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Holiday Gift Guide: Totally Holiday, Totally Gift-Worthy and Under $50


Holiday Gift Guide: Totally Holiday, Totally Gift-Worthy and Under $50

This part of the holiday gift guide shares my favorite just-for-the-holidays palettes and kits over $30 but $50 or less–not over-the-top indulgent gifts but we’re getting there. If you missed it, I already posted the under $30 guide! 🙂

Eyes: Long-time readers know I’m a huge fan of Aqua Eyes, and the Make Up For Ever Wild & Chic Aqua Eyes Collection ($36.00) contains five travel-sized (I’m guessing 0.02 to 0.03 oz.) and one full-size (0.04 oz.) eyeliner; for the price of two full-sized eyeliners, you’re getting six shades to try of a fantastic formula. Urban Decay also has two Eyeliner Sets ($32.00 each) that contain five travel-sized 24/7 Eyeliners; there is also a Shadow Pencil Stash ($34.00). At this price point, you can find some excellent palettes that came out just in time for the holidays, like Urban Decay Mariposa Eyeshadow Palette ($39.00) and Bare Escentuals Ready 8.0 Eyeshadow Palette ($40.00).

Cheeks/Face: Too Faced In Your Dreams Makeup Collection ($39.00) is an eye, cheek, and lip palette that’s great for someone new to makeup; I like it because everything is presented in an easy-to-digest manner, and the colors coordinate with each other, so there is no guessing. Benefit Project Flawless ($32.00) is a cutely packaged set that contains a highlighter (Girl Meets Pearl), mascara, lipgloss (Foxy Lady), and blush (Bella Bamba). If that’s not quite to your taste, you could check out Romancing the Mirror ($39.00), which contains That Gal, Sugarbomb, and BADgal Lash.

Lips: I’ve been really digging Bobbi Brown’s High Shimmer Lip Gloss Trio ($38.00); they’re fairly sheer, but they had so much dazzle and shine without feeling gritty–I’ve been reaching for these (because I need to do lip swatches for them!) to layer on top of other lipsticks. Estee Lauder’s Pure Color Gloss to Go Set ($32.50) comes in a cute red faux leather zipper cylinder case with six holiday-appropriate glosses, and I like that it’s ready to give (there’s also a lipstick version).

Skin/Body: I love the way Estee Lauder set-up their skincare gift sets this year; they categorize them based on theme, like even skin tone or anti-wrinkle. Clinique has an excellent set for dry skin (Moisture Surge has saved my skin before!) called Total Moisture ($44.00). Consider giving a decadent, luxurious body cream in the form of this Laura Mercier Souffle Body Creme Sampler Set ($50.00 for 4×3 oz.).

Fragrance: Elegantly packaged, convenient to use, and full-sized, Tocca Beauty Rollerball Trio ($48.00 for 3×0.33 oz.) contains three different scents (Florence, Cleopatra, and Colette), which can be gifted as a set or easily broken up. Juicy Couture ($35.00 for 3×0.33 oz.) also has a trio of fragrance sprays of their signature scents. Fresh Sugar Obsessions Rollerball Trio ($35.00 for 3×0.34 oz.) contains popular Fresh scents, and if you have a foodie friend, this might be a good one for them. What’s really great about rollerballs is they’re easy to give, and they can be re-gifted, too–if you give your friend a kit, and they dislike one scent, it’s so easy for them to pass along to a friend/family member.

Do you have any suggestions for readers on the prowl for holiday gifts this year that came out just in time for holiday gift-giving?

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Bobbi Brown Party Shimmer Brick

Bobbi Brown Party Shimmer Brick
Bobbi Brown Party Shimmer Brick

Bobbi brown Party Shimmer Brick ($40.00 for 0.24 oz.) is a limited edition highlighter for the holidays that uses a combination of gold and “silver.” Though the right side of the compact is certainly not the gold we typically think of, it’s not exactly silver–more like a cool-toned gold.

The left side is a true yellow gold with a shimmer-sheen. I couldn’t think of other highlighters that were similar in color, though there are likely half a dozen eyeshadows! It has good intensity for a highlighter; you can build-it up if you really wanted something more opaque, but it’s soft and blendable. Though the finish isn’t overly metallic, it does emphasize pores (or skin unevenness) a bit. The right side is a more like a cool-toned white with a neutral yellow shimmer-sheen, so it comes off as this cool-toned white gold. It has a more metallic finish than the yellowy side, which is a finish that tends to emphasize pores (and this does do so moderately).

Overall, it’s as frosted as most Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks are.  It’s not unlike previous iterations, so for those who are fans of Shimmer Bricks (and I know there are a number of you!), it’s par for the course.  They can be used together or separately, which is nice–especially because the powder is halved, rather than split into four or five strips of colors, so you can actually just use one shade at a time.  The wear of this is good; it wore for seven hours well, and then at the eight hour mark, it was visibly diminished but still lingering.

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Party
Party
Party

Bobbi Brown Chocolate & Gold Eye Paint Palette

Bobbi Brown Chocolate & Gold Eye Paint Palette
Bobbi Brown Chocolate & Gold Eye Paint Palette

Bobbi Brown Holiday 2011: Chocolate & Gold Eye Paint Palette

Bobbi Brown Chocolate & Gold Eye Paint Palette ($45.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a limited edition, warm-toned palette that features four shades of the brand’s Eye Paints, which seems like a baked eyeshadow formula. If you’re familiar with MAC’s Mineralize Eyeshadows, these perform and feel very alike. The shades the palette contains are: Gold (pale gold), Bronze (beige gold), Chocolate (rich brown with gold pearl), and Black Gold (black with gold pearl).

  • Gold is a light-medium yellowed gold with a frosted, metallic finish. It isn’t an overly warm gold–it’s as close to a neutral gold as you’d get. The color payoff is sheer when it is applied dry, and it intensifies to decent pigmentation when applied wet, but it’s never quite opaque. It’s much smoother when used damp as well and has less fall out when used that way. Bare Escentuals Standing O, MAC Treasure Hunt, and Givenchy Lune Mordoree are all similar.
  • Bronze is a medium-dark gilded bronze with a metallic shimmer-sheen finish. Like Gold, the color payoff is fairly sheer and the shimmer feels and looks chunky when it is applied dry. When it’s applied damp, the product binds together better so it is smoother and more pigmented. It is similar to MAC Retrospeck,
  • Chocolate is a warmed-up chocolate brown with bronze shimmer. The pigmentation is pitiful when it’s applied dry, and it has a very dry, powdery texture. It’s infinitely better when used wet, where it comes together for a really opaque, smooth result. NARS Galapagos is deeper, but they are similar.
  • Black Gold is a blackened brown color base with cool-toned bronze and champagne shimmer. It’s just like Chocolate–dry, sheer payoff when used dry, but it’s intense and smooth when applied wet. Tarina Tarantino Dream is browner, warmer. The base color is a bit similar to MAC Legendary.

My experience with this palette was as poor as it was with Bobbi Brown’s Onyx & Silver variation. First, if you’re a big fan of MAC’s Mineralize Eyeshadows, you may like these more than the overall rating indicates–because I pretty much have the same issues with these as I do with MAC’s, which are fading and fall out.

These shades have to be used damp, because the results when used dry are too chunky and sheer. However, when you use them damp, the color result fades over time, even over a primer, and I had a good amount of fall out underneath my eyes after eight hours of wear. I was flabbergasted at how much fading at occurred over eight hours–I thought my eyeshadow was missing on the lid (which is where I used the lighter color, Gold). Those are two big no-nos when it comes to powder eyeshadows as far as I’m concerned.

Bobbi Brown Chocolate & Gold Eye Paint Palette

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Bobbi Brown Party Alice Lip Color

Bobbi Brown Party Alice Lip Color
Bobbi Brown Party Alice Lip Color

Bobbi Brown Holiday 2011: Party Alice Lip Color

Bobbi Brown Party Alice Lip Color ($23.00 for 0.12 oz.) is described as a “pink rose.” It’s a new and limited edition shade from Bobbi Brown’s holiday collection. The Lip Color is designed to deliver “Rich color” with a “soft-matte finish,” while still moisturizing and being comfortable to wear. Party Alice is more like a coral-pink on me than rose; more peony than rose if we’re going to use floral descriptors! It’s opaque in color with a creamy finish that has a gentle sheen but no shimmer. There’s enough vibrancy there to brighten the face but not enough to make it a bright or neon shade at all; there’s a slightly dusty quality to the color. It’s a bit darker than MAC Ultra Darling, more opaque than Chanel Coquette, pinker and darker than NARS Niagara, and not as bright as Chanel Genial.

Bobbi Brown’s Lip Color formula is good; it delivers on the full color coverage it promises, and it isn’t drying. I find that they’re moisturizing enough to wear without feeling the urge to apply lip balm for four to five hours, though by six hours I’m ready for a boost of moisture. The creaminess in the texture allows for even color to deposit on the lips and good glide overall. Generally, I get four to six hours of wear with this formula, though I reached five hours with Party Alice in particular (it’s been awhile since I’ve tested the formula!).

Bobbi Brown Lip Color Party Alice

Bobbi Brown Jet/Chrome Dual-Ended Eyeliner


Bobbi Brown Jet/Chrome Dual-Ended Eyeliner

Bobbi Brown Jet/Chrome Dual-Ended Eyeliner

Bobbi Brown Jet/Chrome Dual-Ended Eyeliner ($24.00 for 0.02 oz.) consists of a black and silver. This is a new formula for Bobbi Brown, but it is also limited edition–go figure!

  • Jet is a creamy, rich black. It’s fairly pigmented in a single pass and fully opaque in two. Jet is one of the darker black eyeliners I’ve come across, and it actually held up well on the waterline (four to six hours).
  • Chrome is a medium-sark silver with a metallic finish and small, darker silver glittery bits. It’s a bit darker and less cool-toned compared to other silver eyeliners. It had decent color payoff in one stroke, though because of the sparkly texture, it doesn’t take well to multiple passes; two is good, but you’ll have to be mindful of going back and forth here.

Like Chocolate/Bronze, this is a stellar eyeliner and the formula is just as good in this duo as it was in the first one I reviewed. I love the creaminess of the pencil and how easily it glides across the lash line without tugging or skipping. Even though these are extremely soft and creamy, they still wear for twelve hours without fading, migrating, or smudging. I only wish these were permanent and either they reduced the price or had more product in them–at 0.02 oz., these are half the size of other pencils on the market.

Bobbi Brown Jet/Chrome Dual-Ended Eyeliner

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Bobbi Brown Onyx & Silver Eye Paint Palette

Bobbi Brown Onyx & Silver Eye Paint Palette
Bobbi Brown Onyx & Silver Eye Paint Palette

Bobbi Brown Onyx & Silver Eye Paint Palette ($45.00 for 0.12 oz.) contains four shades of Bobbi Brown’s Long-Wear Eye Paints. They’re designed to not only wear for hours but are “densely pigmented” and “can be applied wet or dry” with a “lustrous, highly-reflective finish.”

It includes these shades: Tinsel (light silver), Silver (blue silver), Lava (black with silver pearl), and Blue Onyx (deep indigo blue)

  • Tinsel is a bright silver with silvery-white glitter and a metallic finish. It’s sheer both dry and wet, and it doesn’t come together smoothly even when applied wet–I had a lot of fall out with this shade. It’s a bit lighter than MAC Filament.
  • Silver is a dark silver-shimmered gray with subtle brow undertones and a bluish sheen. It has decent color payoff when applied dry but becomes opaque, deep, and smooth when applied damp. It reminded me of theBalm Muppetational, which is a bit lighter. MAC Tundra is also similar in both color and finish.
  • Lava is a matte black with silver sparkle and teal shimmer layered on top. It’s a better version of Bobbi Brown Onyx. It’s in the same vein as shades like MAC Black Tied and Lancome The New Black (which is the best of this type). When applied dry, the sparkle is less noticeable, and it appears as more of a black-brown with a dry, almost chalky look. When applied damp, it’s much more intense, more like a black, and the sparkle comes out more. I did experience some fall out with this shade.
  • Blue Onyx is a blackened blue with an indigo blue shimmer and sheen. It’s more of a satiny finish than metallic as described. This shade was very, very sheer when applied dry, and it doesn’t look all that blue either. When I dampened the product, it came out more vibrant and the blue came to the forefront. It reminded me of MAC Blue Storm. Givenchy Lune Mordoree is also similar but a touch purpler.

If you’re a fan of MAC’s Mineralize Eyeshadows, you’ll probably like Bobbi Brown’s Long-Wear Eye Paints, because they’re really similar. They have the feel, look, and wear of baked eyeshadows. If you use them dry, expect sheerer color payoff, while dampening the shade will greatly intensify the pigmentation and smooth out the texture. The colors are prone to fading during wear if you use them damp/wet during application; of course, they will always dry a little more muted than when they are initially applied wet since it does not stay perpetually wet, but it fades even more.

Tinsel had a ton of fall out; it was difficult to apply from the get-go because of the amount of excess that littered my under eye area, but I had continual fall out throughout the day because it just doesn’t bind together. You’d really need a sticky base to get it to adhere to minimize the fall out. I had similar issues with Lava but to a lesser degree; I didn’t have too much fall out during application, but I did find the silver sparkles transferred to parts unknown as the day wore on.

Bobbi Brown Onyx & Silver Eye Paint Palette

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