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Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gifts for the Guys In Your Life

December 15, 2016

Holiday Gift Guide for the Guys in your Life Tech Grooming Gadgets and More

I have a couple more gift guides to share as Christmas is just around the corner and it’s crunch time to order items to have them arrive in time for the holidays. Finding gifts for the guys in my life is generally easy for me to do as there are tons of grooming, tech and shoe options to choose from. In general I would not recommend buying fragrance or clothes for someone unless you’re really close to them and have a good sense of their personal taste, exact size and style – but there are a couple of items I’ve found I think could be universally appealing regardless of age of fashion type.

  1. Mr. Porter Grooming Kit for Winter 2016 ($95) has a gift set of 12 grooming products with a great selection of minis and travel-sized products, I like these types of sets because guys like my husband or brother won’t usually seek out products to try unless it’s gifted in a set to them, this is a nice way to help them explore skincare
  2. Clarisonic Alphafit ($219) I bought this for my husband over a year ago and he says this is something he thinks every guy should own, and says he even the low maintenance ones will use it because it’s easy to use, convenient to have and store in the shower and is compact for travel, he says it’s also made a huge difference in skin texture and keeping it break-out free
  3. Leica C Digital Camera ($629) comes with high ratings for a digital camera, I’m actually looking for a small one to travel with for myself too but also have this on the list for my brother in law
  4. Bose SoundSport Pulse In-Ear Wireless Headphones ($199.95) is on my husband’s wishlist, he’s been looking for some wireless ear phones for when he runs and I just ordered these for him
  5. Art of Shaving Peppermind and Razor Set ($115) has the new Peppermint Shaving Cream, Facial Scrub and Facial Wash along with the Morris Park Razor, for the women who want the men in their life to up their shaving game, there are lots of sets, starter sets and razors to choose from
  6. Harry’s Travel Dopp Kit ($25) is something I actually got for my husband from the Birchbox Man on the Move Gift Set ($55) which is a steal considering all the items packed inside, if you want something at the $25 price point you can buy the bag separately (and my husband has actually used it for travel), but if your budget can allow a bit more the gift set is a really great value
  7. Cole Haan Grand Pro Sneakers ($130) come in a wide range of colors and finishes (also leather), these are among my husband’s favorite for comfort and quality
  8. Fitbit Charge 2 Special Edition Wireless Activity and Heart Rate Tracker ($179.95) is something I’m considering ordering for my husband as well, he’s had the Nike Watch on his radar for a while but this one looks more compact – if you’ve tried either let me know which you think is better
  9. Dior Sauvage Gift Set ($118) is one of the fragrance sets for men I think is universally appealing regardless of style and age, the set has my husband’s favorite deodorant and while we were away his brother stayed at our place for the week and of course sampled all of his grooming drawers, the minute we got home he said, “I really like this scent – can you buy some for me for Christmas” – my husband and his brother are opposites in style so if both of them like this scent I think it’s a good sign that most guys will
  10. Bose Soundlink Color Bluetooth Speakers ($129) are something I bought previous versions of as gifts, my husband had his in his office but just brought it back home to use in the bathroom while he showers, I think the colors are fun
  11. Chanel Bleu de Chanel Shave Cream ($45) is something new to the Bleu de Chanel Grooming line, if you know guys who like this scent there are some new additions like this shave cream
  12. Chanel Bleu de Chanel Travel Eau de Toilette ($77) comes with 3 0.7 oz Eau de Toilettes in a twist and spray canister you can refill, this was my husband’s go-to for years until recently when he decided to switch things up a bit, he still has the travel size ones and uses them
  13. Kiehl’s Jeremyville Ultimate Man Full Body Refueling Set ($62) you can’t go wrong with Kiehl’s skincare for men, their sets during the holiday are among the best in skincare (I bought a few for myself) and the items are guaranteed to get used
  14. Island Slipper Leather Sandal ($94.95) might be something you can’t wear right now if you live anywhere that it’s cold or snowy, but planning for warmer weather is always something you can do ahead of time, especially if you’re planning a tropical vacation, I ordered these over the spring because they had overwhelmingly positive reviews, my husband said they’re the best sandals he has ever owned, he wore them most of our Florida trip and they are comfortable for walking and the beach (I went ahead and ordered this style so he can have a second pair)

If you’re looking for last minute gifts for the guys in your life I hope you found this roundup helpful! Many of these are tried and tested so know there are options above that have had actual success. If you have any good ones you’d like to share let me know in the comments!

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Holiday Gift Guide Travel

Holiday Gift Guide For the Traveler and Girl on the Go

December 2, 2016

Holiday Gift Guide for the Traveler

Today’s gift guide is a roundup with ideas for those who travel frequently or for the girl on the go. Even though over a year has passed since our Europe trip, I’ve still been dreaming of traveling and hope to do more of it in the near future. There is so much to see in the world and although I haven’t been able to travel much in past years I’ve enjoyed the few trips I’ve been on and it makes me really happy when I get emails from some of you about my travel posts. I’m really touched that many of you are so supportive when I incorporate new and different content on this blog. A quick note that I will be traveling to Florida later this month – we’re going to be visiting both Tampa and Miami and parts in between. If you have any recommendations on what to see in a week’s time let me know in the comments!

  1. Truffle Clarity Mini and Card Case Duo ($55) comes in four color options with a mini clutch and card case, I use these clear pouches on a regular basis, for those who want options, you can buy just the clear pouch individually and there are other sizes and colors you can pick from in the Small and Large
  2. Happy Plugs In-Ear Headphones ($34.99) the ones shown are white marble but they also come in other colors
  3. Rib Knit Scarf ($39) you can’t go wrong with a classic scarf, I usually buy the Tissue Weight Cashmere and Wool ($99) blend every year for a nice lightweight wrap, but for those who need something warmer the rib knit one is very cozy
  4. Away Gift Set ($225 and up) is a cute way to gift one of the Away Suit Cases, it’s basically a gift card packaged in a mini case with travel-sized Aesop products
  5. Away Carry On Luggage ($225) now comes in two new colors Snow and Asphalt, since reviewing their carry-on over the summer in this post, they’ve launched a Bigger Carry-On Size ($245) as well, I haven’t tried it but for me the regular Carry-On Size is just perfect
  6. Ugg Australia Travel Set ($88) has a cozy blanket and sleep eye mask in a gift set, it comes in three colors
  7. Mophie Powerstation ($39.99) is something I’ve used for years, I have the black one (shown here) and it’s lasted years for me, I always carry one with me even on day or weekend trips
  8. Tom Ford Lips and Boys ($36 each) are the cutest mini lipsticks ever, all 25 new shades swatched in this post, they’re perfect for travel because the mini size barely takes up any space
  9. Byredo Hand Cream ($35) is the ultimate splurge for hand creams, I’ve purchased two in the past and the scent is pretty good for a hand cream, if you want something a bit more affordable but just as good I recommend the Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve ($15) which also now comes in three scents Coriander, Grapefruit and Lavender ($15 each), Molton Brown also has good ones to gift away, having a good one on hand is a travel must
  10. Oribe Styling Kit x Birchbox ($35) has five minis of their sprays, review of this one here
  11. Laura Mercier Brush it On Luxe Collection Travel Brush Set ($98) has six travel-sized brushes in a roll case, their travel brushes are always well made, I’ve accumulated quite a few over the years
  12. Slip Silk Eye Mask ($45) is on my own wishlist as I have one of the Slip Silk Pillow Cases and really like it
  13. Fleur’t Night Night Eyelash Eye Mask ($23) with the eyelashes is just too cute
  14. Sephora Luxe Combo Travel Brush ($15) is a great travel hair brush it also comes in a Gold Color for holiday
  15. Ouai to Travel Set ($32) has three travel-sized hair products in a white zip case
  16. Drybar Baby Buttercup Dryer ($135) is a compact but powerful travel hair dryer, on numerous trips I’ve debated whether or not to take a dryer with me, I’m the type who needs their own hair dryer, ones in hotels simply just don’t work the same for me, review on this one soon, if you’re into sets for holiday it also comes in the Let it Blow! Set for the same price as the individual dryer
  17. Chanel Les Minis de Chanel ($125) is the first Chanel brush set I’ve bought, I love their mini sets that they launch each year but in previous seasons there has been at least 1 or 2 brushes in the sets that I didn’t think I’d use so I passed, this year has ones I would actually use, I haven’t tried it yet but will be bringing it with me on my upcoming trip
  18. Anya Hindmarch In-Flight Case ($330) is one of the most expensive beauty items I’ve splurged on but it’s great for travel to keep everything beauty related in one place, it was featured here and here, if you don’t need something compact the Bobbi Brown Beauty Case is also a great one for travel

Do you have any travel favorites or must haves? I’m going to be busy packing this weekend so I won’t have new posts up Saturday or Sunday, but stay tuned for a new post to go live on Monday 🙂

Have a great weekend!

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Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gift Guide: Beauty Gifts $25 and Under

November 21, 2016

Holiday Beauty Gifts $25 and Under

Today I’m continuing my holiday gift guide roundups for the year with beauty gifts you can find for $25 and under. There are tons of great affordable options that any beauty lover would like. I suspect some you might even want to keep for yourself.

  1. Lorac Happy Hour Hues Alter Ego Lip Gloss Collection ($25) contains six full-size lip glosses with limited-edition rose gold packaging, it’s been years since I’ve tried a Lorac gloss but I keep seeing this at Nordstrom and it’s calling my name
  2. Ouai Style Edit Set ($25) has minis of the Wave Spray, Texturizing Hair Spray, Finishing Creme and a pack of 6 hair ties, if you haven’t tried the line this is a great starter/trial set
  3. Molton Brown Fiery Pink Pepper Cracker ($25) is something I’ve bought for years (for myself too), I love the bright peppery ginger scent this one has, it’s unique and unlike anything I’ve smelled
  4. Kiehl’s Jeremyville – Grapefruit Body Care Duo ($24) has two 2 oz minis of their grapefruit body care items in a cute little metal tin, I adore the body scrub and it’s something I think anyone would like – sweet, bright and refreshing but not too sweet
  5. L’Occitane Shea Butter Ornament ($14) is always a fun gift option, each year they have cute ornament packaging, there are lots of options with different scents, I think the classic Shea Butter is the best one
  6. Becca Glow On Go ($20) has a Spotlight Wand Shimmering Skin Perfector and Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed, both in Moonstone in mini travel sizes small enough to fit in the tiniest of clutches
  7. Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo and Conditioner Combo ($23) is exclusive to Sephora as a value set
  8. Birchbox Thin to Thick Styling Kit ($20) is one of the best hair kits I think I’ve seen in terms of value, there are lots of other discovery kit options for sunscreen, skincare, fragrance, etc. at Birchbox
  9. Milk Makeup Dew You ($25) contains three minis of the Highlighter Stick, Sunshine Oil and Ubame Mascara – I’ve tried a couple things from the Birchbox subscription boxes but haven’t tried these yet
  10. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Minis Set ($20) is a must try, featured here as well
  11. Kat Von D Beauty The Bow n Arrow Set ($20) has minis of their Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Bow N Arrow and Ink Liner in Trooper
  12. philosophy grace for the holidays set ($18) contains two 8 oz products, one hand wash and one hand lotion and they both come with pumps, even though scent is very personal this is the one scent I’ve found to be universally loved among friends and family
  13. Birchbox LOC One and Done Shadow Stick Trio ($25) is a value set with three shadow sticks, there are 3 options for colors you can choose from, the one shown is called Piece of Cake with Haute Cocoa, Peachy Sheen, and Heavy Petal (all swatched here)
  14. Bite Beauty The Perfect Bite Set ($25) has baby sized 0.05 oz Amuse Bouche Lipsticks in colors Fig, Pepper, Honeycomb, Nori
  15. Sephora Favorites Style, Treat & Repeat! Custom Hair Essentials On the Go ($25) allows you to pick and choose 5 mini items to create your own customized set, if you’re more into skincare also checkout the Customizable Skincare and Hair Gift Set
  16. Eve Lom Kiss Mix Disco Ball ($22) has the nourishing Kiss Mix lip balm in a cute ornament box
  17. Clinique Chubby Stick Sampler Set ($25) this one has three chubby sticks and a mascara with colors coordinated to create a perfect holiday look
  18. IPKN Twinkle Lips Candy Set ($25) I don’t know if I’ve swatched these before but they’re the next best thing to the Dior Addict Glow balms, these IPKN twinkle lips change color depending on your chemistry for a healthy glow of color, they’re smooth and balmy

A few more options linked below:

Hope this gives you some ideas for beauty gifts under $25. If you’ve found any other good stocking stuffer options under the $25 price point let me know in the comments! More gift guides to follow soon. Have a great Monday!

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Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Beauty Gifts and Stocking Stuffers Under $50

November 17, 2016

Best Beauty Gifts Under $50

The holidays are approaching and if you’ve started to look for gifts I have a roundup of some super cute beauty gifts under $50. There are tons of great gift sets and minis at Nordstrom and I’ve teamed up with them to share some of my favorites. I like their site because it’s easy to shop their gift section and filter by pretty much any category like him, her, kids, home and also by price point.

Up first are some cute lip sets which I actually want to keep for myself. I love the minis because they’re a great way to try tons of colors, you can use them up quickly or you can split them up for stocking stuffers or little gift bags. Three that caught my eye include: the Clinique Tiny Temptations which as 20 minis of their Chubby Stick in the most adorable pink tin, Fresh Sugar Lip Charmers which has 4 mini lip balms, and the Fresh Sugar Bliss Cracker. There are tons of options from both brands under the $50 price point so I’ll link them below.

Clinique Tiny Temptations Set and Fresh Sugar Lip Sets Holiday 2016Clinique Tiny Temptations and Fresh Sugar Lip Sets

Kiehl’s always has the best skincare sets for both men and women. It’s one line my husband loves and he got into the line when I bought him a starter set a few years ago. Since then I’ve bought quite a few for him, my brother and my brother-in-law. This year they have great eye-catching packaging. I picked up the Jeremyville Healthy Skin For Him (it’s only $26) and also the Must-Haves Mini Masque Set. (I’m keeping the mask trio for me!) Sometimes finding universally appealing gifts are challenging. If you’re the type who wants to get multiples of the same sets for all your loved ones to make things easy, I really don’t think you can go wrong with Kiehl’s.

Kiehl's Holiday Skincare Grooming Set and Mask Trio Minis

A closer look at the masks – have you tried these? I cannot wait to test them out!

Kiehl's Must Have Mini Mask Trio

Rounding up some more gift sets, all still under $50 although there are more options online at higher price points if you want to splurge 🙂

For the hair lover, two favorites are the Drybar and Moroccanoil. They have great minis and this year the Drybar has the Four-Pack with the Money Maker Hairspray, Sparkling Soda Shine Mist, Detox Dry Shampoo and Tripe Sec Spray. You can buy the minis separately (most of them start at $13 each) but the set gives you a price break with some savings. Moroccanoil has a cute mini Moroccanoil Ornament for $15. There are also some nice value gift sets this holiday. It’s my husband’s favorite line and one of mine as well. He likes it so much he uses the hydrating shampoo and conditioner to wash our dogs so they smell good (yes I’m horrified he does this!).

Drybar Four Pack Spray and Moroccanoil Mini Ornament

 

Jo Malone, Laura Mercier and Bobbi Brown all have great beauty gifts to choose from as well. Jo Malone always created the most elegant splurge gifts. Most are on the spendy side but there are a few options under $50, one is the Christmas Cracker Set which has a mini Mimosa and Cardamom Body Cream, Basil and Neroli Cologne, Blackberry and Bay Body Wash. For the vanilla or sweet scent lover, Laura Mercier has the Hand and Body Creme Collection for $32. This year’s set has Almond Coconut Milk Hand & Body Crème, Ambre Vanillé Hand & Body Crème, Crème Brûlée Hand & Body Crème and Tarte au Citron Hand & Body Crème. For the mascara lover Bobbi Brown Party All Night Duo has the No Smudge and Eye Opening Mascara. I love the Eye Opening one and wanted to buy it anyways to stock up so I picked up the duo to try the other one.

Jo Malone Holiday Cracker Laura Mercier Body Hand Cream Minis Bobbi Brown Party Mascara Duo

Last but not least MAC and Nordstrom have an exclusive Nutcracker Sweet Nude Mineralize Kit. It has a mini mineralize skinfinish, full size mineralize lipstick and lipgloss in a bright zipped makeup bag. My friends love MAC and a handful ask for something MAC-related every year for Christmas. There are tons of great options in makeup, sets, minis and brushes. This one is one of my favorites but if you’re a nude pink lip lover be sure to check out the Nutcracker Sweet Nude Lip Kit too.

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Nude Mineralize Kit Nordstrom

That wraps up my Nordstrom Beauty Holiday Gift Picks for sets and minis under $50. If you’re shopping online don’t forget to check their Gift With Purchase page as it gets updated frequently. If you have any recommendations please let me know in the comments. Please note that I’m working to get the comment section up and working – my site is going through some updates this week and there are areas I’m working to get fixed. If you have issues – shoot me an e-mail sabrina@thebeautylookbook.com and let me know what errors if any you’re seeing.

Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post!

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Clarins

Clarins Holiday Glow Getters Advent Calendar Gift Set – Holiday 2016

November 10, 2016
Clarins Holiday Glow Getters Advent Calendar Gift Set

 

Clarins has a lot of great holiday sets this season and I’m beyond excited to share that they’ve launched their Holiday 2016 Advent Calendar in the US this year! Beauty Advent Calendars have been rare in the US and I’ve always been so jealous of my European friends who have them in their stores. This year quite a few brands have jumped on the bandwagon and as a beauty junkie I’m beyond thrilled. It’s always fun to sample lots of minis.

 

The Clarins Holiday 2016 Advent Calendar is limited-edition and currently available exclusively online at Clarins. It retails for $125 and has 20 mini-sample sized and some full-sized beauty products and 5 fun accessories like charms and gift tags. I really wanted to wait until December to open up each box per day but then I wouldn’t be able to share it with you.

 

Clarins Holiday Glow Getters Advent Calendar Gift Set

Inside the box you get:

  • Booster Detox Full-Size, 0.5 Oz. Net Wt.
  • Beauty Flash Balm Full-Size, 1.7 Oz. Net Wt.
  • Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil 01 Honey Full-Size, 0.1 Oz Net Wt.
  • Hand and Nail Treatment Cream
    Deluxe Travel-Size, 1.7 Oz Net Wt.
  • Eau Dynamisante Travel-Size, 0.5 Fl. Oz.
  • Toning Lotion with Camomile – Normal to Dry Skin Travel-Size, 1.7 Fl. Oz.
  • Blush Prodige Illuminating Cheek Colour 02 Soft Peach Miniature, 0.1 Oz. Net Wt.
  • Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch Miniature, 0.13 Oz. Net Wt.
  • Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector 01 Rose Shimmer Miniature, 0.15 Oz. Net Wt.
  • Crayon Khôl Eye Pencil 01 Carbon Black Miniature, 0.013 Oz. Net Wt.
  • Wonder Perfect Mascara 01 Wonder Black Miniature, 0.1 Oz. Net Wt.
  • Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base 01 Rose Miniature, 0.3 Oz. Net Wt.
  • Instant Eye Make-Up Remover Sample-Size, 0.3 Fl. Oz.
  • Cleansing Milk With Alpine Herbs – Normal or Dry Skin Sample-Size, 0.3 Oz. Net Wt.
  • Gentle Refiner Exfoliating Cream with Microbeads Sample-Size, 0.1 Oz. Net Wt.
  • HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase Sample-Size, 0.1 Fl. Oz.
  • HydraQuench Cream – Normal to Dry Skin Sample-Size, 0.1 Oz. Net Wt.
  • HydraQuench Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm Sample-Size, 0.1 Oz. Net Wt.
  • Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil Sample-Size, 0.17 Fl. Oz.
  • One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser Sample-Size, 0.1 Oz. Net Wt.
  • 3 gift bag accessories
  • 3 gift tags

 

Clarins Holiday Glow Getters Advent Calendar Gift Set

 

A look at each day’s contents cased with a perforated door opening:
Clarins Holiday Glow Getters Advent Calendar Gift Set

 

All the minis – there are so many skincare items I’ve wanted to try and cannot wait to dive in.

 

Clarins Holiday Glow Getters Advent Calendar Gift Set

 

Right now there’s a GWP with any $80+ order running online at Clarins through 11/15 – there are four options to choose from, with a code for each option: DAILY16, MULTI16, FIRMING16 or SUPER16.

 

Clarins GWP

 

There are some other cute value gift sets which I’ll link below. For reference you can see some other reviews if you need swatches or more details:

 

 

 

I am a huge fan of the Clarins lip products but haven’t explored much of the skincare. I am excited that to try more with this holiday set. I have a few more advent calendar / beauty box sets that I’ll be reviewing soon so stay tuned! Ones to be featured shortly include the Laura Mercier Iconics (if you’re a Sephora VIB the 20% off sale for VIB tier members starts tomorrow 11/11) and Charlotte Tilbury World of Legendary Parties.Up next will be my Sephora haul 🙂 P.S. Tom Ford Winter Soleil Eye and Cheek Palettes and the Soleil Lip Foil just launched online just in time for tomorrow’s sale. I wasn’t able to get them in time to use the code but ordered the palettes anyways.

 

Have you checked out any of the beauty advent calendars this year? If yes which ones?

 

Advent calendar gifted by Clarins for review.
Haircare Holiday Gift Guide Skincare

Holiday Gift Guide: Sephora Favorites Sets and Birchbox Discovery Kits

November 3, 2016
Holiday Gift Guide - Birchbox Kits and Sephora Favorites Sets

I have my first holiday gift guide of the year today featuring some great discovery gift sets. Birchbox and Sephora each have their own curated box sets with hand-picked items. They’re often grouped and boxed by themes such as dry shampoos, berry lips, nude lips, sunscreen, skincare etc. They’ve basically taken their best sellers and packed them into sampler boxes with minis at a value price. I love these for myself because it allows me to try a lot of items without having to buy the individual full sizes I’m unsure about. Each store has their own exclusive selection which makes them unique.

There are tons of boxes and kits to choose from. Many are pretty affordable and tons at the $25 price point. This year I shopped sets early as I know there’s a good chance the value sets of them will sell out early. My friends this year are all about hair styling and highlighters. It seems like every single female friend I have doesn’t have time to wash and dry their hair on a daily basis. The good thing this year is that there are TONS of dry shampoo sets and holiday styling sets for all hair types. Highlighters are also as popular among my friends as they are on Instagram lol. Sets are great because even though I think I can find the perfect highlighter or dry shampoo for my close friends we all have different tastes and preferences.

Up first are some of the Birchbox Kits. Birchbox is known for their monthly subscription boxes and for the longest time I thought that was all that they offered. Not true. The Birchbox Collection has an entire shop of discovery kits, limited-edition box sets, and much more. If you visit their store you’ll see their products grouped by product type and then brand. An entire wall will be dedicated to suncare and they’ll split it by types of sunscreens. Their value sets are really cute and well put together. You can also buy individual full-sized items as well.

Up first is The Dry Shampoo Starter Kit for $32 ($74 value) you get an amika (Fort)Tress Shower Cap, amika Perk Up Dry-Shampoo, R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo (one of my favorites), Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo, Living proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo, Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk.

To date the R+Co had been my favorite but has been replaced with the Oribe Dry Shampoo that just launched a couple months ago. Neither leave my hair looking dusty or matte and there is no white residue. One of my friends swears by the Living Proof one which I tried. It left my hair looking too matte. As this set is a gift I won’t be reviewing the other items but thought you would like a peek at this one.

Birchbox The Dry Shampoo Starter Kit - The Beauty Look Book
If Dry Shampoo isn’t your thing, not to worry. They have a Thin to Thick Styling Kit ($20), Coily and Curly Hair Kit ($18), The Wavy & Curly Hair Kit ($18). Numerous brands have their own sets as well.
Next is the one I’m just beyond obsessed with. In my What’s In My Bag post I mentioned this Birchbox + Oribe Styling Kit. It has five minis of Oribe – cute beyond words!! I ordered two of these, one for me, one for a friend. I suspect I will be ordering a few more as you just can’t go wrong with Oribe. It’s priced at $35, each bottle is tiny but if you’ve never tried Oribe before this is a great way to try out the line without having to buy individual bottles which are around $20 each for the minis.

Birchbox Oribe Styling Kit - The Beauty Look Book

One kit I received as a press sample was the Complete SPF Kit. When I visited the Birchbox Soho Store over the summer I was just blown away by the presentation and display of the store. If you’re in NYC definitely make a stop there. The bottom floor is for men’s grooming and skincare so bring your boyfriend, husband, brother or male friends with you. They can build their own Birchbox too!

This one is priced at $18 – you get mini sample sizes of Supergoop! Advanced SPF 37 Anti-Aging Eye Cream, MDSolarSciences Mineral Moisture Defense SPF 50, Dr. Jart+ Every Sun Day SPF 30 UV Sun Fluid, Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50, COOLA Face SPF 30 Unscented, COOLA Daydream SPF 30 Mineral Makeup Primer. I have yet to try all of these but I’ve tried both the Coola ones and find them suitable for my sensitive skin.
Birchbox Complete SPF Kit - The Beauty Look Book

Next are the Sephora Favorites. I think one could seriously get carried away with the sets because they have SO MANY good things in them! One of the complaints my friends have about makeup is that the size of some things are just too big and it take them forever to use something up. Minis are popular among friends who like to rotate items frequently because you can use them up faster.

Up first is the Sephora Favorites Scouted by Sephora set which is $24 for five minis. This one features 5 up-and-coming brands at Sephora. I received this one as a gift and haven’t had a chance to try the items yet, but have been really curious about Milk Makeup so I’m eager to try the mascara. It has a Bésame Cosmetics Red Matchbook, GrandeLIPS Hydrating Plumper, Makeup Eraser Mini in Pink, MILK MAKEUP Ubame Mascara, Wander Beauty Lip and Cheek Mini in Pink City.

Sephora Favorites Scouted By Sephora - The Beauty Look Book

Next is the Sephora Favorites Glow for It. This one sold out online but I spotted it in store and picked up two. It’s since been restocked online and I can see why it’s been a popular one. For $30 you get minis of Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid in Moonstone, Benefit Watt’s Up, Cover FX Custom Infusion Drops in C+ Lemongrass – Radiance, Hourglass Ambient® Strobe Lighting Powder in Incandescent Strobe Light, MILK MAKEUP Sunshine Oil and a full size Lancôme Glow Subtil Silky Crème Highlighter in Glowing Lights 06. The Lancome blush itself is $30 so the set is a steal.

I already have 3 of the items in the full size (Hourglass Strobe Powders swatched here) but almost want one for myself.
Sephora Favorites Glow For It - The Beauty Look Book

Another one is the Sephora Favorites Hair Rescue Masks on the Go ($25). This one is listed as being an $85 value. It has quite a lot of product to sample – to date I’ve tried three of the items from Ouai, Phyto and Christophe Robin and all three are great. This one has Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Balm-to-Oil Pre-Shampoo Masque, Phyto Phytokératine Extrême Exceptional Mask, Gloss Moderne High-Gloss Masque, Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil
, Living Proof Perfect Hair Day® Night Cap Overnight Perfector, Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Deep Conditioning Mask, Ouai Treatment Masque, VERB Hydrating Mask, and two packet sets of Rita Hazan Weekly Remedy Treatment For Deep Hydration & Superior Shine Treatment Step 1 & 2. 

I wish I had this set last year when I was traveling for a month. It would have been perfect as it has packets small enough to pack in a carry on. One of my friends is obsessed with masks – skincare and haircare. She is going to freak out when she gets this one.
Sephora Favorites Hair Rescue Mask Set - The Beauty Look Book

Last but not least is the Sephora Favorites Ready, Set, Style! This one was a bit pricier at $29 but the sizes of each spray was pretty impressive. You get five sprays for hair refreshers, volumizers and texturizers. It includes Bumble and Bumble Thickening Dryspun Finish, Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo, IGK Down and Out Dirty Spray, Ouai Texturizing Hair Spray, Living Proof Flex Shaping Hairspray.

Sephora Favorites Ready Set Style Hair Set - The Beauty Look Book

I’m also a sucker for hair care minis like my friends. Three sets that caught my eye for me were the Ouai Style Edit Set ($25), Bumble and Bumble Big Beachy Hair Surf ($31), and the Sephora Favorites Style, Treat & Repeat! Custom Hair Essentials On the Go ($25) – you can mix/match to pick 5 of 15 of their bestselling hair treatments. As my bathroom is overflowing with hair care products I’ll have to try to resist these and use up what I have. I won’t complain if one of them shows up in my Christmas stocking though 🙂

That wraps up my first holiday gift guide. I hope these give you a better idea of what the sets look like compared to stock photos although I do think that both Birchbox and Sephora do a really good job at giving us accurate stock images on their websites.

The Sephora VIB Rouge 20% off sale starts tomorrow November 4th and runs through November 7th. If you’re shopping online use code 20ROUGE. I received an early code from a Sephora employee so was able to shop the sale early. I’ll have my Sephora shopping recommendations roundup up later this afternoon for those who are trying to research early.

For now I hope this sets post give you some ideas for affordable gift options. The ones I featured are all very reasonable in price ranging from $18 to $35 which won’t break the bank if you buy multiples. They’re great for holiday gifts or to treat yourself. I’m seriously tempted to keep a few of these for myself – I may order one or two more once the Sephora sale starts.
The Birchbox Complete SPF Kit and Scouted By Sephora Set gifted as press samples. Remainder featured purchased by me.
MAC

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Collection, Brush Kits, Mini Kits, Bag Sets and Palettes for Holiday 2016

October 26, 2016
MAC Nutcracker Sweet - Collection Review via The Beauty Look Book

 

This year MAC Nutcracker Sweet collection is one of the most whimsical and fun collections for the holiday season. Everything is packaged in this eye-catching bright pink/gold/purple casing which is just so pretty. There are a lot of products in this launch – it’s massive! I have a mix of press samples and purchased items that I’m reviewing today. MAC has pretty much covered everything with this launch so there literally is something for everyone. Items are split into the following categories:
Nutcracker Sweet Collection
Nutcracker Sweet Brush Kits
Nutcracker Sweet Palettes

Nutcracker Sweet Lip and Eye Bags
Nutcracker Sweet Retro Matte and Mineralize Kits
Nutcracker Sweet Mini Kits
Nutcracker Viva Glam Sets

I have a peek at something from five of the categories. Up first is the Nutcracker Sweet Collection consists of individual full-sized items that come in the pink, gold and purple packaging. Most of the items are new/limited-edition colors but there are a few repromotes in eyeliner and pigments. My picks:
  • Magic Dust Powder in Yum Yum Yum (c/o) is a soft sheer pink that gives the cheeks the prettiest hint of pink, it is on the sheer to medium side and the shimmer is very very fine so on the cheeks it’s more of a satin finish
  • Magic Dust Powder in Sweet Vision is a more pigmented shimmering peach gold powder
  • Magic Dust Eyeshadow in Forward March is a soft warm gold shimmer with excellent texture and pigment, it’s smooth and easy to blend
  • Magic Dust Eyeshadow in Pretty Dainty (c/o) is a warm shimmering pinky peach color, also smooth and medium in pigment but buildable
  • Eye Kohl in Prunella (c/o) is a repromote, it’s a classic shimmering deep plum
  • Matte Lipstick in So Good For You (c/o) looks red in the tube but is actually a pink fuchsia, with dark mattes I have a hard time applying evenly straight from the tube so I often need a brush with colors like this, as a matte formula it has a super opaque texture that hugs the lips
Everything performs really well and the quality is on point. I love the Magic Dust powders – they come with the prettiest embossed star patterns and I think both of the colors are very wearable.

 

MAC Nutcracker Sweet - So Good For You

 

MAC Nutcracker Sweet - So Good For You

 

MAC Nutcracker Sweet - So Good For You

 

Face Compacts are probably my favorite of the item and have sold out online just restocked at MAC. They have a unique hybrid cream/powder texture which is stiffer and harder than a normal powder but they meld in with the skin nicely, don’t emphasize pores and last a long time on the skin. I can’t pick a favorite – they are both really good, but if I had to pick one, the Copper Face Compact is just incredibly beautiful. I use a regular blush brush like MAC 129 to apply.
  • Peach Face Compact has Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Tutu and Extra Dimension Blush in At Dusk is a light cool champagne shimmer and soft pink shimmer
  • Copper Face Compact (c/o) has Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt and Extra Dimension Blush in Pleasure Model is a shimmering gold and warm coppery peach
Note these are applied with a very heavy hand in the swatch but they are easy to blend for a softer look. The shimmer blends out to a very soft glow without the garish frost.

MAC Nutcracker Sweet - Peach and Copper Face Compacts

 

MAC Nutcracker Sweet - Peach and Copper Face Compacts

 

Eye Compacts are mirrored compacts with 9 eyeshadows and a dual-ended brush. I found the names odd as they didn’t really match the color theme of shadows inside. The pigment and colors performed well like individual shadows for the most part with the exception of a few shades in the Warm Eye Compact. Texture in the Warm Palette seemed a bit stiffer and harder in general.
  • Warm Eye Compact (c/o) left to right includes:
    • Filament (lustre) is a pale ivory pigmented lustre
    • Whirling is a (lustre) is a pigmented silvery taupe frost
    • Era (satin) is usually a great soft matte neutral in the full size, this one is a bit chalky and stiff to apply
    • Woodwinked (veluxe pearl) is a medium warm brown shimmer
    • Unwind (veluxe pearl) is an olive-gold shimmer
    • Lady Fingers (matte) is a matte yellow with medium pigment
    • Twelve Chimes (lustre) a sheer stiff taupe grey brown with a bit of shimmer, finish is also sheer unless you apply with a dense brush over a base
    • Showstopper (matte) is a matte sheer stiff matte cool brown, pigment is horrible on this one – I had to swatch with a very heavy hand
    • Beyond Gorgeous (veluxe pearl) is a stiff sheer black with gold flecks which is odd for a veluxe pearl formula, it’s good when applied with a tiny detail or liner brush, but if you use a larger brush finish is sheer and patchy
  • Smoky Eye Compact was one I had my eye on so I ordered it online sight unseen, for me this works better for my coloring and also has fewer lustre eyeshadows which I’m not a fan of. The colors inside include:
    • Too-dle-oo (frost) is a soft champagne shimmer
    • Deception (frost) is a medium cool taupe bronze shimmer
    • Sweet Dreams (matte) is a soft latte brown
    • Kid (veluxe) is a warm brown matte
    • Dewdrop (lustre) is a shimmering peachy pink
    • Cake and Biscuits (matte) is a warm brown
    • Swiss Chocolate (matte) is a warm matte deep brown
    • Dance in the Dark (matte) is a dusty cool matte brown
    • Licorice Lane (matte) is a warmer deep brown
In general the Smoky Eye Compact shades performed better than the Warm Eye Compact colors for me. The brushes in both compacts are well made and shaped.

MAC Nutcracker Sweet - Warm and Smoky Eye Compacts

Lip Bags come in several variations. I have the Nude Lip Bag (c/o) which includes all neutrals and they are all just perfect:

  • Prolongwear Lip Pencil in In Control is a warm pinky brown neutral
  • Vamplify in Tuned In is a medium pink nude with a hint of shimmer it has full coverage, long lasting power and a very nice shine
  • Cremesheen Lipstick in Magic Spell is a cool pink neutral with a lovely sheen

 

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Nude Lip Bag

 

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Nude Lip Bag

 

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Nude Lip Bag - Magic Spell Lipstick

 

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Nude Lip Bag - Vamplify Tuned In

 

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Nude Lip Bag - Prolongwear Lip Pencil In Control

The Sweet Plum Eye Bag (c/o) has four color-coordinated soft plum colors in a zipped bag, the colors are really pretty for the plums:

  • Teckhnakohl in Purple Dash is a soft shimmering light plum color
  • Paint Pot in Stormy Pink is a mauve pink matte – these make great eyeshadow bases
  • Extra Dimension Eyeshadow in Smoky Mauve is a frosted soft mauve color
  • False Lashes Mascara in False Black is a black mascara, it doesn’t smudge or flake, but for me it doesn’t hold the curl as much as other formulas do

 

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Plum Eye Bag - The Beauty Look Book

 

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Plum Eye Bag - The Beauty Look Book

 

There are a number of mini sets for lips and eyes. I received the Nude Patentpolish Mini Set (c/o). As I already own all but one of the colors I didn’t re-swatch this one to review as it’s going to be re-gifted.
  • Pleasure’s All Mine (review here)
  • Revved Up is a shimmering peachy color
  • It’s Really Me (review here)
    French Kiss (on lips here)

 

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Nude Patentpolish Minis - The Beauty Look Book

 

Last but not least is the Brush Set in the Basic option (c/o) which includes mini short handled versions of 190SE Foundation Brush, 129SE Powder/Blush Brush, 213SE Fluff Brush, 209SE Eye Liner Brush and 316SE Lip Brush. As I already own a number of short handled brushes I did not test this one out but to the touch, they are soft and cut evenly. This is going to be gifted to a friend.

 

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Basic Brush Set - The Beauty Look Book

 

Overall lots of great options for holiday gifting. Everything is covered from lips, cheeks, eyes and brushes. The highlights for me are all the cheek items including the Magic Dust Powders and Face Compact Duos. The Nude Lip Bag falls close behind and even though I already own one of the colors, I think the lipstick is just perfect. Two more items I am ordering for gifts are the Sweet Nude Lipstick Kit and Sweet Nude Lip Gloss Kit as both are $35 each and great little sets.

All the items are limited-edition so I would recommend gathering your list sooner than later and order because a few items have already sold out. You can find the collection in stores this week. Online at MAC, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s.

 

 

Did you check out anything yet? What were your picks? If not what’s on your wishlist?

Press samples included with c/o listed next to the names. Other items purchased by me.