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Admittedly, makeup can be a little tough to give as a gift. (After all, choosing the right shade can make or break a gifting situation!) That’s exactly why we decided to sort through the best of the best makeup items of the season. From palettes with plenty of color options to universally foolproof tools, these gifts are sure to please any of the makeup-obsessed people on your list.
Ahead, the best makeup gifts to give (and receive) this holiday season.
Fenty Beauty Lil Fly Stunna Mini Eye + Lip Set
Is there any makeup pairing more classic than a graphic cat eye and red lip? We think not. This set of minis make it easy to achieve both.
UOMA Beauty Double Take Contour Stick
Consider this the secret to contouring made easy. The dual-ended stick touts a contour color on one end and a highlight color on the other. Both are creamy, buildable, and blendable, not to mention much more forgiving than powders.
Tatcha The Silk Canvas Protective Primer
All it takes is a teeny-tiny (read: rice-sized) amount of this primer to help up the staying power of your makeup and keep it from settling into pores. And who wouldn’t want that?
Tower 28 Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer
There are five shades of this creamy bronzer to choose from, making it easy to find the right one to look naturally sun-kissed. It’s also beautiful dabbed on lids in place of shadow or used as a highlighter. No matter how you apply it, it's easily buildable and blendable.
Natasha Denona Mini Glam Eyeshadow Palette
While there may only be five hues in this compact palette, you really can’t go wrong with the combo of neutral mattes, sparkly metallics, and shimmery shades. Mix and match to create tons of different looks for day or night.
Merit Five Minute Morning
One of our favorite makeup brands to launch as of late, Merit is all about a clean, easy, simple makeup routine. Exhibit A: this set, which contains one of each of every product in the line. There’s a complexion stick, tinted lip oil, mascara, cheek color, brow pomade, highlighting balm, and blending brush.
Benefit Cosmetics The MORE The Merrier Advent Calendar
There’s something about a good advent calendar that just transports us back to our youth. And as a makeup-loving adult, it’s extra fun when it’s filled with beauty goodies, like this one from Benefit Cosmetics, which has 12 different top-selling products, including several of the brand's iconic mascaras and brow products.
Cocotique Makeup Box
What started as a beauty subscription box for women of color is now expanding to include a separate quarterly makeup box, too. Four times per year, you’ll get a box filled with four to five premium makeup items specially curated for those with darker skin.
Artis Elite Oval 3-Brush Set
Any makeup lover will appreciate getting a brand new set of brushes, especially when it’s these. Not only do they boast a unique elliptical/oval design that’s amazing for applying complexion products, but they also tout a unique and patented bristle fiber.
Nudestix Glowy Nude Skin Kit
This two-piece highlighting and bronzer stick set is all you need for sun-kissed, glowing skin (which we’ve found to be a pretty much universal desire).
Anastasia Beverly Hills Primrose Palette
Both the matte and sparkly shades in this palette are equally pigmented, imparting tons of color in every swipe. Fun fact: this palette contains almost 200% more product than the brand’s original palettes.
Pat McGrath Sublime Skin Highlighter in Lunar Nude
You can skip the wrapping paper or gift bag on this compact—the exterior packaging is so pretty it’s worthy of being displayed. Inside, the unique gel-to-powder highlighter (with its universally flattering opalescent sheen) is nothing to scoff at, either.
Jenny Patinkin Pure Luxury Makeup Sponge Duo
After just one use of these makeup sponges, we were hooked. They’re made of a pure foam that isn’t treated with any chemicals and can even be recycled. The larger size is great for applying foundation, while the smaller size is ideal for applying things like cream blush and eyeshadow.
Em Cosmetics Lip Cushion Clear Quartz
Marrying the best parts of a lip balm (tons of hydration) and a lip gloss (mirror-like shine), this cushiony lippie works equally as well on its own as it does layered on top of another lip color.
Pixi Ultimate Beauty Kit 6th Edition
With a plethora of colors to choose from, this palette is all you need to do your face and eyes. To get specific, there are 18 face shades and 20 eye shades, all of which can be mixed and matched to create an endless number of looks.
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk
It’s a major statement to say that one lip color will flatter everyone, but this iconic lipstick does exactly that. The pink-nude hue is somehow gorgeous on all skin tones, a surefire staple that everyone will love.
Riki Loves Riki Skinny Mirror
A makeup mirror is one of those things that *actually* is a game-changer. This skinny one won’t take up a ton of room but will ensure you always have good lighting, thanks to its LED bulbs. It also has a built-in phone holder, so it's great for following along with video makeup tutorials.
Fenty Beauty Diamond Bomb All-Over Diamond Veil
Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but so is this megawatt highlighter. Not only is it super sparkly, but the jelly-to-powder formula also blends beautifully into the skin.
Athena Club Soft Face Wipes
Face wipes can get a bad reputation, but oftentimes they really are essential for removing a full face of makeup. These are made with lots of skin-conditioning ingredients, and won’t irritate or tug on your skin.
Nars High Profile Cheek Palette
No matter whether you want to contour, highlight, bronze, or add blush, this six-pan palette has a color for that. All are brand new, limited-edition colors, we might add.
BLK/OPL Beauty Tools Kit
For the makeup lover who likes to channel their inner pro artist, this set of four tools is choice. There are brushes, a sponge, and an extra-convenient ring palette, which is perfect for mixing up custom shades.
MOB Beauty Volumizing Mascara
Yes, this is a crowd-pleasing mascara that imparts tons of volume, lots of rich pigment, and won’t clump or smudge. But what’s even more noteworthy is the fact that the tube is refillable—just pop in a new capsule once you’re out. It’s that easy.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Face Palette—Universe
Snag this limited-edition five-pan palette while you can. It contains the beloved ambient lighting infinity powder (literally, the opposite of a chalky powder) and four new blush, bronzer, and highlighter shades, all of which capture, blur, and diffuse light in the same unique way to make skin glow like you would not believe.
Jones Road Miracle Balm
Indeed, this aptly named multi-tasker really can work miracles when your complexion is looking dull and lackluster. It delivers a hit of moisture and a soft wash of color (it comes in six shades), and looks beautiful either on its own or layered over foundation.
Urban Decay Hall of Fame
Three cult-classic, best-selling products come in this set. There’s a Vice Lipstick in Backtalk, Perversion Mascara, and an All Nighter Setting Spray to help lock everything in place.
Makeup by Mario Master Blade Brow Pencil
Not only does this brow pencil come in a whopping eight shades—pretty much unheard of for a brow product—it also has a creamy formula and an ultra-precise tip to make filling in and defining arches a breeze.
Bite Beauty Agave+ Vegan Mini Scrub & Sleep Lip Duo
The secret to ensuring your lipstick looks gorgeous every time is prepping your lips before applying color. Enter this duo. Start with the sugar scrub to buff off flakes, then layer on the hydrating treatment overnight to wake up to a perfectly soft and smooth pout.
Westman Atelier Mini Petite Sticks
How much do we love stick formulas? Let us count the ways. This trio is perfectly sized for travel, boasts a clean ingredient list, and comes with colors for contouring, highlighting, and using as blush.
PYT Beauty The Upcycle Eyeshadow Palette in Warm Lit Nude
This brand earns points in our book not only for offering amazing colors and textures (case in point: this lineup of a dozen, totally wearable nude shadows) but also for its sustainability efforts. For example, this palette is made with 15% recycled plastic and also can be recycled once you’re done with it.
Shiseido Eyelash Curler
We’ve tried lots of lash curlers in our day, yet somehow always come back to this cult-favorite. The broad curve makes it easy to reach every last lash from corner to corner, creating a lifted and eye-opening effect even before you swipe on mascara.