I just wanted to post a couple of my fave gifts I received for Christmas. I got a good amount of beauty-related gifts, (not surprisingly) so I thought I’d share my thoughts on those.
Philosophy Cookbook Kit: I am hoping this is a new tradition in my family, as I received a Philosophy kit last year too. The Cookbook was a limited edition kit from Philosophy containing four travel size bottles of seasonal Philosophy’s shampoo/body wash/bubble bath gels. Several stores were carrying different variations of this kit. Mine, purchased from Ulta, contained Eggnog, Hot Buttered Rum, Peppermint Bark, and Cinnamon Buns. I love each and every one of these scents and will make them last until I, hopefully, get another kit like this next year. Something I didn’t notice, until it was pointed out to me this year, is that each bottle has the recipe for its scent written on it. So, for example, the Eggnog bottle has a recipe for eggnog written on it, the Peppermint Bark bottle has a recipe for peppermint bark on it, and so on. I guess Philosophy has always done this, but I didn’t notice until now. Oh well. I think it would be fun to try to make the recipe on the bottle before tossing it – but I probably won’t end up doing that.
Olay Total Effects CC Cream: This is something I asked for and ended up returning. You can read my review of this product here. This turned out to be less like a BB Cream and more like a serum. I exchanged it for True Match Lumi Healthy Luminous Makeup by L’oreal, which I have been trying out these past couple weeks. Plus, considering the CC Cream was $25, I was able to pick out a couple nail polishes too. Review coming soon of the Lumi foundation.
Maybelline Illegal Length Fiber Extensions Mascara: I wanted to try this out because I had seen some positive reviews on YouTube. I don’t hate this mascara, but I don’t really notice the benefits of the “fiber extensions”. I do like that the wand doesn’t have the typical rubbery bristles I have grown to expect Maybelline mascaras to have. However, I STILL like my Almay Get Up and Grow better. I will use this up and probably not repurchase.
Almay Eye Makeup Remover Pads: This was such a fun stocking stuffer! I try to remember to use these at night when taking off my makeup. They do an OK job, but I thought they’d be thicker. They are SO thin, I don’t feel I can rub terribly hard as there is no padding between my fingers and eye. I feel that I get most of my makeup off with one side of these little pads, however, I still feel the need to swipe my eyes again when I take my face makeup off. And I usually see some residual mascara or eyeshadow on the face wipe when I do.
Studio 35 Makeup Remover Towelettes: Another stocking stuffer, I LOVE the packaging these towelettes come in. The little hole is covered by a plastic, snapping lid that seals in the moisture in the towels, and prevents them from drying out. However, I do notice that these towelettes sting my eyes and I don’t think they do as good a job removing face makeup as the various Target Up & Up wipes do. Probably won’t repurchase, but kind of want to reuse the container somehow.
Smashbox The Master Class Palette: This was one of my bigger gifts, and normally I would jump for joy at receiving a big palette, but after my horrible experience with the Smashbox Photo Op 78 Shade Mega Palette from QVC, I decided to exchange this for the Urban Decay Vice Palette. They were the same price, but in my opinion, the UD Vice Palette was a tremendous upgrade.
Tarte Carried Away Collector’s Set: I purchased this value set for myself from Sephora, however it was a seasonal product and is no longer available. This set came with a 24 eyeshadow palette, mini blush, blush brush, mini finishing powder, mini mascara, and 8 mini lip glosses. The products all came in a really cute travel bag that I will definitely use. I think it was around $54, but I had a $15 off coupon and only paid $39. I haven’t had a chance to try everything, but I will say some of the eyeshadows aren’t as pigmented as I would expect Tarte eyeshadows to be. And the lip glosses I have tried out so far seem to be a lower quality than the individual Maracuja glosses I have purchased in the past. The mascara was dried out, which I have read is a common problem people had with this kit. Bottom line, this seems to be one of those common scenarios where a company tries to offer the moon at Christmas and sacrifices quality. I don’t regret purchasing this kit, but I would have taken a smaller kit in order to enjoy the Tarte quality I have come to expect.
Mally’s Favorite Things Volume 2 Collection: This was a holiday offer Mally (QVC) was offering. The kit included 3 lip glosses, 3 mascaras, 3 eyeshadow sticks, and 3 eyeliners. The concept was you could divide the products 3 ways and gift them to 3 friends. The kit even came with three gift bags and tissue paper. I bought the kit for myself, as I have always wanted to try Mally’s products. So far I am REALLY disappointed by the quality of the lip glosses. They are thin on the lips and have no staying power. I really like the eyeshadow sticks, especially as a primer for other shadows. They really last all day without creasing. The eyeliner doesn’t appear to be anything special, and I haven’t tried the mascara yet. At $59.76, you are paying around $5 a product. Not a bad deal, but now that I have 12 Mally products, I probably won’t order any of her stuff for quite a while.
Urban Decay Vice Palette: This is what I picked out in exchange for the Smashbox palette I received. I am really happy with it. Given I already own the Urban Decay Naked palettes, I didn’t feel the need to buy the Naked Basics palette that debuted around Christmas time. I opted for the Vice palette instead, which includes 20 brand new shades that you can’t get in a any other palette or purchase individually (for now). Urban Decay recently reformatted their shadows to be a creamier, more velvety texture, calling it their “Pigment Infusion System”. The shadows are very thick and creamy, but UD has always produced quality shadows in my opinion. I really like the packaging of this palette, very luxurious. The lid even opens slowly to reveal the shadows in all their glory. I think this is a great palette for travel. The hard case protects the shadows from breakage, and there is enough variety in the colors and finishes that you can accomplish pretty much any look.
theBalm cosmetics Balm Jovi Rockstar Face Palette: I think this was my favorite beauty Christmas gift, because first of all it’s awesome, second of all came from my amazing friend and fellow makeup lover Lynn, and third because it was something I had wanted and totally forgot to include on my wish list. All of the products in this palette have music-related names, which I think is so adorable and clever. My favorite product so far is the Iron Maid-in eyeshadow, which is a light, iridescent gold color. I love putting this shade along the brow bone, and in the corners of my eyes to brighten up a look. This palette is perfect for travel as it contains face, eye, and lip products, a mirror, is thin, and has a magnetic closure. You could even keep this in your purse for touch ups during the day, or throw in your gym bag to use after a workout. I love, love, love this.
And finally, my amazing Aunt gave me a giftcard to Sephora, so I can pick out even MORE beauty goodies. I’m trying to decide between trying out a high end foundation like MAKE UP FOR EVER, Laura Mercier, or Bobbi Brown; buying a couple perfumes like Lady Gaga’s FAME or Taylor Swift’s Wonderstruck Enchanted; or trying out some high end skin care. What products are on your Sephora wish list?