Happy Wednesday and hello from Miami! We are here for a few days and I’m thrilled to be visiting for the first time. I have another gift guide today rounding up some skincare gift sets for the holiday. Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. I have personally tested everything featured here and can vouch for them as great sets. Of course finding the right one for you or someone you want to gift something to depends on their skin type. With the holiday season it’s nice to try sets out or stock up on favorites because there are often value deals.
What are your favorite skincare sets or skincare items these days? I’m really loving the Caudalie items and Kate Somerville for affordable skincare that still works. Let me know if you have any sets on your wishlist! Right now I’ve got my eye on some 111Skin sheet masks and more things from Sisley. I keep putting things in and out of my online shopping carts!
Happy Monday! Today I’m rounding up some holiday gift guide ideas on beauty gifts under $50. I feel like beauty gifts in this price range tend to go fast! A few of these have already sold out online which I’ll note below but you may be able to find them in stores.
Palettes and Color
There are a lot of great sets this year under the $50 price point from the MAC Snow Ball Collection. Their lip sets are the cutest with different color themes for pink and nudes. They also have some great face sets.
These are always fun because they’re like little surprise gifts. Fresh has some of the best lip sets this year both under and over $50 – I’d recommend you act quick on those if you see any you like because a lot of their sets have sold out.
A few other cute gifting options. Perfume can be a tricky one as scent is so personal, however as long as you’re pretty certain of your friend’s taste and preferences, sampler sets can be a great option.
That wraps up my roundup of beauty gifts under the $50 price point! If you are in search of ideas I hope this guide helps you:) How far along are you on your holiday shopping? Have you already bought all your gifts or do you still have a ways to make through your list?
This week’s giveaway is going to be a mix of 4 products/sets featured in today’s post! I’ll select 1 winner at random through the Rafflecopter widget below and they will win all 4 sets. Giveaway is open internationally but you must be 18 years or older to enter. Simply complete one of the tasks in the widget. Giveaway will run from 12/4 to 12/9 11:59 PM EST. I usually pick a winner within 48 hours. If selected you must respond via email within 48 hours or another person will be selected. I typically ship prizes within 1 week. Not affiliated or sponsored.
Press samples featured include the Cover FX Palette, Fresh Sweet and Sporty Lip Set, NARS Man Ray Lip Pencil Set, NARS The Veil Palette, Tatcha Kissed with Gold, Away Mini Suitcase and the JINsoon Trio.
I have my first holiday gift guide of the year! Today I’m rounding up some of the best travel beauty cases and makeup bags I love. If you’re in need of ideas for a fun unique gift, I think any of these would be great gift for the beauty lover or frequent traveler. When it comes to travel prep I’m always looking for good storage and packing solutions to organize and carry my things, especially beauty items. I’ve tried a lot of different options over the years. Many times I’ll use the freebies from gift with purchase events, but sometimes it’s nice to have something a little better quality that’s sturdier. If you’ve followed my packing travel posts you’ll probably recognize several of these bags. I’ve put each one to the test on different kinds of trips. I’m primarily a carry-on traveler so in general I’d say these bags work best for shorter trips. Quick note that all the cases come empty with the exception of the Away Mini Suitcases, but I’ve filled all of them with some of my favorite things to help show what you can fit inside. I hope this helps decide which option is best for your needs!
Mini Beauty Trunk Case
Bobbi Brown Beauty Case ($160, measures 6.406″ L x 3.844″ W x 8.609″ H) is something that has special meaning to me as Andrew gifted me a black leather case many years ago when we were in college. This was in our early dating days before he knew I was a beauty junkie! He found it at the airport in London before he flew back home one summer. It was the perfect gift and I used it for many years (I still have it!). Each year Bobbi Brown has released a new version. This year’s is a beautiful deep red. You can see everything that I fit inside the 2016 version which is nearly identical to this year’s inside.
I have actually fit this inside a carry-on suitcase in previous years, but as you can imagine it does take up a lot of room. For weekend trips it’s perfect. There have been times I just packed a weekender bag and this case. My black leather one has held up remarkably well. It can get dirty inside, especially if you store dirty brushes or have powders that spill. Mine has been relatively easy to clean with a damp cloth and canned air. Canned air works wonders to remove debris from almost anything!
This one has two levels, a top tier that can hold brushes or skinny perfumes and then a sectioned portion to hold compacts, liquids or lipsticks. The base is bigger/deeper so you can stack more inside. There is a nice gap on the top of the bottom (if that makes sense) so there’s a lot more room than you might think.
Clear Double-Sided Zip Pouch
Anya Hindmarch In-Flight Travel Case ($275, measures 8.7″D x 3.2″W x 4.7″H) is one of my most expensive makeup bag splurges. I can’t remember the exact date that I bought this but I know I’ve had it for over two years. It’s clear and has two zippered sides, one for Take-Off and one for Touch-Down. You can really put anything you want in it, but for flying it’s nice to have two sides to separate items so you don’t have to dig around your makeup bag to search for things. This bag has gone through a lot of travel and still has held up really well. It’s been through quite a bit of squishing, packing and use. Many of you have asked if I think this purchase was worth it. In this case I don’t know that I can say it’s worth the price tag because it’s soooo expensive, but it has held up a lot better than I anticipated, especially since it’s made of clear plastic and patent leather. So that being said I’m still 100% happy with this splurge because the quality has proved to be excellent.
A closer look at both sides, on the Take-Off side I can stack 3 compacts flat to fit inside. The Touch-Down side is skinny in the opening but can still hold long tubes like Chanel glosses, cream shadow sticks, etc.
Clear Flat Snap-Closure Pouch
Ouai Clear Envelope Pouch ($25) is currently sold out on their website which is the only place I could find to buy it. Right now you can buy it in their Under the Mistletoe Set. I’m hoping they restock eventually because it’s a great large flat pouch! Do note that since there is only one button clasp smaller things can be prone to falling out if you stuff it (versus a zip bag that won’t let anything spill). But for medium to larger size bottles it’s great! What I’ve fit inside below: Ouai Wave Spray, Ouai Hair Oil, Ouai Smooth Spray, Sunglasses, Byredo Hair Perfume in Mojave Ghost, Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo Mini, Oribe Swept Up Powder Spray, Fresh Sugar Lip, Atelier Cologne Minis, mini L’Occitane Divine Cream. I think the world needs more clear pouch options – they’re so handy for everything!
Large Leather Monogram Makeup Bags
The Daily Edited is a brand I discovered earlier this year. Their entire line is designed so you can have it customized and monogrammed! I ordered three items: one Black Large Cosmetic Case, one Taupe Large Cosmetic Case ($100 each, measures H 5.3″ x W 8.9″ x D 4.3″) and one of the Travel Cases ($120, measures H 5.9″ x W 9.4″ x D 3.5″). I have by initials in the blind embossed style SS. These are made of Saffiano Leather and are decent in quality, but the lining is not the best on the market. For something in the $100 range these are very good and I feel the large cosmetic cases are the best ones I’ve tried in terms of size, proportions and function. They are sturdy but the leather isn’t as thick or stiff as some other luxury brands so it’s bendable and prone to slight stretching in areas. Based on the occasions that I’ve used mine I just don’t think it’s something that will last as long as say something from Louis Vuitton. That being said, I do understand if you throw something in a suitcase packed with other items it’s bound to get smashed or worn so this isn’t a deal breaker for me. I brought one of the large bags with me on my trip to San Francisco and felt it was perfect in shape/size. It gets the job done and even though I think it could be better quality these are among my favorites for the style.
I’ve also used the Large Travel Case and it has an upper portion with compartments and leather straps with holes. This seems to be perfect for someone who wears a lot of jewelry or travels with different pieces. You can store earrings and also keep items separated. I’m a minimalist when it comes to jewelry, especially with travel as I’m always worried I’m going to lose something so this part didn’t really appeal to me. There’s a bottom portion that’s larger where you can store beauty products, compacts or other accessories. For an all around travel case it’s beautiful. For beauty I’ve found other options better suited to what I pack but it is a beautiful case and I can see many people using it for accessories, jewelry, etc.
A look inside and side view of the Large Cosmetic Case:
A look at the Large Travel Case, both tiers:
Mini Travel Cases
Away Mini Suitcases are back this year! If you remember last year they had the Grey/Asphalt color as gift card cases which were super cute. They measure 7″ x 5″ x 3″ and this is the first year they’ve offered them to the public in 10 different colors, including their winter colors Frost and Pool. Each mini is available as a stand-alone for $35 or free with the purchase of a gift card. There are also some curated sets ranging from $45 to $95 packed with some of their TSA-sized essentials. Shown below are White, Asphalt and Brick Mini Suitcases next to the Away Carry-On (the black one been well-loved by my husband, this is the original one they launched back in 2015). You can buy all of these directly from their website Away Travel or one of their stores (New York, San Francisco, LA and Austin so far).
Each one has the same interior which has a grey mesh pocket and open inside, much like the Away suitcases. Below I have a closer look at the interior and some of the fun curated options they have. You can mix and match the colors in any of the sets. Right now they are sold out of the Beauty Set and Essentials Set but I’ve been told they are going to restock soon. The pink one is going to be restocked (they hope next week!). All others are limited-edition while supplies last. I love that these come wrapped in a drawstring cloth sack – it’s an extra special touch that makes these so cute. I was gifted 3 and promptly ordered a bunch more to give as gifts this year. Cameras shown below include the Leica Sofort Instant Print Camera and Sony NEX-6 (discontinued, current model is Sony A6000 Camera). You can also see my Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer review here (and yes I still think it’s my favorite).
So many of you have asked for a look at the inside of these cases so are more photos. They plan on restocking the sold-out sets around next week so keep an eye out for them! For now you can still buy the Individual Mini Suitcase in all the colors for $35 each (some have sold out, but pink is going to be restocked).
The Beauty Set $75 comes with mini Malin + Goetz Shampoo and Conditioner, RMS Beauty Lip Shine in Bloom, IGK Jet Lag Invisible Dry Shampoo, Herbivore Deluxe Rose Mist, Wallpaper’s City Guide to Paris
The Essential Set $45 comes with Malin + Goetz Mini Face Moisturizer, Mini Face Wash, Marvis Toothbrush, Marvis Toothpaste, Deep Sleep This Works mini pillow spray, Wallpaper City Guide for London
The Field Set $75 comes with a mini Harry’s face lotion, Malin + Goetz deoderant, Public Supply Notebook and Wallpaper City Guide for for Austin
Interior color is the same for all cases, one mesh pocket and an open interior
Clear + Leather Pouches
Truffle Clarity Jetset Cases ($85 each, measures 7 1/2” L X 5 1/4” H X 2″ W). They launched non-flat pouches this year and I was thrilled! I ordered two of the three colors for myself and really like how they are constructed. They are on the expensive side for the size but I think they’re great for throwing in your carry-on tote. I find the quality pretty good and there’s enough structure to it that it will retain its shape well. I didn’t want to love these at the price but now that I’ve purchased two I’m really glad that I did. I’ve been a fan of the flat pouches for such a long time it’s nice to see something with more depth!
Large Open Clear Zip Bags
MAC Clearly MAC Large Rectangle ($30, measures 8.5″ x 5.38″ x 5″) is one of the more affordable clear bags that I own and think it’s sturdy and well made for the price. They’ve had several variations over the year and this is the current one. They also have the Clearly MAC Rectangle ($26, measures 9.25″ x 3.5″ x 3.38″) which I’ve had on my wishlist for brushes. I’ve tried a number of brush rolls in the past and while they’re great – sometimes I just want something more basic, simple and open. View of the front, back and side – it’s pretty roomy!
On My Radar
Net-A-Porter Holiday Beauty Kit ($115) is one that I do not own but spotted it online for one of their holiday kits and it looks like a steal! If you’re budget is around the $100 mark and want to gift a little bit of everything this kit has just that. The clear case looks promising for travel as well.
That wraps up my gift guide on favorite travel beauty cases for carry-on travelers. If you have any friends or family that already have all the beauty products and you’re stumped on what to get them, I think a makeup bag or travel case is a great alternative.
This week’s giveaway is going to be a Bobbi Brown Beauty Case + Away Mini Suitcase in Brick! I bought a Bobbi Brown case but was also sent one as a press sample, so I’m giving away my extra. I also ordered a ton of the minis to give away as gifts and I’m adding one to this giveaway. As a bonus I’ll be filling both with some makeup goodies but the picks will be customized based on the winner’s skintone, skintype and preferences. This giveaway is open internationally but you must be 18 years or older to qualify. Simply follow any of the tasks provided in the widget below.
Runs through 11/29/2017 11:45 PM EST
I’ll pick 1 winner via the Rafflecopter widget below and e-mail them within 72 hours after giveaway ends
Winner must respond to e-mail within 72 hours or another person will be picked in their place
I’m rounding up one of the prettiest holiday collections this year with the MAC Snow Ball Collection. Everything is limited-edition and some pieces are harder to find as there are a few retailer exclusives. By now some of the items have sold out online but you may want to check your local stores to see if you can find anything. The entire collection launched a few weeks ago but as this is a pretty hefty collection it’s taken me a while to swatch, test and review everything. I received a number of press samples but tracked down some items at my local Nordstrom and MAC store. There’s still a massive amount of sets and palettes not featured today so know if you’re into more bold shades, pinks, glitzy glitters etc. there are definitely some other options to pick from that you can still find easily. Featured today includes:
First are some lip picks. I love the MAC holiday lip sets because they often have minis and are color-themed. Being the nude lip lover that I am I knew I had to get the Snow Ball Nude Lip Bag because it has one of the prettiest nude lipsticks!
There are six individual Snow Ball Lipsticks in the collection. It seems they’re sold out everywhere except MAC online. I have four which I purchased including:
Warm Ice which is a metallic pale gold beige (similar to Gel)
Holiday Crush is a metallic soft pink rose
I’m Glistening is a metallic taupe grey mauve
Elle Belle is one of the prettiest deep red creams
The Nude Lip Bag is my absolute favorite even if it seems dupe-able:
Sending Love Cremesheen Lipstick is the one of the most perfect nude pink lipsticks I’ve ever seen
Doubletime Pro Longwear Lip Pencil is permanent, it’s a toffee pink brown
Below Freezing is a Cremesheen Glass formula with clear base with loads of pale pink sparkles
Iced Over is a Metallic Vamplify formula in a metallic but very wearable beige shimmer
Winter Warmer is a Cremesheen Glass formula which is a warm pink brown with a tiny bit of sheen
MAC Snow Ball Highlighters
For the face there are lots of highlighter options. I don’t even want to admit how many MAC highlighters I own because it’s a ridiculous amount. I’m always surprised they manage to make new ones because it seems like all the colors have to have been done already. There are two individual Face Powders in an Opalescent Finish. They’re called Happy Go Dazzling which is a pale beige gold and Here Comes Joy which is a peachy shimmer. Both are noticeable on the skin but in comparison to other highlighters they have a slightly stiffer texture which makes them sheerer and less metallic. I love these because they don’t look garish on the skin but have a soft diffused look.
There are also some sets called the Snow Ball Face Bag which are a MAC and Nordstrom exclusive. Nordstrom has two options, a Peach Face Bag with Show Gold Extra Dimension Skinfinish (duochrome pink peach with loads of sparkle) and the Gold Face Bag which has Whisper of Gilt (metallic gold). These come with a sequins bag and small 140S brush in a metallic handle.
I added a swatch of Whisper of Gilt that I have from older launches:
MAC Snow Ball Eye Makeup
There are a few palette options, I received a press sample of the Snow Ball Eye Compact in Gold. Palettes can be tricky especially if you don’t 100% love all the shades. This one performs well for a smoky eye look but two of the colors are very glittery with a lot of fallout unless you pat it on the lids.
For eye makeup all the single Extra Dimension Eye Shadows pretty much sold out the day they launched. I tracked them all down in stores and am not really sure why they sold out in record time. They are indeed super beautiful but very metallic. The texture is smooth and easy to apply. On the lids they are perfect party-wear shadows. Only Starry Starry Night, Delicate Drift and It’s Snowing are ones I feel like I could wear for regular everyday wear. The swatch photos don’t capture the metallic quality as well as I’d like but I hope they give you a good reference. Colors include:
Frostwinked metallic white glitter frost
Delicate Drift metallic soft pink glitter
Stylishly Merry duochrome bronze pink glitter
It’s Snowing shimmering silvery mauve
Starry Starry Night shimmering deep charcoal with silver flecks
There’s an eye bag set called the Snow Ball Smoky Gold Eye Bag with a duo of Extra Dimension Shadows of Just Gleaming (champagne pink) and Snowdusk (shimmering taupe) with a Technakohl Eyeliner in Photogravure and In Extreme Lash Mascara in Black.
Last but not least is one of the brush sets which is the Snow Ball Brush Set Mini. It has three short-handled rose gold brushes in a brushed metallic handle finish including 421SE, 535SE and 560SE. I feel like I know my MAC brushes well but don’t remember seeing any of these numbers before. They perform really well for MAC brush sets – I often find the quality of the brush sets aren’t as good as the full size/individual brushes but these are really good for powders.
One last look below. Overall lots to explore and love in this holiday collection. I really think there is something for everyone. If you’re looking for something under the $50 price point for gifts I think any of the lip bags are great. I love the Snow Ball Nude Lip Bag for $39.50 and the Mini Lipstick Kits or Gloss Kits are $29.50 each. I would personally pass on the eyeshadow palettes as I don’t 100% love all the shades. The individual eyeshadows are stunning but are on the glitzy side which makes them a bit challenging for everyday wear if you need a conservative look.
This post is brought to you by CJ Affiliate’s VIP Content Service. Thank you L’Occitane for sponsoring this post. While this was a sponsored opportunity from L’Occitane, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.
The holiday season is quickly approaching and I’m thrilled to share a peek at two cute gift options from L’Occitane. This year there are two fun and unique L’Occitane Holiday Advent Calendars perfect for any kind of beauty lover regardless of style and age. Their body products and skincare have been long-time staples for me and as one who has picky females in my life I can say that L’Occitane has been a safe go-to for gifts that are well received. Both sets are beautifully packaged and contain 24 miniatures for the Christmas holiday countdown. The Signature Advent Calendar is priced at $69 ($104 value) while the Luxury Advent Calendar is $124 ($174.50 value).
Signature Advent Calendar
First a look at the Signature Advent Calendar. This style has been launched in previous years but they usually have a variation in contents. I love keeping these for travel and also think it’s a great way to sample new things. Inside the Signature Advent Calendar 2017 set you get a mix of body lotions, perfumes, hair care, shower gels and more. I’m beyond obsessed with the shower oils and hand cream. Their shea butter line is my favorite for soothing dry itchy skin and it has an amazing gentle scent that relaxes me:
Almond Shower Oil 1.18 fl. oz.
Almond Delicious Hand Cream 0.33 oz.
Almond Delicious Soap 1.7 oz.
Shea Light Comforting Cream 0.17 oz.
Almond Milk Concentrate 0.67 oz.
Arlésienne Eau de Toilette 0.25 fl.oz.
Arlésienne Perfumed Soap 1.76 oz.
Aromachologie Shampoo 1.18 fl.oz
Aromachologie Conditioner 1.18 fl.oz.
Aromachologie Relaxing Shower Gel 1.18 fl.oz.
Cherry Blossom Shower Gel 1.18 fl. oz.
Cherry Blossom Shimmering Lotion 1.18 fl. oz.
Citrus Verbena Shower Gel 1 fl.oz.
Aromachologie Revitalizing Sugar Cube 1.4 oz.
Peony Flora Hand Cream 0.33 oz.
Shea Butter Shower Cream 1 fl.oz.
Shea Butter Body Lotion 1 oz.
Shea Butter Hand Cream 0.33 oz.
Shea Butter Foot Cream 0.33 oz.
Shea Butter Lip Balm 0.1 oz.
Shea Butter Milk Soap 0.88 oz.
Verbena Leaf Soap 0.8 oz.
Verbena Body Lotion 1 oz.
Verbena Hand Cream 0.33 oz
Luxury Beauty Advent Calendar
Next is the Luxury Beauty Advent Calendar which I’m super excited about! This has quite a few products I’ve been dying to try. It has some really great skincare items including the Immortelle Divine Youth Oil and Cream which I highly recommend. If I were to pick one to recommend out of the two, I’d say hands down splurge on the Luxury Beauty Advent Calendar, especially as a gift to yourself. It has a little bit of everything for the lips, face, body, hands, hair and fragrance.
Inside the Luxury Beauty Advent Calendar set:
Almond Delicious Hand Cream 10ml
Almond Supple Skin Oil 15ml
Almond Milk Concentrate 20ml
Almond Delicious Hand Cream 10ml
Arlésienne Eau de Toilette 7ml
Aromachologie Relaxing Shower Gel 35ml
Aromachologie Conditioner 35ml
Aromachologie Shampoo 35ml
Cherry Blossom Shimmering Body Lotion 35ml
Cherry Blossom Hand Cream 10ml
Divine Cream 4ml – love this!
Divine Youth Oil 4ml – also love, this is one of my favorite oils!
Néroli & Orchidée Eau de Toilette 7ml
Immortelle Precious Cream 8ml
Immortelle Essential Water 30ml
Immortelle Oil Make Up Remover 30ml
Shea Butter Lip Balm 12ml
Shea Butter Hand Cream 30ml
Shea Light Comforting Cream 8ml
Shea Butter Cleansing Oil 30ml
Shea Butter Shower Cream 30ml
Roses et Reines Hand & Nail Cream 10ml
Terre de Lumière Eau de Parfum 5ml
Verbena Eau de Toilette 10ml
That wraps up a look at the two L’Occitane Advent Calendars for this holiday. There are a number of other holiday gift sets and stocking stuffers available as well, options at multiple price points all beautifully packaged. How cute are these holiday baubles and festive crackers? Finding a universally appealing gift can be a challenge because everyone has different tastes, preferences and personalities, but I think for the ladies in my life L’Occitane wins for me year over year. The products are always well received and with these minis they’re bound to get used up!
You can find both of the L’Occitane Holiday Advent Calendars online at L’Occitane and at all stores.
Sometimes there are beauty collections that are simply too cute to handle and the Shu Uemura x Super Mario Brothers Collection for holiday is one of them. Many years ago I used to use and buy a lot from Shu Uemura. It was hard to find in the US so I first discovered the items in Asia and UK during my college days. They eventually launched in a few stores like Sephora and Neiman Marcus. When I lived in California I’d sometimes make a long drive from San Diego to their boutique at South Coast Plaza. Unfortunately they decided to pull the brand from all retail stores and they kept it online only. I hope they will bring it back to more places someday! The holiday collection is super cute and speaks to the young at heart.
Color items and makeup come in limited-edition packaging:
Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in M PK375 ($30) is the first matte lipstick I’ve tried from Shu Uemura and wow is the formula impressive. I’m not a fan of matte lips in general but this formula is smooth and manages to look velvety without that dried up look. Pigment is opaque and smooth, there’s no tugging and lasting power is really phenomenal. It stays put adhering well to the lips. It also leaves a slight stain on the lips so if as it fades or transfers the color pretty much stays put. PK375 is a pinkish berry color.
Rouge Unlimited Sheer Shine in Saved Peach ($30) is one of those sheer glossy peachy colors in the tube but on my lips it turns more pinkish. This has a soft glossy finish with a cushiony feel. Lasting power isn’t as good as the matte but it does feel nice and hydrating on the lips. It has quite a bit of slip and while it looks pretty I’m not the biggest fan of the formula.
Tint in Balm in Fire of Flower ($30) is a lush pigmented balm. The formula is so good with this one and even though the color is a lot brighter than what I normally wear, I think it’s worth checking out if you are in the market for a brighter red. Lasting power with this is also very good, especially for a balm. I definitely plan on checking out the other colors in the regular line.
Drawing Pencil in Matte Black ($24) is a classic rich opaque smooth black eyeliner. It has a soft matte finish and on my eyes it lasted all day without smudging (even in humidity).
The hair care line Shu Uemura Art of Hair is carried on it’s own website, separate from the makeup and skincare items. Each holiday season they usually repromote classics with the holiday packaging so in the event you don’t like the designs you can always buy them with the standard bottles.
Cleansing Oil Shampoo ($57) is a classic shampoo I’ve used up entirely multiple times. With my hair type it’s best as a clarifying one to two times a week kind of formula. I always combine it with the corresponding conditioner and the two together are really good for soft clean hair.
Cleansing Oil Conditioner ($58) is the coordinating conditioner for the Cleansing Oil Shampoo. I actually like this formula a lot better than the shampoo and use this one with other brands of shampoo. I’m one who washes my hair daily. Back in California I didn’t condition it every day because I didn’t need to. In Florida the water is different and while the weather is hot and makes me prone to sweat more, the water dries out my skin and hair (even with filters). I’ve found I need some kind of conditioner daily and this one is definitely a favorite because it’s light enough to add moisture but not so heavy and rich that it makes my scalp oily.
Essence Absolue ($69) is one of their best-sellers and for good reason. It’s a lightweight oil that can be used in a number of ways. I apply it to freshly washed and towel dried hair and it works as a detangler. I also use it pre-heat styling and as a finisher on the ends. It’s consistently in my top picks for hair oils because of the lightweight texture, beautiful scent and great shine it gives my hair without weighing it down. I absolutely love that it comes with a pump dispenser.
Master Wax ($39) is another classic from Shu Uemura but this was the first time I’ve ever used a wax. I had to do some research on how to use and apply it because I usually associate a hair wax with a men’s grooming kind of product. It has a nice lightweight scent but feels thick like a gooey pomade. Instructions say you can use on damp or dry hair – I tried both. A little goes a very long way. With my hair styling I usually do the same thing every day. I just like it down and free flowing unless I’m working out and then tie it up. I rarely use hair spray as it gives my hair that crunchy feel. This wax seems like it would be the perfect styling product if you style your hair and need it to stay in place or get that piecey look all day without stiffness. For the most part I’ve had longer hair, at least slightly past the shoulders. There have been times I cut my hair shorter and found it extremely difficult to maintain and style. Shorter hair means there’s less weight and I found my hair kinda flew around in ways I couldn’t manage. Had I known about hair wax back then I think it would have been a styling savior. For now since I’m very minimal with my hair styling I prefer the Essence Absolue or softer creams.
Beauty, skincare and makeup items are available online at Shu Uemura and Shu Uemura Canada. The team has offered Beauty Look Book readers a special offer for orders. With code BLBXSHU online you will receive 5 free deluxe samples and free shipping on orders $50+. Samples include: a mini laque supreme sample rd01, maxi:hydrability essence-in cream 13 ml, sakura-rose-petal-mask 13 ml, ultime8 sublime cleansing oil 15 ml and nutri:nectar sample 15 ml.
That wraps up my look at some of the holiday pieces from the Shu Uemura x Super Mario Collection! Have you tried anything from Shu Uemura recently? What are your favorites? I’m still working on my skincare routine but I’ll say for now that their Sakura Rose Petal Mask is one of my latest obsessions for hydration and soothing.
Holiday collection items and promo code provided courtesy of the Shu Uemura team.
This is probably the first year that I’ve seen holiday collections and sets out this early and I’m excited to be able to share my first holiday gift guide/review with you today! I’ve teamed up with Ulta Beauty to give you a look at four affordable gift sets from Benefit. There are a lot more options to choose from online and in store and the best two things are 1) they are all under $60 and 2) the packaging is fun and festive so there’s no extra work required to wrap it up. The four I’m featuring today include:
Up first is the Cable Car Cuties Set which has three minis of the Rockateur Rose Gold Blush, Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel in Shade 3, POREfessional Face Primer. This is an Ulta exclusive and is great for an affordable stocking stuffer set or for holiday gift exchanges. All three items are easy to wear and can be a fun way to test things out. This was my first time testing out Rockateur and it’s one of the prettiest soft rose blushes I’ve tried – truly natural and doesn’t darken on the skin.
Up next includes the Beauty and the Bay Set which has 4 full-size items and one mini. This one is on the left with the High Brow Highlight & Lift Pencil, They’re Real! Mascara in Jet Black, Hoola Matte Bronzer, High Beam Liquid Face Highlighter Mini. Hoola is one of the most under-rated matte bronzers (in my opinion).
GALifornia Love Set has a full-size Roller Lash Super Curling and Lifting Mascara in Black, full-size Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel in Shade 3 and a mini GALifornia Sunny Golden Pink Blush. It’s been a while since I tried Benefit blushes and have to say I’m really impressed with the finish and quality, especially for the price. GALifornia smells like candy peaches (in a good way). Whenever I ask for mascara recs a lot of you mention the Roller Lash and I finally tried it – pretty impressed that it had no smudging and was truly a deep rich black color. No clumping either!
Beauty and the Bay Set swatches, I swatched Hoola with a very heavy hand, on the face I promise it doesn’t look this dark. If you’re ultra fair definitely checkout their Hoola-Lite, I’ve tried that one too and it’s the best light colored non-grey non-orangey powder bronzer I’ve tried.
Last but not least is the Great BROWnanza Blockbuster Set which is a great value for the price. If you’re brow novice and don’t know what formula works best for you this is a great way to try all the different formulas. It’s priced at $59 but the retail value is $151. Note there are two shade options in 3 and 5. I picked up the 5 for darker hair.
Long-time readers know I’m a super minimalist when it comes to brows – I have thick dark hair but my brows are lighter in color so I struggle with whether I should match color to my brows, or my hair or somewhere in between. I’m still learning and do think brow application gets better with practice. I tried all the brow items in the set and my top two picks are the Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel (it’s so easy to use!) and the Brow Zings set because it comes with a usable travel applicator and the cutest mini tweezers. The Ka-Brow! gives me the most coverage and fills in the best, the Brow Pencil is easiest to use for precise feathering layering. The spoolie is a really good one and I don’t know why I didn’t find it sooner.
Here’s a quick look at the Benefit Hoola and the Brow Zings Shade 5. On the left photo you’ll see half my face is before with just my base (powder, concealer and foundation) and the other side has a more polished look with the Brow Zings and Hoola on the cheeks. On the lips is MAC Lipglass in N-U-D-E over Lip Pencil in Boldly Bare.
Lots of cute options to pick from! Do you have any Benefit favorites? You can find all these sets now online and in stores at Ulta.
Thanks to Ulta for partnering to sponsor this post!