Holiday Gift Guide: Must-Have Beauty Products for Eyes
I’m going to do my best to crank out the last few gift guides in the next day, because I know a lot of sales are coming up for Black Friday/Cyber Monday, and I don’t want you to miss out! These are all products I personally recommend that are part of the permanent range. Products are listed in order of ascending price!
- Milani Liquif’Eye Eyeliners ($5.49) is a standout formula with a wallet-friendly price tag–if they had a bigger range, they’d be even better. I love their Black and Aqua shades.
- MAC Fluidlines ($15) is a long-time favorite, because it’s creamy enough for smooth, crisp application but sets and wears well. My favorite is Blacktrack.
- Tarina Tarantino Dream Hyperliners ($15) are a newly-discovered favorite with a fantastic color range, rich color, and long-wear. My favorite shades have been Sparkling Ammunition and Puppeteer.
- Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Liners ($18) also has an amazing range of shades as well as finishes, and this is an eyeliner that stays on well throughout the day. I regularly reach for shades like #4L, 5L, 12L, and 20L.
- Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencils ($18) are a total go-to for me! They have a full color range available, and they’re soft and glide on easily. Some of my favorites are Bourbon Covet, Graffiti, Mildew, Rockstar, Stash, and Underground.
- Stila Smudgestick Waterproof Eyeliners ($20) are super soft and pigmented, but they do run out of quick–but their color range is so rich, it’s hard to say no. I love Moray, Peacock, and Stingray.
- Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliners ($21) is a rich, long-wearing gel eyeliner that’s smooth and creamy but still wears all day. Check out shades like Black Mauve Shimmer Ink and Cobalt Ink!
- Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners ($23) is my absolute favorite for liquid liner, because the color range is wide and the formula itself stays on all day. I recommend shades like #3, 4, 9, 10, and 14. If you like lots and lots of sparkle, consider Stila Sparkle Liquid Eyeliners ($22) which have a very similar formula but their shades have more shimmer.
- Wet ‘n’ Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow ($1.99 to $4.99) are a real steal with a lot of variations and options available, and a lot of the shades are of excellent quality.
- Inglot Eyeshadows ($5) won’t break the bank but will deliver intense color payoff–they’re most well-known for their mattes and Double Sparkles.
- Sugarpill Chromalusts ($12) are finely milled with lots of dimension. My favorites are Stella, Absinthe, and Goldilux! I’d also recommend checking out their eyeshadows if you’re shopping for someone who loves bright colors (they’re also $12 and top notch).
- theBalm Eyeshadows ($16) are richly pigmented, silky smooth, and wear really well. Their individual singles are great, but they also have several palettes that work well, too. My favorite singles are All About Alex, Jealous Jordana, and Risque Renee.
- Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner ($19) are some of my favorite cream eyeshadows for quick all-over washes or as an eyeshadow base; the range is generally more neutral/subdued so it would be great for busy folks who don’t have a lot of time to spend on their makeup every morning. I love shades like Birthday Suit and Skinny Jeans.
- Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencils ($20) is a chubby pencil that can be used as an eyeliner or more like a cream eyeshadow (or even an eyeshadow base). They wear really well and deliver pretty good color. I like shades Clinic, Lit, and Midnight Cowboy.
- Bare Escentuals Ready Eyeshadows ($20 for duo, $30 for quad) caught me off guard, because I really didn’t think they’d be out of this world, but they’re really, really good. Some of my favorite duos are The Scenic Route and The Escape, and some of my favorite quads are The Elements and The Truth.
- MAC Pigments ($20) are still one of my favorite products for really revving up a look. Some of the permanent shades I love are Pink Opal, Melon, and Teal.
- Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams ($22) come in neutrals as well as bright pops of color, and they’re a cream product that really locks down once it sets. I love the Aqua Creams best for eyes. I totally dig shades like #2, #5, #13, #15.
- Illamasqua Pure Pigment ($24) may be pricey and they don’t come with a whole lot of product, for most consumers, it’ll take years to get through. The reason I like these is I feel like the range has a lot of complex, unique shades.
- Le Metier de Beaute True Color Eyeshadow ($30) is a pricey but absolutely luxurious eyeshadow formula that’s built for layering. I love shades like Chameleon and Jade.
- Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense ($32) are so intense and have this interesting formula that wears well all day long and comes in some fun shades. I love #1, 2, 3, and 6 a lot!
- Tarina Tarantino Jewel Eyeshadow Palettes ($32) are good bang for your buck with top notch quality–love Dreamy the most.
- Hourglass Visionaire Eyeshadow ($38) is my favorite eyeshadow formula, and I really wish they’d come out with more shades, but my favorites are Gypsy, Prism, and Lagoon.
- Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Palette ($48) is still one of my favorite palettes that Urban Decay has launched, and it is something I reach for when I travel.
- Maybelline Full ‘n Soft Mascara ($6.59) is my go-to for soft, natural-looking lashes with lots of volume.
- MAC Plushlash Mascara ($15) is a great all-over mascara; it thickens, lengthens, and volumizes.
- Bare Escentuals Buxom Lash Mascara ($19) is fantastic for lengthening.
- Hourglass Film Noir Mascara ($28) is inky black while lengthening and thickening well.
What are your must-have eye products that are permanent?
Holiday Gift Guide: Totally Holiday, Totally Gift-Worthy and Under $30
First, I want to cover holiday gift sets, kits, palettes, and value sets specifically and exclusively. There are several more posts to come, including items from holiday color collections as well as permanent products and more. I tried to take into account the incredible input I received from readers, so the whole guide is broken down by price with special attention to different categories of products (e.g. lipgloss vs. eyeshadow), as well as I tried to provide commentary on who the gift might work for.
A Few Money-Saving Tips
- If you’re on a tight budget this year but feel you absolutely must buy something to gift, consider doling out more on a single value kit/set but then breaking it up. For instance, a kit with ten lipglosses can be split and gifted to two or three or even ten people. You can buy festive holiday ribbon at a local crafts store to tie around the gloss, or you could include a few holiday candies or homemade baked goods.
- Splitting up sets is also a great idea if you’re looking for stocking stuffers or you want to do more mixing-and-matching of gifts for your favorite pals (say a gloss, eyeliner, and lipstick).
- When it comes to getting the most for your money, pay attention to the amount of product you’re getting and compare to the full-sized version (and its price).
- Consider nail polish sets and kits; some come around for the holidays (but availability online may be difficult), there are lots of fantastic brands for $2-5 a pop, so you can get a good variety without breaking the bank.
Eyes: Snag two travel-sized eyeliners (which are usually around 0.03 oz., compared to 0.04 oz. for full size) in Oil Slick and Rockstar in Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil Duo ($14.00); there is also one in Bourbon and Ransom. Bare Escentuals Strike It Rich Prime Time Collection ($28.00) contains five miniature-sized versions of the brand’s colored primer, which I’m a fan of; the only way the kit could have been better is if they included Urban Nature!
Cheeks/Face: Trial kits like Benefit One Prime Day ($10.00) are great for personal use but also to give, because you’re giving someone the chance to try new products they might not otherwise buy, but if you’re not totally sure they’ll love them, neither of you will feel bad. I’d give this to a friend who complained about their oily skin! Something else to consider is Benefit’s Powda WOWza, which consists of three top-selling face powders (and two that I love): CORALista, Bella Bamba, and Hoola.
Lips: This is an easily one of the best places to get a lot of bank for your buck when it comes to holiday sets–there are numerous lipgloss/lipstick kits available. I love the sheer, tinted hydrating lip shines, and the Philosophy Much Mistletoeing Lip Shine Set ($20.00 for 4×0.50 oz.) is a good value (these are full-sized!) and already comes in festive packaging. Korres has a great lipgloss formula in their Cherry Oil Lipglosses, and for the holidays, they have a Cherry-Picked Cherry Oil Lipgloss Quad ($28.00 for 4×0.20o oz.) set–and don’t let the word “quad” fool you, because they’re four individually packaged glosses that are full-sized. For lip balm, you know I’m loving and have to recommend Jack Black Balm Squad Lip Quad ($25.00 for 4×0.25 oz.) includes four full-sized lip balms of my very favorite formula in four flavors (there is also a lip balm/hand cream duo for $12, and both formulas TOPS!).
Skin/Body: Badger Three Bold Balms Set ($15.99) is a fabulous balm for healing dry, cracked skin, and this set gives you one to help with sore muscles, another for everywhere, and one scented to help you sleep–a totally classic multi-purpose balm but in a cuter set for the holidays. Bliss Winter Wonder Hands ($11.00) is a duo of hand creams that are purse-sized and fit easily into stockings. It’s not my very favorite hand cream, but it’s a good one! Burt’s Bees Healthy Hands Repair Kit ($12.99) is perfect for someone who works with their hands or loves to do their nails (and is therefore meticulous about their hands!).
When it comes to body care, my favorite go-tos for gifts are Philosophy and Bath and Body Works. Philosophy has numerous gift sets available (from all categories they offer), but a few of the ones I like best are Sugar Plum Frost Set ($18.00), Candy Cane Trio ($22.00), and Fun in the Frosty Air Trio ($25.00). Similarly, Bath and Body Works has tons of various baskets and sets. Giving body products are excellent gift ideas for people who enjoy relaxing (think baths and long showers) or for those you don’t know well enough to be able to pick a specific color for. If you’re unsure about someone’s scent preferences, food-based scents tend to be most generally applicable, so long as they’re not cloyingly sweet.
Fragrance: They may be teeny-tiny, but you’ll be surprised at how many uses you’ll still get out of Tocca’s Love Yourself Collection ($18.00 for 7×0.05 oz.). Pacifica Hawaiian Ruby Guava Take Me There Set ($18.00) contains travel-sized versions of the scent’s rollerball perfume, body butter, and body wash, which would be a great layering kit, especially for someone who enjoys fruitier, tropical scents.
Do you have any suggestions for readers on the prowl for affordable holiday gifts this year that came out just in time for holiday gift-giving?
Benefit Holiday 2011 Collection
Limited edition holiday sets and kits!
POWda WOWza ($28.00) (Limited Edition)
3 x 0.10 oz. Face Powders in Coralista, Hoola, and Bella Bamba.
I’m Glam… Therefore I Am ($36.00) (Limited Edition)
0.25 oz Girl Meets Pearl (pearly golden pink), 0.18 oz Eyeshadow Palette in Pink Fancy (pale pink), Icy Lilac (silvery light mauve), Posh Amethyst (soft plum), Precious Pewter (steel gray), Double-Ended Sponge Applicator, 0.07 oz Glamming Face Powder with Brush (soft rose/ peachy pink sheen), 0.14 oz A Little Bit BADgal Lash Mascara in black, 0.18 oz Lip Gloss in Life On The A List (bubble gum pink)
Ticket to Glossytown ($24.00) (Limited Edition)
6 x 0.1 oz Lipgloss in So Frisk Me (gilded berry), Nudie-Tude (goldspun twist), Spiked Punch (vibrant coral), Kiss You (clear fuchsia), Life On The A List (bubble gum pink), Foxy Lady (diamond rose)
Brighter & Badder ($29.00) (Limited Edition)
This set features Eye bright, a “nap in a stick” that revs ups eyes for a wide-awake look; and BADgal lash mascara, which pumps up the volume for the lushest-ever fringe.
The Big 10 ($32.00) (Limited Edition)
0.1 oz Dandelion (soft pink), 0.11 oz Erase Paste in No. 2 Medium, 0.08 oz Benetint (rose), 0.08 oz High Beam (luminous pink), 0.08 oz Posietint (poppy pink), 0.08 oz Ooh La Lift, 0.08 oz Stay Don’t Stray, 0.25 oz That Gal, 0.25 oz The Porefessional, 0.1 oz Bella Bamba (watermelon pink)
Project Flawless ($32.00) (Limited Edition)
0.25 oz Girl Meets Pearl (pearly golden pink), 0.14 oz A Little Bit BADgal Lash Mascara in black, 0.17 oz Ultra Shines in Foxy Lady (diamond rose), 0.28 oz Bella Bamba (watermelon pink)
availability: October 2011
See more photos!
Benefit They’re Real! Mascara for July 2011
This jet-black, long-wearing formula won’t smudge or dry out. A specially designed brush reveals lashes you never knew you had!
It’s available only in black and will retail for $22. It is available for one-day only at several Benefit locations on June 10th, before officially launching in July (see above!).