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?
Clinique Black Honey Collection for Fall 2011
Black Honey, a colour collection inspired by a cult classic. What began in 1971 as simply a new Clinique lip gloss shade, the Black Honey colour instantly became a success. In 1989 when Black Honey – originally packaged in a pot – was later launched as an Almost Lipstick, no one realised the incredible impact it would have. During the decades that followed, Black Honey has changed formulas but the iconic berry shade remains. Legions of devoted women have turned it into a serious cult favorite and it has quickly evolved into a modern classic.
Today, a single lip colour has inspired an entire collection featuring violet and berry hues for the eyes, lips and cheeks; The New Black is flattering on all skin tones and ultra- wearable for a completely feminine look.
Color Surge Eyeshadow Quad ($25.50) (Limited Edition)
Four coordinating shades of velvety color in a limited-edition Black Honey-inspired palette. Create the look you want, from natural to dramatic. Creamy, intense shadows build quickly, blend easily for lasting color. Available in Black Honey.
Gradient Powder Blusher ($29.50) (Limited Edition)
This ultra-wearable limited edition palette leaves a soft, perfected finish. Blending flawlessly with the skin, this perfect palette compliments a wide range of skin tones.
Dual-Ended Almost Lipstick & Long Last Glosswear SPF 15 ($21.00) (Limited Edition)
A dual-ended lip component that delivers two doses of the flattering shade – Almost Lipstick for a more classic Black Honey look with a soft dewy finish or, Long Last Glosswear SPF 15 for a sensational look with a high shine finish.
Almost Lipstick ($14.50)
Brush-On Cream Liner ($15.00)
availability: Now @ Nordstrom
Clinique Chubby Sticks: Richer Raisin, Whole lotta Honey, Fuller Fig, Mega Melon, Chunky Cherry, Woppin’ Watermelon, Super Strawberry, Graped-Up
Sneak Peek: Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm
Just a quickie preview at Clinique’s Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm ($15.00 for 0.10 oz.), which are sheer lip balms in stick form. I’m still testing them out, but I will review once I’ve finished testing!
Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm ($15.00)
What’s colourful, chubby and chock-full of moisture? Clinique’s new pleasantly plump and playful nourishing lip balm. Packed with ‘do-gooders’ to keep lips luscious and irresistibly soft, NEW Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm provides a sheer hint of colour that glides on effortlessly, leaving behind a natural blush of colour and sheen.
Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm’s highly moisturizing formula uses a special blend of decadent butters, oils and antioxidants to help protect and pamper lips with immediate and lasting moisturization. Infused with Shea Butter, Mango Seed Butter and Jojoba Seed Oil, Chubby Stick delivers a surge of moisture in a sleek stick leaving lips soft, supple and soothed.
Packaged in a playful, shade-matched crayon-esque barrel, the balm-like formula provides stay-true colour and buildable coverage. To apply, simply twist the base to expose more balm and twist back down before replacing the cap. Available in eight mouthwatering shades, ranging from nudes to pretty pinks and deep purples, it’s the perfect accoutrement for any occasion.
Don’t leave home without one of these pout pleasers in: Chunky Cherry, Fuller Fig, Graped-up, Mega Melon, Richer Raisin, Super Strawberry, Whole Lotta Honey and Woppin’ Watermelon.
Availability: January 2011 at Clinique counters nationwide and Clinique.com for a suggested retail price of $15.00.
Clinique Spring 2011 Makeup Collection
Clinique Spring 2011: Pretty in Pinks Collection / Milly for Clinique
Michelle Smith, renowned designer of the women’s fashion and accessories label, Milly, brings her sparkling and sophisticated style to Clinique’s newest spring collection – Pretty in Prints. Michelle has teamed up with Clinique to create a limited-edition makeup palette of essential eye, cheek and lip colours for Spring 2011.
Exclusive to Clinique, the collection mixes rich browns with sweet pinks and is packaged in a sleek silver compact, adorned with a one-of-a-kind Milly print. The limited-edition Pretty in Prints compact is enclosed in a pouch designed by Michelle to showcase her signature Milly aesthetic.
Milly for Clinique Pretty In Prints Compact ($36.00) (Limited Edition)
- Colour Surge Eye Shadow Quad in Printed Pinks and Blushing Blush in Precious Posy, all stylishly organised in a compact adorned with the Milly print.
Long Last Glosswear SPF 15 ($14.00) (Limited Edition)
- Milly Pink Warm-toned melon shade
High Impact Mascara ($14.50)
Bring your eyelashes out of hiding this spring! High Impact Mascara delivers dramatic volume and length, fast.
Availability: All Clinique counters and clinique.com in February 2011
Lipstick Comparisons: $13 to $25 (Part 1)
In this price range, lipsticks tend to be more pigmented, have less synthetic scents, and wear an average of four hours. I’m not typically disappointed beyond belief with a lipstick formula in this price range. Brands from MAC to NARS to Smashbox fall into this price tier, while designer brands like Chanel, Dior, and YSL are in the next tier. There are really SO many brands and formulas to choose from in this category that I had to split this post into two parts!
- PROS: Creamy, opaque, glossy, wears for 3 to 4 hours, moisturizing
- NEUTRAL: 0.10 oz., slight sweet scent
- CONS: Very limited shade range
- MY REC: These aren’t quite as glossy or as creamy as the Silky Finish line, but they’re more opaque. I still find them rather creamy and moisturizing, though. Some of mine seem to have a very subtle sweetened scent while others have none.
- PROS: Creamy, moisturizing, glossy, wears for 3 to 4 hours
- NEUTRAL: 0.10 oz., shades range from sheer to semi-opaque, slight sweet scent
- CONS: Short shade range centered around pinks
- MY REC: The Silky Finish is a much glossier, often shimmered lipstick compared to Benefit’s Full Finish range. These actually remind me quite a bit of Laura Mercier’s Stick Gloss. They’re more moisturizing than the average lipstick and have a slicker texture, too. Some of mine seem to have a very subtle sweetened scent while others have none.
- PROS: Creamy, slightly glossy, wears 4-6 hours, opaque
- NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., scent-free, more neutral/pink based shade range
- CONS: One finish (semi-matte)
- MY REC: I like the pigmentation and creaminess in the texture of Bobbi Brown’s Lip Color. Sometimes I get caught in thinking that Bobbi Brown is all about sheers, but then the Lip Color line always reminds me that it’s not always the case. Despite their creaminess, they’re not moisturizing; not drying either, but not particularly moisturizing.
- PROS: Wearable shade range, creamy, moisturizing, semi-opaque
- NEUTRAL: 0.14 oz., more neutral/pink based shade range, scent-free
- CONS: Wears 2 to 3 hours (despite being touted as long-wearing)
- MY REC: I think Clinique makeup often gets overlooked, but I like how much of their makeup is scent-free. I also think they’re worth more than just a glance given the price tag.
- PROS: Opaque, true-to-tube color, wears 5 to 7 hours, lots of fun shades
- NEUTRAL: 0.14 oz., scent-free
- CONS: Mostly matte finishes, dry
- MY REC: It’s important to note that while the texture itself seems a little dry, these lipsticks don’t suck the moisture out of your lips, but they definitely don’t impart any either. With an abundance of matte shades with drier finishes, these are not ideal for those with dry to ultra dry lips.
- PROS: Creamy, opaque, moisturizing, wears 3 to 4 hours
- NEUTRAL: Guava-scented
- CONS: 0.06 oz., limited shade range
- MY REC: My biggest issue with these is how little you get; they’re half the size of Korres’ Mango Butter Lipsticks and $4 more. The Guava lipsticks are more opaque and not as glossy in the finish, but they’re a little less moisturizing than the Mango Butters.
- PROS: Creamy, moisturizing, semi-sheer, wears 3 to 4 hours
- NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., mango-scented
- CONS: Name/numbering system doesn’t always match tube color, limited shade range
- MY REC: I find these very moisturizing, and I love the glossiness of the finish, because it almost looks like you’re just wearing a gloss. If you have dry lips and haven’t tried these, you might want to give ‘em a shot.
- PROS: Creamy, semi-opaque, wears 3 to 4 hours
- NEUTRAL: 0.14 oz., scent-free
- CONS: Limited shade range
- MY REC: I’ve found these to be very creamy, and they’re often more on the opaque side of color. They impart some moisture but I wouldn’t consider it a moisturizing lipstick.
- PROS: Moisturizing, glossy, semi-sheer, wears 3 to 4 hours
- NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., Berry-scented
- CONS: Very limited shade range
- MY REC: It’s very comfortable to wear and feels incredibly moisturizing–it’s just a shame that there are so few shades available.
The Lipstick Comparisons series is designed to provide a quick reference summary sheet for some of the many available lipstick formulas. It seems like most brands have at least a couple of formulas, if not half a dozen, and it can be difficult to find the formulas that will work best for your budget, coloring, style, or taste.
This is not necessarily a best of list, and it’s not exhaustive–it is based on actual lipsticks that I’ve tried; they are all, however, decent to excellent lipsticks. (And perhaps, some day, it will be an exhaustive list.) I have summarized my experience based on pros and cons, but also some “neutral” factors that may be pros or cons, depending on your preferences. I will update this series as I try new lipstick formulas.