I have swatched my little heart out, contrasted, compared and crunched the numbers. Here are my Top 6 picks for Holiday 2014 Gift Sets and Palettes. Overall, I have to say that I was little disappointed by the choices that were put out this year by makeup companies. I felt that there were too many similarities for some of the sets that were put out this year when compared to the Holiday 2013 Sets that were put out by the same companies last year. For example, Too Faced's Everything Nice and Sugar & Spice palettes left me wanting. They reminded me too much of their A Few of My Favorite Things palette from last year, which I love by the way, but it's just too much of the same for me. In general though, I felt that not a lot of thought was put into this year's sets. They all seemed to be released early and I got the impression many of them were rushed through production.
Okay, let's get to it. I have listed my picks from most expensive to least expensive.
Tarte Bon Voyage Collector's Set and Travel Bag
I am a sucker for a Holiday Set with a nice makeup bag. This set fits the bill. It is $71 Canadian and $59 U.S.
This set contains:
- 20 x 0.07 oz Amazonian clay eye shadows in Palace Of Versaille, Moulin Rouge, I Think I Cannes, My Own Cotes De Rhone, Boudoir Noir, Fall In Louvre, Provence Upon A Time, Eiffel For You, Too Haute To Handle, Bastille In The Night, Chantilly Lace, Merci You Later, No Champagne, No Gain, Take On Bordeaux, French Riviera, C’est La Vie, Marseille The Word, Play Nice, On A Good Notre Dame, Le Cordon Bleu
- 0.13 oz Deluxe lights, camera, lashes 4-in-1 mascara
- 0.17 oz Limited-edition deluxe cheek stain in Muse (soft nude)
- 0.27 oz LipSurgence lip gloss in Visionary (apricot)
- 0.06 oz LipSurgence lip tint in Romantic (peachy nude)
- 0.23 oz Deluxe maracuja oil
- 0.07 oz Deluxe smooth operator Amazonian clay finishing powder
- Limited-edition collector’s travel bag
This year's bag is not as nice as the one that Tarte had last year, but the eyeshadows are better quality this year. Frankly, this set is huge and well worth the $71. It is supposedly over a $500 value. I do make it a habit to pick up most of the Tarte Holiday Sets just because they are always phenomenal bang for your buck. It also allows you to try a number of their products for a reasonable price.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette
I feel like this trio needs no introduction. Hourglass blushes are pricey at $41 Canadian each. To get 3 of them for $67 Canadian or $58 U.S. is fantastic. The three blushes are Luminous Flush, Incandescent Electra and Mood Exposure. This would be an amazing gift to receive. The packaging is A1 as usual.
Too Faced La Belle Carousel
The concept of this is beyond adorable. Yes, this is going on top of my makeup drawers for the next little while. In this set you get a Better than Sex mascara. You get twelve gorgeous eyeshadows in Frost, Tin Soldier, Christmas Tree, Santa's Boots, Tufted Suede, Angel Hair, Haute Chocolate, Yule Log, Nutcracker, Nude Beach, Boxes & Bows and Sugar Plum Fairy. I cannot rave about these eyeshadows enough. The two blushes are Luminous Peach and Who's Your Poppy blush. If that weren't enough, you also get 2 fantastic bronzers in Chocolate Soleil and Sun Bunny Dark. It's also a decoration as I mentioned. It is $59 Canadian or $49 U.S. Great gift! I would be thrilled if someone picked this up for me. Of course, I already bought it for myself...
bareMinerals The Magic Act
This palette is $49 Canadian or $39 U.S. It has a Houndstooth cover. I love Houndstooth!
This set contains:
- 6 x 0.04 oz bareMinerals READY Eye shadow in Celebrate, Fortune, Shazam, A-ha, Pumped, Foreshadow
- 0.1 oz bareMinerals READY blush in The Close Call (bronze taupe), The Natural High (golden petal peach), The Indecent Proposal (dusty palm)
- 0.09 oz bareMinerals READY Luminizer in The Premiere
The formula for all of these is amazing. It's sleek, compact and perfect for travel. If that wasn't enough, there are pictures inside showing you a couple of looks. I love that, especially for the days when you are not feeling so inspired in the a.m. I think this is the neatest palette that I have seen this holiday season. I think it's a great value for your money too.
it Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Celebration Palette
I got this on sale from The Shopping Channel for about $36 Canadian. There are 15 eyeshadows in here, 14 are matte. These are really nice matte eyeshadows, especially the darker colours. The ingredients are very good. I think $36 for this type of quality is close to unheard of. A solid gift for anyone that loves palettes or matte shades.
Bite High Pigment Lip Pencil Set
Last, but certainly not least is the Bite High Pigment Lip Pencil Set that came out this year. The cute tin contains the shades Pomegranate, Rhubarb, Sable and Winterberry. It's $29 Canadian and I think around $25 U.S. This is a no brainer, can't go wrong gift for anyone that likes lipstick or makeup in general.
If you are looking for some stocking stuffer ideas or more budget friendly beauty gifts, please check out my last blog post:
There are a couple other Holiday 2014 palettes that I feel I should mention. The Kat Von D Star Studded Eyeshadow Book looked fabulous at first glance. When I swatched the shadows, some were not very impressive. I was actually quite disappointed considering her eyeshadows are normally very good quality. Even though there were 24 eyeshadows, at $55 U.S. and I think around $64 Canadian, it didn't seem as up to snuff as its competitors so I passed on it. I briefly saw it go on sale on Sephora.com for $36 Canadian a week or so ago. It was gone within the hour I saw it. I think $36 is a decent price for it, despite it flaws, so if you can get it in store for that price, hey, why not.
Make Up Forever Studio Case was $59.50 U.S. or $68 Canadian and is now on sale as I type for $39 U.S. or $45 Canadian on Sephora's website. I think this is a good quality set and I am tempted to get it but I think I will show some restraint. I have bought enough this holiday season. If you can get it for the sale price, I would totally pounce. The eyeshadows are quite small so for full price, the value you are getting is questionable. This set contains: - 12 x 0.024 oz Artist Shadows in Natural (M-530, S-516, I-544), Smoky (M-122, ME-108, M-100), Bold (D-236, D-926, I-218), Chic (I-524, D-826, ME-828) - 0.01 oz Artist Liner in Matte Black (M-10) - Step-by-step guide. If you know someone getting into makeup that doesn't have a lot of eyeshadows, you need to look no further than this set.