Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

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?

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011


Holiday Gift Guide: Must-Have Beauty Products for Lips

One of the things I am most thankful for is that by becoming a beauty blogger and having the opportunity to try so may different products is that it’s opened up my eyes to how many fantastic brands and formulas there are. Not every brand does everything perfectly, and there are a lot of great formulas that are just varying degrees of great. Picking a favorite really comes down to a less quantifiable factor, I think. It might be the color range, packaging, scent, or the overall feel. These are all lip products I personally recommend from brands’ permanent ranges.

Lip Balms/Treatments

  • Kiehl’s #1 Lip Balm ($7.00) is nice for those who prefer a thinner balm with no shine. It’s very, very slick and thin on the lips, but it does a good job at moisturizing.
  • Jack Black Lip Therapy Lip Balm ($7.50) is my all-time favorite lip balm, and I have them all over the house–at my desk, purse, pocket, nightstand–and a stock pile of them in reserve. So, so hydrating and comfortable to wear. My favorite flavor is Lemon & Chamomile, with Original as a runner-up.
  • Philosophy Lip Shines ($10.00) are kind of a balm, kind of a lip balm; because they tend to run so sheer and have the thicker feel of a balm, I’m going to go with it as a lip balm! I like that they’re fragranced with Philosophy’s signature scents plus have some shimmer and shine.
  • Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment ($22.50) is a decadent balm that works well but wears away quickly–I like the product, not so much the price tag and how quickly it finishes, though! They do have tinted versions, though, and they’re some of the better lip stains because they’re more hydrating, but they are prone to uneven fading.
  • Sara Happ The Lip Scrub ($24.00) is my favorite lip scrub, because it holds together well, exfoliates lips, and leaves them feeling soft and moisturized.
  • Guerlain Terracotta Baume Au Couer Lip Balm ($30.00) is tinted and feels like butter on lips; it wears for a few hours before disappearing, but it’s moisturizing the entire time.
  • La Mer The Lip Balm ($45.00) is probably the priciest lip balm I’ve ever used, but it really does work well. It hydrates lips while still wearing well (you won’t have to reapply every hour).

Lipsticks

  • CoverGirl Lip Perfection ($6.99) is really rich in color, glides on easily, and wears for hours. The downside is the scent, so if you’re super sensitive to smells, you might look elsewhere, but these perform well overall.
  • Maybelline ColorSensational Lipsticks ($8.29) is a good go-to for a more affordable lipstick brand, and of course, like other drugstore brands, you can catch it on sale for much less than $8 a pop. I find the creamier shades are the best!
  • MAC Lipsticks ($14.50) straddle that price point that doesn’t quite break the bank, feels a little more high-end than some drugstore brands, and is an all-around good formula. Their range is one of the most extensive that I know of, and with that, does come some inconsistency–not every single shade is as great as the last, but they do have several favorites. Some of these include Angel, Russian Red, Girl About Town, Crosswires, Sweetie, Cosmo, Plumful, and Media–just to scratch the surface.
  • Korres Mango Butter Lipsticks ($18.00) are lightweight, comfortable to wear, and come with a fairly glossy finish and semi-sheer color. Shades like Natural Pink and Natural Purple are really easy to wear.
  • Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Colors ($23.00) are long-wearing, opaque, and comfortable to wear. For cooler skin tones, try Bare Pink, Cosmic Raspberry, and Mod Pink. For warmer skin tones, try Cosmic Raspberry, Soft Coral, and Sweet Nectar.
  • Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani Lipsticks ($30.00) are creamy, moisturizing, and long-wearing while delivering good color coverage in over forty different shades. Shades like #400, 402, 501, and 506 are really easy to wear on most skin tones.
  • Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Creme Lipsticks ($30.00) are rich in color and long on wear. For cooler complexions, I think shades like Ballet, Edition, and Fresco would work. For warmer complexions, try Edition, Muse, and Whisper.
  • Dior Rouge Dior Lip Colors ($32.00) is long-wearing and moisturizing with a wide range of shades. For warmer complexions, I recommend shades like Pink Songe, Andalouse, and Red Muse. For cooler complexions, I recommend Pink Caprice, Devilish Pink, and Daisy Plum.
  • Guerlain Rouge Automatique Lipsticks ($35.00) come really close to the Rouge G formula, but they are slightly less creamy, sometimes less opaque, and a smidgen less hydrating. They are really close but there is a noticeable difference on lips. I still really love the formula, though! For cooler complexions, I recommend Samsara, Cherry Blossom, and Champs Elysees. For warmer complexions, I recommend Violette de Mad, Rouge d’Enfer, and Coque d’Or.
  • Guerlain Rouge G Lipsticks ($47.00) is my all-time favorite lipstick formula, because it’s long-wearing, opaque, moisturizing, and the color range is really nuanced. For cooler complexions, I like Galia, Greta, Gabrielle, and Grenade. For warmer complexions, I like Galante, Gala, Gipsy, and Ginger.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Extra Silky Lipstick ($52.00) feels like glossy silk on the lips; it’s super moisturizing and has a glossy shine. It wears well on me, too, despite how creamy it is. The shade range is really wearable and mostly universal, too.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Extra Rich Lipstick ($60.00) is a decadent formula that’s rich in color, comfortable to wear, long-wearing, and has a formula that helps to plump and fill lip lines giving lips a smoother look. It’s totally over the top, but it’s an excellent formula, so you’re not just paying for brand name/packaging here.

Lipglosses

  • Revlon Super Lustrous Lipglosses ($6.99) is a budget-friendly shimmery gloss that’s mostly sheer but delivers a fair amount of sparkle and dazzle. Like other sheer formulas, the range should work across skin tones.
  • Korres Cherry Oil Lipglosses ($17.00) are hydrating and comfortable tow ear, and about half the range delivers richer color, while others are sheerer (and are described as such). My favorites are #52, #52, and #22.
  • Make Up For Ever Lab Shine Lipglosses ($18.00) is a really wide range of glosses with three different finishes. I really like how Make Up For Ever has expansive color options for most of their products, and the lipgloss range is no exception.
  • Illamasqua Intense Lipglosses ($20.00) are a total must if you or someone you know loves opaque lipglosses–these are really rich in pigment, comfortable wear, long-wearing, and have a beautiful glossy shine. I recommend virtually all of them, but a few of my favorites are Belladonna, Hermetic, and Move.
  • Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lipglosses ($23.00) are a new favorite for me; they’re very reminiscent of Chanel Glossimers but more affordable. Sheerer color with lots of dazzling sparkle! Because they’re on the sheerer side, the shade range is fairly universal.
  • Hourglass Extreme Sheen High Shine Lipglosses ($28.00) are super slick, comfortable to wear, and moisturizing. Some shades are sheer, some are more pigmented. Shades like Siren are beautiful and opaque with a really interesting metallic finish. Fortune is a great shade for everyone because it’s sheer and peachy-pink.
  • Giorgio Armani Gloss d’Armanis ($28.00) may not be as long-wearing as the brand claims, but a gloss that wears six hours without drying lips out while delivering good color coverage is rare. I really love this formula, despite the shortfall in wear (relative to their claim). I love shades like #401, 402, 404, and 505.
  • Chanel Glossimers ($28.50) are a classic gloss for someone who loves lots of shimmer and glossiness. These took me awhile to appreciate, but they really do shine and sparkle. These days, most shades are sheer, so they should flatter the full spectrum of skin tones. I really like shades such as Aurore, Coral Love, Futile, Meteore, Spark, and Sundress.
  • Le Metier de Beaute Lip Cremes ($36.00) are extremely creamy, non-sticky, and hydrating. It was one of my first high-end glosses (and probably high-end purchases in general)–who knew that $36 would become “normal” to me one day–and I absolutely love shades like Fraise Creme, Framboise Creme, and Papaye Creme.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Lipglosses ($48.00) wear longer than the average gloss, have a great shimmer and shine, and are moisturizing. May I recommend #2? It’s a total staple for me.

What are your favorite permanent lip products?

Monday, November 21st, 2011


Holiday Gift Guide: The Best of Holiday Color

As promised, here is the next installment of our most comprehensive gift guide to-date! This post features my top picks from various holiday color collections that have launched this year.  There are a few more holiday shades I haven’t reviewed or swatched, so there might be a few more of my favorites to come.

Eyes

Cheeks/Face

  • NARS Miss Liberty ($27) gives cheeks a really glistening glow, very apropos for the holidays.
  • Guerlain Parure de Nuit ($67) is the one product I’d recommend above all others for the holidays, and I say that because it’s a product I keep reaching for (to the point that I had to forcibly remove it from my reach).

Lips

  • MAC What Joy! ($15.50) is a berry-red with subtle micro-shimmer and healthy shine with good color coverage.
  • Illamasqua Belladonna ($20) is a fierce magenta pink with opaque color and lots of shine.
  • Bobbi Brown Party Alice ($24) — super pretty pink-coral, perhaps not seasonally appropriate but divine anyway.
  • NARS Joyous Red ($24) is a muted orange-red that’s workable on cool and warm-toned skin.
  • Chanel Triomphal ($32) is a pinky-red with great vibrancy and glossy shine; and Chanel Empire is perfect for those who love a brighter pink with yellow undertones.
  • Dior’s holiday lip colors ($32 each) were my surprise hit for lips this season–they’re so pretty on and wear well.

Nails

  • China Glaze Let It Snow ($3-4 each) is a perfectly festive set of twelve polishes, and all of them are available individually, so you can pick your particular poison.
  • Zoya Gems & Jewels ($8 each) is short and sweet with beautiful shimmers and extra-fun glitters (because they’re horizontal!).
  • Dior Merveille is a festive orange-red with golden shimmer that will work well on warmer skin tones.
Thursday, November 17th, 2011


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?

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

The Tech Guy
Shaun, aka The Tech Guy, aka my boyfriend, was wrangled into doing his take on a “gift guide.”  He’s twenty-nine with normal-to-dry skin and suffers from no more acne (much to my envy!).  He has no dedication whatsoever to his writing duties here on Temptalia, given his absence of years (or however long it’s been) but, thankfully, is more attentive to keeping the site alive and well.

Shaun enjoys long walks on the beach, vegging out on the couch watching chick flicks, and cuddling with Mellan. Or maybe not! He handles all the behind-the-scenes action here at Temptalia, from tech support to server woes.


Holiday Gift Guide: Guy’s Guide to Gifts

The key for shopping for a dude, at least this dude, is not buying him anything he doesn’t trust or hasn’t used. He will generally make it pretty clear what he likes or dislikes. If he wants an iPad or any other Apple product, he will have mentioned his love or want for said iPad, but if he falls into the Android camp, then he most likely despises Apple and everything they stand for. We like the brands we like, and we don’t always have a good reason for liking said brand. It worked in the past, why shouldn’t it continue to work?

Aveda Men Pure-formance Dual Action Aftershave ($35.00 for 2.5 fl. oz.) | I haven’t tried a lot of aftershaves, but I really like this one. I’ve been using it for a long time, and it has never run out; that might be because I shave once a month and usually look like I emerged from a cave to check if it’s time to harvest. This has a fresh scent and goes on very smooth, and more importantly, it doesn’t burn like you stuck your face in alcohol after a shave. Another benefit is that it moisturizes so you don’t have to slather two creams on your face if you are comfortable enough with yourself to moisturize.

MACH3 Catridges (price varies depending on brand/quantity) | These are literally the most expensive things on the planet. Every time I start to feel my face being ripped off while shaving, I have to have a debate with myself about whether or not I should change the blade. Generally, due to blood loss, I will yield and switch out the cartridge only to curse myself later. These are a great buy, because we hate buying them, so if we don’t have to look at the price it’s all the better.

Amazon Kindle ($79.00) | This thing sells itself these days, and if your man is somewhat of a reader it might be time to send him into the digital age with an E-Reader. The Kindle is ridiculously cheap and most people are hooked into Amazon one way or another.

Batman: Arkham City ($59.99) and/or Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim ($59.99) | Ladies, let me tell you a little secret that will probably get me in trouble with men everywhere. If you want something and your man has been putting the kibosh on it, get him one of these games. Let them get addicted, and while they are playing, ask them for the aforementioned item. He’ll be so engrossed in the game that he’ll just grunt, thus giving you the approval to go obtain said item! Then when he asks about it later, just say he agreed to it while playing the game. He won’t be able to remember and you win! These games are both incredibly solid–Batman especially–just make sure that he doesn’t already own them. You’ll be able to tell if he has been holed up in front of a computer or TV for ridiculous amounts of time recently.

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011


Holiday Gift Guide: Gift-Giving Tips & Tricks

If you’ve ever experienced the feeling of giving a really fantastic gift, it’s know how amazing it can be.  It’s so fulfilling and satisfying to know you picked just the right thing for that one special person.  Similarly, when you receive a gift that’s exactly what you wanted/needed, you get a sense of how much thought the giver put into the gift.  It seemed like several readers struggled trying to figure out what kind of gifts to give friends and family when it came to beauty, particularly because they weren’t sure what colors to choose.  I thought I would touch on some tips born from past experience on that particular issue as well as some more generalized tips and tricks when it comes to the art of great gift giving.

Little Touches Count

The little things can add tremendous value and appeal to your gift. Think about when someone takes an amazing gift but throws it into a paper bag at the last minute; or how about the time you totally forgot to grab a card and just shoved a gift in someone’s face?  Fancy wrapping or expensive greeting cards are by no means necessary to a great gift, but remembering to take as much time in the presentation of the gift as you did in the acquisition of it is important. You can also keep an eye out for gifts that already come in festive packaging or bags.

I do, personally, splurge on fancier gift wrap, because I have a thing for Christmas decor and like to see lots of shine and color under the tree.  Holidays come earlier and earlier each year, so you can find great bargains on wrapping paper at local discount stores as well as online.  You can also stock up right after the holidays for the next year if you have some storage space!  I also like festive ribbons for smaller gifts or awkward-to-wrap gifts.   I often make my own cards to attach to gifts with colored card stock and simply scrawl a short and sweet note to the recipient.

It’s Not About the Money

I cannot emphasize it enough, but it is the thought that really counts, especially when you’re not gifting to a five-year-old who’s been dreaming of the latest gaming system for the past 364 days.  But in all seriousness, the majority of people, and hopefully, your dearest friends and family, are not googling what you bought them to see how much you spent on them.  Your best friend who is the girliest girl you can imagine doesn’t want to receive a weed wacker for the holidays, and it’s just important to know your recipient and find a gift that would resonate with them.  Don’t get caught up in the idea that more is better or that bigger is better!  Keep gift ideas in mind all year round, even pricier ones (that are just outside your budget), because if you know your partner has their eye on such-and-such electronic, you can keep an eye out for price drops towards the second half of the year.

Sales, Sales, Sales

Stemming from looking out for deals on must-give gifts much earlier than the last two months of the year is taking advantage of sales, but I will caution you not to let them take advantage of you!  Just because there’s a sale doesn’t mean you have to find something for someone there.  November is the time for Friends & Family sales and events, several having already taken place, but there are more to come.  Similarly, the infamous Black Friday is nearing (along with Cyber Monday), which can be a good opportunity to take advantage of sales.

Use Social Media and Networking

So much of our lives are now online, from the photos and videos of our lives to our favorite interests.  Many people have their favorite social networking sites that they use, and you can learn more about their various interests from a profile.  I’m totally serious here!  Sometimes you bond with someone over certain common interests (say, beauty), but you might not know their favorite music or movies.  If you have friends or family members who are really active, you might be able to see what kind of things they’ve liked in the past couple of months to help give you an idea of where to start your search from!

Gift Guides from Everyone

Almost everyone has some sort of gift guide these days, and I don’t mean bloggers but major retailers and individual brands.  Most of them have a section on their website for gift sets/value sets as well as gift guides broken out by price or “personality.”   Perhaps you have a favorite brand you want a friend to experience or you know your friend’s favorite brand but you’ve never used anything by them; either way, you can peruse through recommendations from the brand as a great jumping off point.

5-Minute Primer on Beauty Products for Others

You have your beauty partner in crime, but you’re just not confident about buying them something because you don’t know if they’ll good in it or if it’s a shade they’d like.   There are fantastic items that are more neutral and general that work across skin tones and undertones, but there are certainly plenty of products that just tend to look better on a certain skin tone/undertone.

  • Stealthily get a grasp on their skin tone:  if your friend wears a bracelet or watch, you can try to get a look at the underside of their wrist/forearm by asking to see their bracelet/watch close-up.  Green veins indicate warmer undertones, while blue veins indicate cooler undertones; if you can’t really tell, they may be neutral.  You can also use the jewelry trick; does your friend wear a lot of gold or silver jewelry?  Is there one they look better in?  Gold looks better on warmer skin tones, while silver looks better on cooler skin tones–but be careful, a lot of people prefer a metal over the other, regardless of their undertone!
  • Think about the colors/styles/products you see them in most:  if you’ve never seen your friend wear red lipstick and only baby pinks and barely-there nudes, buying them a red isn’t necessarily the best way to go (unless you’re deliberately prodding them to finally wear one and you know the perfect one for them!).  Do they wear bold eyes? cheeks? lips? What feature do they emphasize?
  • Something old or something new?  Consider whether you’re trying to simply buy them something they would love to wear, which means it is likely to be similar to other shades they already own (so go see if you can snoop through their makeup bag!) or if you’re trying to get them to try something they wouldn’t normally wear (perhaps something they’ve been curious about).
  • Warm undertones look best in shades like earthy neutrals, coppers and bronzes, yellowy greens, metallic golds, corals, oranges, and yellow-based pinks.  I believe anyone can wear anything–it’s just a matter of pairing it with the right products; this is merely a quickie guideline to pick the most-likely-to-suit products.
  • Cool undertones look best in shades like sooty neutrals, beiges and taupes, charcoal browns and grays, blues, blue-based teals, blue-based reds, fuchsia pinks, berries, cotton candy pinks.  Again, this is a mere snapshot of common colors that often work well on those with cooler complexions but you should feel free to wear whatever you like!

 Share your gift-giving tips & tricks in the comments!