I didn’t grow up with advent calendars but beauty advent calendars have become some of my favourite things about the holiday season. Not only can you try a bunch of products at once but you’re also more likely to try things you wouldn’t normally buy and end up with new favourites. These are my favourite options this year.
NYX Lippie Countdown
If you love lipstick as much as I do, or know someone who does, this is the advent calendar of your dreams. With 24 different lip shades and finishes, there’s literally something for every look. From their iconic Soft Matte Lip Cream to Butter Gloss and nudes to reds to grey, it’s a fantastic way to find new lip shades and maybe find something you would never think of trying. That is, if you can still find one of these.
Biotherm Advent Calendar Christmas Set
This set has something for everyone. From moisturizer and lip balm to body care and men’s products, this is the gift that the whole family can share. But you’re probably going to want to keep it for yourself.
Charlotte Tilbury Naughty & Nice Magic Box
If anyone wants to pick one of these up for me, I won’t say now. It’s the perfect Charlotte Tilbury starter kit, or the perfect travel kit for things you already own. There’s makeup (eyeshadow, lipstick, mascara) as well as skin care (moisturizer, mask, makeup remover). This 12 piece box is the ultimate luxury gift and I’m still trying to talk myself out of buying one.
The Body Shop Countdown To New Year’s
The Body Shop has a number of calendars this year but I love this take on the traditional ‘end on Christmas’ calendar. Instead this one goes to New Years. It has night cream, body cream, lipstick, glitter and a bunny headband, plus a couple other things that are necessary for all the parties between Christmas and New Years.
Everyone’s skin suffers in the winter and a skin care gift is a fantastic way to take care of it.
REN x Kangan Arora Moroccan Rose Otto Duo
Skin care experts teamed up with London based textile designer Kangan Arora to bring together some pretty great looking gifts. This Moroccan Rose Otto body wash and lotion will leave you clean, hydrated and smelling delicious all winter. It’s also great for sensitive skin. Amopé Pedi Perfect Gift Set
If you know someone whose feet need help but don’t go for pedicures, you need to get them this gift. It comes with a rechargable foot file, charger station, Daily Moisturizing Foot Cream, suction shower hook and an Amopé and Veet coupon book. Since the foot file is waterproof, you can use it wet or dry, meaning there are no excuses not to use it. I wish I had about five of these lying around, I know some people who would love it. Biotherm Aquasource Skin Perfection Holiday Set
A lot of us have dry or oily skin with a ton of issues but if you’re shopping for someone with the covetable ‘normal’ skin, this Biotherm set is a great way to go. With an Aquasource Skin Perfection, Night Spa, Cleanser and Toner all in a holiday pouch, they’ll have everything they’ll need for soft, glowing skin. Boscia Balanced To Pore-fection
I’m constantly trying to find products that’ll help minimize my pores and one of my holy grail items for that is Boscia’s Luminizing Black Mask. I’ve been using it for years and it’s hands down my favourite. This gift set has that mask plus the Detoxifying Black Cleanser, White Charcoal Mattifying Makeup Setting Spray and Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel, all teaming up to whip my pores into shape. If you know someone who wants to minimize their pores or a teenager who might be a little self conscious, you might want this one. Fresh Rose Skincare Ritual: Daily Essentials
Fresh’s Rose products have been cult faves for years when it comes to dry skin beauty junkies and their Soy Face Cleanser is also pretty legendary. This gift teams them up for an essential winter hydration boost. It includes the Soy Face Cleanser, Rose Hydrating Gel Eye Cream, Rose Face Mask and Rose Floral toner. Anyone would be happy with a gift of bright, hydrated skin!
To say I love holiday makeup is an understatement. If I could only buy makeup once a year, it would be holiday stuff and these gifts are perfect for any makeup junkie.
Lipstick Queen Smokey Lip Kit
There are actually two of these kits, one comes with Black Lace Rabbit and Pinky Nude Sinner and the other with Black Lace Rabbit and Bright Natural Sinner. I like both options but for this post went with Pinky Nude. You can use both these lipsticks on their own or layer the Black Lace Rabbit over Pinky Nude for a deeper, smokey look. If you’ve never tried Black Lace Rabbit before, this is a great way to try the sheer, transforming black lipstick that’ll at least double you lipstick options. Tarte Color Vibes Amazonian Clay Palette
This palette has been out for months, so it’s getting a little difficult to find, but keep looking because it’s worth it. With twenty eyeshadows in Tarte’s amazing Amazonian Clay formula, there’s a shade for every look you want. I personally love the shades on the Monet, Seascape and Mosaic but there isn’t a single shade I wouldn’t use. Arbonne Midnight Muse Holiday 2016
It’s pretty rare for a holiday kit to give you a complete makeup look but Arbonne’s Midnight Muse does a pretty good job of it. The kit includes an eyeshadow duo, a pencil liner and a matte cream & sheer lip gloss duo. All you really need to add is mascara and some blush (or at least I do) and you’re good for any holiday party. Kat Von D Hello Canada! Set
This really isn’t a holiday kit, but it’s a fantastic way to introduce someone to Kat Von’s makeup. Available only at Sephora in Canada, this kit includes some of my favourite Kat Von D products. It has deluxe mini versions of Studded Kiss Lipstick in Lolita, Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Double Dare and Tattoo Liner in Trooper (everyone needs to try this one) and it’s all wrapped up in a vegan leather bag. Did I mention it’s only $30? Too Faced Grande Hotel Cafe
I look forward to Too Faced holiday releases every year and while they do seem somewhat similar, there’s always something special about them. This year my favourite was the Grande Hotel Cafe. You open up the cafe to reveal three palettes, a deluxe sample of Better Than Sex mascara and a leaflet with three makeup look instructions. Each of the palettes is scented differently (Eggnog Latte, Gingerbread Coffee and Peppermint Mocha). You can also carry around each palette separately or use them together. I can’t wait to see what they come out with next year.
Buying for guys can be pretty difficult but now that a lot of them are really into grooming, we can help you out with a couple ideas.
Les Industries GROOM Shaving Care Trial Kit
For the guys who love to try out new shaving products, Montreal’s Les Industries GROOM have a new shaving cream and it comes in their Shaving Care Trial Kit along with Aftershave Balm, Aftershave Splash and Shaving Oil. It’s the easiest way to get a guy’s beard looking great, while they get to try new things. Beardhood Graille N°3 Beard Oil Gift Pack
If you’re shopping for a guy who likes as few things crowding his bathroom as possible, Beardhood’s Beard Oil Gift Pack might be the way to go. It includes four of their beard oil packs which can be used for multiple things ie: beard oil, cologne, hair conditioner, skin moisturizer, aftershave and probably a few more things. Best of all, it’s a Toronto company. Jack Black Beard Grooming Kit
If you’re buying for someone who’s a little insane about their beard (my brother), this is a great travel kit for them to keep things looking good on the road. In the travel bag comes an All-Over Wash that they can use on hair, face and body, Beard Oil, Beard Lube and a Beard Comb. It might be the only way to get them to stop talking about how rough their beard is looking during the holidays. Lush Ice Cube Gift
If you’re not buying for a beard loving guy, this minty, guy friendly gift from Lush might be the perfect thing (and you might want to steal it for yourself). It includes Christingle Body Conditioner, Whoosh Shower Jelly, Salt and Peppermint Bark body scrub, Candy Cane Shower Smoothie and Outback Mate soap. Plus it’s already wrapped, which is less work for you.
We’ve put together some hair gifts, perfect for someone who wants to start the new year off with great hair.
KMS Color Vitality + Hairplay Trio
Available at Trade Secrets, this trio includes the KMS Color Vitality shampoo and conditioner and Hairplay Playable Texture spray. A new year can bring new color and this is a great way to lock it in and keep your style looking great. It comes with a cute little travel bag as well. Sebastian Limited Edition Tattooed Styling Products
With new package designs by tattoo artist Maxime Büchi, you can get cool new versions of your favourite Sebastian styling products. Items included are Craft Clay, Drynamic +, Shaper Fierce, Volupt Spray, Sublimate and my favourite, Potion 9. Kérastase Discipline Gift Set
If you know someone that can’t live without their Kérastase Discipline (I’m one of them), this is a great way to get their basics all in one place. With the Discipline shampoo, conditioner and thermal spray; it’s also a great way to introduce someone with unruly, frizzy hair to the products that will give them super smooth hair. ColorProof Glam Girl Gift Set
if you know someone with coloured hair that’s also in need of smoothing, the ColorProof Glam Girl gift is a great place to start. It has the CrazySmooth shampoo and conditioner plus the PlushLocks Leave-In Smooth. Perfect for dried out winter hair.
I’m not sure where December went, but with Christmas and Chanukah both this weekend; we’ll be posting a bunch of gift guides this week. Our first one is all about stocking stuffers, or if you celebrate Chanukah, one of the little mid-holiday gifts.
Fresh Zodiac Oval Soap
I love the idea of these soaps. There are twelve scents to go with each zodiac sign. I’m both an Aries and a Taurus and I love the Mangosteen scented Aries soap. I actually found that I liked my signs the best, so maybe there’s something to this. This is a great personalized gift for anyone. Burt’s Bees Kissable Lip Color Trio in Warm
This little trio is great for anyone who wants moisturized lips with a hint of colour. It comes in warm and cool varieties and I love the warm version. It includes the classic Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmers in Rhubarb, Peony and my favourite, Fig. Arbonne Tahitian Coconut Lip Therapy Set
If you know someone whose lips have taken a rough turn during the winter, this delicious coconut scented lip duo will definitely help them out. With a lip smoother and matching salve, you can give them super soft lips with one little gift. Invisibobble Time To Shine Collection
Ever since I started using these weird little hair elastics (they look like old telephone cords), I’ve been hooked. No more ponytail bend in your hair and I love using them with wet hair because they don’t feel damaging when I pull them out. The Time To Shine collection are really pretty metallic shades, and they’re tiny enough to fit in a stocking. Tarte Limitless Lippies
If you know someone who loves the matte lip trend, you get eight of Tarte’s mini Tarteist Matte Lip Paints. You can either split these up or give all of them as a gift. There’s everything from nudes to reds, so everyone can find a shade they love!
We just did our Most Wanted Advent Calendar post and while Trade Secrets doesn’t have one of their own, starting Sunday December 4th they are doing a Twelve Days of Giveaways contest. We can’t tell you what prize they’re giving away each day but a little birdie exclusively gave us the prize list! So here’s a list of all the goodies you can win from Trade Secrets.
AG Moisture Infusion Kit
Color Club Scented Nail Polish Duo
ABBA Gentle Duo
Wet Brush Limited Edition Droplet
OPI Breakfast At Tiffany’s Mini 10-pack
Relaxus Makeup Brushes
Sexy Hair Powder Play Duo with Root Pump Bonus
Upper Canada Trio Soap (London, Paris, New York)
KMS Color Vitality
Moroccanoil Gift Set
Puff Me (volume powder in spray form)
And what everyone will probably hope to win:
Babyliss Italia Brava Ferrari Blow Dryer
We don’t know what day each prize will go up, but you’re going to want to enter every day. Even if you don’t want them for yourself, who doesn’t want to save money on gifts?
I’m the kind of person that loves the little samples I can get at Sephora or when I’m ordering things online that let’s me try new products and while I’ve never used traditional advent calendars before, I love the idea of beauty advent calendars. You can try products or brands that are new to you or just use them as travel versions of your favourites. These are our Most Wanted beauty advent calendars of the year. L’Occitane Advent Calendar 2016
This is the advent calendar that got me interested in the idea of these and people completely lose it over L’Occitane’s advent calendars every year. It’s full of 24 mini versions of everything from their cult fave hand cream to shower oil to shampoo. This one will definitely sell out everywhere, so if you can find one, grab it. NYX Wanderlust
If you’ve never used NYX’s Soft Matte Lip Creams, this is the way to try them out. This kit comes with twelve mini versions as well as twelve eyeshadows. Don’t like the shades? They’ll make great stocking stuffers or little add-on gifts for your friends. Charlotte Tilbury World Of Legendary Parties
I’m so in love with the Charlotte Tilbury makeup I already use but I still have a fairly long list of things I still want to try. Most of those things are in the World Of Legendary Parties calendar. Filled with twelve travel-sized versions of products like Magic Cream, Wonderglow, Legendary Lashes, lip products, eye products and more; this is a great (and very luxe) way to introduce yourself to the Charlotte Tilbury world. The Body Shop Ultimate Beauty
The Body Shop has two advent calendars this year; the Beauty Advent Calendar and the Ultimate Beauty. Both come with 24 bath, body and makeup goodies but the Ultimate Beauty just seems a little better to me. There’s everything from shower gel, makeup remover and nail polish to bath gloves and a muslin cloth. It’s literally everything you’d need to pamper yourself head to toe.
I know you’re supposed to open one advent calendar window a night, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll be grabbing everything at once.
We know it’s a little late to be posting a holiday collection but to be fair we didn’t receive the Lise Watier Majestique collection until a couple days before Christmas. Luckily, all of these products are still available on the Lise Watier website and you can probably find some in Shoppers Drug Mart as well. This collection is pretty big, with lots of colour choices and we got to try a good chunk of it.
There are two palettes in this collection and we got to try Luxury Lady. I’m completely obsessed with this palette. It’s a great neutral palette with both lighter and darker shades. But it’s the texture of the eyeshadows that blows me away.
They’re all extremely pigmented and so creamy that it just takes one swipe of a brush to get full coverage. They blend beautifully as well. I’ve been using this palette almost exclusively for a couple weeks and I haven’t even made a dent in it.
Ombre Soufflé Suprême in Love Spell is so light and airy that you’re going to want to use your fingers. I don’t recommend it though, if you want to get any kind of colour on your lids you need a brush. It’s a gorgeous shade though, and makes a great base colour.
I love the amount of options there are for lips. There’s Haute Couleur Full Coverage Lip Lacquer in Royal Couture, which is not only long lasting and not sticky but it has a light in the cap which makes application in darker areas a breeze. Next up in Rouge Gourmand in Fortune Cookie. This is my favourite of the bunch. It’s so creamy and easy to wear and it’s a great neutral shade. Last is Rouge Gourmand Velours in Fatal Potion. If you love a dark, matte lip, this is a great option since it’s extremely comfortable to wear.
I’ve never tried a Lise Watier nail polish before and Red Heart was a great place to start. A classic red, it had great opacity and was pretty good with tip wear.
I just wish the bottle was a little bigger because it was a little hard to work with.
This is one of my favourite holiday collection from last year. I always forget how much I love Lise Watier products until I start using new ones. But since Luxury Lady is in heavy rotation in my eyeshadow drawer, I think I’ll be remembering more often.
It’s the day of Christmas Eve and you still have shopping to do. Sound familiar? Most people don’t want to brave a mall on Christmas Eve and happily there are a few other options. Shoppers Drug Mart seems to be where most guys end up and luckily they have some great beauty gifts. Quo Cosmetics Lips All Around
If you need a last minute gift for a niece, sister or someone’s girlfriend; this 8-piece lip gloss gift is perfect. Don’t want lip gloss? Quo Cosmetics has a ton of other gift options like eyeshadow palettes and nail polish sets. Stila Sealed With A Kiss Lip Glaze Set
Yes, this is another lip gloss set but this one is more for the beauty junkie in your life. Stila Lip Glaze’s have a cult following and why give one when you can give six decent sized minis? This set includes Pomegranate Sparkle, Ruby Grapefruit, Raspberry, Mandarin Lights, Papaya Pizazz and Peach. Burt’s Bees A Bit Of Burt’s Bees in Pomegranate
This little gift is essential for anyone spending a lot of time in the dry, skin killing outdoors. With a Pomegranate Moisturizing Lip Balm and Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream, this will help out with chapped lips and dried out fingers. Soap & Glory Winter Wonderhand
I go through hand cream like crazy during the winter and there’s never enough to go around. If you’re like me Soap & Glory’s Winter Wonderhand is a must have. With three versions of the super moisturizing Hand Food in Original Pink, Sugar Crush and Smoothie Star; this gift will keep hands soft and hydrated all winter.