Review: The Best Christmas Makeup Gift Sets 2016

Christmas is obviously a great time to go shopping. I mean, if you like being mushed into pulp by angry mums on Oxford Street, that is. Shopping irl may be the most stressful thing about December, but the makeup releases are always on point. I love buying (myself) makeup around Christmas time because of all the super cute gift sets that come out. They’re usually covered in adorbs limited edition packaging, and more often than not are really good value for money. There’s usually ‘multiples’ for the price of one, so although December is prob not the best month to be buying ~yourself~ gifts, I try and wait it out to buy replacements for products I’m out of, because I know I’ll get more for my $ dolla $ this time of year. Anyway, this year I’ve been BUY BUY BUYING so I thought I’d show you what I <3. Maybe it’ll give you some gift inspo. BUT WHO KNOWS MAN, 2016 IS WILD.

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Collection:

Purchase from MAC stores, MACcosmetics.com, Fenwicks, selected Debenhams…

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Peach cheek palette (£29):

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OOOOOHMYGOOOOOOOOOD. I’m not really into MAC novelty packaging and I never really got into collecting Holiday collections, as the colours in the collections are usually stuff I would never use (AKA highly metallic holographic makeup for the Star Trek collection, nah). However, the colours in this palette were so GORGEOUS I had to get it, and I thought having a blush and a highlighter in one small palette would be great for travel. I can’t bring myself to swatch them yet (look at that embossing!!!) but the swatches I’ve seen are beaut. The highlighter is ‘Tutu’ (a champagne colour with gold/pink duochrome) and the blush is ‘At Dusk’ (pearlescent pink peach, a dusky, less vibrant and glittery NARS Orgasm). This is perfect for paler skin, and the Sweet Copper palette would be better for darker skin (AND IT INCLUDES THE LIMITED EDITION, CULT ‘WHISPER OF GILT’, GO GET IT, NOW).

I do think for £29 it’s a lil overpriced (making the blush and highlight £14.50 each, when a regular MAC blusher is around the £17 mark depending on where you buy it), as usually holiday gift sets slash the price per product right down in an attempt to make them more affordable gifts. However, MAC knew what they were doing when releasing this set, as it’s ALL I’ve seen on Instagram for the past two weeks, so the high-ish price doesn’t seem to be putting many people off (also lemme just re-iterate: it’s pretty stunning).

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Nudes Lipstick Kit (£26):

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Again, top packaging from MAC here. The four mini lipsticks come housed in a hard plastic case that you could easily reuse as a chest of drawers for your ant colony. The lipsticks are four re-promotes from MAC but instead of trying to sell off their gross colours, it’s four minis of their nude bestsellers housed in hot pink bullets, which is amazing because I always wanted to try these classic shades but didn’t want to invest £15 in just one lipstick that may or may not suit me. Again, the packaging is hot pink. Ahem, MAC: take my money.

The price for this kit I think is pretty reasonable, as it comes to £6.50 a lipstick. Sure they’re half size (and therefore just a little under half price), but when was the last time you finished a whole lipstick? This makes a lovely gift, because no one goes out and buys themselves 4 lipsticks at once. Also, I love how they’ve split the collections up into two colour tones, there’s this nude set, and then a festive red/berry toned set, meaning that if you know whoever you’re buying for and what lipstick tone they like (let’s face it: we all love nude lipsticks), they’ll have four new lipsticks to try in a colour tone they love, yay!
ALSO, big ups MAC for the range of skintone nudes in this kit, there’s four types of ‘nude’ lipstick, including two darker shades, which would look *100% emoji* on darker skin.

Stila Naturally Nude Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick Set (£18):

Purchase from ASOS, Cult Beauty, Stila.com…

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I looooove Stila’s Baci stay all day liquid lipstick, as it’s one of the best liquid lipstick formulas I’ve found. So when they released this super cute nude trio I was so excited (IT INCLUDES A PATINA MINIATURE!!!). Again, big ups for the shade range, as the dusky pink to dark brown nudes will suit literally every skin type. This is a great deal as well, at £6 a lipstick (down from the £18 a regular sized one is).

This is the kind of kit that you could buy and split into three separate presents if you were strapped for cash, as the packaging it came in was nothing too special, so the receivers wouldn’t be missing out on anything much. This would be super cute as you could match the perfect nude to your friend’s skintone and give it to them as a cute lil secret santa. AND SAVE YOUR $!!!

Formula wise, it’s quite similar to NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in the fact it’s a creamy, moussey formula, and although it’s drying, it’s not ~the worst~. It also does NOT budge even if you eat or drink. It’s fabulosa.

Benefit They’re Real Big Sexy Lip Kit (£24.50):

Purchase from Benefit, Benefit.com, Debenhams…

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This was sent to me by Benefit but I hadn’t really seen much about the launch beforehand, despite it being a very unique product. The packaging is STUNNING, they’re basically mini They’re Real Mascara tubes and I ~die~. So cute.

However, this is my least fav launch of all four. The lipsticks are nicely hydrating, but I don’t really get the concept. You’re meant to use the darker coloured tip as a lip liner and then fill in your lips with the larger side. This is kind of fiddly and difficult, and the liner side doesn’t actually act as a liner (which is meant to keep your lipstick within the lines), as it’s made of a darker coloured lipstick. So basically, it’s just two colour lipsticks in one tube. I would use these as just ‘normal’ lipsticks with a lipliner as normal, as I love the teardrop applicators for application (it makes doing your top lip neatly soooo easily). If you were to use them as they intend I think the lip liner side would wear down pretty quickly and leave your lipstick bullet uneven.

Also, I’m not a huge fan of the colours in the tin. I understand it’s a Christmas aimed gift tin, which usually include more ‘festive’ colours, but I would never use the orange and I’m unlikely to use the red. I think they should have released two tins, one full of solely nudes and one full of funky Christmas colours (like MAC and Stila did), so that you can pick the type you like and get 4/4 usable lipsticks, rather than one or two.

Honourable Mention:

Jouer Best of Nudes Mini Gift Set £34 (purchased from Cult Beauty, also available from jouercosmetics.com when it’s not out of stock)

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YEP KIDS, IT’S ANOTHER FUCKIN NUDE MATTE LIPSTICK KIT!

I’ve asked for this gift set for Christmas (and let’s be real, I ordered it myself so I definitely will receive it lmao) but I don’t actually have it yet so I’ll insert some ~online pics~.

I really wanted 4/5 out of these colours (they were just chilling in my online basket) as I’ve heard the formula is amazing. AND this kit includes Skinnydip lip topper (!!!). This kit is amazing value at £34, making each lipstick £4.25 (regular price is £15 each).

I can’t comment on the formulas/presentation yet as I don’t actually own it as of yet, but I AM SO HYPED FOR THIS ONE, MAN. I guarantee if you don’t know what to get your girlfriend for Christmas, she would receive this gift with open arms. Buy the lipstick set, thank me later.

What are your favourite holiday releases this year?

Amelia XX

 

 

 

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