Monday, November 21st, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide: Must-Have Beauty Products for Eyes

I’m going to do my best to crank out the last few gift guides in the next day, because I know a lot of sales are coming up for Black Friday/Cyber Monday, and I don’t want you to miss out! These are all products I personally recommend that are part of the permanent range. Products are listed in order of ascending price!


  • Milani Liquif’Eye Eyeliners ($5.49) is a standout formula with a wallet-friendly price tag–if they had a bigger range, they’d be even better. I love their Black and Aqua shades.
  • MAC Fluidlines ($15) is a long-time favorite, because it’s creamy enough for smooth, crisp application but sets and wears well. My favorite is Blacktrack.
  • Tarina Tarantino Dream Hyperliners ($15) are a newly-discovered favorite with a fantastic color range, rich color, and long-wear. My favorite shades have been Sparkling Ammunition and Puppeteer.
  • Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Liners ($18) also has an amazing range of shades as well as finishes, and this is an eyeliner that stays on well throughout the day. I regularly reach for shades like #4L, 5L, 12L, and 20L.
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencils ($18) are a total go-to for me! They have a full color range available, and they’re soft and glide on easily. Some of my favorites are Bourbon Covet, Graffiti, Mildew, Rockstar, Stash, and Underground.
  • Stila Smudgestick Waterproof Eyeliners ($20) are super soft and pigmented, but they do run out of quick–but their color range is so rich, it’s hard to say no. I love Moray, Peacock, and Stingray.
  • Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliners ($21) is a rich, long-wearing gel eyeliner that’s smooth and creamy but still wears all day. Check out shades like Black Mauve Shimmer Ink and Cobalt Ink!
  • Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners ($23) is my absolute favorite for liquid liner, because the color range is wide and the formula itself stays on all day. I recommend shades like #3, 4, 9, 10, and 14. If you like lots and lots of sparkle, consider Stila Sparkle Liquid Eyeliners ($22) which have a very similar formula but their shades have more shimmer.


  • Wet ‘n’ Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow ($1.99 to $4.99) are a real steal with a lot of variations and options available, and a lot of the shades are of excellent quality.
  • Inglot Eyeshadows ($5) won’t break the bank but will deliver intense color payoff–they’re most well-known for their mattes and Double Sparkles.
  • Sugarpill Chromalusts ($12) are finely milled with lots of dimension. My favorites are Stella, Absinthe, and Goldilux! I’d also recommend checking out their eyeshadows if you’re shopping for someone who loves bright colors (they’re also $12 and top notch).
  • theBalm Eyeshadows ($16) are richly pigmented, silky smooth, and wear really well. Their individual singles are great, but they also have several palettes that work well, too. My favorite singles are All About Alex, Jealous Jordana, and Risque Renee.
  • Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner ($19) are some of my favorite cream eyeshadows for quick all-over washes or as an eyeshadow base; the range is generally more neutral/subdued so it would be great for busy folks who don’t have a lot of time to spend on their makeup every morning. I love shades like Birthday Suit and Skinny Jeans.
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencils ($20) is a chubby pencil that can be used as an eyeliner or more like a cream eyeshadow (or even an eyeshadow base). They wear really well and deliver pretty good color. I like shades Clinic, Lit, and Midnight Cowboy.
  • Bare Escentuals Ready Eyeshadows ($20 for duo, $30 for quad) caught me off guard, because I really didn’t think they’d be out of this world, but they’re really, really good. Some of my favorite duos are The Scenic Route and The Escape, and some of my favorite quads are The Elements and The Truth.
  • MAC Pigments ($20) are still one of my favorite products for really revving up a look. Some of the permanent shades I love are Pink Opal, Melon, and Teal.
  • Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams ($22) come in neutrals as well as bright pops of color, and they’re a cream product that really locks down once it sets. I love the Aqua Creams best for eyes. I totally dig shades like #2, #5, #13, #15.
  • Illamasqua Pure Pigment ($24) may be pricey and they don’t come with a whole lot of product, for most consumers, it’ll take years to get through. The reason I like these is I feel like the range has a lot of complex, unique shades.
  • Le Metier de Beaute True Color Eyeshadow ($30) is a pricey but absolutely luxurious eyeshadow formula that’s built for layering. I love shades like Chameleon and Jade.
  • Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense ($32) are so intense and have this interesting formula that wears well all day long and comes in some fun shades. I love #1, 2, 3, and 6 a lot!
  • Tarina Tarantino Jewel Eyeshadow Palettes ($32) are good bang for your buck with top notch quality–love Dreamy the most.
  • Hourglass Visionaire Eyeshadow ($38) is my favorite eyeshadow formula, and I really wish they’d come out with more shades, but my favorites are Gypsy, Prism, and Lagoon.
  • Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Palette ($48) is still one of my favorite palettes that Urban Decay has launched, and it is something I reach for when I travel.


  • Maybelline Full ‘n Soft Mascara ($6.59) is my go-to for soft, natural-looking lashes with lots of volume.
  • MAC Plushlash Mascara ($15) is a great all-over mascara; it thickens, lengthens, and volumizes.
  • Bare Escentuals Buxom Lash Mascara ($19) is fantastic for lengthening.
  • Hourglass Film Noir Mascara ($28) is inky black while lengthening and thickening well.

What are your must-have eye products that are permanent?

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41 thoughts on “Holiday Gift Guide: Must-Have Beauty Products for Eyes

  1. Aamirah

    I see you wrote MAC fluidline to be one of your favourites. I was wondering, do you find it dries out? Mine seems to be so dry it’s unusable.

    Great ideas BTW

  2. Not sure if it is general knowledge that this shade is out, but I saw a purple Milani Liquif’eye liner at a Walgreens in Austin, TX! The package said it was new.

  3. Em

    Maybelline great lash big
    UD naked palette
    MAC paint pots
    Benefir creasless cream shadows

  4. Nadia

    I have a bunch of MAC pigments but I rarely reach for them because of the potential mess they can create. I usually use them dry. I have tried using them wet (with water) but then I find that they become hard to blend and they almost look scaly on my lids. I’ve seen you mention in a few places about using mixing medium. Do you find this works well? Do they blend well when used with mixing medium? I’m this close to throwing them out! lol

  5. Kelsie

    As far as mascaras go, I definitely love Revlon’s Grow Luscious Plumping! Though the huge wand was a little intimidating at first, I find that its size helps lengthen and define my lashes. Clumping is also very minimal, which I appreciate. And prior to using this mascara, I didn’t really think my lashes were all that nice, but I’ve noticed a significant improvement! The only issue that I have is that it sometimes doesn’t hold a curl very well. Otherwise, it’ll probably become a permanent part of my collection!

  6. Delina

    Thank you for the suggestions! This really helps when there are so many items to choose from and want to find ones that work well and last.

  7. Angie

    I absolutely love the makeup forever aquacreams, I’m considering getting the set of 10 that they are selling at sephora, but I have two of those colors already so im still trying to decide. I love Holiday make up sets!

  8. Mine:

    Milani Liquif’eye (pencil)
    Annabelle Smoothliner/Smudgeliner (pencil)
    Physician’s Formula gel liners (3 packs for different eye colours)

    Wet n’ Wild Color Icon singles and palettes
    Loose eyeshadows from: Fyrinnae, Brazen Cosmetics, Silk Naturals, Rockeresque Beauty Co, My Pretty Zombie, Shiro Cosmetics (and very many more indie companies that sell affordable, not repackaged loose shadows).

    I haven’t found my favourite, but Lancome Definicils is very good!

  9. Carolito

    I LOVE this post Christine!!! It is so helpful, not only for gifting, but for my own shopping list! Thanks!

  10. Lulee

    christine, if you could recommend one great eyebrightening, champagne-y shade from the giorgio armani eyes to kill, which would it be? thanksss

  11. Fitrah

    I absolutely love MUFE Aqua Creams. I own Coral #9, Orange #10, Intense Blue #20, and Emerald Green #22. I’m picking up three more soon, hopefully this week. I’m planning on getting Snow #4, Fuchsia #7, and Red #8. I almost exclusively use them on the eyes.

  12. Jaymi

    MAC false lashes mascara!

  13. Romina Elorrieta

    My must-have from permanent lines is, definately, Givenchy’s Phenomen’Eyes mascara. I think I’ve never had any need of using false lashes, but this mascara just doesn’t allow you. Pushes my lashes up towards nearly my brows, and makes them super black. I cannot live without it…

  14. NeenaJ

    My must haves are:
    PRIMER: I mostly prefer UDPP but I play with TFSI when I’m using loose shadows. I gift my non-makeup-obsessed friends with UDPP and it’s always a game changer. Around $18.
    LINER: Prestige Waterproof Eye Liner pencil in black does not budge – great for lining the upper and lower waterlines. Inexpensive at about $6.
    SHADOW: I agree that the Armani Eyes to Kill Intense shadows are amazing and worth every penny. I have Champagne and I love it. would eb a great gift for Mom. Also, for those who don’t mind loose shadows, Darling Girl hits it out of the park. They’re complex, pigmented and you can get a petit jar for just $2.25.
    MASCARA: Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes ($19) for day and Lancome Hypnose Drama ($25) for evening.
    CURLER: I’ve found my holy grail and its name is Kevyn Aucoin, The Eyelash Curler. $20 at Nordstrom and it kicks my Shu to the curb! My lashes are long, but point straight down. No curler has ever done my lashes justice as this one does. The cage opens extra wide and the finger grips are closer together. I have round eyes with partly hooded lids and this curler fits my eye shape better than any I’ve ever used. LOVE.

  15. Cat

    A lot of them have already been covered… I hope these are all permanent!

    Prescriptives Lash Envy Volumizing Mascara
    Fluidline in Blacktrack
    Pigment in Naked and Chocolate Brown
    Mac paint pot in Soft Ochre, Bare Study or Painterly (I gave Painterly to a friend once, and she loves it)
    Clinique Color Surge Eyeshadow in Daybreak
    Clinique Color Surge Eyeshadow Duo in Like Mink (so amazing)
    UD Eyeshadow in Sin, Smog, Toasted
    Wet ‘n’ Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow in Penny
    UD Naked Palette (although I struggle with fall out with it)

  16. Amy

    Would you recommend Giorgo Armani Eyes to Kill in #1 for someone with very pale (think below MAC 5) skin and a more childlike face with black hair? Or should I keep to UD Shadow Pencils in Morphine and Clash, MUFE Aqua Cream in 18, and Sugarpill Chromalusts?

  17. Christina

    As for mascaras, I’ve tried them all and usually tend to stick with drugstore brands or MAC’s “False lashes.” However, I recently purchased benefit’s “they’re real” mascara and I am in love. I definitely recommend it!

  18. Great pics!
    I ve found two really HG products so far for me,
    Lancome L’extreme mascara (more affordable option: Maybelline colossal, great stuff)
    Make Up For Ever Aqua liner (the liquid liner) I am sooo excited with these liners! I have green (no 3) and it is so shiny and like new even after 15 hours of wear. And the applicator is super easy to use. I am getting the purple and the black as well. Or do I say, I want them all?