Holiday Gift Guide: Totally Holiday, Totally Gift-Worthy and Under $30

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?

Bliss Fabulous Skin-Reviving Rubberizing Mask

Bliss Fabulous Skin-Reviving Rubberizing Mask

Want to jump on the DIY trend and recreate the Bliss Spa experience at home? ‘Mask’ and you shall receive! Snag a spa-worthy experience from the comfort of your own bathroom and put your best face forward with Bliss’ NEW fabulous skin-reviving rubberizing mask.

Designed to temporarily envelop the skin’s surface, this unique rubberizing mask absorbs into the skin, peeling back to reveal purged pores and renewed skin. The brightening formula is packed with powerful nutrients and antioxidants(vitamin c + bilberry to name a few!), refreshing the skin for a vibrant, even look.

Not only does the mask help you say goodbye to dull, tired skin, but the fun application is also perfect for a blog photo or video demo!

  • Empty the packet into a mixing bowl, add a scoop of water and mix with enclosed spatula into a smooth paste
  • Paint the paste onto your face and neck with the spatula
  • Allow mask to rubberize for 15-20 minutes (and paint your nail while you wait!)
  • Peel mask off in one swoop
  • Ta-da – a true at-home spa experience!

availability: bliss fabulous skin-reviving rubberizing masks contains six masks and are available in July for $38.00 at bliss spas,, bliss catalog (888 243 8825), and Sephora and Ulta retailers.

Anyone else curious about what a rubberized mask feels like? Hmm…

Bliss Lemon + Sage Body Scrub Review, Photos

The body scrub has a fresh lemony scent that’s light and not synthetic, and it’s really not a scent that will last and last post-shower. It has rather fine, grainy particles that will get the job done, but if you’re looking for a coarser scrub like your typical salt/sugar scrub, I don’t think this will be vigorous enough for you. However, if you prefer something smoother, finer, and altogether gentler (particularly if you have sensitive skin), the consistency of this product is more up your alley. Bliss calls the exfoliating piece “circular scrubbing grains,” which is good, because their spherical nature will avoid tearing the skin.

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Bliss Lemon + Sage Body Scrub

The Best of . . . Bliss Labs

Bliss Lemon + Sage Body Buttericon ($35.00) This is one of my favorite body moisturizers! The scent is this great herbal-laced lemony fragrance that isn’t overwhelming, nor perfume-y. It’s incredibly thick and hydrating, which makes it ideal for the winter time.

Bliss Softening Socksicon ($48.00) Talk about a luxe gift! These soft gel socks slowly release jojoba, olive oil, and vitamin E while they keep your feet warm. I just love these for curing dry heels and tough feet–I do admit I wish they weren’t so pricey!

Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Maskicon ($52.00) This is my go-to when I haven’t slept well. This helps to instantly refresh my face, so at least I don’t look half as tired as I feel. A little goes a long way, and I don’t use it every day or anything, which means the product itself earns its keep by lasting forever. (Okay, not quite forever, but long enough.)

Bliss ‘Thinny Thin Chin™’icon ($48.00) Have you been remiss on slathering your neck in sunscreen and moisturizer?Keep your neck looking youthful with this product. I think this may be the only product on the market (at least mainstream) that’s designed for your neck/under your chin.

The Best Of… series is designed to introduce some of the best products offered by the brand. If you’ve ever wanted to try the brand, these are products worth meeting for the first time.

Bliss & Philips: Bikini Perfect Electronic Shaver & Kit

In a world of technology, and being a bit of a product geek myself, when bliss/philips sent over Bikini Perfect (Deluxe Spa Edition) ($59.99), I admired it first in awe, because it looked sleek and practical. Then I admired it because it looked like it could quite easily be a modern day torture device. Seriously, some of those attachments will leave the less hair removal savvy running!

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