a great everyday lip gloss. And according to one POPSUGAR editor, "It has an elegant consistency that's moisturizing and flexible on the lips. The gloss has just the right amount of slip where it's not oily but not sticky either. It contains a blend of moisturizing oils like apricot-kernel oil, raspberry-seed oil, and rosehip oil that feels weightless yet conditioning on the lips." Read our full review of Tower 28 ShineOn Lip Jelly here.
For Budding Botanists
Lego Icons Succulents Kit ($40, originally $50)
Winter says a flower kit from Lego's Botanical Collection is on her holiday list. We think this succulents display is just too cute, and we love that your teen will be able to spend time building the plants (rather than scrolling on their phone) and then use them for decoration. You can connect all nine plants together to create one display, or separate them to add bursts of color throughout the room.
Best Hair Styling Product For Teens
Ella says that this leave-in conditioner from Ouai is "good for your hair." She's not wrong! In POPSUGAR's list of best leave-in conditioners, our editors dub this one a "lazy person's dream" because it acts as a detangler, de-frizzer, and heat protectant all in one. Plus, all of Ouai's products smell totally dreamy.
Best For Teens Who Love Being Bejeweled
https://www.amazon.com/Umbra-Clutch-Decorative-Bag-Clips/dp/B00AK104WS/?th=1Umbra Trigem Jewelry Stand ($27)
This three-tiered jewelry organizer, which Ella has on her list, will help your teen keep their bracelets and necklaces tangle-free. Its base also acts as an accessories dish for rings and earrings.
Best Fashion Find For Teens
Gen Z loves this Aussie brand — and TBH, so do we. This sweatshirt on Ella's list checks all the must-have boxes for "the hoodiest hoodies": it is oversize, has a boxy fit, and features large armholes, which make for the perfect slouch.