Holiday Gift Guide – 2016


None of the links are affiliated, so feel free to click and shop with ease. I wasn’t paid to promote any of these products. These are just things I love and enjoy!

With Thanksgiving and Black Friday next week, the sales are heating up and it’s time to think about gifts for loved ones. Gift sets are cool, but some of them are a bit gimmicky. I have some of my favorites and picks for what to get for your loved ones this season! Click through to read more!

Let’s get into it! First up are some rules to live by when shopping fashion and beauty during the holiday season:

Don’t buy foundation for someone unless they specifically ask for it and give you a shade and brand. Foundations are very personal to each person and shades can be hard to get right, especially if you’re not 100% sure. If you don’t have a brand and shade, don’t do it. If your intention is for foundation, go the gift card route and indicate on the card what it’s for.

Know their style. Do they typically wear bold colors? If not, maybe skip out on that green lipstick. It might look cool to you, but chances are if they don’t wear stuff like that normally, it’s not going to get used.

Know their tools and regular items. Beauty blenders should be replaced on the regular and if they use one, it’s a safe bet they probably haven’t replaced it in a while or could use one to have on hand for when that time comes. If they use makeup wipes, get them some since they’re always using them. These are safe bets and make great stocking stuffers. Your makeup lover will appreciate them. I know I would!

Now, let’s get into some items that I think are A+ gifts to get a makeup lover or makeup newbie.

Neutral Palettes:

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette: $42 Ulta/Sephora


Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eyeshadow Palette is an essential eyeshadow collection with fourteen shades, including neutral and berry tones.

Includes a double-ended shadow brush. Crease and fade resistant formula stays put for hours. Mirrored compact slides easily into your bag for on-the-go application.

My thoughts:

This is a great go-to neutral palette that is easy to work with. It has a solid collection of matte shades with some great shimmers. It’s not the traditional oranges/browns so it gives some versatility as well. The pigmentation is there and it lasts all day. This is part of the core collection from ABH so it will be there after the holidays if you want to still grab it.

Kat Von D Shade + Light Eye Contour Palette: $46 Sephora


An eye contouring palette featuring three color quads in neutral, cool, and warm shades.

My thoughts:

This is another one part of a core collection and in my opinion, it’s one of the best true neutral palettes on the market. There are options for warm and cool looks, as well as great ranges in tones. This is perfect for a newbie and great for every collection.

Colorful Palettes:

Urban Decay Electric Pressed Pigment Palette: $49 (On Sale for $24) Ulta/Sephora


The ultimate fix for color addicts, this palette features smooth mattes and highly-dimensional shimmery shades. Each soft, creamy, long-wearing powder is electrically colorful, and carefully crafted with a smooth formula that applies vibrantly. Pressed pigments create heavily saturated bright shades that make eyelids pop. The oversize palette features an extra-large mirror and double-sided precision brush for easy application on the go.

My thoughts:

This is the go-to color palette for those in the mid-range price point. A few aren’t eye safe according to the FDA, but that’s just because they stain the skin a bit. They have wonderful color payoff and I’ve had my palette for years and still use it on the regular. If you want color this season, skip the Spectrum palette and go for this. the UD Spectrum palette has pigmentation issues and this one doesn’t.

Viseart Bright Editorials: $80 Sephora/Beautylish


08 Bright Editorial: Rich pigments transfer flawlessly to the skin. Use these bright shades with a touch of water for accents and eyeliner. Combine with other Viseart eye shadows to customize shades. This palette contains every bright color you could ever need.

My thoughts:

Ok, I know, these aren’t cheap, but they’re the best bright eyeshadows out there. The colors can also be mixed like creams and that extends the possibilities. They are stiffer in the pan, but they blend out beautifully. All of the shades are matte, but they work wonderfully and are incredibly vibrant. I’ve put them down over the white as a base to make them pastel and have had success. Honestly, the price can put people off of these, but I have had no regrets and if you get this for a color lover, they’re going to love it.


NARS Sarah Moon Collection True Story/Recurring Dare Cheek Palettes: $59 NARS/Nordstrom


Three radiant blushes meet the iconic Highlighting Blush in this palette, creating cheeks that pop with luminous golden dimension. It’s paired with a full-size Velvet Matte Pencil to seal lips with saturated, sophisticated color.

My thoughts:

I normally don’t like LE sets for the holiday season, but NARS usually hits the mark with the cheek palettes and blush palettes are good options. There are two options at the two different stores and neither contain Orgasm for once, which is a plus. You also get a lip pencil and they are a great add-on as it is full sized. These palettes give you or the giftee a chance to experience NARS’ famous blush formula in a few shades at a decent cost and there are options for different looks.

Urban Decay Afterglow Blush: $26 Ulta/Sephora


Urban Decay Afterglow Blush leaves a sexy, lit-from-within glow. Fake a perfect flush with this eight-hour formula that creates the lingering, radiant look of a romantic rendezvous. Infused with light-diffusing pigments to enhance and perfect the skin, this highly-blendable, finely milled formula goes on sheer and provides eight long hours of lightweight, wearable, ultra-creamy color.

My thoughts:

I’ve reviewed this before, but these are one of my favorite blush formulas and grabbing one of the more neutral shades will make a great gift for anyone on your list. They’re part of the core collection so it’s a safe bet that they’ll be in any store!

tarte Amazonian Clay Blush: $28 Ulta/Sephora


Infused with natural clay harvested from the banks of the Amazon River and naturally baked by the sun, this nutrient-rich blush benefits all skin types for a fade-free flawless finish that lasts an amazing 12 hours. Inspired by tarte’s bestselling shades of cheek stains and lip tints, the colors range from soft to vivid to suit a wide variety of skintones. For oily skin types, Amazonian clay minimizes oil in and around pores to balance skin and keep product in place. Those with dry skin will benefit from the clay’s nourishing and hydrating properties, which naturally restore skin’s moisture. Combination skin types can rely on its ability to zero in on skin concerns and deliver benefits to restore complexion harmony. The result: Blush that wears better, longer, and truer.

My thoughts:

These are another one of my favorite blush formulas and are core products. These tend to wear in a more natural manner, so if you have someone that goes for a more natural look, these are perfect for them. These are a stiff formula, but are a great option. They also are easy to de-pot and place in a z-palette!


Marc Jacobs Glow Stick: $42 Sephora


For the first time ever, Glow Stick Glistening Illuminator imparts a universal glow that flatters all skintones. The sheer cream luminizer gives skin an unparalleled, mist-like radiance that results from the balanced ratio of pearly gold and silver pigments—allowing both warm and cool complexions to beam with covetable, youthful light. Unlike powder luminizers and highlighters, this fresh-looking cream fuses with the complexion for a healthy-looking sheen. To make it even creamier and more touchable than any other cream luminizer, it undergoes a unique process in the lab for its irresistible, silky-soft feeling that never feels wet or sticky. The oval shape of the stick applicator is designed for impeccable one-swipe coverage, fitting perfectly at the tops of cheekbones. The palm-shaped case and roll-up dial are travel-ready, so that you can say goodbye to cracked powder compacts. Glow Stick glides on smoothly and effortlessly for the right dose of dewiness anytime, anywhere. Consider it your portable spotlight.

My thoughts:

This is a nice cream highlighter that is suitable for most skintones. It’s on the pricer side and the packaging is interesting, but it works well and can be blended out well. I like using it under foundation for a great glow. This is a core item and a great investment if you want a cream highlighter.

Urban Decay Afterglow Highlighter: $26 Ulta/Sephora


Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Highlighter is finely-milled to perfection for a lightweight (yet luxurious) result with an ultrasoft, creamy texture. It goes on sheer and blends in easily so that you can apply just a little or a lot. The wearable formula applies seamlessly, no matter how much you build it, and it has shades that are suitable for any skintone. It creates a radiant, strobed effect that lasts all day—and never leaves just a powdery dusting of shimmer. Infused with light-diffusing pigments, it enhances and perfects the skin.

My thoughts:

These are great highlighters that aren’t too soft and come in three shades. You will be able to find a shade that fits your undertone and there is an option for deeper skintones as well. They last all day without migrating and are one of my favorite formulas.

Liquid Lipsticks

NARS Velvet Lip Glide: $26 Sephora


This highly-saturated lip color combines covetable comfort and confident shades in one smooth move. Its wand coats like a lipstick, yet glides on like a gloss. The finish is semi-matte, long-lasting, and non-drying for luscious, vibrant lips. Water lily flowers and white tea extract are infused into this hybrid lip glide for antioxidant protection and ultimate hydration.

My thoughts:

I just reviewed these here, but these are hands down, my pick for lipsticks of the year. I do wish the shade range was better, but if you’re going to go with a good quality liquid lip, pick some of these up. NARS does have a gift set with smaller versions that you can go with as well. Great option to get different colors to test out.

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks (Mini Liquid Lipstick Set): $49 Sephora


Fall in love with an exclusive lineup of Kat Von D’s bestselling Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks. The eight high-pigment shades give you the perfect spectrum of statement pops and everyday neutrals, featuring an exclusive preview of two new shades—Plath, a deep russet red, and Roxy, a bright grape color. Mix and match to create one-of-a-kind lip looks, or wear them on their own for a pure matte lip look that won’t wear off.

My thoughts:
Normally I think sets like this are a gimmick, but rarely do you go through a full liquid lipstick and this gives you a chance to get a good selection of her colors at once. It’s a great deal and makes a great gift for someone that wants to get into liquid lipsticks. There is also a smaller set with neutrals!

Cream Lipsticks

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick: $21 Sephora


Rock your lips in three new shades with Limited Edition Studded Kiss Lipstick. This collection features three top-selling Everlasting Liquid Lipstick shades, recreated for the first time in the Studded Kiss formula. This season only, Kat’s iconic collection trades its all-black studded design for sleek new gunmetal packaging. Choose from Lolita II, a terra cotta nude, Double Dare, a cocoa blush, and Mother, a dusty mauve-pink.

My thoughts:

These are limited edition shades in the Studded Kiss line. The Studded Kiss line is one of my favorite lines for matte cream lipsticks and the shades available for the holiday are gorgeous. Lolita II and Double Dare pull very warm, but Mother is nice and cool. They are full sized lipsticks and same quality as the normal Studded Kiss lipsticks. If you can get your hands on them, I suggest grabbing a couple. If not, the regular Studded Kiss lipsticks are a great option. Lovecraft is my go-to nude!

NARS Audacious Lipsticks: $32 Sephora


Debut weightless, color-saturated lips when you smooth on this NARS Audacious Lipstick. It glides on like satin across skin, and achieves single-stroke coverage that leaves lips with captivating color.

My thoughts:

These are some of the best cream lipsticks on the market. They are pricey, but they go on and stay on most of the day. They’re not matte and not drying at all, so they’re comfortable to wear. The packaging is also incredibly sleek so this is a great gift to give if you want to make someone feel expensive without shelling out a ton of cash. NARS does have a full coffret available for $125 with 8 full sized lipsticks. It’s on my personal wishlist.

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipsticks: $26 Sephora


Swipe on bold, creamy lip color with Bite Beauty’s Amuse Bouche. Created and crafted by hand, Bite’s small batch, low-heat process preserves a balanced blend of lip-quenching nutrients, vitamins, and omega oils that are essential for achieving healthy-looking lips. Made with 12 edible oils and triple milled pigments, this lipstick provides saturated lip color with weightless coverage and a citrus flavor made from fresh pressed fruit.

My thoughts:
Bite puts out some great lipsticks that are hydrating and still pigmented. They have a great selection of colors in this range that will give you options for whoever you are getting gifts for. If you want the color range of the Kat Von D line but without the matte-ness, go with these.


Royal & Langnickle Guilty Pleasures 12 Piece Brush Set: $60 Royal Brush USA


Royal & Langnickel’s newest collection of professional grade cosmetic brushes. They feature pro favorite brushes so you can complete numerous makeup looks with ease. These 100% vegan brushes are available in 4 different color combinations and 3 kit configurations.

My thoughts:

These come in 4 different color options (Blue, Purple, Red, and Yellow) and all of them are the same brush sets. They are incredible sturdy, hold up to washing well, don’t shed, and for a collection to start a person off, it’s a great set at a great price. The crease brush is probably my favorite brush for blending eyeshadow. These are all synthetic and Royal & Langnickle make my favorite brushes at this price point. Even if you have a good collection of brushes, I’d suggest investing in a few of these.

Here you have it! These are my picks for the holidays and what I would suggest getting makeup lovers or newbies. Most of these items are available year round, so feel free to reference this for other gift giving times of the year! You can also count this as my “Getting started” guide. Happy shopping!


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