20 gifts teenage girls actually want in 2020
Shopping for your teen doesn't have to be complicated
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Being a teen girl is always a little complicated. And it's even more complicated this year, due to various global pandemic-related reasons that we don't need to get into. What we are going to get into right now is what you should give your favorite high-schooler this holiday season.
Teenage girls are notoriously picky, even under the best of circumstances (let alone during a time when they probably aren't seeing their friends as often as they'd like). But this selection of holiday gifts, which includes AirPod Pro, Rare Beauty, and more, will be sure to make the teen girl in your life smile.
1. For the trendy student: Fjallraven Kanken backpack
Fjallraven Kanken is the go-to brand for simple, classic, ever-stylish backpacks. When we tested for the best backpacks, we named the Kanken with the laptop compartment the best one for casual use, due to its lightweight construction, adjustable padded straps and easy-to-clean vinyl material. Whether you get the 15-inch version with the laptop compartment or the smaller, classic version, it'll be a happily-received gift.
- Get the Fjallraven Kanken Classic Backpack from Zappos for $79.95
- Get the 15'' Fjallraven Kanken Laptop Backpack for Everyday from Nordstrom for $120
2. For the girl who'd stay in bed all day if she could: The Husband Reading Pillow
Online classes, video chats with friends, TV-and movie-watching sessions—chances are, they're all happening on or around her bed, the floor or a sofa. No matter her perch of choice, she could probably use something to prevent her from slouching. This reading pillow, with a sturdy foam interior, soft micro-plush exterior, two-arm support and headrest, will do just that (without the requisite eye roll that comes with any request to stop slumping over). It comes in a range of colors that should suit any teen girl's style, from powder blue to baby pink to classic black, and provides quality, comfortable support for any laptop-, tablet- or book-based activity she gets up to.
3. For the girl who needs a cute way to keep essentials on hand
Whether she's a newly licensed driver, has just gotten her first debit or credit card or is flush with babysitting cash, she'll need an easy way to keep the important stuff on her. This minimalistic wallet from beloved-by-teens brand Thread holds the essentials—ID, a credit card or two and a few bills—without weighing her down. It also comes in a bunch of colors and patterns including stripes, palm fronds and Hawaiian florals, so she can maintain her own style, even if all her friends already have a wallet from the same brand.
4. For the TikTokker: A Popsocket
A Popsocket is a gadget that sticks to the back of a phone or phone case and extends out, accordian-style, to create an easy carrying handle or stand. This makes it more comfortable to talk on the phone, FaceTime, take photos and in general hold a phone (which technically is not surgically affixed to a teen girls hand).
We love the classic swappable grip Popsocket, which has a thin plastic base with an adhesive back and an expandable stem that provides an easy grip or allows it to lie flat when needed. But what gets the most attention is the decorative disc on the end, available in colors and patterns such as genuine rose quartz, funky plated enamel, glittery stars and even a Burt's Bee's lip balm pot.
5. For the girl who’s always looking for her mask: Athleta Everyday Masks
Sometimes, essential items make the best gifts. And masks are about as essential as it gets right now—but, like any item you take anywhere you go, they can also be easy to misplace.
This is (part of) the reason why we love Athleta’s Everyday Masks. They’re our top choice among a bunch of other face masks we tested, with a sleek look and thin but triple-lined fabric, which gives the wearer ample protection but still make it easy to move around.They cost is $30 for a pack of five, which evens out to $6 a mask.
Because they come in a five-pack, it won’t be the worst thing in the world if she loses one—but they’re so great, she'll definitely want to hold onto them all.
6. For the eco-friendly hydrator: Hydro Flask
The Hydro Flask is the status-symbol water bottle of the moment—and it doesn't hurt that it's also a great hydration vessel. It performed well in our test of the best water bottles, in which we found that it keeps liquids at their intended temperatures for hours without creating condensation on the outside of the bottle. Hydro Flask also comes in a wide range of colors, like icy blue, jade, pink and more, so the teen in your life will want to carry it around wherever they go.
7. For the girl who loves makeup: Rare Beauty Liquid Blush and Lip Balm
Early in September, Selena Gomez debuted a new beauty line at Sephora, called Rare Beauty—and, unsurprisingly, it’s already a big hit. The former Disney starlet has enough clout to make even the most mediocre of makeup lines successful, but Rare Beauty is actually worth the hype, according to our reviewer.
Almost everything in the line could make a good gift for a makeup lover, depending on what the teen girl you’re buying for wants. But we’re partial to Rare Beauty’s liquid blush and lip balm, both of which are ideal for makeup newbies and connoisseurs alike. The liquid blush comes in a lightweight formula with an easy-access applicator that makes it simple to put on, blend out or build up, depending on whether a slight flush or bold pop of color is desired. And the lip balm offers a soothing, moisturizing feel enhanced with subtle pigmentation that makes it easy to swipe on without looking in the mirror.
- Get Soft Pinch Liquid Blush from Sephora for $20
- Get With Gratitude Dewy Lip Balm from Sephora for $16
8. For the girl who always loses her hair ties: Scrunchies
Hair ties always seem to evaporate and go missing right when you need them most. Help the teen girl in your life replenish her supply with this Scrunchie 10-pack. The set comes with a wide range of colors, textures and fabrics to mix and match with any outfit. Plus, of course, they work well to keep hair tied back throughout the day.
9. For the girl who’s always moving around: Fitbit Versa 3
A fitness tracker can be a great gift for almost anyone. But this newly released Fitbit Versa 3 is an especially great option for any active teen girl. It has a built-in Amazon Alexa and Google voice assistant, which allows the user to check the weather or get reminders with a simple question. It also tracks all kinds of workouts, from runs to bikes to hikes, in addition to measuring step count all day long.
The Versa 3 also allows the user to connect to Bluetooth headphones and control Spotify, Pandora or Deezer, which makes it possible to listen to tunes and podcasts during a workout without lugging around another device. Finally, it tracks sleep, so she can make sure she’s making the most of her zzz’s.
10. For the skincare enthusiast: A beauty YouTuber’s must-haves
If she’s into skincare—even a little bit—she’s probably attuned to the advice of Hyram Yarbro, a.k.a. Skincare by Hyram, a beauty influencer who has teens on YouTube and TikTok wise to the benefits of cleansing, moisturizing and using SPF regularly.
So, if you’re giving skincare products, you’d better give ones he approves of. Fortunately, Hyram’s “nice” list includes many affordable drugstore staples. This includes Neutrogena Hydroboost Cleansing Lotion (which gently washes off makeup and grime without drying out the skin), CeraVe moisturizing cream (which contains ceramides to protect the skin barrier and is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores and cause acne) and Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Mineral Sunscreen (ideal for anyone with sensitive skin or acne-prone, as it’s free of fragrances or other irritants).
Looking for a fancier, splurge-worthy gift with the Hyram seal of approval? Consider the Herbivore Blue Tansy Resurfacing Mask, which claims to unclog pores, clear up acne and slough off dead skin cells after a single use, or the Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask, which soothes and hydrates irritated skin with cucumber and papaya extracts.
- Get Neutrogena Hydroboost Gentle Cleansing Lotion from Ulta for $11.99
- Get Cerave Moisturizing Cream from Amazon for $16.89
- Get Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Mineral Sunscreen from Amazon for $10.97
- Get Herbivore Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask from Sephora for $48
- Get Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask Extreme Detoxifying Hydrator from Sephora for $55
11. For the on-the-go music lover: Apple AirPods Pro
AirPods Pro are among the coolest and trendiest tech accessories you can get right now. They're a legitimately great product, too—we called them the best headphones Apple's ever made—with excellent sound quality, true-wireless capabilities and an easy-to-store charging case that comes with your purchase. Also, did we mention that they're cool? Not only will giving them as a present up the status quo of your giftee, they'll earn you some points as well.
If you want to add on to the gift (or your giftee already has AirPods), consider a silicone case cover. The brand Elago sells one with a loop that allows it to be attached to a keychain or lanyard—thus making it tough to lose—prevents the case from getting scuffed and adds a fun pop of color.
Of course, you don't have to shell out the AirPods big bucks for a good pair of Bluetooth earbuds to give. We also love Mpow's affordable Flame earbuds, which are waterproof and have hooks to keep them from falling out of the ears, even during vigorous workouts. And, unlike AirPods, they come in different colors, such as pink, red, black, and blue.
- Get Apple AirPods Pro with charging case from Target for $199.99
- Get the Elago Hanging Case from Anthropologie for $15
- Get Mpow Flame Bluetooth Headphones from Amazon for $18.69
12. The girl who loves having her hair done but hates doing it herself: The Revlon One-Step
Dealing with your hair as a teenager can be rough. If you know a girl who craves regular blow-outs, but doesn’t have the funds for salon visits or want to deal with a wrangling a blow dryer and flat iron, she’ll love the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer. This tool looks like a round brush, with tufted bristles and nylon pins, but it blows hot air from within the barrel. This allows users to brush it through wet hair to detangle and dry it completely, giving hair a sleek, blown-out look in a fraction of the time it might take to blow it dry then iron it flat.
In short, it’s a low-maintenance tool that can help any teen girl deal with her hair in a snap, so she has more time to think about and do things that are actually fun for her.
13. For the photographer: Fujifilm Instax 9 Mini Instant Camera Starter Pack
Wallet-sized, instantly printable photos never go out of style. And the Fujifilm Instax 11 is a great way to get them. It's simple to use and produces perfectly vintage-looking snaps with each shot. As a bonus, the camera comes in a range of bright, peppy colors—like "blush pink" and "sky blue"—so the camera looks fun in addition to being fun.
For a slightly less instant (but no less delightful) option, consider a classic disposable camera. Urban Outfitters carries a bunch outfitted in stylish skins, such as cherries, butterflies, cow print and more. Each camera has 17 exposures, so it's a great way to document a single event. (But you may want to Google where she can get the photos developed nearby first.)
- Get the Fujifilm Instax 11 Mini Instant Camera Starter Pack from Amazon for $119.99
- Get a disposable camera from Urban Outfitters for $15
14. For the self-care devotee: A mix of trendy and tried-and-true favorites
Personal grooming products can make a great present—as long as you get the right ones from the right brands. We recommend two from Glossier: Boy Brow, the brand's bestselling eyebrow pomade, which fills in brows without making them look overdone, and the Body Hero duo, which gets you shower gel and lotion in the brand's signature scent.
It also can't hurt to throw in some Carmex, a lip balm beloved by so-called VSCO girls and at least one of Reviewed's writers.
- Get the Body Hero duo from Glossier for $35
- Get Boy Brow from Glossier for $16
- Get Carmex Lip Balm for $6.50
15. For the VSCO Girl: Crocs
Crocs are having a trendy moment among teen girls right now (no, seriously). The lightweight rubber clogs are all over Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, so chances are pretty good that they're already on a teen girl's holiday wish list. Browse through the Crocs' vast color selection, which includes lavender, teal and blush pink, to find the best pair for your giftee. It also can't hurt to throw in some Jibbitz as an extra stocking stuffer.
16. For the eco-conscious sipper: Sipwell Stainless Steel Straws
"Save the turtles" is a popular meme-slash-genuine-sentiment among teens—which means that, if they don't already have some, reusable straws are probably pretty high up on their gift wish list. Our best value pick for reusable straws, the Sipwell stainless steel straws, should be your pick. They're easy to clean, are great for sipping water and iced coffee, and don't give whatever you're drinking a metallic taste.
17. For the Netflix fiend: An iPad
Our top-rated tablet, an iPad, can come in handy for just about everything, from schoolwork to reading books to a secondary—or even replacement—laptop. Whether the teen you give it to uses it to download textbooks or mainline Netflix, it's sure to be appreciated.
18. For the girl who always has cold feet: Slipper socks
Few things make a better stocking stuffer than a good pair of slipper socks. (It’s socks in a sock—what could be funnier?) And this particular pair of slipper socks, available in 11 patterns including plaid, chevron, hearts and more, make an especially perfect stocking stuffer.
Faux shearling lines the interior, giving them a cozy, luxurious feel—and a cool, jaunty look if she wants to fold them over—and silicone treads dot the soles, so she can walk around the house without fearing a slip.
19. For the girl with a bright outlook: A new pair of sunglasses
Who doesn’t love a good pair of sunnies? Treat the teen girl in your life to a classic with this pair of aviators—available with black, silver or gold frames—which should work in her wardrobe, no matter what her personal style is. If she wears prescription glasses, you can get the lenses fixed up with her prescription, which can ensure she’s always seeing clearly wherever she is.
20. For the girl whose phone always needs charging: Anker PowerCore
Everyone’s phone dies at some point. But a phone dies even quicker if, throughout the day, the user jostles between text messaging, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat on a near-constant loop—which, for many teens, tends to be the case. Help the teen in your life keep their phone alive with this Anker power bank, which is small and compact but holds several charges' worth of juice and can prolong the battery life of any phone for at least a few hours.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.