Yule gift guide 2012, part 2: Cosmetics & Beauty/Health items

This is going to be a long post, because I am one of those makeup/beauty nerds who loves going “YOU MUST TRY THIS!!11” to people who have asked for my recommendations (or, in the case of this post, people who have not asked). Anyway, get a beverage ready and get comfortable, because there are a lot of things in this post. Gifts listed here will be a little more expensive than in the last installment, although I have tried to keep things that I think are overpriced (heyo, Dior Addict Ultra Gloss lip gloss) out of this guide.


My latest soap obsession is the limited edition Substratum soap ($9) from Black Phoenix Trading Post, which is the “other merchandise” arm of BPAL). I know, right–NINE DOLLARS for a bar of soap?! But it is a WONDERFUL bar of soap. Notes: Himalayan cedar, patchouli, spikenard, and black fig. I’ve already written about BPAL in other contexts, but I will mention that their current limited edition scents are worth checking out if any of your gift-ees are into that sort of thing.

More wonderful soap comes from Metropolis Bath & Body; soapstress Megan is one of those people who not only makes great (vegan!) body care products that smell incredible, but is an overall fabulous person (and if I may digress for a second, she and I have been internet friends for a long time). My personal favorite Metropolis product is the Ginger and Lime artisan soap ($7.99), but there are many more great products for your perusal–all of which make amazing gifts.

My blog buddy Andrea just started HolyGoats, her Etsy shop full of handmade and delicious-smelling bars of goats’ milk soap ($6) in addition to other bath and body products. Did I mention that Andrea owns the goats that provide the milk? Also, one of her roosters is named after me, but I doubt that we will be seeing ROOSTER ANNAHAM’S CHICKENMILK SOAP any time soon.

Etsy soapmaker Brooke at Firebird Bath & Body specializes in interesting combinations of scents inspired by the natural world, and her soap samplers ($6 for 4 mini soaps) are economical as well as beautiful! I recommend Black Tea & Mint, Blood Cedar, Vanilla Amber, or Tonic, but there are numerous scents to try.


LUSH Dream Cream
($26.95 for 8.4 oz) is my HOLY GRAIL of hand and body lotions, particularly in winter when dry skin is as commonplace as fog and dying/dead leaves. It is the greatest. The lavender/tea tree scent is not super heavy, but if the person you’re buying for is sensitive to fragrance, or if cost is a consideration, you may want to go with a lotion like the Sea Aloe Moisturizer ($8 for 4 oz) from Body Time.


I recently purchased the limited edition Urban Decay 24/7 Smoked Glide-On Eye Pencil set ($38) and was not disappointed. The colors are all gorgeous and long-wearing, and since it’s an Urban Decay product, there are a couple of surprising colors in here as well (matte navy blue?!) as some “safe” eyeliner options.

Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Waterproof Cream Eyeshadows ($19) are long-wearing, come in beautifully subtle colors, and stay put throughout the day. While I’m not super impressed with the pseudoscience-sounding buzzwords (SKINTUITIVE!) in the product description, these are fantastic shadows for makeup lovers who have been looking for a long-wearing cream shadow. There’s also a limited edition gift set of all of the shadows from Sephora ($29), which is not a bad deal (it even comes with a brush).


TokyoMilk Dark’s No. 84 Lip Elixir in Absinthe ($7) smells almost exactly how you’d expect. You get a lot of it for the price, and the hydrating, fairly thick formula is perfect for combating dry lips in the cold.

Jack Black Lip Balm ($7.50) is also thick and scented, but comes in a much more portable squeeze tube. There is also a limited edition gift set of four ($25)–a good bargain even if the name is completely ridiculous and makes me want to punch something.

Besame Cosmetics Classic Color Lipstick ($22) was my runner-up for favorite lipstick of 2012 (although Besame has been around for a while!). I really wish I had tried their reds earlier, but I am glad that I picked up their lipstick sample set before it sold out. I’m hoping it comes back someday, but if not, rest assured that the company’s lipsticks are fantastic, both in terms of color and wear time, and they are unscented. Besame does offer gift certificates for $50 or $100, so one of those might make a good present for someone who has NO IDEA what sort of red lipstick would suit, or a person who is already seasoned in the ways of red lip color.

Hourglass Femme Rouge Lipstick ($30) is a tad pricey, but it was my favorite lipstick of 2012 next to Besame’s red lipsticks. I’m completely ass over heels for plummy, matte/glossy hybrid Nocturnal, but your mileage may vary, as they say. Quality lipstick–or a gift certificate with which to buy some–is always an awesome gift for makeup fiends!

Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lipgloss ($23) is a shimmery lip gloss that won’t make you look like a glitter-laden craft project gone horribly awry! These glosses, which are mint-scented, come in a variety of colors, and the glitter/shimmer also manages to stay put on your lips without going all over your damn face within ten minutes of application (this is a problem I’ve had with glittery and shimmery glosses in the past).

Previously: part 1.

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2 thoughts on “Yule gift guide 2012, part 2: Cosmetics & Beauty/Health items

  1. lauredhel says:

    I must say, I’m enjoying your gift guides! Even if postage is usually too expensive. Don’t suppose you’ll be doing a nail polish edition?

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