As promised, here are my top picks for palettes to snag during the holidays! Also… as I review other palettes from the holidays (I don’t think I have too many more!) and find other great choices, I’ll be sure to add them here.
- Too Faced Be Merry, Be Bright Set ($45.00 for 1.28 oz.) consists of two “books” of makeup–each has six eyeshadows and two blush/cheek colors. The quality was good across the board, and there was a nice variety of colors and textures. You can read part one and part two of my reviews on it.
- Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 1.20 oz.) contains twenty-four (24!!!) eyeshadows, and they’re even designed to be layered and used together, so you can have an endless amount of combinations and textures! You can read part one and part two.
- theBalm Balm Voyage ($42.50 for 1.21 oz.) has sixteen eyeshadows and three lip/cheek colors, but the eyeshadows are the stars. This is a great choice for someone who prefers more matte/satin finishes. Check out part one and part two for reviews on this palette.
- Urban Decay Vice 2 ($59.00 for 0.60 oz.) has twenty eyeshadows to choose from with a variety in texture and color to choose from. If you love pigmented, buttery, soft eyeshadows–this one’s for you. You can read part one and part two of my reviews.
- Sugarpill Cold Chemistry ($34.00 for 0.48 oz.) is a wintry mix of cool-toned gray, white, purple, and teal for someone who loves bold, rich colors and a lot of them. Not limited edition but a perfectly-timed release for the holiday season. Read my review here.
- LORAC Pro Palette ($42.00 for 0.55 oz.) is a cult-favorite palette for a reason–it combines mattes with high frosts. There are eight matte shades and then eight more frosted shades, and you can mix and match them for satin and pearl finishes, too! Permanent and available year-round, there’s no hurry to snag one, but with holiday deals and sales, now’s a great time to try it. Read my review here.
- Too Faced Pretty Rebel ($46.00 for 0.50 oz.) contains ten eyeshadows, which might not be as sexy as a mega palette, but these are ten fantastic eyeshadows. If you love jewel-tones, bold and bright shades, and your frost finishes, this is a palette worth considering. Read my review here.
- Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette ($58.00 for 0.35 oz.) is for those who love a beautiful, glowing complexion and flawless canvas. Ambient Lighting Powders are amazing on their own but getting three for a little more than the price of one? Great opportunity to try more shades or add them to your routine. Read my review here.
- Sleek MakeUP Vintage Romance Eyeshadow Palette ($9.99 for 0.36 oz.) is my more budget-friendly pick for a fall/winter palette with great quality–nicely pigmented shades in hues of gold, berry, and purple. Read my review here.
What palettes would you recommend to others for the holidays?
Urban Decay Ocho Loco 2 Eyeliner Set
Some of these are gifts that I’ve specifically reviewed, others are formulas I’ve tried but perhaps not the full set or that exact set. I’m excluding palettes from this post, as I want to do a round-up of my favorite palettes separately. I’ve also included a list of additional holiday gift suggestions that tick a lot of the boxes on what I’m looking for in a good gift set but I may not have tried before. In general, when I want to maximize my money and get the most out of a set, here’s what I look for:
- Variety — One of the best aspects about buying a palette or a set or kit is getting to try a bunch of products or shades, some that you might not be willing to buy individually. Depending on what you already own, you may also have to consider how much overlap there is with what you already have compared to what’s included in the set (and if you want doubles!).
- Value — How often have you actually finished a full-sized product? Even when I only used MAC and wasn’t blogging and buying full collections, the only shade I ever finished was the shade I used for my brows–and that still took years of daily use. I remember the blush that I used every single day for at least a year, if not longer, was about half-gone. Most of us just aren’t going to finish the majority of products we own, which means, we don’t actually need the full-sized. Value is both what you get (quantity) and what you’ll actually use from it (so a palette with 20 colors that you’d use only one from isn’t valuable to you!). At the same time, a set that saves you a couple bucks isn’t that exciting.
- Price — $500 for 300 items is still $500. I find a lot of the best sets come in around $50 or less. If you are a huge, huge fan of a particular brand and have the money to splurge, some brands over super-over-the-top-mega-sets at $200+ that can be well worth it, though. (Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Liner set from previous years comes to mind.)
- Packaging — minis can be tricky, so sometimes a mini can be so small that it’s not very functional. An eyeliner that’s an inch tall is annoying to use, or a nail polish where the brush is half the size can also be problematic. There’s not deal-breakers, but it’s something I’ve learned to pay attention to.
Some additional sets to consider…
Note, I haven’t tried these products extensively or at all, so I can’t vouch for the quality, but these are good opportunities to try something new OR if you have tried the formula already and liked it, I think they’re worth considering!
- Sephora Formula X The Twenty Two ($55.00) includes 22 miniature-sized bottles of the new formula. There is also a 10-piece set of Sephora’s regular polish with full-sized bottles for $36.
- Sephora Favorites are kits that feature top-selling products across brands from Sephora, and there are 12 different sets available ranging from lips, mascara, eyeliners, fragrances, rollerballs, and more. It’s a great way to try out cult favorites in a one-stop shop. I think the fragrance/rollerball sets are pretty nice, since even trial sizes of fragrances can be all you need of a fragrance you like but don’t love.
- Bite Beauty 15 Shades of Sephora ($48.00) includes 15 shades of glosses, eacch at 0.06 oz., giving you plenty of options to choose from.
- Kat Von D Spellbinding Lipstick Set ($39.00) includes 10 miniature-sized lipsticks (0.042 oz. each); great variety and a healthy mini size that you can get many uses out of.
Stock Up on Skincare
Whatever your favorite regimen, the holiday season is a great time to pick up value-packed starter kits, travel-sized versions (great for actually traveling!), or mega-sized versions. So, keep an eye out for those!
What are your favorite holiday gift sets/kits this year?
I shared my favorite oranges yesterday for Halloween, so of course, the other side of the coin is rich, inky blacks! Here are some of my favorites:
- Illamasqua Creator — a deep, dark black with silver flecks and sparkle with a glossy, high-shine finish
- Chanel Mirifique — a sparkling, creamy, deep dark black
- Urban Decay Perversion — a cult favorite; deep, dark, inky matte black for the lash line
- Milani Pitch Black — a deep, dark black eyeshadow with a matte finish for under $10
- Sugarpill Stella — a deep, dark black loose eyeshadow with teal, violet, pink, and emerald green micro-shimmer
What are your favorite black-hued beauty products?
It might be cliche to opt for a top five of orange-colored products with Halloween a few weeks away, but hey! it’s just an excuse to pay homage to some of my favorite oranges.
- Buxom Rogue — a luminous, rich orange-red with intense color payoff and a wonderfully comfortable formula
- Zoya Amy — a rich, molten orange with hints of deep gold and metallic shimmer
- Sugarpill Flamepoint — a true orange with a matte finish that’s incredibly pigmented
- Maybelline Electric Orange — a lush orange with a glossy sheen for under $10!
- Sleek Sunset #4 — it may be part of a palette (which I try to avoid, but the price point on this palette is so low, plus the palette is amazing from start to finish, I couldn’t resist!), but it’s such a bright and rich shade of tangerine with so much color payoff!
What’s your must-have orange-hued beauty product?
October is a time that reminds me to be brave; to not be afraid of bold, unusual colors. Halloween is an often excuse to play with color in ways we’ve never felt comfortable doing so the rest of the year, but it also serves as a great reminder to: experiment more. play more. go outside of our comfort zone. embrace the unknown. thirst for something different. These are a few of my favorite more unique and unusual shades that I’ve come across, and I hope you’ll share your own unusual finds with me!
- Illamasqua Apocalips is a vivid, medium-dark blue-teal with a matte finish. I love the unusual color, but what I love even more is that it still applies and wears fairly well. It’s definitely a show-stopping color!
- Sleek Sunset Palette is a budget-friendly palette that’s top-to-bottom fantastic. No duds in the bunch; not only is this a feat for an eyeshadow palette in general, but to do so at under $15? It’s quite unusual!
- Inglot #434 is a cool-toned, purplish taupe–a glorious mix of purple, gray, and brown for something infinitely complex, bold but neutral.
- Marc Jacobs Beauty Th(ink) is a bold, cool-toned violet purple with a pearly shimmer that really opens up the eye–and it is a shade that had many, many readers asking, “What are you wearing?” Purple eyeliners that can be applied with opaque, rich color are hard to come by, but Th(ink) makes a strong case for one that does.
- Giorgio Armani #701 is a cool-toned, sheer bluish-purple gloss filled with blue and violet shimmer. It’s very intriguing on its own, but it can be layered over lipstick for a different look.
- NARS Taj Mahal is bold, bright, but not totally over-the-top, and it’s more of a tangerine than a full-on orange with red tones, so it has more golden, yellowy undertones.
- Cult Nails You’re My Dandy Lion is a warm, buttery yellow with a cream finish–and lo and behold, it applies beautifully. It’s practically a unicorn among polish!
- Fyrinnae Parental Advisory is a bold, bright, royal purple like I haven’t seen before. It’s so vibrant and pigmented–if you are a fiend for purple eyeshadow, it is a must-have.
- OCC Jubilee is a pale, aqua-green with a blue-purple duochrome. It’s metallic, shimmering, and reflective. I love the way the color shifts as you move, as it is layered over other products, and will lean one way or another depending on what is paired with.
- Illamasqua Stranger is a green-ish gold gloss with a high-shine finish, lots of metallic shimmer, and it is a shade that changes as you move.
I hope you’ll consider sharing your must-haves for October in the comments! Here’s a quickie list to get you started…
Must-Have Eye Products:
Must-Have Cheek/Face Products:
Must-Have Lip Products:
Must-Have Hair/Skin Products:
Earthy… weathered… how about five shades of stormy gray? Gray can be such a basic shade, but it can add a lot of dimension and depth, too, and sometimes it can look so modern and clean on its own.
- NARS Transvaal — can be used as an eyeliner or cream eyeshadow, it’s a medium-dark, creamy gray with neutral-cool undertones
- MAC Typographic — a classic, dark gray with a matte finish
- Illamasqua Raindrops — a smattering of silver flakes suspended in a bluish-gray
- Inglot #387 — a cool-toned, blue-tinted gray with a mostly matte finish
- Zoya Dove — a medium, warm-toned gray cream
What’s your current go-to gray shade?