While shopping for a recent Ulta.com haul, I came across one of their gifting sets, the Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit.
Like the Sephora brush set I recently wrote about, doesn’t it look familiar?
All of the 2014 Prestige Makeup Gifts (Holiday sets) should be out by now, with MAC appearing to be this season’s stragglers – here are my picks for what’s worth a look at.
Of all the holiday sets, this is by far my favorite. I actually don’t own any Too Faced shadows, but last year’s version of this palette (A Few of my Favorite Things) was my favorite of 2013. Twenty shadows with a nice mix of neutrals and (usable) colors, two blushes, two bronzers, some brushes (that honestly probably aren’t that great, but still), a Better Than Sex mascara mini and a cute bag for it to live in. The looks I’ve seen created with this so far have been pretty fun, and I hope I can get one before the season is over/they run out.
2. LORAC Ultimate PRO Collection (Ulta Exclusive, Online Only), $98
Last year, Ulta had a LORAC Pro set that included a couple other things for $3 less than the regular LORAC Pro Palette price of $42. This year, we have a really nice bundle including the original PRO Palette, the PRO Palette 2 (each come with a wee tube of Behind the Scenes eye primer), the PRO Powder Cheek Stain in Rosy Glow, one of their new lauded PRO Matte Lip Colors in Pink, PRO Mascara, and PRO Cream Liner. This is a pretty damn good set. Considering each palette is worth $42, the the mascara goes for $23, the lipcolor for $16, the liner for $19, and the blush for $20, this set is a steal as compared to regular retail. I haven’t tried anything aside from the palettes, but even if just one of the other items is good, this set is worth it.
3. The Superstars Collection from Sephora (via the Wayback Machine) (Sephora Exclusive), $75
This would be a great gift for someone either just starting with makeup or wanting to check out a variety of prestige brands without the financial commitment of splurging on all the full-size varieties (though many items in this set are full-size). For me, this set includes I’ve tried and definitely like and would gladly welcome backups of, products I’d like to try, and a few things I would pass along to another makeup-user who has different tastes. This is a pretty versatile set – whether you’re looking at this as a, “Treat yo’self,” gift, a gift for a loved one, or a means of getting several smaller gifts for a handful or two of people, this has you covered if in doubt.
4. Too Faced La Belle Carousel, $49 at Ulta and Sephora
The name doesn’t drive me crazy but this is more of a cute gift than a practical one. While I don’t doubt the quality of what lies within, I do doubt the claim that it is a $282 value – unless the impractical packaging is valued higher than I’d expect (which wouldn’t surprise me). This is definitely something I could see buying and splitting up or getting for someone who, “has everything,” but might appreciate bite-sized palettes for travel or to simplify decision making (for those with 4,000 palettes and nothing to wear..)
5. Benefit Cheeky Sweet Spot, $36 at Ulta and Sephora (via the Wayback Machine)
Despite my recent confession that Benefit’s packaging doesn’t do it for me, I’d be way more inclined to pick up this palette of cheek products from them. For the price of one regular sized blush you get seven products – five blushes, Hoola bronzer, Watt’s Up highlighter – and a brush. If you’re about that blush life and have wanted to try this, drop hints – it is a good value.
6. BeautyBlender & Solid, $25
Practical (yes, even when it comes to beauty) gifts always please and are nearly-universally appropriate. This holiday-edition BeautyBlender comes packaged with a BlenderCleanser Solid. Whether the user is new to makeup spongers or is an aspiring BeautyBlender hoarder, this is sure to please. Appropriate for novices all the way through professionals this versatile tool comes with cleanser to take care of it properly. Love it.
7. Urban Decay Ten 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil Set, $52 at Ulta and Sephora (via the Wayback Machine)
I chose this set over the dual-ended Black Magic set because one only needs so many shades of black eyeliner in their collection and I’m pretty happy with where I’m at. If we’re in the business of gift-giving (and we are), this would definitely be something a makeup fancier might look at and add to their wish-list but not prioritize very high if they aren’t abundantly passionate about colorful eye looks.
Those are my top picks of the 2014 Prestige Makeup Gifts! Vice 3 underwhelmed me and didn’t make the list because it was too similar to other years. The Benefit Advent calendar is a really cute idea, but reviews suggest that it includes non-makeup items such as hair ties and non-beauty items such as paperclips and notepads. MAC’s holiday brush sets are notoriously lower-quality than their regular-run counterparts. The LORAC Mega PRO would have made my list if it hadn’t sold out a week after release with no plan for more production.
What are your favorite picks from the 2014 Prestige Makeup Gifts so far? What is on your wishlist, and what are you gifting to others?