I thought it’d be fun to run through the gift sets that I bought this year. I don’t feel that I’m in a position where I can give a really good holiday gift guide or anything but I figured that maybe I could explain the sets that I picked up, why I decided to grab those ones in particular and if I personally would buy them again. This year I picked up the Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Gift Set, Tarte Pin Up Girl Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush, Sephora Favourites Draw the Line, Smashbox On The Rocks Photo Op, Julep Sweep The Photogenic Palette. So here we go:
The Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips gift set, $24.99 at Shoppers Drugmart
Summary: I wanted to buy a gift set from the drug store and I’d been curious about the Shimmer Strips from Physicians Formula. I haven’t had good luck with Physicians Formula in the past but they get such glowing reviews from Tati and Emily Noel that I thought I’d give them a second try. This gift set is a fantastic value. Shimmer Strips on their own are about $17.99 and this set includes 2 mascaras and 2 eye liners with the eye shadow. Trouble is the shimmer strips were a huge let down for me and the eye liner was nothing to write home about. They lasted all day, blended ok and were buildable but the size of the packaging was difficult to manage. I also felt like if you own Wet’n’Wild Walking on Eggshells trio, you can achieve pretty much the same look as the Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips. The eyeliner was flat out poor quality. The only good thing in this set was the mascara.
I would not buy this again. I would consider trying their mascara if it went on sale.
Who I would recommend this for: Someone who prefers light or nude makeup. A teen or someone getting in to makeup.
The Tarte Pin Up Girl Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush Set, $50 at Sephora
Summary: I’d be coveting this since I saw it. I did not have any high end blush in my makeup collection. Tarte blushes are well regarded and this is a fantastic value. And of course, the packaging is amazing! I found the blush to be of excellent quality and the selection of colours provided is exactly what I needed. One other thing that I really like about this palette is the size of it. I personally don’t like it when I buy a palette that includes blush and the blush is the size of an eye shadow. How am I supposed to get a blush brush in there without picking up other product? The pan size and amount of product included in this set is generous so I don’t have any issues getting a full on blush brush in there. Tarte continues to be one of my favourite brands because they have great corporate values, their packaging is gorgeous and their products are usually very good.
I would buy this again in a heartbeat.
Who I would recommend this for: The makeup lover! The person who loves beauty products but wants them to also be cruelty free and vegan.
Sephora Favourites Draw the Line, $36 at Sephora
Summary: I was drawn to this set because I was on the hunt for some decent eyeliner. I had been looking at getting the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Waterproof eyeliner or the Kat Von D Deluxe Tattoo eyeliner. This set allowed me to try them both at a reasonable price before buying a full sized version of one. For what it’s worth, they’re both awesome! The Stila came in brown and the Kat Von D came in black so I use them both 🙂 The added bonus was that I got to try 4 more eyeliners including Urban Decay Perversion, which was also on my to-buy list. So basically, 3 things I wanted, 1 kit, 1 great price.
I would buy this again.
Who I would recommend this for: Someone who is starting out in makeup. A teen. The person who loves to try everything!
Smashbox On The Rocks Photo Op, $50 at Murale or Shoppers Drugmart
Summary: I wanted a great palette that offered a range of colour. I tend to gravitate to nude shades and have deliberately been trying to get some poppy colours in to my collection. I love the Smashbox Photo Op formula and this palette was priced at an affordable price point for me (Vice is $70 and I just didn’t want to go that high). This palette has a lot of excellent nude/neutral base colours that are easily combined with the gorgeous jewel tones in it. I started playing with it right away and had no trouble finding really great colour combinations. I can’t wait to create some looks with this. It is exactly what I hoped it would be. I played around with the amazing green colour in the palette, combining it with the golden shades that are also included. I immediately knew that this was a colour combination that I would feel comfortable wearing to work thus encouraging me away from my daily routine of nudes. The eyeshadows themselves swatch beautifully, are super pigmented and when I was playing with them I found that they were very similar to the Photo Op trios (that I also love) making them blendable and long lasting.
I would buy this again.
Who would I recommend this for: The makeup pro but also the person who wants to get more in to makeup. The quality is there and the colours really work well with each other.
Julep The Photogenic Palette – currently $38 (full price on site is stated as $54) at Julep (www.julep.com)
Summary: I’m a BIG fan of Julep. I often post about their nail polish. In the past I found their makeup to be hit or miss. When I saw this palette online I drooled over it… it was so pretty! If you are a Julep Maven then you know to wait for the sales. And wait I did! A 40% off sale hit and I was able to scoop up this lovely palette for the small price of $22.80. Like many other people who are reviewing this palette I did notice the difference in colour between what was represented on the website and the product that I received. Luckily this didn’t bother me. The palette swatches beautifully and the pigmentation is great! The colours are mainly a matte finish with the occasional touch of sparkle. Unfortunately when I tried to create some looks using the palette I found that the fallout was excessive. I also wasn’t sold on the blend-ability of the eyeshadows. Julep tries to position their makeup as a luxury/high end brand and for that reason I think that overall the quality isn’t 100% there. Since I paid $22 for it, I’m not super bent out of shape but if I had paid the full price of $54 I’d be rather miffed. If you have the opportunity to pick up this palette for less than $25 then I don’t think it’s a bad choice. Comparable palettes would be the Quo dupe for Urban Decay Naked which is sold at Shoppers for $25ish and is similar in quality. Just don’t pay full price. It’s not worth $54.
I don’t think I would buy this again.
Who would I recommend this for: Anyone who wants a less than $25 Naked 1 Dupe (in Canada they aren’t that easy to come by).
So that’s it. I know that there are TONS of reviews of these products out there already. If anyone wants me to go in to detail on them, just let me know in the comments below and I’d be happy to oblige. If not, I hope you enjoyed my quick summary of the Holiday Palettes and Gift sets that I purchased this year.