The holiday season is here and Christmas is a little less than a week away. Yikes! Are you like me and put your holiday shopping off until the last minute? Still looking for that perfect gift for the beauty fanatic in your life? Is your shopping done and you're looking to buy yourself something nice? Of course, gift cards from Sephora or Ulta or specialty stores like The Body Shop or LUSH, are always a solid choice, but if you want to go above and beyond, treat the lady bon vivant in your life to one of the products on my gift list.
Palettes! Palettes! Palettes!
If there's one beauty product that's guaranteed to put a lipglossed smile on a product junkie's face, it's some kind of palette. Eyeshadow, lipstick, blush, or full face... there's a palette out there for everyone and no shortage of great brands to choose from. Too Faced, Laura Mercier (check out my November 2015 favorites for more on this one!), Smashbox, and Make Up For Ever are just a few that offer a wide range of quality palettes. I've included some other notable brand choices below.
Kat Von D Innerstellar Eyeshadow Palette - Monarch Eyeshadow Palette - Shade + Light Eye Contour Palette ($46.00 Sephora)
Kat Von D eyeshadow palettes are amazing. The packaging is awesome and each palette always includes the most beautiful, highly-pigmented colors that are super blendable. I own three Kat Von D palettes, including the cool-toned Innerstellar, and use them all the time. The Monarch palette is warm-toned while the Shade + Light Eye Contour palette has cool and warm tones and lots of neutrals. Each palette has 12 eyeshadows and are a great value for the quality and amount of product you get. And did I mention how beautiful they are?
LORAC Unzipped Palette ($42.00 Ulta)
The Unzipped Palette has 10 beautiful, rosy shades that are a mix of matte, satin, and shimmer. The colors are neutral and universally flattering on almost any skin tone. And as with any good palette, the colors are pigmented and blend beautifully. I like this palette because the colors make a good base for a lot of the other eyeshadows in my collection. The palette is a very compact size and comes with a sample of LORAC's Behind the Scenes Eye Primer, which makes it convenient to take on the go.
Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette ($58.00 Sephora/Ulta)
The limited edition Gwen Stefani palette from Urban Decay is THE palette to have right now. And for good reason. You get 15 shades, 12 of which are brand new, created by Gwen Stefani herself. This palette has lots of neutrals and a few jewel tones and as with any good palette, a mix of shimmer and mattes. I'm gazing at mine right now and it's just so beautiful. Some of my favorite shades include Bathwater, Baby, Pop, Stark, and Punk. Even the packaging is exceptionally sleek and beautiful; white, gold, and black and very modern.
Of course, giving the makeup lover in your life any palette from Urban Decay will score you super Santa points - Vice 4, the Naked Smoky Palette (or any of the Naked palettes), or the Electric Pressed Pigment Palette are all solid choices. Trust me on this one...
There were a number of notable beauty trends this year, including Korean skincare, 90s-inspired brown and wine-toned lip colors, and of course, strobing. The award for the biggest trend, though, definitely goes to contouring & highlighting. Of course, these are techniques used by makeup artists all the time and are nothing new. Regardless, contouring and highlighting has quickly become more of an everyday mainstay than a simple trend. One of the most highly-reviewed contour palettes is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit ($40.00 Sephora/Ulta), which comes in Light/Medium and Medium/Tan. Each palette has six pressed powder shades to define and sculpt your face. The other contour palette that was met with rapturous delight this year is the Kat Von D Shade + Light Contour Palette ($46.00 Sephora), which also contains six pressed powder shades that blend out beautifully on the skin.
The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette ($58.00 Sephora) is more of an everyday contour palette. I love this palette because it's perfect for fair skin and my go to for quick bronzing and highlighting as I'm trying to get out the door in the morning. It's a subtle, yet effective, way to add that little extra sparkle to your routine. The Tarte Park Ave. Princess Contour Palette Volume II ($34.00 Sephora) is another great choice for everyday, on-the-go contouring. This three-in-one palette includes the best-selling Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess, a beautiful peachy blush called Glisten, and a highlighter in the color, Champagne. Both of these palettes are super compact which make them perfect for travel.
Applying makeup is even more fun when you have the right tools. One of my favorites is the Beauty Blender ($20.00 Sephora), which I like to think of as the Cadillac of cosmetic sponges. It's egg-shaped and comes to a point on one end. Just add water and use it to apply and blend primers, cream foundation, concealers, and setting powders; it's perfection and well worth the hype and the money.
And of course, no makeup collection is complete without good, solid basic makeup brushes. Real Techniques brushes are without a doubt the best brushes on the market for the price. Time and time again, the quality is super impressive. You can buy many of the brushes individually at Ulta, Wal-Mart, or Walgreens, but there are some great gift sets available this holiday season. The Real Techniques Collector's Edition Deluxe Gift Set ($29.99 Ulta) includes a Multi-tasking brush (exclusive), Tapered foundation brush (exclusive), Angled highlighter brush, Base shadow brush (exclusive), a Fine liner brush, and a clutch to carry them in. I also highly recommend the Real Techniques Bold Metals Essentials Set ($34.50 Ulta). This line of Real Techniques brushes came out last year and they're a slightly higher price point than the originals, but are shiny and beautiful and just as lovely to use. This set includes the Angled powder brush, Oval shadow eye brush (I love this one!), and Tapered blush brush, also in a clutch.
And finally, for the beauty maven in your life who also loves history and books, Face Paint: The Story of Makeup ($29.95) by the brilliant celebrity makeup artist, Lisa Eldridge, is the absolute perfect choice. The pictures are gorgeous and the book itself covers not only the history of cosmetics, but the politics and cultural significance as well. Once again, you can't go wrong with this one.
When I was growing up, opening the goodies in my stocking was my favorite part of Christmas morning. Luckily, there's no shortage of beauty gifties to add a little extra fun to the holidays. I love NYX Cosmetics Butter Lipstick; they're super pigmented and moisturizing and are a crazy good bargain at $5.99. The Butter Lipstick Set ($11.99 Ulta) includes three shades and is an even better bargain, since you're essentially getting one lipstick for free.
The Smashbox Try It Kit ($18.00 Sephora/Ulta) is the perfect gift to introduce someone to bestselling Smashbox products, including deluxe sample sizes of the Photo Finish Foundation Primer, Full Exposure Mascara, Photo Op Eyeshadow Trio, and Photo Finish 24 Hour Shadow Primer, which is one of my very favorite eyeshadow primers. And finally, the Revolution Lipgloss Double Shot Travel-Size Duo ($14.00 Sephora/Ulta) is another great way to try out some more Urban Decay love. The highly-pigmented duo includes Liar, which is a medium pink nude and Anarchy, which is a bright fuschia (another one of my favorites).
I guarantee you success great with any of these! Happy last minute shopping! And keep me posted on how much adoration you receive after you give one of these goodies.
Yours in beauty,
Lady Bon Vivant