The Boyfriend Gift Guide: Part I

It’s finally that time of year when the holidays have gone from creeping into everyone’s minds to being shoved right in our faces which for me just means that my holiday shopping is already done. I’m definitely the kind of person who does all their shopping from the couch between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and then doesn’t think about it again until it’s time to wrap everything up. This year Hanukkah starts on Christmas Eve and goes through New Year’s Day, so naturally our tree is up, the menorah is out, and I’m all ready for a weeklong celebration of my three favorite holidays.

Now that I’m done with my humble brag, I know that far too many of my friends wait until they’re nearly out of time to do their holiday gift shopping and then run around the mall covered in stress sweat trying to find the perfect last-minute gifts that don’t look last-minute. No more! This year I’ve put together a gift guide for the men in our lives – romantic, familial, or platonic, there’s something here for everyone at every price range.

Disclaimer: There is probably not something here for everyone. I am a beauty blogger after all.

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Harry’s Razors – A super affordable, high quality shaving kit is a great gift for just about anybody capable of growing facial hair. The $15 Truman set from Harry’s comes with a razor + cover, three razor cartridges, and a bottle of their sulfate- and gluten-free shave gel or shave cream. The Boyfriend and I each have our own sets so this is a totally legitimate gift for the ladies on your list too. Refill cartridges are extra affordable and the brand now offers a subscription service on their website. Also available in the slightly upgraded Winston set for $30. Find at harrys.com or Target.

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Harry’s Truman Set

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2015: The Shitlist

I realize I’m a bit late on the “posts about 2015” thing, but I really wanted to take some time to think about the products before publicly berating them. I made a post not too long about my hits and shits of the summer, but I’ve had a few flops since then and figured I’d share my thoughts.

If you’re on the fence about a product or trying to talk yourself out of buying it, here are my top disappointing products for 2015. Conversely, if one of your all-time holy grail products has made this list, please do not be offended. Everyone has a different skin tone and type, as well as varying personal preferences! Just because a product didn’t work for me does not automatically make it a bad product overall and it’s not meant to be a personal insult to you if you do enjoy or even love any of the products mentioned below.

 

Tarte PAP bronzerTarte Park Avenue Princess Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer ($30.00) – Okay so there isn’t actually anything wrong with this product, the issue is really with how people use it and advertise it. This is a nice, slightly more neutral-toned, lighter brown matte bronzer from a brand that makes my absolute favorite blush formula. My problem with this product is not with the product itself, but with what people are saying about it and the reasoning behind my purchase. This is NOT the best bronzer for cool toned pale skin, and it is absolutely 100% not the best contour for cool toned pale skin. Bronzer and contour are not the same thing, should not be promoted as such, and this is not a product meant for contouring. I currently run at about NW13 in MAC, so anybody still on the fair side but darker than me will likely find success with this product as a bronzer. However, if you try to contour with this, you’re gonna have a bad time – it left me looking rather dirty and muddy as opposed to warm and sun-kissed. Return!

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Spring Fling: Natural Makeup

The “no makeup” makeup trend definitely isn’t new, but it’s pretty new for me (or at least, making it look good is new for me). The idea behind the “no makeup” look is a semi-flawless complexion with a few simple products to highlight particular features while ultimately looking like you are not really wearing a full face of makeup.

Come warm weather, this is a super versatile look that can fit almost any daytime occasion once you figure out which areas of your face you want to accentuate. One thing I’ve discovered can be a big help with such a natural look is to go a bit monochromatic if possible, using a contrasting shade to your eyecolor. With my hazel eyes, a peachy-orange look really helps them pop behind my glasses.

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For me, the two main things to take care of for a look like this are brows and lashes. Since I wear glasses with thick plastic frames, it’s important to highlight my brows so they don’t get lost in my face, and my lashes to help my eyes look bigger and brighter. However, because this is such a natural look, I think it’s only natural to have some “flaws” showing or you’ll risk looking too made up; I usually skip the undereye concealer since I would rather cover up any blemishes/acne.

Here are the products I use for my warm weather natural makeup look (in order of application):

The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream – I am slowly becoming a complete convert to this cream over the seaweed mattifying day cream I was previously obsessed with. Since I’m going very light on the face makeup, it’s important to have my skin looking its best on its own and hydration is key. I use this cream before bed and before I do my makeup every day for soft, hydrated skin which also helps minimize creasing makeup in the under-eye area.

Budget Beauty Tip: The Body Shop often sells their creams in smaller jars advertising a 3-for-$10 deal (or $4 each). The full size of this cream is $18 for 1.7 oz. Buy the travel size/mini jars instead – three of them will net you 1.5 oz for a savings of $8 and it will be a bit more hygienic too since you won’t have to stick your fingers in the same jar for as long. 

Makeup Geek eyeshadow, Barcelona Beach – I use an angled brow brush and a tiny bit of this gorgeous matte shadow to fill in my brows before brushing in Benefit’s Gimme Brow tinted brow gel to keep them in place (I use the shade medium/deep).

Budget Beauty Tip: Got your eye on a gorgeous eyeshadow from MAC? Check out the Makeup Geek catalog for near-perfect dupes before you splurge – Marlena’s stunning shadows are only $5.99 for 1.8 grams compared to $16 for MAC’s 1.5 grams. Even the MAC pro palette refill pans will run you $10.

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The Semi-Annual Destash

I live in Oregon now, but my family and closest friends are all in Pennsylvania, where I grew up. We (The Boyfriend and I) usually go back a few times a year for various reasons and a seemingly endless stream of weddings.

We’re heading back for a few days later this month and it’s the perfect opportunity for me to continue curating my collection. There’s a great post about how to develop your own “C^3” or “Carefully Curated Collection” HERE, from a fellow Redditor over at /r/makeuprehab.

So what exactly am I doing here? I’m not too concerned with the size of my collection just for the sake of its size, but I have plenty of items I dislike or don’t use and most beauty products have a limited shelf life. Anything past its prime – throw it out. You can find a brief guide to makeup “expiration dates” HERE.

For everything else, “destash”. Destashing is for those perfectly fine products that you just don’t like or don’t use, samples that just aren’t for you, and all the “dupes” you’ve collected of your favorite products since the last destash. My little sister usually gets first dibs for these (sanitized) products and I try to give away the rest to family and friends (after sanitizing everything, I really can’t stress this enough). You can also try to sell your unwanted goods (after properly sanitizing of course) on various makeup forums and sites, the most popular probably being /r/makeupexchange.

So, moving on. This is my first real trip back east since August and I’ve accumulated a ton of stuff to hand off to my family and friends. After a few months of mostly unsatisfying deliveries, I’ve recently unsubscribed from both ipsy and Birchbox – monthly subscription boxes that deliver makeup and skincare samples to your door – and now have a bunch of items that were not at all chosen for my needs (despite the quiz each site offers to help tailor your box to your preferences). I’ve also purchased some items that later turned out to irritate my skin or otherwise just didn’t work. So, here’s everything that’s flying back for the destash:

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