You know the feeling — you get your girlfriend what you think is a perfect gift for her birthday or your anniversary and watching her open it suddenly becomes the relationship equivalent to the Cold War. She doesn’t like it but is pretending to, you’re going along with it just wondering when the inevitable argument is going to erupt. It’s a sweet moment turned into a stalemate of tension and you’re not sure what went wrong. This year, let’s skip it all — shall we?
If a partner’s birthday is coming up and you’re officially on the search for the perfect birthday gifts for girlfriends, you’ve come to the right place. Your research ends here because we’ve got 18 fantastic gift options below recommended by a female writer who knows her stuff. I’ve given gifts, received gifts and even faked a “No, I love it!” a few times and I’m here to help you avoid the classic relationship-existential-crisis question “Does he even know me at all?!” Listen to my advice and she’ll surely love the present or at least love you for trying.
I’m including a few different options in different categories including activewear, skin & beauty, food & drink, tech gifts and clothing & accessories. Think about your girlfriend’s interests — what does she enjoy the most or spend her time doing? No matter who she is, there’s something on this list she’ll love. Keep reading for the best birthday gift for girlfriend ideas for 2021.
Activewear Birthday Gifts for Girlfriend
Girlfriend Collective High-Rise Pocket Legging
Activewear makes a great birthday gift for your girlfriend, whether she’s a regular at the gym or not. If your girlfriend is a regular at the yoga studio, in the gym or on the running trail, she’ll love these leggings from Girlfriend Collective. They’re a workout apparel line that makes all of their pieces out of recycled water bottles. They’re cute, have one of the widest size ranges in the game from XXS to 6XL and are high quality. These leggings are squat-proof, ultra-high rise for keeping everything tucked during downward dog and come with those extremely handy side pockets, making it the perfect gift for your girlfriend. There are four different colors available, so start studying her wardrobe more carefully to see if any patterns emerge.
The Exercise Dress From Outdoor Voices
While it might seem a little weird, this exercise dress from Outdoor Voices is the trendiest thing in the women’s activewear space right now for a reason. You throw on one thing and you’re done – it won’t slide around and it’s flattering to a variety of body types. It’s made with OV’s super breathable LightSpeed fabric and it includes built-in shorts and a phone pocket.
It comes in a variety of colors and patterns so whether your girlfriend likes to hike, run, play tennis or hit the gym she’ll stand out in the crowd.
Lululemon Align Pant
These leggings from Lululemon are incredibly soft and super comfortable for a wide range of activities from yoga to running and cycling. They’re made of Lulu’s Nulu fabric that’s buttery smooth and feels almost weightless on your skin. I have a pair of these and they are by far my favorite leggings that I own. They’re got a high waistband pocket where she can store her house key or headphones while she’s out and about, and the waistband lies flat without digging in.
Skin & Beauty Birthday Gifts for Girlfriend
Drunk Elephant The Littles Kit
Drunk Elephant is an all-natural bio-compatible skincare line that makes great products for skin that’s easily irritated or users who want to switch to more natural products that actually work. A.K.A, you can’t go wrong picking out a birthday gift for your girlfriend from this brand.
They pride themselves on making all of their products without “The Suspicious 6” which includes essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical sunscreens, fragrances/dyes and SLS. This kit, The Littles, will give you a taste of all of their products in one so your girlfriend can try out a bunch of what they have to offer and invest in the bigger containers of the products she actually likes.
The kit includes a cleanser, moisturizer, a few different serums for day and night and a great eye cream. They all go on easy and after a few weeks she’ll notice a difference in her skin’ tone, brightness and feel.
True Botanicals Pure Radiance Oil
When it comes to expensive skincare that your girlfriend may never buy for herself, this moisturizer is probably at the top of her list. True Botanicals is a super high-quality skincare company that makes products that rival La Mer and similar brands while using natural ingredients. This is their best-selling moisturizer for a reason — it’s clinically proven to increase hydration levels in your skin and minimize the appearance of fine lines (These are things women care about immensely).
It’s got a lovely natural scent she’ll love carrying around all day that’s made up of jasmine, neroli and rose. She’ll feel pampered and luxurious — and she’ll have you to thank for it.
Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser + Futuredew
Glossier is a massively popular and high-quality skincare line that completed its series D funding in 2019 with a valuation of $1.2 billion. So yeah, chicks dig it, and your girlfriend will too. This Milky Jelly Cleanser is one of their best-selling products for its ability to remove makeup without drying skin out. The dewiness with Futuredew is all about the latest in skincare goals — a look that’s shiny and glossy without looking too oily. Get her this duo and her morning routine will thank you.
Youth To The People Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask
This overnight face mask is the ultimate pampering, “treat yourself” gift if your girl is into skincare. This brand is known for their high-quality ingredients, and this mask contains vitamin C as well as hyaluronic acid which is known for its moisturizing capabilities. This mask works on dry, combo and normal skin as well, and it’s great for evening out texture. You don’t have to fully known why it’s good, but just know she’ll be happy and think of you every time she puts it on.
Food & Drink Birthday Gifts For Girlfriend
Four-Piece Cocktail Kit Set From The Cocktail Box Co.
In a long-distance relationship? Maybe your girlfriend travels a lot? Regardless, give her something fun to do on the plane to come see you with these cute travel cocktail kits that make an excellent birthday gift for girlfriend. They’ve got everything she needs to create a tasty drink on the plane with the addition of a small bottle of alcohol purchased onboard. The kit includes TSA-safe materials for an Old Fashioned, Moscow Mule, Gin & Tonic and Champagne Cocktail so she can pick her favorite from a variety of choices. Make her time in the sky a little more joyous or buy this kit for both of you and book an upcoming trip to use them on. She’ll love the ingenuity of it and the excuse to enjoy a beverage on a long voyage.
Nostalgia Six-Cup Stainless Steel Electric Fondue Pot
What’s more fun than a night of melted chocolate? Seriously, this fondue pot is super fun and a great cooking experience for you to share as you dip fruits, vegetables, bread, meats and more into this delectable gadget. Make date night at home extra special with a fondue experience out of this durable, high-quality pot. It’s got temperature control for keeping your cheese, chocolate or other food at an ideal temperature, six color-coded forks in case you invite other couples to join and notches on the lid to hold it all in place.
Delish: Eat Like Every Day’s the Weekend
Life is meant to be savored, and Delish.com speaks to that value heavily for people who aren’t necessarily chefs but want to always eat something delicious. They’ve got easy recipes that are fun to make any night of the week that will help you girl feel accomplished after cooking something amazing for herself. This book includes more than 275 recipes for things like chicken-fried cauliflower, a quesadilla cake or cookie dough cheesecake. If your girl is a foodie, grab her this — and hopefully you’ll get to enjoy the fruits of her (not very laborious) labor.
JuneShine Blood Orange Mint
If your girl hasn’t already hopped on the hard kombucha train, this is a great brand to introduce her to on her special day. JuneShine makes delicious hard kombucha that’s tasty and alcoholic, without tasting too strong. This flavor is made from farm-fresh blood oranges from Temecula, CA, and is high in antioxidants. The drink also contains a dash of mint for flavor and to help with digestion, and it’s packed with Vitamin C since blood oranges contain 40% more of it than navel oranges.
Tech Birthday Gifts For Girlfriend
Looking for awesome tech gadgets? New wireless earbuds and chic charging trays are some of the best birthday gifts for women, and we’ve selected our absolute favorites below. If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, check out our complete tech gift guide for 65+ gift ideas for her.
Apple AirPods Pro
Does your girlfriend workout, have headphones in all day at work or just generally love pods with high-quality sound? The Apple AirPods Pro are definitely worth the investment and will serve her well no matter what her lifestyle is. They’ve got powerful noise cancelling capabilities, a transparency mode that mixes noise in with her music or headphone noise (so she can still hear your sweet nothings on the conference call) and three different sizes for silicone tips that will fit in her ears. They’re sweat and water resistant so working out isn’t an issue and they’ve got an adaptive EQ that automatically tunes the music to the shape of her ear. They’re pretty cool, and definitely a step up from the regular AirPods. Make the switch for her and maybe for yourself too.
If your girlfriend loves to journal or takes a bunch of notes at work, this tablet could be a perfect step-up gadget for her. The reMarkable is a digital tablet that looks and feels just like paper and can store all of your work on one device. It’s got days of battery life and unlimited pages to work on so she’ll never run out of space or lose that quick note she made randomly four days ago. She’ll be able to stay focused and enjoy the perks of writing on paper without the risk of losing her work. Hello acts of service! This device is a perfect display of your love through trying to make her life easier. Go for it. (The company recently released the Remarkable 2 tablet; read our full review.)
Courant Catch: 3 Charging Tray
Does your girlfriend have a lot of gadgets? Is her nightstand a mess of cords that get tangled all the time? Simplify things with this beautifully designed wireless charging tray she can use to keep everything in one place and charged at the same time. Courant’s Catch 3 supports fast charging and is made with high-quality Italian leather so it’s beautiful and high performing at the same time. It comes in a bunch of different colors but I would personally recommend the Bone, Dusty Rose or Pacific Blue (pictured below).
A nice massage gun is a great gift for anyone, including your athletically-inclined GF who could use a massage any time she wants one. If you’re not there to rub her shoulders or lower back, let this mini device from Theragun get the job done. It’s pocket-sized and has a QX35 motor with QuietForce technology and three different speed settings. It’s got 150 minutes of battery life and is small enough to pack in her gym bag.
Clothing & Accessory Birthday Gifts for Girlfriend
Criss-Crossed Upsized Jeans
This criss-crossed jeans look out in front is super trendy right now (trust us) and she’ll love that you picked up on that and thought to give these to her. They go great with just about any type of top and can be dressed up or down with sneakers or heels depending on the occasion. Revolve also has free shipping and returns on all purchases so she can switch them out if the size isn’t quite right.
Zara Heeled Leather Sandals
These are a great nice shoe for summer, and have thin straps that she can pair well with pants, dresses, skirts and even shorts. They’ve got a square toe that’s supportive and durable leather straps that hold it all together. They also have lined insoles for support and a buckled ankle. They’re simple and delicate, but the bright pink color will definitely make a statement.
This beautiful, fancy-ish dress from Reformation is the perfect thing to make her feel special and beautiful on her big day. It’s a mini-length dress so if she tends to wear things that show off a little leg this will be perfect. It’s got a sweetheart neckline for showing off some jewelry, a nice ruffled hem and is fitted throughout so it’ll compliment her figure nicely. It comes in a few different colors and designs but my personal favorite is this bright, summer-y Clementine pattern.