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Holiday shopping season is officially upon us and as Reviewed's resident beauty expert and enthusiast, I'm often asked for gift recommendations for fellow beauty mavens out there. Makeup is a tool for self-expression and fuels the inner artist in many, and now is as good a time as any—if not more so, to shop for new beauty tools. Whether that's a new eye shadow or a quintessential blender brush that your giftee has an eye on we've listed our favorite, Reviewed-approved products right down below.
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These gifts are suitable for all ages and skill levels, so you can treat anyone on your list to some beauty goodies.
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1. For the artist newbie: A 90-piece makeup kit
If your loved one is basically a makeup artist in the making, they’ll be pumped to open a kit complete with 60 eyeshadows, three eyeliners, three brow powders, six face powders, 16 lip glosses and two mini makeup brushes. After testing the Sephora Collection Holiday Vibes Blockbuster Makeup Palette, we deemed the powder formulas to be ultra-soft and easy to blend, and the cream glosses and eyeliners glide on with ease. The palette's bright and neutral tones also make it easy to create any kind of look, from bold to natural.
2. For the one who needs a new vanity setup: A lighted makeup mirror
Applying makeup or grooming eyebrows is quite the challenge without proper lighting or magnification. To help your giftee avoid overdoing the blush or overplucking the brows, snag them the Glamcor Riki Skinny lighted makeup mirror. We loved for its large viewing area, bright lighting and portable build, and your recipient may also enjoy its connected features for taking videos and selfies with a smartphone. For a less pricey pick, we recommend the DeWeisn Tri-Fold Lighted Mirror, which has a compact design, multiple magnification options and adjustable light settings—but can't facilitate YouTube stardom.
3. For the one who wants to try it all: A gift set of Sephora bestsellers
This Sephora gift set includes uber-popular products like the Nars Bronzer in its most popular shade, the BeautyBlender makeup sponge and the Ouai leave-in conditioner. Any giftee will love the chance to try all of these fan-favorite products, and it’s an opportunity to find new must-haves for their own beauty collection.
4. For the one who glows: A Fenty highlighter
If someone you know is into makeup, the odds are that they adore Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, too. To win over your loved one, snag a Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter, which comes in both duos with two complementary shades or single shades. Over 3,400 reviewers are obsessed with the glow they get from these “weightless, long-wear, cream-powder” highlighters.
5. For the one who appreciates quality basics: A top-rated concealer
Wearing a concealer, even with no other makeup, can instantly boost confidence and make anyone look more awake. If you want to give your loved one a goodie bag of makeup essentials, the Tarte Shape Tape should be at the top of the list. We loved this one because it’s full coverage, wears beautifully on the skin and has an extensive shade range. For a great option on a budget, look no further than the Covergirl TruBlend Undercover Concealer, a full-coverage drugstore concealer that blends into the skin easily and dries to a satin-matte finish.
6. For the Selena Gomez fan: A lipstick or blush gift set from Rare Beauty
If your gift recipient grew up watching The Disney Channel or follows Selena Gomez for her pop music, this gift is sure to please. When I tested the Rare Beauty line for Reviewed, the liquid blushes were my top-favorite for their pigmented, easy-to-blend formulas and beautiful colors. You can snag three colors in this set.
7. For the one who’s all about the eyes: A must-have mascara
There’s no denying the power of a good mascara for its eye-opening effect. When we tested drugstore mascaras, we fell in love with the Milani Highly Rated 10-in-1 Volume, which applies smoothly with zero clumps, looks bold with only one coat (and really pops with two) and removes easily with a cleanser. If you know your gift recipient prefers waterproof mascara, go with the Tetyana 4D Silk Fiber Eyelash, which lifts and extends lashes for a bold look and won’t smudge or run from sweat or swimming.
8. For the one who lives for a bold lip: A liquid lipstick
Nothing enhances a dramatic makeup look quite like a touch of lipstick. After testing liquid lipsticks, we recommend the Wet n Wild Megalast Liquid Catsuit. This one is comfortable to wear, lasts all day and comes in 13 colors ranging from pale pink to black to even blue, so you can pick a shade that matches your recipient’s style.
9. For the one who already has it all: A brush set
With hundreds of concealers, blushes and eyeshadow palettes, it’s easy to get lost in the makeup and forget one of the most important parts of application: a great set of tools. Equip your favorite makeup artist with this Sephora Collection brush set, which won a spot as Reviewed's Best Upgrade among makeup brushes because it includes 10 soft, easy-to-wield complexion and eye brushes and a traveling case.
10. For the one who loves a good cat-eye: A bold liquid eyeliner
If your loved one always sports a bold wing on the eyes, our favorite liquid eyeliner will be a hit. The Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner is a cult-favorite with 4.4 stars and over 10,000 reviews, and it won us over for its felt tip that makes application easier, its ultra-fine tip for precision and its long-lasting, smudge-proof formula.
11. For the one who's eyebrow-obsessed: A Benefit brow kit
Lush brows reign supreme right now, whether that means making them feathery and bushy or sculpted and clean. No matter what your recipient’s style, they’re sure to love this kit from Benefit, which includes three highly-rated products that can be used separately or together: the Goof Proof Brow Pencil to shape and fill in the brows, the Precisely, My Brow Pencil to add hair-like strokes and sculpt with precision and the Gimme Brow+ Volumizing Eyebrow Gel to brush through and hold brows in place.
12. For the one who swears by a beauty sponge: A Beautyblender kit
It seems impossible that an applicator sponge could make that much of a difference in a makeup routine, but over 8,400 Sephora reviewers swear by the Beautyblender for its soft, foam-like texture that flawlessly smooths complexion products. Along with three of the beloved sponges, give your giftee a sponge cleanser and silicone scrub mat with this gift set, so they'll be fully equipped for many makeup applications to come.
13. For the one who’s always on the go: A 3-in-1 product
Sure, no one is traveling right now, but that won’t always be the case. Whether your recipient takes frequent weekend trips or just prefers quick touch-ups on the train ride to work, the Stack The Odds multi-use face palette from Alleyoop comes with cream bronzer, blush and highlighter that bring warmth, a pop of color and glow to its user’s skin. If your giftee is a lipstick fanatic, go with the Multi-Mood, which has one lip color in gloss, cream and matte finishes.
14. For the one who always wants new stuff: A Boxycharm subscription
After testing beauty subscription boxes, Boxycharm landed at the top of the list for its great variety and value, and its inclusion of high-end, indie and drugstore brands. For someone who loves trying new makeup products, this subscription is quite the treat! Purchase a subscription for one, three, six or 12 months for your loved one to receive major props. If your giftee is more into skincare, we recommend a subscription to Dermstore's box, which includes mostly skin-related items for $24.95 per month.
15. For the one who won’t let a mask cramp their style: A transfer-proof foundation
Yes, face masks are still here. But that doesn’t mean they have to dictate our beauty routines. If you know someone who still rocks makeup under their mask, consider giving them the Covergirl TrueBlend Matte Made Liquid Foundation, which won me over while testing transfer-proof foundations because it barely stained my mask, stayed put on my face after an hour-long walk and still looked nearly as flawless after all of that as it did when I first applied it.
16. For the beginner artist: A fan-favorite palette
Mask or no mask, eyeshadow is still a fun way to make the eyes pop and express personal style. This palette from Tarte is a great way to ease into eyeshadow, as it features a range of neutrals from a pale cream to a dark gray-brown and has both matte and shimmer shades for experimentation. Over 3,100 reviewers love the palette for its easy-to-blend shadows and say it’s a great buy for beginners.
17. For a real eye-opener: A magnetic eyelash kit
They have a bit of a learning curve, but fake eyelashes can add a fun flare to any makeup look. If you know someone loves wearing falsies, or if they’re a beginner looking for an easier technique, we recommend a set of magnetic eyelashes. The Lola’s Lashes Rose Quartz Magnetic Eyelashes and Eyeliner Kit rose through the ranks in Reviewed's testing beacuse they're easy to apply and remove and adhere well for a long-lasting eye look.
18. For the one who needs to get organized: A sturdy makeup case
If your gift recipient just needs a place to store their makeup so that it’s not scattered in a purse or on top of a dresser, a makeup case is a must-have. But, of course, this always comes in handy when your giftee heads out for travels again. The Relavel Travel Makeup Case has over 7,600 reviews and a 4.6-star rating for its sturdy nylon build and its variety of compartments to hold different sized makeup and skincare items.
19. For the sustainable queen: A Makeup Eraser
Makeup wipes? Old news. Now, you can take off your makeup with just some water and the Makeup Eraser. Over 4,000 Amazon reviewers swear by the hot pink microfiber cloth, which claims to “suction” off the makeup and dirt with its soft, hair-like fibers. If your gift recipient is environmentally conscious, they’ll appreciate this reusable, machine-washable option.
20. For lash expert: An eyelash curler
Whether wearing mascara, falsies or natural lashes, the power of an eyelash curler is unmatched. If your giftee prefers natural makeup and could use a tool to give their lashes a lift without applying mascara, or if you have a mascara hoarder on your hands, a curler will get a ton of use. For a portable, easy-to-store option that’ll go great in a stocking, we love this one from Japonesque, separates and curls lashes for a fuller, fanned-out effect.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
This article originally appeared on Reviewed: 20 best gifts for makeup lovers 2021 - Beauty gift sets and ideas