Holiday Gift Guide: Totally Holiday, Totally Gift-Worthy and Over $50
The last part of the Totally Holiday, Totally Gift-Worthy section of the guide features the more indulgent gifts to give this holiday season. These may be luxurious, or they may offer tremendous value but will be an investment for years to come. Next part of the guide will focus on limited edition holiday color favorites. If you missed it, I already posted the under $30 and under $50 guides!
A Few Tips on Breaking the Bank for Gifts
- Typically, the thought really is what counts, and if you have the budget for it, great gifts can be pricey gifts, too, but make sure you’re still thinking about the person you’re buying for and getting them something indulgent that they want. Similarly, just because it’s a gift you’d love to receive doesn’t always translate to one your recipient would love to receive.
- Not all sets are created equal–I picked my favorites (across all the holiday kit/set guides) that I felt were good overall, both for quality as well as value, but sometimes kits have minimal savings or it might be in a product you’d never use (maybe it’s a mascara or primer or whatever). It’s easy to get caught up in “savings” when it’s plastered all over the kit/sale page but remember to read the fine print and see what’s really inside.
- Sometimes buying full-sized products is better if your budget is bigger. For instance, for the price of the NARS set ($125), you could purchase five full-sized, individual NARS lipglosses–and you could hand-pick the colors or shades. You can also mix up brands, product types, and whether something it’s limited or permanent that way.
Eyes: One of the ultimate gift sets this season is Make Up For Ever Wild & Chic Aqua Cream Collection ($175.00), but it presents a good opportunity to have several full-sized Aqua Creams at less than retail; I love Aqua Creams in general, and this set is mostly neutral, so it’s workable across skin tones and preferences. If you thought that was indulgent, check out Make Up For Ever’s Wild & Chic Collector Case ($330.00), which contains an instant makeup stash (it’s valued at $616 in product), just at a rather hefty price tag. For Bare Escentuals fans, one of my favorite kits from their holiday offerings is Bare Escentuals bareMinerals Oh La Luxe ($79.00) which contains fifteen shades for eyes/face. They come in a metallic zippered bag, too, which is nice for travel.
Cheeks/Face: There didn’t seem to be very many cheek/face kits/sets this year in this particular price range, but I did like Make Up For Ever Wild & Chic Best of Make Up For Ever Kit ($55.00), since it contains several of their ultra-popular products without having to shell out fully for it–like their HD Powder, Aqua Cream, and Primer. Let me share with you a fantastic Hair kit since this category is a bit barren, Blow Out in a Box ($200.00), which features my favorite T3 Featherweight Hair Dryer, along with a T3 AntiGravity Barrel Brush and Wide Tooth Comb, plus Living Proof Full Thickening Cream and Straight.
Lips: NARS Kudoki Kabuki Lip Set ($125.00) is one of those products that very few of us actually buy but something most of us would appreciate receiving as a gift; it’s decadent, intricately designed, purposefully made–it’s pure luxury and a collector’s item. I cannot comment on its quality, as I don’t have it and haven’t seen it, but I see this as that, “ooh, ahh” item for the season. Chanel Les Deux Levres Scintillantes ($55.00) contains two glossimers (Spark and Liaison) along with a miniature-sized Nude Lip Definer all housed in a black Chanel-emblazoned makeup bag; the set is fairly neutral and should work universally, and because it’s Chanel, it can impress (for instance, my aunt would much more appreciate a designer brand, because she would never buy it herself).
Skin/Body: The ever-popular Clarisonic has several year-round kits/sets, but they do put a few more together for the holidays. They all tend to be a good value overall, and it’s really a matter of what accessories/bonuses you’d like with it (or what color!). LUSH has a fantastic offering of holiday gift sets and boxes, including plenty over $50 (and plenty under!), and I love giving LUSH sets for anyone I know who likes to take baths or extended showers to relax–also great for younger teens!
Fragrance: When you’re not quite sure what scent someone wears, or if you know they’re looking for a signature scent or just getting into fragrance, I love the sets Sephora puts together. This year’s Sephora Favorites Rollerball Collection For Her ($65.00 for 7×0.20-0.34oz.) includes popular favorites in rollerball format, so they’re small, travel-friendly, and very convenient; for the fragrance collector, you might consider the collector’s edition, which features miniature sizes of popular scents. I also love fragrance sets like Jo Malone Fragrance Combining Cologne Collection ($95.00 for 5×0.3 oz.) because they can be used individually or together–it’s a great opportunity to pick-up Jo Malone scents in smaller sizes (and for lower prices!).
Do you have any suggestions for readers looking for a really big ticket item to add to their wish list or to splurge on for a loved one?
LUSH Pumpkin Soap
LUSH Halloween: Pumpkin & Demon in the Dark Soaps, Ceridwen’s Cauldron Bath Melt Reviews & Photos
Pumpkin Soap ($6.95 for 2.5 oz.) is warm and spicy; the clove and cardamom co-star in this autumnal-themed soap. I personally think it’s adorable; it’s the happy Jack o’ lantern, not the creepy kind. LUSH likens this to the “sweet and spicy scent of pumpkin pie.” I get a wee bit of pumpkin pie coming through on the tail end, but it’s not a scent I’d describe as gourmand. I think it’s the lack of sweetness that allows the spiciness of the clove, cardamom, and cinnamon to rise above the pumpkin aspect. It’s a subtle scent, too, and it disappears quickly after washing (which may be a good or bad thing, depending on your preferences).
Demon In The Dark Soap ($7.95 for 3.5 oz.) is described as a mix of spearmint and apple juice. The scent is more mint than anything else, but there is an underlying earthiness to it. I found the minty freshness more apparent when just sniffing the dry bar, but the sweetness of the apple juice did come out when used and lathered. Overall, it has a more masculine edge, which makes it great to give to the dirty boys and men in your life, though I have no problem using it as a female! It’s a lower lathering soap compared to other LUSH soaps I’ve tried, but it gives me the same clean skin (without being drying). The scent does not linger for more than a half hour post-shower.
Ceridwen’s Cauldron Bath Melt ($7.95 for 2.8 oz.) is a perfect melt to choose for a decadent and ultra-relaxing bath, because it’s rich and herbaceous with lots of lavender. LUSH’s Bath Melts are nice, because they provide a milkiness to the bath water without making it feel oily or greasy, so your skin gets the hydration without the slippery tub afterward. It comes wrapped in muslin, which is a nice touch, because there is also oatmeal and herb bits and bobs, so the cloth keeps everything from getting into the water while still giving you the aromatic experience. After I emerge from a quick bath (I am actually not a bath person; I think it’s because I suck at relaxing), my skin feels soft and moisturized. There’s a lavender scent that lingers for a few hours afterward.
LUSH Holiday 2011 Gift Offerings
Bundled up tight in each of LUSH’s holiday gifts you’ll find beautiful baths and tasty skin treats, but this year you’ll also be discovering some of the greatest innovations LUSH has ever created. LUSH has your gift giving needs packaged and ready to go, whether it’s a small token of appreciation for a co-worker or a gift for that special someone.
All of our gifts are wrapped in recycled handmade paper, but we also offer an eco-friendly option with our Knot Wrap Scarves ($6.95). Made from two recycled 500ml plastic bottles, our Knot Wraps can be used to wrap LUSHious gifts Japanese style. After the goodies are gone, the Knot Wrap can be worn as a beautiful scarf or used to wrap other gifts!
Secret Santa ($9.95)
The go-to gift for all those tricky Secret Santa presents, this one suits everyone – so it doesn’t matter whose name you pull out of the hat! Containing two of LUSH’s classic festive treats, a Lil’ LUSH Pud bath bomb and a star shaped Snowcake soap, both of which smell like the marzipan icing on the Christmas cake! Contents: Lil’ LUSH Pud bath bomb and Snowcake soap
Have A Sweet Christmas ($10.95)
Everyone likes to treat themselves at Christmas and why shouldn’t they? Curb those Christmas candy cravings with a duo of delicious bath time goodies from LUSH. The new Candy Mountain bubble bar will create masses of sweet scented skin softening bubbles while a chunk of the jelly baby scented Angels’ Delight soap will satisfy your sweet tooth. Mmm, delicious! Contents: Angels Delight soap and Candy Mountain bubble bar
Wake yourself up on cold winter mornings with these two uplifting and invigorating shower products. The lemon and grapefruit oils in Snow Globe soap will enliven the senses while the sugar in Australian Igloo will leave you with smooth and glowing skin. Contents: Snow Globe soap and Australian Igloo sugar scrub
Merry and Bright ($12.95)
Christmas Eve bubble bar and Cinders bath bomb make the perfect pre-bedtime bath combination. After soak with these little wonders and a good night’s sleep, you’ll be merry and bright for all the holiday festivities. Contents: Christmas Eve bubble bar and Cinders bath bomb
Cosy Christmas ($12.95)
Protect your paws this winter with a pair of products scented with almonds and vanilla, some of the most comforting and reassuring essential oils. Tiny Hands is a solid hand serum to smooth and soften hard skin in preparation for some serious snuggling while Snowcake soap is a slice of pure Christmas, fragranced like the marzipan icing on the Christmas cake, it leaves skin soft and deliciously scented. Contents: Snowcake soap and Tiny Hands hand serum
Rocket To Me ($19.95)
Shoot for the stars with this stellar trio of innovative bath fizzers. There’s the new Rocketeer, that’s shaped like a jetpack and literally rockets around the tub; a Space Girl that will orbit the tub leaving a trail of stardust and a blackcurrant aroma and finally an Ickle Baby Bot that’s made with soothing chamomile and lavender to calm down excited minds after Christmas Day. It’s out of this world. Contents: Ickle Baby Bot, Rocketeer, Space Girl
LUSH Holiday 2011 Offerings
Last Christmas, a handful of very lucky LUSHies were sent off around the globe to gather inspiration – food, fresh ingredients, traditions, colors, music, decorations – anything they could get their hands on! Take their global finds, combine them with LUSH’s wild and wonky product inventors and POOF our Christmas products were born! Feast your eyes on the world of LUSH innovation and wonder, all here for a limited time only so snap them up before Santa’s elves do! Now available at lush.com.
Candy Cane Soap ($6.95)
Inspired by all the candy shops in New York City, Candy Cane soap is everything you could ever want from a bar of soap. Fragranced with peppermint, Candy Cane will have your hands smelling detectibly sweet, and keep them beautifully clean. Vegan
Angels Delight Soap ($5.95)
This yummy pink soap is adorned with stars, moons and all things glittery. Tangerine oil, orange oil and gardenia oil provide the sweet fragrance and also really work to cleanse, refresh and detox the skin. Vegan
Snow Globe ($6.95)
Imagine yourself inside a snow globe – snow fluttering all around and feeling refreshed, revitalized and uplifted. Well, this soap will make you feel all of the above, with a citrusy lemon myrtle, grapefruit and lemongrass blend that will bluster your senses and wake you up on cold winter mornings. The whole soap is in the shape of a snow globe, with white circles to imitate the snowflakes. Vegan
Northern Lights ($6.95)
Don’t fear if you’ve never seen the Northern Lights in person, for a limited time they’ll be making your appearance in your shower! Pine and cypress oils calm the mind, while lime oil works well on congested skin and cellulite. Vegan
You’ll always have a white Christmas with a snowy slice of Snowcake, and all of its creamy, almondy deliciousness. Christmas just wouldn’t be a Christmas without this marzipan and rose scented fan favorite! Vegan
LUSH Halloween 2011 Launches
LUSH’s top-selling Halloween and Day of the Dead characters are back to cast shadows on your shower curtain once again.
Ghost Shower Gel ($17.95 for 8.4 oz.) (Limited Edition)
This Ghost will spook your shower once again. Made with a rose and dove orchard infusion, Ghost will leave your skin feeling soft with the lingering fragrance of lilies.
Jacko Bath Bomb ($5.95 for 3.5 oz.) (Limited Edition)
The ultimate ghoulish goodie after a night of trick-or-treating; drop this limited edition, pumpkin shaped Bath Bomb in your tub and soak this hollow’s eve in a room filled with the spicy scent of clove bud and spearmint. There’s nothing quite like a spicy, warming bath on a dark and chilly night. You’ll be haunted by this spicy fragrance long after your bath. It’s only around for Halloween so get your pumpkin bomb before All Hallows Day. Spicy clove bud oil warms you up in the chill of the night.
Pumpkin Soap ($6.95 for 3.1 oz.) (Limited Edition)
Carve some time out of your Halloween to wash with our spicy hand and body soap. Clove, cardamom, spearmint and fresh pumpkin will warm up you up after a long night of trick or treating.
Calavera Bath Bomb ($5.95 for 6.3 oz.) (Limited Edition)
Skulls don’t have to be scary. In Mexico, they are an iconic image for the Day of the Dead celebrations, during which the dead are honored and respected. This bomb contains marigold petals and zesty lime oil to make your bath time fragrantly festive!
Cobweb Bath Bomb ($5.95 for 4.4 oz.) (Limited Edition) (Online Only)
Tantalizing black sugar bath bomb made with our ever popular black pearl scent to calm you down after a night of frights. This mighty bomb is a major stress reliever (as long as you’re not scared of spiders).
Lady Catrina Soap ($6.95 for 3.5 oz.) (Limited Edition) (Online Only)
A brightly coloured, fruit laden chunk of spectacular citrus suds! Lady Catrina’s sweet scent comes from Agave nectar, which we’re thrilled to use because it’s a vegan alternative honey. Agave nectar is extracted from the agave cactus. The nectar gives Lady Catrina her beautiful, sweet scent.
Calacas Shower Jelly ($5.95 for 2.1 oz.) (Limited Edition) (Online Only)
Multi coloured jellies for a festive shower experience. We created our own little wiggly skulls of seaweed and aloe vera gel to leave you soft and gorgeous, and filled them with neroli and lime oils to put you in a haunting mood. You’ll have to wait until your package arrives to see which colour you get… it’s like trick or treat for the shower.
Pumpkin Knot Wrap ($3.95) (Limited Edition) (Online Only)
Carve out a place in your sweeties heart this Fall with our limited-edition Pumpkin Knot-Wrap. It’s a mini wrap fit for a single Bath Bomb, a couple bars of soap or even a handful of Halloween candies. Pumpkin is the perfect way to wrap up your party favors, a gift for the host, or treats for the kids.
Ceridwen’s Cauldron ($7.95 for 2.8 oz.) (Permanent)
This ultra moisturizing and calming bath melt is a perfect brew of cocoa butter, oats, lavender and sandalwood oils.
Demon in the Dark ($7.95 for 3.1 oz.) (Permanent)
Trade in the age old tradition of bobbing for apples and wash with them instead. This spearmint and apple soap will get even the most mischievous demons clean.
Twilight Bath Bomb ($5.95 for 6.3 oz.) (Permanent)
Twilight, when it is neither completely lit nor dark, is the perfect time for vampires to retire in a warm comforting lavender bath, leaving the sun rise far behind.
availability: Now @ LUSH
LUSH Shark Fin Soap for Charity
LUSH Shark Fin Soap ($5.95 for 3.5 oz.) just launched and is a limited edition soap that benefits Shark Savers, a non-profit organization that works for the protection and conservation of sharks. LUSH is donating 100% of the proceeds of the soap. It’s described as “packed full of softening seaweed, scrubby fine sea salt, and zest lime oil.”
It smells salty and zesty–very citrus-based with a definite tartness. You get a bit of the seaweed coming through when it’s actually be used (I used it as a body soap in the shower) but overall, the lime oil dominates. I like it, and it’s more of a unisex scent, too. There’s enough lather to enable it to glide over skin easily but don’t expect lots of soapy lather. Only the faintest hint of lime and salt (it has the crispness of the sea breeze–without the coconut and sunscreen) remained on my skin post-shower, which may be a good or a bad thing, depending on your needs.
It seems similar to Sea Vegetable Soap, which also has lime, seaweed, and sea salt (and though Shark Fin isn’t described with lavender in it, it is in the ingredients’ list), which I haven’t smelled, so I can’t attest to how similar they may (or may not) be. The ingredient lists for the two aren’t exactly the same but the beginning of both are nearly identical. This was more to say – if you like that, you might like this, too.