The Best of Holiday 2013 Beauty Sets to Give & Get

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:

  1. 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!).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.

Under $60

Under $100

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?