Hi! I’ve missed you! I started my new job last April and simply didn’t have the capacity to post - so after a little hiatus, I’m back.
Here’s my gift guide based on price - but honestly it’s also a favorites list too. All of these items are quality, meaning if I suggest it, it’s because, in my opinion, it’s the best. I’ve used all the products for years, and, unless people are lying to my face, others love them as well. :) Read all the way to the bottom for great discounts…
Beauty Gifts Around $10
Maybelline and L’Oreal Mascaras
After testing dozens of mascaras, I continually return to either Maybelline’s Falsies or L’Oreal’s Lash Paradise. For even more oomph, I’ll add the L’Oreal Voluminous Primer…seriously, the best on the market.
This isn’t me bashing more expensive brands btw…just wait until we get to the bougie section of this guide…but a Lancome rep once explained that when you buy an expensive mascara, you’re also paying for nicer packaging, a fancy brush, and someone to sell it to you - but the formula is virtually the same as drugstore brands.
NYX Butter Gloss
The best, everyday glosses on the market. And they’re $5. And they come in a zillion colors. And they’re available almost anywhere. And they smell good. Sold? Thought so.
Real Techniques Makeup Brushes
Great, super-affordable brushes…even celebrity makeup artist Patrick Ta just Instagram Lived these brushes right next to his La Mer brush. I use at least one every time I apply my makeup, and I purchased a set for my gym bag.
Pixi Lip Liner
Every time I’m in Target I pick up one of these “Lip Contour Liners” because I’m scared they’ll be discontinued. They’re that good. They’re creamy, but last for hours…my favorite is Beige Nude because it goes with everything.
Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish + Top Coat
I don’t remember the last time I’ve have a professional manicure, but when I want a professional-looking polish, I use this. It lasts a week, but make sure you use the topcoat!
Gifts Around $50 and Under
Aesop Hand Cream
I’ve tried dozens of hand creams, judging each on how well the hydrate, how well/quickly they sink in, smell, and price. So…my ultimate favorite is by La Mer, but it’s $90 for 3.4 ounces, so I’ve only used samples. My next favorite is by Soap and Glory (around $12 for a large tube), but the fragrance is so strong that I’ll only use it at home when I know it won’t offend. So, for a little love before bed each night, I use this gorgeous, $27 cream by Aesop - it’s even on my list this year.
Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask
I adore this mask and have used it since it launched. And, at $22, it’s a great gift (that comes pre-wrapped in my favorite pink pouch and stickers) that also doubles as a night cream. If the recipient (or you, no judgement), is oily, Glossier also offers a Detox mask. In fact, if you want both, they have a set to save you some dolla dolla bills…and here’s a code for 10% off your first Glossier.com order.
Klorane Smoothing and Relaxing Eye Patches
If you follow me on the Instagram or YouTube, you’ve seen me apply makeup with these on. You can give them as a set, or individually in little spa gift bags with these eye patches and some other goodies.
Anything Charlotte Tilbury
I don’t think it’s a secret that if Charlotte Tilbury makes it, I’ve tried it. I’ve been a devotee even before the products launched in the US, so believe me (as someone who won’t buy something unless it’s on sale and I get free shipping, but paid full price and international shipping) when I say these are top-shelf products that, while expensive, aren’t a much as other products of this quality.
My favorite items are her lipsticks, eye shadow quads, blushes, Wonderglow primer, and Hollywood Flawless Filter, a primer/foundation/JLo skin-in-a-bottle.
Tom Ford Lip Gloss
Yes, I have spent nearly $50 on a lip gloss, and I’m okay with that. My favorite shades are Naked (pictured), Tawny Pink and Sugar Pink. I love these because, even though they are glosses, they wear like you took the time to apply a lipstick and a gloss - and they last for hours. While I save these for date nights and special occasions, they are worth every cent.
La Mer Anything
After working for this line, I can tell you all of these (very expensive) products work miracles. Since I no longer get them for free (sigh), I still religiously use the Creme and Lip Treatment every day. If you can swing it, The Concentrate is exceptional.
As you probably know, I’m fortunate to get makeup artist discounts on some items, but the main way I afford my makeup and skincare products is a one-two punch:
First, I’ve signed up for Sephora’s VIB program. I get all of my non-drugstore products from Sephora (no cheating at other retailers), keep a list all year when I run out of items, then only purchase products during the Spring and Holiday Sales (where, at this point, I get 20% off of the La Mer and Tom Ford!).
Second, I shop through Ebates. I just checked, and Ebates has refunded me over $700 since using them. All you do is sign up, connect your PayPal account, download the app, open it, search the store or item you’re looking for, and start shopping. Here’s my code…when you spend $25 at the store of your choice, they’ll dump $10 in your account as a thank you! Ebates works with Sephora, Charlotte Tilbury, and practically any other store you can think of.
Wishing you the best holiday season, health, happiness, and the knowledge that beauty comes from the inside…but a little gloss never hurt anyone. :) Until next time, be your own makeup artist. #BYOMUA