Monday, October 21st, 2013


Urban Decay Ocho Loco 2 Eyeliner Set

Some of these are gifts that I’ve specifically reviewed, others are formulas I’ve tried but perhaps not the full set or that exact set. I’m excluding palettes from this post, as I want to do a round-up of my favorite palettes separately. I’ve also included a list of additional holiday gift suggestions that tick a lot of the boxes on what I’m looking for in a good gift set but I may not have tried before. In general, when I want to maximize my money and get the most out of a set, here’s what I look for:

  1. Variety — One of the best aspects about buying a palette or a set or kit is getting to try a bunch of products or shades, some that you might not be willing to buy individually. Depending on what you already own, you may also have to consider how much overlap there is with what you already have compared to what’s included in the set (and if you want doubles!).
  2. Value — How often have you actually finished a full-sized product? Even when I only used MAC and wasn’t blogging and buying full collections, the only shade I ever finished was the shade I used for my brows–and that still took years of daily use. I remember the blush that I used every single day for at least a year, if not longer, was about half-gone. Most of us just aren’t going to finish the majority of products we own, which means, we don’t actually need the full-sized. Value is both what you get (quantity) and what you’ll actually use from it (so a palette with 20 colors that you’d use only one from isn’t valuable to you!). At the same time, a set that saves you a couple bucks isn’t that exciting.
  3. Price — $500 for 300 items is still $500. I find a lot of the best sets come in around $50 or less. If you are a huge, huge fan of a particular brand and have the money to splurge, some brands over super-over-the-top-mega-sets at $200+ that can be well worth it, though. (Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Liner set from previous years comes to mind.)
  4. Packaging — minis can be tricky, so sometimes a mini can be so small that it’s not very functional. An eyeliner that’s an inch tall is annoying to use, or a nail polish where the brush is half the size can also be problematic. There’s not deal-breakers, but it’s something I’ve learned to pay attention to.

Under $60

Under $100

Some additional sets to consider…

Note, I haven’t tried these products extensively or at all, so I can’t vouch for the quality, but these are good opportunities to try something new OR if you have tried the formula already and liked it, I think they’re worth considering!

  • Sephora Formula X The Twenty Two ($55.00) includes 22 miniature-sized bottles of the new formula. There is also a 10-piece set of Sephora’s regular polish with full-sized bottles for $36.
  • Sephora Favorites are kits that feature top-selling products across brands from Sephora, and there are 12 different sets available ranging from lips, mascara, eyeliners, fragrances, rollerballs, and more. It’s a great way to try out cult favorites in a one-stop shop. I think the fragrance/rollerball sets are pretty nice, since even trial sizes of fragrances can be all you need of a fragrance you like but don’t love.
  • Bite Beauty 15 Shades of Sephora ($48.00) includes 15 shades of glosses, eacch at 0.06 oz., giving you plenty of options to choose from.
  • Kat Von D Spellbinding Lipstick Set ($39.00) includes 10 miniature-sized lipsticks (0.042 oz. each); great variety and a healthy mini size that you can get many uses out of.

Stock Up on Skincare

Whatever your favorite regimen, the holiday season is a great time to pick up value-packed starter kits, travel-sized versions (great for actually traveling!), or mega-sized versions. So, keep an eye out for those!

What are your favorite holiday gift sets/kits this year?

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46 thoughts on “The Best of Holiday 2013 Beauty Sets to Give & Get

  1. Christina D.

    I went a little crazy this year with Too Faced, so I grabbed the Sephora exclusive “A Few of My Favorite Things,” the Ulta exclusive “Be Merry & Bright”, and directly from Too Faced, “Joy To The Girls.” Love ‘em!!!

    But I am still eyeing (pun intended) the Urdan Decay Black Market set…

  2. Can’t thank enough for this post :)
    I am already eying the butter londen set at nordies n now u added some more here :)

  3. Forgot to add … sephora lip love set
    more lip or something … that is also great at 58

  4. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Kristen Kristen

    So far I have only picked up the Tarte blush set from Sephora. I really, really want some of the Too Faced sets and the Sephora Favorites but I am trying to be good and buy things for OTHER people and not just myself LOL. Sadly, none of my friends are makeup fans like me and my two family members that are don’t live near me.

  5. Rosie

    The Molton Brown set you mentioned, I’ve already bought two and am splitting them into sets in gift bags for friends.

  6. This is a fantastic idea – thank you for sharing! I can’t wait to see the palette roundup!

  7. Love these pencils by UD!! Might get these as a present to myself :)

  8. This UD eye pencil set is on my wish list! And in my top three! :-)

  9. The Too Faced sets are really exciting me this year! I may pick one up!

  10. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Colleen Colleen

    I picked up the Marvelous Moxie Kiss & Tell lipstick set as well as the Buxom Serial Kisser lipstick set. The Buxom and Moxie formulas are both so smooth on the lips! They feel great, look great, and they don’t smell or taste offensive. Love them!!!

  11. Great list! The OCC lip tar set and Urban Decay liners are definitely on my wishlist

  12. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Sulee Sue

    I got the Jin Soon Holiday toppings nail polish set at Space NK. Sephora has some interesting ones too, including a huge Marc Jacobs lipstick gift set (13 full size items for $350). Some of my favorites are the Hourglass Ambient palette and Deborah Lippmann’s Big Bang, Starlight, and Space Oddity polish sets. All the polish sets have exclusive colors to make them a bit more tempting.

  13. I just bought a set from Origins although I was just looking for a moisturizer! It was a good value and I’ll be able to try their eye cream, cream shadow and mascara!
    I love sets, especially when they’re a good value for the $$ :)

  14. Hi Christine!

    Thanks for the post! :) Got myself the Ocho loco -2. Its the best eye liner set ever. Loved all the colors.

    Also got Too faced meets sephora 15th anniversary palette – have you tried that one? Its on sale right now at sephora (39$) I really like it!

  15. With so many amazing sets ow cud I be happy with just one.. Gonna share this with with a mandatory condition of getting me atleast one of these.. :D :D

  16. Every year I buy a holiday beauty set for my niece, usually from MAC. I’ll probably buy the nude lip gloss set this year too. MAC lipglass sets were packaged so cute last year in round pink boxes, very dainty. Thanks for reminding me to get shopping! Before the good deals sell out, love this post!

  17. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Keely kiwikeely

    i only want the two new colors for the UD eyeliners..sigh.

  18. renu

    I am a little interested in the Bare escentuals All the Faves set which seems to have various mini and full size shades that look useable. I use very little makeup but like variety and a mix of neutral and bright/dark shades in sets. I bought a few eyeliners and the Dangerous palette from Urban Decay during their recent sale, my very first UD purchase! Am looking forward to the dual-ended eyeliner set from UD the most.

  19. I purchased the Sephoras Favorites Gift Set – it is fantastic!!!!!! I love every single product in there, which includes several full sizes of products as well as jumbo samples of the rest of the goods. I recommend this set to anyone looking to try the best of the best from Sephora.

  20. THis is such an informative post. I’m bookmarking this to come back to again and again. Thanks so much <3

  21. The UD Ocho Loco 2 eyeliner set is definitely going on my wish list!

  22. Amanda

    The set of 10 nail polishes for $36 at Sephora is not Formula X. It’s the regular Sephora brand, that’s why it’s so cheap.