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Best Lipsticks | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

Best Lipsticks | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

It’s that time of the year again:  holiday gift guides aplenty!  This year, I’ve broken out my gift guides into best of selections for blush, eyeshadow, highlighter, lipstick, lipgloss, palettes, and brushes.  These guides feature permanent formulas so that they can be useful anytime during the holiday season or even into next year.  For limited edition holiday products, you can check out our list of the top 50 highest-rated holiday products, which updates as I post more reviews for holiday products. Here’s a look at the best lipstick formulas I’ve tried:

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick ($26.00 for 0.15 oz.) is supposed to have “bold, creamy color” with “extreme moisture, soft texture, and creamy wear.” The majority of the range is very pigmented–typically opaque with one pass–with a few shades being semi-opaque but usually buildable. The majority of the shades I’ve tested have been lightly hydrating to non-drying and fairly comfortable to wear for the long-haul. They wear longer than average, from four to eight hours, depending on the intensity and propensity of the shade to stain. The range is rather extensive with over 30 shades, so you may find our top 15 best Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipsticks list useful. Some of my favorite shades are: Pickled Ginger, Kale, Sour Cherry, and Spritzer.

Availability

Sephora

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Best Highlighters | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

Best Highlighters | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

It’s that time of the year again:  holiday gift guides aplenty!  This year, I’ve broken out my gift guides into best of selections for blush, eyeshadow, highlighter, lipstick, lipgloss, palettes, and brushes.  These guides feature permanent formulas so that they can be useful anytime during the holiday season or even into next year.  For limited edition holiday products, you can check out our list of the top 50 highest-rated holiday products, which updates as I post more reviews for holiday products.  I hope you find this list of top performing highlighters useful 🙂

Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder

Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder

Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder ($44.00 for 0.11 oz.) is a luminous, powder highlighter that strikes the right balance between being noticeable without emphasizing the skin’s natural texture. The shimmer is fine, while the powder is silky and smooth. There are only three shades at the moment, and the one I use the most is Starlight, which works as a highlighting blush on my skin tone.

Availability

Sephora, Nordstrom, Beautylish, Neiman Marcus,

Laura Mercier Layer Up Caviar Stick Set

Laura Mercier Layer Up Caviar Stick Set
Laura Mercier Layer Up Caviar Stick Set

Laura Mercier Layer Up Caviar Stick Set ($39.50 for 0.12 oz.) includes four miniature sized Caviar Sticks, which are cream eyeshadows in twist-up, jumbo pencil form.

Rosegold is a light-medium gold with warm, orangey undertones and a pearly sheen. It had semi-opaque coverage in a single stroke, which was buildable to opaque coverage in two to three layers. The consistency was smooth, lightly creamy, and didn’t tug on the lid and laid down even color. It was blendable for about thirty seconds, and then it set and stayed in place for eight and a half hours on me. LORAC Rose Gold (LE, $19.00) is darker (95% similar). LORAC Rose Gold (LE, $19.00) is darker (95% similar). Disney by Sephora Wanderin' Free (LE) is lighter (95% similar). Urban Decay Steady (LE, $19.00) is lighter (95% similar). Colour Pop Amaze (P, $5.00) is warmer, darker (90% similar). Too Faced Luscious (P, $16.00) is lighter (90% similar). Sleek MakeUP Sunset #11 (P, $9.99) is darker, more shimmery (90% similar). Tarte Medium (LE) is darker (90% similar). Urban Decay Blunt (P, $19.00) is lighter (90% similar). Sleek MakeUP Sunset #11 (P, $9.99) is darker, more shimmery (90% similar). Urban Decay Blunt (P, $19.00) is lighter (90% similar). Natasha Denona Skin (75S) (P, $29.00) is darker (90% similar). Rouge Bunny Rouge Angelic Cockatiels (P, $19.00) is more muted, darker, less shimmery (90% similar). Tarte Sassy Bun (LE) is darker (90% similar). bareMinerals Bare Skin (LE) is darker (90% similar). Hourglass Obscura #3 (P) is warmer (90% similar). Becca Champagne Toast (LE) is darker, less shimmery (90% similar). Disney by Sephora All Aglow (LE) is darker (90% similar). bareMinerals Gold Leaf (LE) is less shimmery (90% similar). bareMinerals Sandalwood (LE, $18.00) is more muted (85% similar). Top 20 dupes listed, see the rest. See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Amethyst is a medium-dark plum with warmer, reddish-brown undertones and lighter, purple-taupe shimmer. It had semi-opaque coverage in one stroke, and I did notice that it was cooler than the last time I swatched Amethyst–it seemed like it had more shimmer overall, too. The texture was nicely creamy; enough that it skated across the lids without skipping or dragging but did not slide around while it dried down. It wore well for nine hours before creasing on me. MAC Mortal #5 (LE) is cooler (95% similar). Make Up For Ever I544 Pink Granite (P, $21.00) is cooler (95% similar). Hourglass Infinity #3 (P) is warmer, darker (95% similar). Sleek MakeUP Paradise on Earth (P, $9.99) is more shimmery (95% similar). Urban Decay Liar (P, $19.00) is warmer (95% similar). Tom Ford Beauty Orchid Haze #2 (P) is warmer (90% similar). Natasha Denona Vintage (49M) (P, $29.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). Burberry Dusky Mauve No. 108 (P, $30.00) is lighter (90% similar). Maybelline Sleek & Spice (95) (LE, $6.99) is darker (90% similar). MAC Until Dawn #1 (LE, $21.00) is warmer, darker (90% similar). Makeup Geek Prom Night (P, $6.00) is cooler (90% similar). Tarte Minx (P) is warmer, lighter (90% similar). Tarte Ring-a-ling (LE) is more muted (90% similar). Urban Decay Midnight Rodeo (P, $19.00) is cooler, darker (90% similar). MAC Force of Nature #1 (LE, $21.00) is cooler, darker (90% similar). Giorgio Armani Terra Sienna #2 (P) is lighter (90% similar). Ardency Inn Rose Gold (P, $21.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). Tom Ford Beauty Nude Dip #3 (LE) is warmer, more shimmery (90% similar). Urban Decay Mugshot (P, $19.00) is darker (85% similar). Makeup Geek Mesmerized (P, $9.99) is cooler, darker (85% similar). Top 20 dupes listed, see the rest. See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Aubergine is a dark plum with warmer, reddish undertones and a natural finish. It had good color payoff in a single pass, and while it wasn’t buildable to opaque coverage, it was creamy enough that it was blendable on the lid without becoming patchy. The color started to crease after eight and a half hours of wear. MAC Worthy (LE, $16.00) is less glossy (95% similar). Colour Pop Two Much (LE, $5.00) is cooler (95% similar). Viseart Dark Matte #5 (P) is warmer (90% similar). theBalm Moderato (P, $16.00) is darker (90% similar). LORAC Cabernet (LE, $19.00) is more muted, darker (90% similar). LORAC Eggplant (LE, $19.00) is less glossy (85% similar). theBalm #13 (P, $6.50) is warmer, less pigmented, lighter (90% similar). Tarte Mulberry & Bright (LE) is less glossy, darker (90% similar). MAC Blackberry (P, $16.00) is less glossy (95% similar). Zoeva Exquisite (P) is less glossy, cooler, lighter (85% similar). Tarte Mancat (LE) is less glossy, less shimmery (90% similar). LORAC Plum (P, $19.00) is cooler (85% similar). Tarte Vio-let It Go (LE) is more muted, lighter (85% similar). Too Faced Delectable (P, $16.00) is less glossy, darker (90% similar). Too Faced Blackberry (LE, $16.00) is more muted, darker (85% similar). MAC Sketch (P, $16.00) is warmer (90% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Tuxedo is a deep, inky black that leaned a little cool and had a natural finish. The pigmentation was semi-opaque in one stroke, but it was buildable to opaque coverage in two layers. The texture was creamy and easy to work with on the lid for general application, but it was somewhat patchy as I diffused and blended it out. It wore well for eight and a half hours before creasing on me. Surratt Beauty Scandal Eyes (Cream) (P) is more shimmery (95% similar). Chanel Rêve d'Orient #4 (LE) is more shimmery (95% similar). Illamasqua Zeitgeist (P, $25.50) is cooler, more shimmery (95% similar). Tarte Silhouette (LE) is less glossy (95% similar). Sleek MakeUP Sunset #1 (P, $9.99) is warmer (95% similar). Make Up For Ever S102 Onyx (P, $21.00) is cooler (95% similar). NARS Filbuste (P, $28.00) is warmer (95% similar). MAC Smokeluxe #5 (P) is warmer (95% similar). Dior Khaki Design #5 (P) is warmer (95% similar). bareMinerals Penthouse (LE) is more shimmery (90% similar). bareMinerals Lights Down (P) is lower quality, cooler (90% similar). Giorgio Armani Obsidian (01) (P, $39.00) is cooler (90% similar). MAC Fashion Legend (LE, $16.00) is cooler, lighter (90% similar). Colour Pop Knight (LE, $5.00) is cooler, lighter (85% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Laura Mercier Holiday 2016 4-Piece Caviar Stick Set Layer Up
Layer Up
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Also In This Review

B+

Rosegold

Permanent
Read Review
A

Amethyst

Permanent
Read Review
A-
B+

Tuxedo

Permanent
Read Review
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Laura Mercier Holiday 2016 Collection

Laura Mercier Holiday 2016 Collection
Laura Mercier Holiday 2016 Collection

A full line-up of kits and sets from Laura Mercier for the holidays.

Availability

Now online

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The Details

Layer Up Holiday Caviar Stick Eye Colour Collection | $38.00 | Limited Edition

A collection of Laura’s favorite do-it-all sticks for endless holiday looks. Get inspired with these hand-selected shades that shadow, highlight, line and define. Each one glides on smoothly, blends effortlessly — creating the perfect sultry, smoky eye from matte to metallic. Endless looks await your eyes. Set includes:

  • Deluxe Caviar Stick Eye Colour in 4 shades: Rosegold, Amethyst, Aubergine and Tuxedo

Master Class Colour Essentials Collection, 2nd Edition | $125.00 | Limited Edition

An essential colour collection for eyes and cheeks, complete with the tools to create endless looks for any occasion. This Collection includes:

  • 12 Eye Colours: Etoile, Bronze Glow, Minx, Pewter Dust, Gilded Pines, Vanilla Nuts, Café Au Lait, Espresso Bean, Poison Ivory, Stone Taupe, Noir, Stellar
  • Second Skin Cheek Colour: Riche Nectar
  • Face Highlighter: Pink Haze
  • Bronzing Pressed Powder: Soleil Bronze
  • Tightline Cake Eyeliner: Black Ebony, Mahogany Brown
  • Longwear Creme Eye Pencil: Noir
  • Double Ended Eyeliner Brush
  • Double Ended Eye Colour Brush

Essential Art Eye & Cheek Palette | $65.00 | Limited Edition

Laura brings her artistry to this exclusive iconic colour collection of must-have makeup essentials. This Collection includes:

  • 8 Eye Colours: Posh Plum, Steal Pink, Graphite, Etoile, Fresco, Morning Dew, Butter Cream, Sapphire
  • Matte Radiance Baked Powder: Highlight-01
  • Baked Blush Illumine: Rose

Laura Mercier Fall In Love Face Illuminator Collection

Laura Mercier Fall In Love Face Illuminator Palette
Laura Mercier Fall In Love Face Illuminator Palette

Laura Mercier Fall In Love Face Illuminator Palette ($58.00 for 0.44 oz.) includes four, miniature-sized versions of the permanent Face Illuminators. It’s pretty neat, as they have the same swirled, raised design, but everything is on a smaller scale. For someone who likes different highlighter shades (or highlighting blushes/bronzers) and would use two or three of them, it’s handy to have and would be good for traveling. Since the individual Illuminators are pricey, this is a good way to try them all for less than the cost of two full-sized shades. I think that the palette versions are fairly comparable to the permanent versions I have, though there are a few differences that I noticed. I don’t think that those differences really impact the overall look of the products applied, but they are there. This formula (and thus palette) is most suitable for someone who likes moderate highlights and some sparkle but not over-the-top metallic highlighters.

Formula Overview

According to the brand, Laura Mercier Face Illuminator ($44.00 for 0.30 oz.) supposed to be a “long-wearing, buildable” highlighter that gives a “natural-looking” glow. The formula is typically more buildable from medium to opaque coverage with a noticeable sheen that can get more frosted/metallic if applied heavily but doesn’t emphasize my pores. The texture is smooth and blendable, but there is a bit of dryness to it that seems common to this type of formula (think MAC Extra Dimension, NARS Dual-Intensity, Estee Lauder Gelee, etc.). On my normal-to-dry skin, the highlighter tends to last around eight hours.

Indiscretion is a light-medium, rosy copper with warm undertones and a soft, golden sheen. It had semi-sheer to mostly opaque pigmentation paired with a soft, lightly dry texture that was dry to the touch but did appear dry or dusty applied to the skin. The sheen became more refined as I buffed and worked the product on my skin, and while the full-size version seemed to be more likely to emphasize my pores a bit, this one didn’t. It wore well for seven and a half hours before fading. Laura Mercier Spellbound (LE, $44.00)(100% similar). Anastasia Amber Gold (LE) is darker, more shimmery (95% similar). Urban Decay Hush (LE, $26.00) is cooler (90% similar). Becca Rose Gold (P, $38.00) is lighter, less shimmery (90% similar). Jouer Topaz (P, $24.00) is warmer, more shimmery (90% similar). MAC Pearl Sunshine (LE, $22.00) is darker (90% similar). Sephora + Pantone Universe Marsala (LE, $25.00) is darker, less shimmery (90% similar). Colour Pop Parasol (LE, $8.00) is warmer (90% similar). Laura Mercier Rosé (LE, $42.00) is lighter, more shimmery (90% similar). Laura Geller Ballerina (P, $24.00) is warmer (90% similar). MAC Cheeky Bronze (P, $32.00) is lower quality, warmer, darker (90% similar). Becca Rose Gold (P, $41.00) is darker, less shimmery (90% similar). L'Oreal Rose (P, $12.99) is darker (90% similar). Make Up For Ever 15 Golden Pink (P, $21.00) is darker, more shimmery (85% similar). Tom Ford Beauty Moodlight (Candlelight) (LE) is cooler, more shimmery (85% similar). MAC Perfectly Lit (LE, $32.00) is darker, less shimmery (85% similar). Becca Blushed Copper (LE, $38.00) is darker (85% similar). Colour Pop Butterfly Beach (P, $8.00) is lighter, more shimmery (85% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Addiction is a medium, yellow gold with warm undertones and a lightly sparkly, metallic finish. It had semi-sheer to mostly opaque coverage, and it was easy to blend on the skin. The texture wasn’t too soft or too firm, and it didn’t emphasize my pores when applied. The color lasted for almost eight hours on me. Makeup Geek Nightlight (LE, $20.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). Dior Transatlantique (LE, $58.00) is darker (95% similar). Make Up For Ever #02 (P, $39.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). Dior #003 (P, $56.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). Anastasia Sunray (LE) is more shimmery (95% similar). Tarte Idol (LE, $28.00) is less shimmery (95% similar). The Estee Edit 14K Glow (LE) is more shimmery (95% similar). Becca Prosecco Pop (LE, $38.00) is lighter (95% similar). Guerlain Terracotta Sun in the City Illuminating Powder (LE, $70.00) is darker (90% similar). LORAC Twilight (P, $23.00) is lighter (90% similar). Anastasia So Hollywood (P, $28.00) is cooler, more shimmery (90% similar). NYX Daytime Halo (P, $6.99) is lighter (90% similar). Colour Pop Electric Slide (DC, $8.00) is darker, less shimmery (90% similar). Laura Geller Gilded Honey (P, $24.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). Anastasia Dripping in Gold (LE) is darker, more shimmery (90% similar). Tarte Spotlight (LE) is lighter (90% similar). Looxi Beauty Centerfold (P, $7.50) is darker, more shimmery (90% similar). MAC Yellow Topaz (LE, $21.00) is cooler, lighter, less shimmery (90% similar). MAC Bare End (LE) is cooler, lighter (90% similar). Illamasqua Rush (P) is lighter, more shimmery (90% similar). Top 20 dupes listed, see the rest. See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Devotion is a light pink with warmer undertones and cooler, violet and light pink shimmer. It had sheer to medium coverage, so it was buildable to some degree, but it was never intense. The powder was a little dry, but it didn’t look dry and blended well in practice, so I don’t think I would have even noticed it had I not felt the powder with my fingertips. This shade wore well for eight hours on me. Dior #002 (P, $56.00) is less shimmery (95% similar). Tarte Gleam (P) is less shimmery (95% similar). Make Up For Ever #01 (P, $39.00) is lighter (95% similar). NARS Devotee (P) is less shimmery (95% similar). Laura Geller Charming Pink (P, $24.00) is cooler, darker (95% similar). Becca Rose Quartz (LE, $38.00) is darker, less shimmery (90% similar). MAC Softly Does It (LE) is less shimmery (90% similar). L'Oreal Ice (P, $12.99) is more shimmery (90% similar). Urban Decay Going Native (Highlighter) (P) is darker (90% similar). Chanel Perles et Fantaisies (Right) (LE, $70.00) is darker, less shimmery (90% similar). Wet 'n' Wild Desert Explorations (LE, $2.99) is less shimmery (90% similar). Makeup Revolution Peach Lights (P, $6.00) is less shimmery (90% similar). Jouer Rose Quartz (P, $24.00) is darker, more shimmery (90% similar). Giorgio Armani No. 07 (P, $62.00) is less shimmery (90% similar). LORAC Moonlight (P, $23.00) is less shimmery (95% similar). Cover FX Celestial (P, $38.00) is darker (95% similar). Urban Decay Aura (P, $26.00) is cooler, less shimmery (90% similar). MAC Beaming Blush (P, $30.00) is darker (85% similar). Makeup Geek Luster (P, $20.00) is warmer, darker (80% similar). Sleek MakeUP Ecliptic (P) is darker (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Seduction is a medium-dark bronze with warm, golden undertones and a frosted sheen. It was buildable from semi-sheer to fully opaque color payoff, if desired, and it had a soft, lightly dusty consistency. It was very easy to blend and diffuse across the skin, and it wore well for eight hours. Of the four shades, this one had the strongest sheen (and most pigmentation to begin with), so while I didn’t have issues with it emphasizing my skin’s natural texture, if there was a shade prone to it, my guess would be this is the potential troublemaker. By Terry Light & Tan Vibes #1 (LE) is lighter (90% similar). Colour Pop Santos (LE, $8.00) is cooler, less shimmery (90% similar). Colour Pop Poolside (P, $8.00) is less shimmery (90% similar). Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon (LE, $42.00) is darker, more shimmery (90% similar). Looxi Beauty Divine (P, $7.50) is lighter, more shimmery (90% similar). Benefit 10 (Bronzer) (DC, $28.00) is cooler, less shimmery (90% similar). MAC Glorify (LE, $30.00) is warmer, more shimmery (90% similar). Too Faced Jolie (LE) is lighter, less shimmery (90% similar). MAC Golden Age (LE, $23.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). MAC I'll Hold My Breath #1 (LE) is darker, less shimmery (90% similar). Dior #004 (P, $56.00) is lighter (90% similar). Colour Pop Glo Up (LE, $8.00) is darker, less shimmery (90% similar). Too Faced Sun Bunny #1 (P) is warmer, lighter (85% similar). MAC Magnetic Appeal (LE, $30.00) is warmer, less shimmery (85% similar). Makeup Geek Sunlight (LE, $20.00) is lighter, more shimmery (85% similar). Becca Topaz (P, $38.00) is lighter (85% similar). Cover FX Candlelight (P, $38.00) is cooler, lighter (85% similar). MAC Gold Deposit (P, $32.00) is warmer, lighter (85% similar). Bobbi Brown Bronze Glow (LE, $46.00) is lighter (90% similar). Anastasia Bronzed (LE) is lighter, more shimmery (85% similar). Top 20 dupes listed, see the rest. See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Laura Mercier Face Illuminator Collection (Holiday 2016) Fall In Love
See All Glossovers

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Also In This Review

Holiday 2016 Cheek Palettes/Sets | Laura Mercier Fall in Love, Bobbi Brown Bobbi to Glow, Stila Star Light, Star Bright

 

Laura Mercier Fall in Love Face Illuminator Collection
Laura Mercier Fall in Love Face Illuminator Collection

Three new, limited edition cheek palettes for the holidays.

Availability

Now online for VIB Rouges

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The Details

Laura Mercier Fall in Love Face Illuminator Collection | $58.00 ($64.53 Value) | Limited Edition

Laura Mercier Face Illuminator Powders highlight the skin with pure light-reflecting pigments for a color-true, multidimensional, and luminous finish that complements all skintones. Its non-dusting texture allows for a buildable layer of shine—from a subtle highlight to a more intense level of luminosity. Available exclusively at Sephora.

  • Addiction Gilded gold
  • Devotion Cool
  • Seduction Soft bronze
  • Indiscretion Warm rose gold

Bobbi Brown Bobbi to Glow Shimmer Brick Palette | $69.00 ($117.30 Value) | Limited Edition

Bobbi To Glow Shimmer Brick Palette features Gold, Wild Rose, and Bronze shades for gorgeous radiance to the cheekbones and for an allover glow. Formulated with superfine, light-catching pearl pigments, each shade imparts soft brilliance with a hint of color. The Gold shade brightens and highlights, the Bronze hue adds warmth, and Wild Rose creates a flushed glow. Available exclusively at Sephora.

  • Gold Gold
  • Wild Rose Rose
  • Bronze Deep, bronzy glow

Stila Star Light, Star Bright Highlighting Palette | $39.00 | Limited Edition

Create starlet illumination with the Star Light, Star Bright Highlighting Palette. Bouncy to the touch, these unique, radiance-enhancing highlighters melt into skin for a barely-there feel. Infused with ultra-fine, light-diffusing particles, they help skin look lit from within for a natural-looking glow. Layer these shades together or wear them alone and let your skin steal the spotlight this holiday season. Wear Transcendence’s opalescent pink for a bold, ethereal glow, sweep on Kitten, a shimmering pink nude that brightens and illuminates, or wear the Bronze highlighter for a radiant, sunkissed glow. Available exclusively at Sephora.

  • Transcendence Opalescent pink
  • Kitten Shimmering nude pink
  • Bronze Sunkissed radiance

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