16 Ethical (and Awesome) Gifts Our Wellness Editors Adore This Year

Updated: Jan. 14, 2024

Stuff their stockings and bow up those bobbles with gifts that will thrill them—all while you spread some extra goodness out there.

15 Healthy Gifts That Also Give Back
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Like most of us these days, I’m curious about any trinket that offers to help me or my family stay well, or feel even better. As a celebrity reporter for more than 15 years who’s also wellness-obsessed, I always know I’ve found a good gift for somebody else when I also kinda want to gift it to myself!

This year, my gift-giving comes with an extra layer of joy: I had the chance to test products which are not only alluring selections for my health-loving loved ones, but that were also created by companies that are making the world better. From the down-to-earth to the luxurious, learning the inspiring ways each of these companies are fostering a more wholesome world has been just as much a treat as I expect the actual unboxing to be.

Keep reading for our selection of gifts that are sure to give you, your recipient, and everyone around the warm fuzzies.

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Liforme Yoga Mat
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1. Liforme Yoga Mat

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As a person who practices yoga five to six times a week, I care about having a really great yoga mat that doesn’t break down, doesn’t let me slip—and, I’ll be honest, looks cool. There’s a reason I kept spotting Liforme yoga mats at some of the best studios and yoga retreats around the world (looking at you, Kula and Sacred Fig!). These mats are also a favorite of celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Meghan Markle.

Liforme mats are non-toxic, PVC-free, biodegradable, and they work like magic: The more you sweat, the grippier they get! This might be why the original mat has over 2,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.

The mat also bears markers that help with alignment during poses to help prevent injury, which even a dedicated yogi like me uses to refine my postures. I have the tiger-print mat, which instantly makes me smile, and I have my eye on a design called the Majestic Carpet. (Ahem—can somebody be sure to share this with my husband?)

Social justice, environmental conservation and wildlife preservation are at the core of Liforme’s mission. The company is a certified B Corp, which means they follow high standards of social and environmental impact. (To start, they plant more than 340,000 trees with Tree-Nation and have donated more than $650,000 to charity partners.)

Taking the feel-good factor to the max, with prices ranging from $140 to $200, this is a gift the yogi in your life might not likely splurge on for themselves.

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Women's Bean Project popcorn
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2. Women’s Bean Project

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I remember one year when I didn’t know what I wanted for the holidays and really didn’t want more stuff around my apartment. I asked my mom to get me food—something I’d carve out time for the enjoyment of preparing.

That’s why this year I loved discovering the Women’s Bean Project: An incredible non-profit that trains and employs women who experience barriers to securing a job, whether it’s because of past substance misuse, former incarceration, domestic violence, or homelessness. The women help curate gift boxes of delicious goodies that come packaged beautifully with a To and From section already written on the box, and their mission spelled out perfectly: This box creates jobs. There’s little that’s more empowering than that.

The fare is delightful, too: From scrumptious baking mixes to spice blends and popcorn, when you buy product from the Women’s Bean Project, you’re directly making an impact in a woman’s life and helping an individual become self-sufficient. This season, these are my host’s gifts at family gatherings held by my aunts and uncles—they all love comfort food, feeling healthy, and they’ll definitely be behind this mission.

FEED tote bag
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FEED says what it does right in the name: Proceeds from each sale go toward providing school meals to children—over 126 million meals since 2007—around the world and in America.

I first went into one of their stores in New York and was amazed at the curation of cool products. The Market Tote is my go-to for grocery shopping and errands. The extra-large version has multiple interior pockets for organizing (which I always need!) and is made from eco-starched organic cotton. This B corp-certified company also focuses on minimizing their footprint throughout their production process. Carry on!

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Coola sunscreen spray
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4. Coola

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My dermatologist has a sign hanging in her office: Wear the damn sunscreen! With skin cancer on the rise, I love to give my sun-loving, vacation-planning friends or loved ones the gift of protection. It also helps them look forward to any trips coming up!

I’m a native of Southern California and was an early adopter of daily sunscreen, even though I’ve spent almost two decades living in New York. Of all the brands I’ve sampled, Coola is one of my favorites for so many reasons: It smells incredible, goes on smooth and invisible, and there are so many great options to choose from that you might want to plan a winter beach vacation just for an excuse to wear them.

And not only are they vegan, but Coola’s products use more than 70% certified organic ingredients and comply with The Hawaii Reef Compliant Act 104, which prevents chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate, which can damage corals and other marine life. As a person who loves to snorkel and cares deeply about the environment, I’ll only buy sunscreen that keeps the reefs safe.

I happen to love the Classic Face Organic Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50, and the Classic Face Organic Sunscreen Mist SPF 50 (both are bestsellers). The mist is especially helpful for those days I need to re-apply and don’t want to mess up my makeup. There’s also a Dew Good Illuminating Serum that won a Best of Beauty award from Allure and helps “mitigate the effects of blue light, pollution, and other environmental stressors.” Now that’s beautiful!

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Qi Rose Flower Tea
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5. Qi Rose Flower Tea

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Around the holidays and all year round, I love offering tea to friends when they come over because it instantly creates a warm and inviting energy. I can report the biggest hit has been offering guests Qi rose flower tea.

When I stumbled upon the rose tea on the menu at a cool Brooklyn coffee shop, I was smitten. Qi’s rose tea is an entire dried rose flower, which has been handpicked from the gardens of Shangri-la at 10,000 feet above sea level, and then is placed inside the cup or pot (as opposed to broken-up petals in a tea bag). When you add hot water, the effect is that the rose appears to bloom. It makes for such a lovely aesthetic presentation (and fragrance!) that combines two of my favorite pleasures: Tea and flowers!

As for the key sensory experience of taste, Qi’s rose flower tea not only looks gorgeous, but it’s one of the best teas I’ve ever tried—light, floral, and calming.

Qi, which was founded by a Chinese immigrant, has contributed to over a dozen nonprofits and organizations including CAAAV, Planned Parenthood and Her Justice. This year I’m gifting this to my brother and mother-in-law, who both love tea and flowers as much as I do. There’s a reason they say roses are good for the heart!

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OSEA body oil
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In recent years, OSEA has become a favorite among skincare nerds (it’s me, hi) because their products contain natural and sustainable ingredients that absolutely make you glow. The company is Climate Neutral Certified, the first beauty brand to become Ocean Positive verified in partnership with SeaTrees, and has partnered with TerraCycle to provide a recycling program at the OSEA Skincare Studio.

Their Undaria Algae Body Oil has over 2,700 five-star Amazon reviews at press time, and I’m obsessed with using it after the shower because it’s the perfect nourishment for those dry winter days. It’s a bonus that it looks good on my bathroom counter (which I’ll be honest, I care about): The bottle is sleek and the oil is golden.

This year, I’m gifting it to my sister and mom. OSEA offers a ton of gorgeous gift sets for the skincare lover who wants to try it all.

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Soapply soap
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7. Soapply

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I really love gifting practical items that people will actually use. Soapply is a mission-focused company that helps save lives by donating $1 from every bottle of soap to funding water, sanitation and hygiene initiatives around the world.

Soapply is made from clean, non-toxic ingredients, which I try to use exclusively ever since I had kids. The bottles are glass and refillable and truly work with any bathroom decor. (I’ll be honest: I loved this so much, I kept one for myself!)

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Chantecaille skin care
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8. Chantecaille

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Chantecaille is a makeup brand that makes me feel good every time I open it. Conservation and philanthropy are at the core of their brand, with collections that have helped raise awareness for endangered animals around the world.

Their philanthropy collections come with a beautiful homage to their various wildlife causes, like the image of an elephant or turtle etched into an eyeshadow. My two-year-old sometimes sits with me while I do my makeup and says “Open elephant! Open cheetah!”

No matter which animal my little make-up assistant chooses, the wear is as beautiful as the product: I recently wore their blush and eyeshadow to a fundraiser and have never felt prettier! Since I only use clean beauty, I love that Chantecaille products are free of phthalates, sulfates, mineral oil, petroleum, palm oil, GMOs, synthetic colors and fragrances. Any beauty fan is sure to love this brand.

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Me Mother Earth bamboo dental floss
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9. Me Mother Earth

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After reading about the dangers of plastics a few years ago, I marched around my house and threw out a garbage bag’s worth of plates, cups and to-go containers. (I swore I’d only buy my kids wooden and non-plastic toys, but that only lasted two years. I’m still hoping toy companies get on board with no plastics, too!)

We’ve covered the dangers of plastics quite a bit at The Healthy @Reader’s Digest, which is why companies like Me Mother Earth—whose mission is to stop plastic waste—are so important. Me Mother Earth makes household products that reduce the need for synthetic packaging. Their zero-waste gift set is the perfect present for any age or gender and includes a reusable cutlery set, bamboo toothbrush, biodegradable dental floss, cotton mesh produce bags, reusable grocery bag and a stainless steel water bottle. Each month, they also donate a portion of their proceeds to organizations that help with ocean and animal conservation, beach and ocean cleanups, plastic pollution education, mangrove planting and more. I love gifting items like this to my sister, who works in activism.

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Dignity Coconuts coconut oil
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10. Dignity Coconuts

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In the last couple of years I’ve become obsessed with coconut oil for my skin and hair. There are truly endless uses for coconut oil we’ve covered (leather shine! odor eliminator!), which makes it such a fun and slightly unexpected gift that whispers Quiet luxury.

Dignity Coconuts works with small-scale farmers in the Philippines, where the company provides sustainable jobs—each jar is even signed by a worker who filled it, which truly adds a personal feel to the gift. Our editors are keen to try their all-natural vegan lip balms in the new year.

Matchaful Kiwami Single Origin Ceremonial Matcha
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11. Matchaful

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I first tried Matchaful at my favorite coffee shop in Brooklyn, called Upstate Stock, which makes a delicious coconut matcha (it also uses a bit of coconut oil). As a matcha-afficanado who has tried so many matcha brands (and even read books about matcha), I’ve found this to be one of the smoothest, umami-tasting matcha I’ve tried (I can even drink it with just water).

I love their gift sets, which include a whisk and measuring spoon. The company was voted the most sustainable matcha by New York Magazine for working in direct-trade with a sustainably-operated, fourth-generation Japanese tea farm in Shizuoka Prefecture and for donating 1% of their annual sales to environmental non-profits as a member of 1% for the planet. Matcha benefits include preventing cardiovascular disease, lower the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke and it has an antibacterial effect. Another reason to gift matcha to those you love!

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Prospector Popcorn
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12. Prospector Popcorn

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I really love companies who offers inclusive employment to people who struggle to get it otherwise. Prospector Popcorn is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that makes delicious gourmet popcorn and employs people with disabilities. In our shipment, we loved that the employees all signed a thank-you card for supporting their work. We’re totally fans.

Prospector flavors include apple cinnamon, birthday cake and buffalo cheddar. (Our senior editor sampled the Festival of Lights limited holiday flavor—divine!) I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t love popcorn…and it has health benefits!

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Baabushka slippers
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13. Baabushka

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I love shoes, and I guess I want to share that love with others because I always feel tempted to give shoes as gifts—but I find it so tricky, which is why I was so excited to find Baabushka.

Truly everyone needs a casual and comfy booty to wear running errands, getting the mail or working around the house. And, yes, the booties are just as cute as the name. Baabushka are sustainably handmade by women artisans in Nepal, and are personally signed with a signature stitch so you know the person who made it—not a factory. The company’s goal is to empower Nepali women by “promoting their independence, providing their children the opportunity to attend school, and enabling their expanded role in their developing society’s economic growth.”

It takes half a day to create one pair of booties or slippers, which has built-in arch support (which we all need for healthy feet!). Additionally, they donate a percentage of their annual sales to the non-profit Global Citizen, which works on ending poverty. Give Babushkas, and your loved one’s feet will feel as good as their heart!

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Lalais skincare
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14. Lalais

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If Oprah likes it, who am I to argue? Lalais is a skincare and wellness brand that’s focused on all skin tones and was named one of Oprah’s Favorite Things this holiday season.

We also love Lalais the brand story: After her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis, founder Lita Cunningham decided to work with a renowned chemist and create a skincare company with products that were formulated clean by cross-referencing all the botanical ingredients with New York City’s Memorial Sloane Kettering, which is one of the leading cancer research and treatment health systems in the country. Lalais has since donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, continuing the mission that started it all.

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Junes Bags
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15. Junes Bags

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I first came across Junes bags at a small boutique where I live and it was unlike any tote I’ve ever owned: My first Junes bag was made from bio-knit mesh that used plastic fibers to make a strong and sustainable bag that was both cool-looking and strong. I’d never gotten so many compliments on a tote bag.

It wasn’t until I went online to buy another bag that I learned about the good the company does. Junes partners with an all-female sewing co-op in Juarez to offer sustainable income for the women there. They also donate a portion of every bag purchased to the Global Fund for Women, which helps empower and protect women from violence.

Inspiration for the company came after the founder, Janean Mann, visited Ciudad Juárez, Mexico in 2014 and noticed rows of fliers featuring missing women. As the Junes website explains, “In a place plagued by human and drug trafficking, a culture of corruption, cartels, and misogyny had created a perfect storm of mass violence against innocent women.”

She decided to create a company whose aim would be to support women in areas significantly affected by human trafficking. You’ll never feel so great about a bag!

cusa tea and coffee
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16. Cusa Tea & Coffee

Our team sampled Cusa Tea & Coffee, discovering a unique flavor variety but also unique delivery: Both the coffee and tea come in individual pouches—particularly unusual for tea, as the brand highlights their “evaporative dehydration” process and “gentle botanical extraction technology.” If the science-y explanation didn’t sell us, the quick steeping, good taste, and beneficial botanicals did. Cusa also adds an extra filtration step to their production process to ensure pollutants and pesticides don’t make it into your mug.

Cusa says one of its aims in launching the brand was to cut down on waste from coffee grounds (which, by the way, can be upcycled!) and tea bags. Since their “sticks” (pouches) are not recyclable curbside, the brand invites fans to ship quantities of the empty sticks to their Colorado base for a discount on future orders.