There are a few characteristics that come to mind when I’m looking for gifts to give my favorite gal pals: cute, fun, and budget-friendly. Even though we’d all love to lavish our friends and family with any gift they desired, it’s easy for holiday spending to get out of control. I always make sure to set aside a budget for friends and I try to determine a good spending level and keep it equal. (Of course, that very best friend might get a little extra!)
Philosophy Gift Sets are one of my favorite gifts to give (and receive!). Philosophy does an amazing job creating cute, holiday-themed packaging and keeping their sets high on the value side while they’re at it. They also have special scents/flavors that only pop up during the holiday season, too.
I like their Holiday Cookbook ($35.00) is a six-piece shower gel set (each with 2 oz.) housed in a cardboard “cookbook.” It contains the following scents: Red Velvet Cake, Cinnamon Buns, Spicy Pear Cobbler, Pumpkin Spice Muffin, Gingerbread, and Double Rich Hot Cocoa. Delicious! (You can read my review of last year’s here.) You can find this gift at: Nordstrom, Philosophy.com, Sephora.
My next recommendation is The Recipe Box Set ($18.00) is a good option if you’re on a slimmer budget (or you just have a lot of friends and would like to spread the love a bit more). It’s a cute little set in a gift-ready box and red bow tied on top. It contains two 6 oz. shower gels: Sweet Creamy Frosting and Red Velvet Cake. It is available at Beauty.com, Nordstrom, Philosophy.com, and Sephora.
Korres has a lot of value-packed sets available for holiday as well as year-round (nothing wrong with giving one of those, y’know), so if you’re thinking about giving the gift of Korres this holiday season, there’s a good variety of sets to choose from.
Korres Cherry Lip Kisses ($19.50) is a trio of Korres’ Cherry Oil Lipgloss (includes Fuchsia, Natural Purple, and Nude shades). These are fun glosses, and when they’re available in a set? Totally worth it! (You can read my full review here.) You can pick this set up at KorresUSA.com(save 30% on $35 or more with code TEMPTALIA til 12/31!) and Sephora.
Another Korres set I’m loving for an affordable gift set is their Best Of Korres ($25.00) which gives a nice taste of Korres’ product line without splurging on full-sizes. It’s a particularly nice set to receive, too! I also like it because it is travel friendly, and I know I can never have too many travel-sized products.
Rich in purples, Purple Shock is a mix of cool-toned, blue-based purples and a more red-toned fuchsia purple to give it a little more oomph, a little something extra. Featured in the quad are MAC Parfait Amour eyeshadow (a cool-toned medium purple frost), MAC Stars ‘n Rockets eyeshadow (a fuchsia-purple with a icy purple sheen), MAC Beautiful Iris eyeshadow (a soft, iridescent lilac purple), and MAC Shroom eyeshadow (a soft, lightly shimmered highlighter).
For more customization, you can easily swap in your favorite highlighter in place of Shroom, or if you’re not looking to use this quad on its lonesome (e.g. you have plenty of highlighters elsewhere), you could add in a fleshy pink like MAC Hush eyeshadow instead. On the opposite end, you could go darker and smokier by adding MAC Contrast eyeshadow in place of Shroom.
A few combinations to try with this…
Shroom all over the lid, Stars ‘n Rockets on the outer lid, Parfait Amour in the crease, Shroom to highlight
Beautiful Iris all over the lid, Stars ‘n Rockets on the outer lid, Parfait Amour in the crease, Shroom to highlight
Beautiful Iris all over the lid, Parfait Amour in the crease, Shroom to highlight
Shroom all over the lid, Beautiful Iris on the outer lid, Stars ‘n Rockets in the crease, Shroom to highlight
A few looks I’ve done that can be replicated with these shades…
Build a Quad is a feature focusing on creating different eyeshadow palettes that are both beautiful and functional using permanent shades of eyeshadow. We invite readers to suggest their own build-a-quads — just leave your ideas in the comments! Don’t forget to name your quad!
I was able to snap some photos of MAC’s permanent line of eyeshadows, so here’s part one of them! Please keep in mind that these are testers from the MAC counter, not owned by me, so they may be messy, gross, etc. I swatched most of MAC’s permanent eyeshadows a few months ago, so do check that out if you’d like swatches instead!
Guerlain is a brand that always steals my heart. It has that combination of luxe and quality that I find hard to resist! These are a few of their can’t-be-missed products…
Guerlain Eyeshadow Palette ($58.00) are well-pigmented palettes that feature four eyeshadows that work well together. I love Bronze Dore! So pretty!
Guerlain Meteorites Powder ($53.00) is a soft shimmery highlighter that is fun to use and works really well to add a subtle glow to cheeks and face without highlighting imperfections because the shimmer is so fine.
Guerlain KissKiss Gloss ($29.00) is one of my favorite gloss formulas! (It’s pretty much tied with YSL’s Golden Gloss.) Soft, shimmer makes every color have the appearance of shimmering water. I love shades like Fraise a Croquer and Rose Florida. They’re a great non-sticky gloss that doesn’t dry out your lips and lets your lips shine.
Guerlain KissKiss Lipstick ($30.00) comes in a large variety of shades, so you’re bound to find at least one (if not far too many) that suit your tastes. They’re creamy, long-wearing lipsticks that feel hydrating and luxe on lips. One of my favorite lipstick formulas — Rouge G and YSL’s Rouge Volupte top it, but only slightly.
Guerlain ‘Blush 4 Eclats’ Sculpting Blush ($48.00) are silky smooth powder blush compacts with four different shades designed to be used together with one sweep from left to right and then applied to cheeks. Whether you use that method or swirl them together, you’ll come up with something gorgeous. I love every single one they have out (I believe it’s six), but my favorites are Soleil Couchant and Rose Plein Vent.
Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder ($46.00) is a silky smooth bronzing powder that applies easily and nearly effortlessly. It is just a sheer shade that works well to give you a natural looking sunkissed glow. No orange here!
Dior excels at creating (even when you thought you had it covered) staples that you’ll use time and time again. Many of my favorite products to use on a daily basis are dior. Dior can be colorful and bright, but they’re more often subtle and natural–not boring, mind you.
Dior Diorskin Shimmer Stars ($43.00) are quite possibly my favorite product by Dior, period. These are subtle highlighters that work well on all skin tones and give that “glowy” appearance without overloading the skin with shimmer. They’re natural and bring out the skin’s own glow. Really, really phenomenal. You can just see how many looks I’ve done with Amber Diamond and Rose Diamond alone.
Dior Addict 1.7 oz Eau de Parfum Spray ($72.00) was one of my first fragrances, and it is still one of my more coveted scents. It is a heady scent that works extremely well for evening and formal occasions.
Dior Diorskin Nude ($45.00) is a water-based, lightweight light-to-medium coverage foundation that gives skin a flawless and healthy look. You can read my full review for even more reasons why it rocks my world.
Dior Addict Ultra-Gloss Reflect ($25.50) are non-sticky, hydrating lipglosses with a beautiful glossy finish. They come in a variety of shades, and they’re one of Dior’s signature products.
Dior 2-Colour Eyeshadow ($35.00) are richly pigmented eyeshadow duos. They’re not quite at the level of the Extreme eyeshadows, but they’re coordinated shades that are worth the investment if it’s in your budget.