Gifts for under $20? It can’t be real, right? We know how expensive the holidays can get. So these gifts and mini-stocking stuffers are perfect for a tight budget.
Hard Candy Party Ready Set – Fuel the makeup passion of the next generation with this fun glam set. For under $10 you can get this eyeshadow palette, setting spray, eyeliner and liquid lip colour. It also comes with a cute silver bag. The makeup is all fairly neutral to allow new makeup lovers to experiment without going overboard. It’s the perfect affordable gift.
Schick Intuition Winter Gift Set – Every girl has gotten one of these razor gift sets on Christmas morning, but that doesn’t make it a bad thing. They are a staple present. This year Intuition has upper the game with a pair of coy fluffy pink socks that I can’t wait to get my toes into. Every girl will love this!
Lipsmacker Disney Holiday Gift Sets – Lipsmacker has the cutest Disney co-branded products for the holidays. They are perfect for beauties of all ages from young to old. I will be adding the little Lip Balm Trio Bags into all of the gifts for my nieces. I know they will love it! I might just snag a few for myself too.
Scunci Hair Accessories – Find all of the stocking stuffers you could ever want with Scunci’s wide range of hair accessories. Skip the basics for the holidays and share some of the more unique products that will help friends try different styles or trends. You could try hair shimmer spray, a fun head wrap or a rose braid accessory that they can use to go glam on New Year’s Eve.
Calgon Bath Products – Calgon is another holiday staple that you can share with just about everyone. This year they have more great products and scents at an affordable price. I love the bag of Lavender & Honey Bath Fizzies as an unexpected choice. Their new Costal Gardenia scent is perfect to transport you away to warmer climates for a few seconds. It comes in everything from body spray to moisturizer for pure pampering.
My thick, curly hair has been hell this summer. It’s been dry and frizzy, while also being oily in the heat. Keeping my hair manageable has been nearly impossible. I have tried out a number of curly hair products this season to tame this mane. Here is how they performed:
Aveda Smooth Infusion Hair Care – I have fought with my curls for my whole life. With this collection from Aveda, I don’t need to fight with them anymore. This smoothing hair collection helps my hair stay smooth through every element. My favourite part is the Naturally Straight cream, which loosens curls for a straighter and smoother look with every use. It’s like the answer to all of my wishes.
TreSemme Botanique Curl Hydration Shampoo & Conditioner – You will feel like you are at the salon when you use this shampoo and conditioner combination. Even the smell reminds me of getting my hair professionally done. This shampoo and conditioner is packed full of shea butter to help nourish dry curly hair. It turned my frizz into thick curls instead. My hair felt surprisingly hydrated and moisturized after using this regularly. Now all I need is someone to give me a scalp massage too.
Pantene Pro-V Dream Care Shampoo & Conditioner – If the summer sun is making your hair dry after days on the beach, this hair care duo from Pantene is here to help. There are deep conditioners and masks to go along with this regular shampoo and conditioner set, but I found I didn’t need it. My hair felt more hydrated and silkier just using it. Bonus points that it’s easily and readily available, so you don’t have to hunt out niche product.
Maui Moisture Curl Quench + Coconut Oil Curl Smoothie – If you are looking for something to give serious moisture and definition to your curls this is the product for you. It’s packed full of coconut oil, so you know it’s going to leave your hair feeling sleek and soft. It even helps define your curls too. Warning though, it can get a bit greasy, so use lightly and less is more.
Redken All Soft Megamask – I mentioned that my hair was super dry this summer, so I took it to the next level with this mask. It has been perfect for between shampoos to keep my hair moisturized. Make sure that you press the container on the target on the back because this mask has a cream and oil element. If you don’t press in the right place, then you won’t get the right mixture. What you will be left with, if you have curly hair, is refreshed locks and curls that actually behave…. For now.
Give them the gift of unforgettable scents with this 2017 fragrance gift guide:
Katy Perry’s Indi – Katy Perry fans are going to love the next generation in the pop stars fragrances. Unlike her old scents, this perfume feels a bit more mature and grown up. This perfume has a strong musk scent that makes it feel like the female version of your boyfriend’s best cologne. It’s not quite masculine, but there isn’t that girly flirty feel to it. It’s really rich, but does fade. The black and white bottle are striking making it a great gift idea.
Clean Skin Eau de Parfum – Clean has redesign their bottles making it the perfect time to share this amazing fragrance line for the holidays. The new bottles are colourful and sleek. They are, pardon the pun, clean. The fragrances themselves still have that same rich, inviting scent that makes you want to wrap yourself up in a fluffy bathrobe.
Maison Martin Margiela Beach Walk Fragrance – If you really want to splurge on someone extra special, this fragrance, or anything from the Replica collection, is where to turn. The line is made of scents meant to replicate scenarios to evoke memories. Beach Walk was the sweetness and saltiness of a day on the beach in the sand. I love that fresh ocean air feel when your spray it. You can’t go wrong with this collection!
Viktor And Rolf Flowerbomb Perfume – Does it get anymore iconic than Flowerbomb? Just the look of this pink box with that black stamp gets me excited. Any lover of floral scents will adore this perfume. It’s also a great scent to transition from girly throwaway scents to classy and elegant designer fragrance.
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.
It literally feels like it was just yesterday that I was writing my Most Wanted of October and now I’m onto the November list. We have a ton of posts coming up this month with all things holiday, so it was fairly hard to narrow down the list of what I used in November, but it turns out these have been taking up space next to sink for quite a while and that means I’ve been using them a lot.
Matrix Biolage R.A.W. Frizz Control Styling Spray with Lavender
I’m constantly looking for anything that’ll take away my frizz and this lightweight spray does a good job of minimizing it without making my hair crunchy or sticky. I find I need to use this one with another product for various styling issues but I can use it to touch up dry hair and it smells really really good. That said, if you’re not a fan of lavender, I’d stay away.
nia Sunday Detox Whipped Clay Peel-Off Mask
nia is StriVectin’s millenial friendly skin care line that’s available at Ulta in the U.S. or Shoppers Drug Mart/Murale in Canada. All the products have really cute names and better yet, they work. This mask has a definitely learning curve. It starts off as a foam and dries down so that you can peel it off. You need enough product that you’re able to peel it off but the foam makes that tricky. The best way I’ve found to do it is layers. I do about three thin layers of foam (you’ll have to wash your hands between each one) and let them dry for about 30 seconds before adding more. Once it’s dry though, it’s the gentlest peel-off mask I’ve ever used. I can get the whole thing off in one piece and even if I get a bit in my hair line, I don’t feel it tugging off. If your skin is on the drier side, you might need a richer moisturizer after.
Glossier Cloud Paint in Dusk
As someone who generally prefers a powder blush I was really surprised at how much I love this cream one. I shouldn’t really be too surprised though, I haven’t tried anything I haven’t loved from Glossier. I prefer the Dusk shade, it’s a peachy shade that’s really neutral, even on my super fair skin. You really only need a tiny bit of Cloud Paint. Squeezing the tube is going to get you way too much, so I just gently shake it over my finger. Layering is super easy and it’s extremely blendable.
Too Faced Just Peachy Mattes Palette
I am really not a fan of this red/pink eyeshadow trend, so I wasn’t sure if I would love this palette as much in person as I did online. But I really do. Peach Butter makes the perfect base shade, while Fresh-Picked and Peach Cobbler are great crease shades for me. I still haven’t really gotten into the darker shades yet but I’ve been using this delicious peach-smelling palette exclusively for daytime. As usual with Too Faced, the shadows are really creamy, blendable and have zero fallout that I’ve seen.
I was excited for the idea of a bronzing primer. It would allow me to skip out on multiple face products for just one that gives me a bronzed glow that also moisturizers. Unfortunately this isn’t my dream come true. The Lune + Aster primer is too thick and leaves a weird residue on my face after application that I just couldn’t ignore. The bronzing is also very dark, so be warned if you want to try it. You may not want to apply all over your face. It is better applied in small areas. My hunt for the perfect all in one product continues.
Skin care and the need for sunscreen doesn’t stop just because summer is over. Fall and winter skin care are just as important. Pick up these end of summer sunscreen’s to ward off burns, when you least expect them:
Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Sunscreen – This Aveeno sunscreen really impressed me. I shared it with four people with different skin types and protection needs. From the pale redhead to the tanned brunette, everyone agreed that this was a great sunscreen. It applies dry and doesn’t leave any smell or residue. The best part is that we all came home without any burns at all!
La Roche Posay Anthelios XL Stick Sunscreen – This is going to be my personal go-to when winter comes. When I’m all covered up with winter gear, I will still need protection on my face. This sunscreen stick is light and feels like you are wearing nothing at all. It’s small enough to fit in my purse and with SPF 60, I know I can trust it.
MyChelle Dermaceuticals Sun Shield – For a sunscreen that’s as good to the environment, as it is for your skin this is the one for you. It’s totally unscented for those who need something like that. This one is a thicker cream and it stays damp for a bit longer. So don’t count this one out, because it’s strong.
Neutrogena Dry-Touch Sunscreen – The name and package is a bit misleading, but nevertheless, this might be my favourite sunscreen on the list. It’s not really “dry-touch” since it takes a while to truly dry. It also claims to be ultra-light, but it’s by far the lightest here. It also has that sunscreen smell that will remind you of the beach. I like this one because it feels moisturizing and rich, while also protecting my skin. I wouldn’t like it for the beach, because sand would probably stick to my skin, but it’s perfect for a day out in the sun.
I recently dyed my hair a daring new colour and wanted to make sure it lasts as soon as possible, so I turned to the hottest new hair care line in stores, Gliss. This new line of shampoo and conditioner promised to protect my colour from fading and keeping it brighter for longer. Using Gliss Color Guard didn’t feel any different from any other regular drug store brand. It was only when I stopped using Gliss that I noticed a different. I switched back to my other brand of shampoo and within a week or so, I noticed that my colour looked faded. It wasn’t as bright and vibrant as I was used to. Check out our review for some of the other Gliss Hair Care lines for more reviews on their many different types of shampoo and conditioner.
I really don’t know where October went. For one of the longer months of the year, it really flew by. But I did manage to use a couple products and this is what I loved the most.
Marvis Wonders Of The World
I really hate mint toothpaste and it’s becoming harder and harder to find non-minty ones. Luckily Marvis has released a gift set with three flavoured toothpastes that don’t have mint as the first ingredient. Royal is a lemon-rose flavour that has a hint of mint but not enough to bother me. Karakum is orange, peppermint and cardamom and Rambas is a combination of peach, pineapple, mango and mint. I really love Royal the best but they’re all fantastic alternatives to a regular mint toothpaste. My dentist cousin is a little concerned about the lack of fluoride in the formula but I have to say, I’m enjoying brushing my teeth a lot more with these toothpastes.
Veil Cosmetics Sunset Skin Foundation in 1P
I’m pretty sure my skin knows when October hits, because it automatically gets much drier and I can’t use the same makeup that I was in October. Sunset Skin is a foundation that literally feels like you’re not wearing makeup. It’s a super light, whipped texture that melts into your skin immediately. It’s oil and paraben free and keeps my skin moisturized while leaving sheer to medium coverage. I’m using shade 1P, which is the absolute lightest and it’s the perfect winter shade for me. I really love using this foundation and I generally hate foundation.
Herbal Essences Bio:Renew Argan Oil of Morocco Shampoo and Conditioner
Drugstore hair brands are really stepping up their games recently and now that Herbal Essences have introduced bio:renew (essential antioxidants, aloe and sea kelp), the bar is raised even further. The argan oil line falls under repair and while my hair doesn’t really have much damage, the shampoo and conditioner do a great job keeping it healthy. The conditioner isn’t too heavy and both have a slightly spicy scent that I love. There’s a matching oil infused styling creme that I think is too heavy on my fine hair but the shampoo and conditioner are enough to keep me happy.
La Roche-Posay Respectissime Volume Mascara
I’ve used a few La Roche-Posay products in the past but I have no idea they had any kind of cosmetics. I’m always on the hunt for a great mascara, so when this one showed up, I was more than happy to try it and I’m so happy I did. Considering this mascara comes from a mostly skin care company it far exceeded any expectations I had. I get major volume, a good amount of length and a little curl. The black shade is dark enough for me and I like my lashes as black as I can get them. It even smells good. The skin care company comes through in the gentle, fluffy brush and the ceramides in the formula. It’s also designed for sensitive eyes. At $20 CDN, I’ll definitely be buying another one when I run out.
I love Halloween and I always want to do really cool nail art, but I’m completely terrible at any but painting my nails a solid colour. When Nail Polish Canada offered us a chance to give away ten sets of Graveyard nail vinyls from Whats Up Nails, I jumped at the chance. Not only are they a fairly easy way to get really cute Halloween nails for myself, but for anyone reading this as well.
My vinyls got here a little late so I haven’t had a chance to use them yet but this photo is a good example of what they look like. I’m personally planning to use them as nail stickers on top of gray polish.
If you want a set of these vinyls free (and free shipping!), head over to this Nail Polish Canada page and use the code KK1G9C7E0. The first ten people get a free set.
Happy Halloween nails! We want to see how you use them.