We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!
  • Space NKSpend $250 and receive 33 beauty essentials ($400 value! see everything included here) with code SPRING17, ends 2/26.
  • UltaPlatinum perk! Check your monthly Ultimate Rewards statement for a 20% off entire purchase coupon, ends 2/25.

Holiday Gift Guide: UK Edition

By Adrienne, Scotland Contributor

Adrienne lives in Scotland, and she writes for The Sunday Girl, which is mostly beauty but with a little life thrown into the mix. She was born and bred in Scotland, still resides in a damp Scottish town, and jokes that she sees about three days of sunshine a year–but it’s a lovely place to live. She is currently attending university studying both English and French with hopes to become an English teacher.In her free time, she loves to shop and hang out with friends–and beauty blog when she can!


Holiday Gift Guide: UK Edition

Christmas is the time of giving be it a treat for a loved one or something special for yourself, we all deserve a little pick me up now and then. I have picked five of the best value for money gift sets and stocking fillers available from the U.K. high street. I would like to wish each and everyone of Temptalia’s readers a Happy Holidays!

The Accessorize Complete Collection Gift Set (£9.99) has everything a beauty junkie could ever wish for and more! Nestled inside a floral leopard print gift box sits eight full size products. The great thing about this gift set, aside its price point, is the large variety of products; not only do you get cosmetics (a mascara, three eyeshadows and a blush) but there are also two bath and body items that have a light floral scent. I often use Accessorize make-up and can vouch that it is all of great quality, highly pigmented, and wonderfully packaged so whoever you gift this bounty too will be one lucky person indeed. I can’t help but feel this would make a great present for a best friend!

The festive season is a wonderful time of the year but it does tend to bring with it a whole lot of parties that require some season appropriate make-up. Glitter can sometimes be a little over the top depending on the type of event you have been invited to so why not treat yourself to this complete GOSH Gold Eye Kit (£5.99 ). For little more than five pounds you get in return three full size co-ordinating products, a gold baked eyeshadow, gold semi-permanent liquid eyeliner and black mascara. I have tested this set and can report that the eyeshadow is well pigmented and easy to blend, the mascara is jet black and gives a natural effect and lastly the liquid liner stays put all day and then some. Gold is one of the few shades that looks wonderful on the majority of skin tones so this would make a joyous treat for yourself or if you are having a Secret Santa event with girlfriends you could do far worse than this set.

Unlike the rest of the gift ideas mentioned in this guide, SleekMakeUp The Berry Collection (£10.00) is a limited edition so you’ll have to be quick to avoid disappointment. Berry really is the perfect shade for winter, and what better way to try and test such hue with a delightful colour coordinated gift set? This trio has a matte blusher, matte lipstick, and kohl liner that can double up as a lip or eye colour all in a warm berry tone. Any makeup lover would be more than happy to receive this gift set this holiday season. As SleekMakeUp was originally founded for darker skinned ladies, you can rest assure that each product will pack a punch in terms of pigmentation. Personally I would gift this to an aunt or cousin as it has a sophisticated feel.

For me one of the hardest gifts to source is that of a makeup fan that is a beginner and rather new to cosmetics. You want something that is easy for them to use, and more importantly, a gift that they will actually use. My younger sisters fit such bill, and I have searched high and low for the prefect gift.  I recently found the Studio Look Books, which contain the perfect cosmetic items housed inside book-like packaging to create one of many looks. I settled for the Neutral Look Book (£5.99) as the shades are forgiving, making it more difficult to notice any faults in application but more importantly the colour scheme is one she can wear to school. The gift set comes with a step by step guide to aid any beginners. All of the eyeshadows and blush in this compact are baked, it also contains a neutral pale lip gloss and a glossy black mascara, all in all a great gift for a beginner of any age!

The thing I hate shopping for is stocking fillers; I’m terrible at choosing small gifts and always go over budget, which is never good. This year I have decided to treat those that I buy small gifts, stocking fillers if you will, a MUA Pro Palette (£4.00) each. These palettes are budget friendly at £4 and each contains twelve eyeshadows in various complimentary tones and formulas. The two palettes I will be stocking up on to gift to friends are Dusk ‘til Dawn – “A versatile collection of eyeshadows that will transform your look from day to night” and Glitter Ball – “A spectacular collection of eyeshadows that will add sparkle to your eyes for ultimate impact.” Both have more than enough sparkle and variety to see through the holiday and beyond season with ease.

What are your picks for holiday gifts from the UK?

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

Benefit Fancy Pansy Eyeshadow

Benefit Fancy Pansy Eyeshadow
Benefit Fancy Pansy Eyeshadow

Benefit Fancy Pansy Eyeshadow ($18.00 for 0.11 oz.) is described as an “orchid silk.” It’s a cool-toned, pink-lavender with a pale, iridescent lilac shimmer-sheen. At first glance, it seems like it might be like shades such as MAC Stars ‘n Rockets, but it’s much, much lighter with less of a duochrome; it’s more like the iridescence of those types of shades without the strong fuchsia base. Inglot #346 is a matte version of this shade. Milani Royalty is the closest dupe I found.

It has a silky smooth texture, and the powder is finely-milled. It’s not powdery but so soft that it makes blending a breeze. The powder feels dense and buttery, so it delivers good color payoff without having to pack it on. Compared to other shades in the range, this one is just a tiny bit under-pigmented but that’s being nit picky.  Velvet Eyeshadows wear well, too, without fading during the day and no fall out occurs.  Another nice thing about the range is that they’re twice the size of most eyeshadows.  Fancy Pansy pairs well with darker purples, whether blue or red-based, along with navy blues.

Benefit Velvet Eyeshadow Fancy Pansy
10
Product
9.5
Pigmentation
10
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
99%
Total

I’m still fortunate enough that I don’t have very many signs of aging, so much of luxury skincare is all about anti-aging, which is difficult for me to assess efficacy on, so I haven’t found that they are or are not. I like the consistencies and absorption of a lot of higher end products, though.

— Christine

Do you have a question idea? Submit yours here.

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

Foundation Matrix v. 2.0


Foundation Matrix v. 2.0

We’re pleased to launch the latest version of the Foundation Matrix, which does not just include an update of over 1,500 additional matches but has been completely redesigned. We hope you find it helpful in your quest to find the perfect shade match!  Check it out!

If you have any issues viewing it, please ensure you email technical support with the following information: browser, browser version, and PC/Mac.  We really can’t help if we don’t have more information.  By emailing technical support, it also allows for a dialogue so that we can work together to troubleshoot any problem.  The Foundation Matrix has been tested in IE7 through 9, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.  It has been tested on iPhone and iPad.

A Few French Must-Haves

By Lulle, France, Local Contributor

Lulle was born in France, and she says she came to life so hungry that she was trying to swallow her entire first–and the fondness for food never went away! She wasn’t obsessed with makeup as a teenager or young adult. At 25, she moved to Instanbul, Turkey, where she lived for five years, and this is where the beauty addiction started. When she wandered through duty-free shops while traveling, she discovered a whole new, glamorous world.

Lulle is easy-going, loving, and spontaneous; she loves to enjoy every moment of life. Check out her blog, Beau Miroir!


A Few French Must-Haves

As a typical beauty junkie, I tend to try a lot of new products, and I’m usually not loyal to any brand. Before I even reach the bottom of a bottle or pan, I’m already on the hunt for something better, newer, or just unheard of for replacement. However, there are a few exceptions–some products that I wouldn’t even consider kicking out of my routine: they are the long-term lease tenants of my bathroom. I know everything about them; they might not be spectacular but I trust them, because I know they won’t let me down.

My hair is generally going wild, because I’m just no good at brushing, styling, or shaping, and I really hate going to the hairdresser (having my scalp stabbed by a comb and burnt by a dryer is no fun for me).  But I have an ally to keep it looking shiny and tidy: the Masque Garnier Ultra Doux (€6.00) conditioning treatment, which is sold in supermarkets for less than 6 euros. It comes in a large pot with a fat belly, and it has a creamy texture that helps nourish and detangle my hair. It can be used as a regular post-shampoo conditioner, since it only needs to stay on for three minutes to be efficient, but I often prefer to give my hair deep moisture by applying it before shampooing, and keeping it on for at least half an hour. It is actually a whole range, and it comes in different varieties, which specialize in specific issues (anti-frizz, dyed hair, extreme dryness, damaged hair tips, etc.). I’ve had a good experience with all the “flavors” that I tried; they have nice scents and leave my hair healthy looking, smooth, and shiny without making it heavy. I think it’s an accessible, cheap, easy, and efficient way to take care of my hair, and I’ve been using for over 5 years now!

I’ve always loved the refreshing feeling of a spritz of cool water on my face, but for a long time, I avoided mineral water sprays as they increase evaporation thus drying out the skin. Then, about 6 months ago, I discovered a product at my beauty salon, which has now become a corner stone of my skincare routine: L’Eau Cellulaire (€19.00) by Institut Esthederm. It’s packaged in a nice silver spray bottle, and unlike regular water, it is formulated to be as close as possible to the fluid cells live in, called inter-cellular liquid. It supposedly brings energy and nutrients right into your skin cells, making it more responsive to the skincare you use next.  It is designed to respect the fragile ecosystem of the skin. After spraying it on your face, you have to gently massage it in to help it sink into the skin. I’m not a biologist so the whole concept behind this product is quite complex for me, but I appreciate the research effort. I can say it really works for me: it leaves my skin smooth, soft, moisturized, comfortable, and the serums or creams I apply after it are definitely absorbed faster and seem more efficient. The downside is the cost, that’s an expensive kind of water! Since I enjoy using it, and it visibly improves my skincare routine, I’m ready to cope with the price tag.

One makeup brand that you’ll most certainly find in any French girl’s makeup bag is Bourjois. It’s been around for over 150 years, and the famous colorful round boxes containing eyeshadow or blush were already among our grandmother’s and mother’s favorites! There’s a wide choice of shades in the shadows and blushes and the quality is consistent throughout the range, plus it is affordable although not really cheap (about 12 euros for an eyeshadow), and very easy to find in department stores, beauty stores and some supermarkets. Apart from the round boxes, I mostly like their eye pencils, and they also have a lot of good lipsticks and glosses. Because it is so accessible and familiar, young girls, including me, often discover the joys of makeup through Bourjois when secretly playing with their mom’s stuff or when purchasing their first products!

These three products are really no-brainers for me and I never hesitate to buy them again and again! If you ever come to France for a visit, you can grab one (or all!) at the store and I’m pretty confident you’ll be happy with these touches of beauty à la française.

Scents for the Holidays

By Aleta, Fragrance Contributor

Aleta is the associate editor of a national history magazine (World War II), and an unapologetic fragrance nerd. Growing up on a farm west of Portland, Oregon, she spent many summer nights attempting to make perfume by soaking flowers in cups of water (if only her mother had let her use the vodka). Her most prized possessions include a bottle of French cologne brought home by an American GI after World War II (L’Ardent Nuit by Cotay), a signed copy of Perfume: The Guide, and a handwritten “enjoy your purchase” note from perfumer Mandy Aftel. Other obsessions include lipstick, Pellegrino, Adirondack chairs, and yoga. You can find her at worldwarII.com.


Scents for the Holidays

My first college holiday season was…brief. November and December went by in a blur of studying, social events (okay dorm parties), and finals. My dad and I had to stop at the grocery store after he picked me up for winter break, and I realized that the campus bubble had utterly shielded me from the season–the music, the decorations, the food. Lesson learned: when you leave the nest, you either get yourself in the holiday spirit or it will pass you by.

One of the easiest ways I’ve found to fell merry and bright this time of year is to–you guessed it–surrounding myself with nostalgic, festive fragrances. Bonus: the fragrance notes we often associate with the winter holidays are ones that play nicely with big family meals and intimate social gatherings, times when everyone would rather smell the turkey, fresh-baked gingerbread, or their glass of Riesling rather than someone’s boldfaced eau. Here are some of my favorite fragrances for the season, most of which are available as dry skin-soothing lotions, pick-me-up cleansers, and candles:

Years of making orange pomanders has left me with a serious citrus fixation every December. My favorite is Fresh Hesperides ($32.00) it balances the effervescence of grapefruit peel with a dose of sugar. Aftelier Candide ($45.00) is also gorgeous, tempering its zesty orange notes with a kick of pepper. Pacifica Blood Orange ($22.00) is perfect for purists, plus the brand is widely available and an absolute steal .

Evergreens feature prominently in Western holiday traditions; Yankee Candles fill in for the Douglass firs I grew up with, particularly Christmas Tree. Holiday Bayberry smells like the fresh-from-the-attic decorations did when I was growing up. It’s a hard note to wear on the skin, but Pacifica’s Avalon Juniper ($22.00) is beautiful. The resinous juniper is perfectly balanced with juicy grapefruit, simultaneously warm and fresh. Those who grew up in warmer climates may resonate more closely with Chanel Sycomore ($110.00), it’s a gorgeous balance between sap and smoke–meant for men, I think, but gorgeous on anyone, anytime.

Vanilla and spice abound during winter, and there are too many fragrance iterations to count. Personally, I like something just a touch inedible, like Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleu ($71.00). It has recently been reformulated, but I never smelled its previous iteration, so I am unabashedly smitten with the bottle I purchased this November. If you grew up with anise and almond extract in your holiday cookies, this one’s for you–especially if you went through a rebellious stage involving countless sticks of Nag Champa ($71.00) incense. Many also love Guerlain’s Shalimar ($55.00) and its many vanilla-spice offspring, though it’s not one that grabs me. You also can’t go wrong with Bath & Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar ($5.00), a gorgeous vanilla bean tempered with Basmati rice water and cinnamon. Spice lovers: try Pacifica’s clove-laden Madagascar Spice ($22.00).

Sometimes the brightest holiday memories attach themselves to a non-holiday scent. For me, it’s Victor & Rolf Flowerbomb ($100.00). Each year my parents would skip the Macy’s line for Santa and take me to Nordstrom to see Father Christmas. And in my mind, nothing conjures Nordstrom like Flowerbomb.

What scents keep you warm during these darkest months of the year? And for those who grew up in a non-western culture, I’d love to hear about the scents that speak to you during November and December!

On Instagram