Gift Guide: Top Picks For The Make-Up Mavens

When I go shopping, clothes are always my priority regardless of the length of my make up wishlist. I very rarely go out and treat myself to a new eye shadow palette or expensive face cream which is why I love getting make up for Christmas. Christmas is also a great opportunity to bulk out your make up tool kit, stock up on brushes and upgrade your make up bag. So whether you’re reading this in the hope that you’ll find some inspiration for the make up addict girl in your life or if you’re looking for make up products to start heavily hinting about in the run up to Christmas, hopefully this gift guide will provide you with a few answers.

Don’t forget a new gift guide is published every Wednesday in the run up to Christmas so check back next week for the next instalment.


There’s a huge market for high-end foundation and it’s an easy way to treat someone to a “designer” item. However, if you’re brave enough to buy foundation as a gift for someone, make sure you find out what shade they wear in advance. Just try not to get caught rifling through their make up bag, it could raise a few awkward questions.

I can personally vouch for the Nars Sheer Glow and Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation, both of which I love. The Nars Sheer Glow foundation is, as the name explains, a much more sheer finish so is perfect for everyday use when you don’t want anything too heavy.

On the other hand, Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation is much heavier and I usually keep it for winter make up looks when you need bit more coverage. The Charlotte Tilbury make up artists are incredibly helpful so if it’s your first time don’t be afraid to ask them to match your skin to the right shade. They matched mine so accurately that I found it better to go up one shade for a bit of colour in my complexion when using the foundation.

As for the others, they all have a permanent fixture on my make up wishlist and some day I’ll get round to treating myself and giving them a go. I constantly hear bloggers on snapchat and social media raving about the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation and any association with silk and make up is a winner for me.

In terms of Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat, I’ve lusted after this product ever since I got my hands on the Touche Eclat concealer a few years ago. Similar to the concealer, the foundation is lightweight and designed to create a dewy and glowy finish on the skin, keeping to a more natural look. Available in 19 shades with medium coverage, there’s something to suit almost every skin tone.

Urban Decay is a brand that you can’t go wrong with. Renowned for their NAKED eyeshadow palettes, the NAKED Foundations and Concealers had big boots to fill and they’ve really pulled it off. The All Nighter Foundation is full coverage with a matte finish but without leaving your make up looking flat while the Naked Skin Foundation is designed to be more of weightless, ultra definition, liquid foundation. A little goes a long way so at £27, it’s worth it.

2. Contour Kits

Ah, the good old contouring kits. They’ve taken the beauty world by storm, mostly thanks to a certain Kardashian crew. Every high end and drugstore make up brand have bought into the trend and released their own contour palettes so whether its cream or powder finish you’re after, there’s something out there for everyone.

Queen of the Contour Palettes, Anastasia Beverly Hills brings us the best of contouring in her cream and powder contouring palettes. I own both of these and have been known to use them both at the same time. I like to use the cream contour kit primarily and then set my contouring with the powder kit. Make your beauty-loving friend’s dreams come true with these ABH goodies this Christmas.

Top Irish blogger and series beauty guru Suzanne Jackson’s contour kit was released earlier this year and every time I try to get it seems to be sold out which must be a good sign. If owning this kit will help me look more like the gorgeous Suzanne then I’m in. To get your hands on the  SOSU by Suzanne Jackson Complete Contour kit head to Gordons Chemist or the SOSU website.

Currently, I swear by the Sleek Cream Contour Palette. I bought it about 2 weeks ago and there’s not a day that has gone by since that I haven’t used it. For most people contouring isn’t a part of their everyday make up but with this in my make up bag I just can’t resist. Totally affordable at only £10.99, this is the perfect stocking filler for anyone who is into beauty.

Then there’s the Iconic London Contour Palette which is only known to me because of instagram posts from Made In Chelsea’s Louise Thompson. Similar to the SOSU palette, it it means this will help me look like Louise Thompson then I want it.

3. Eyeshadow palettes

The reign of the smokey eye doesn’t look like it will be coming to an end anytime soon. It’s yet to go out of fashion and it’s a pretty safe bet for an easy classic look. Over the years I’ve definitely become more interested in make up and obviously the more that I practice with eye make up, the easier it gets. That being said I could never go to a make up stand or shop and trust myself to pick out the perfect eye shadow combinations which is why I love make up palettes. You’ve got everything you need in one palette and even better, when they’re all gathered like that in a collection it’s much easier to look up tutorials to achieve different looks with said palette.

There’s constantly new must-have eye shadow palettes on the market so they make an easy present that will go a long way in terms of the appreciation you’ll receive for gifting it to someone. Worst case scenario, if you’re entirely clueless, sticking to the classics such as Bobbi Brown or Naked Eye palettes are a safe bet. They’re classic products that will never go out of style and ones that never leave most girls’ make up wishlists.

Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow palettes are the perfect make up gifts. Once you get sucked into buying one Urban Decay Naked Palette it all becomes a bit of a black hole that you get sucked into, a glorious, sparkly, pigmented black hole. I now own 3 of the palettes which could very easily turn into owning all 7 of them if I wasn’t careful. The most recent addition to the Urban Decay Naked Palettes is the Ultimate Basics Palette. With the rose gold and silver explosion splashed across the packaging, the palette proves to be beautiful both inside and out. Complete with a mirror and synthetic duo-fibre brush, the palette is perfect for girls on the go while also doubling as a dressing table accessory thanks to its stunning packaging.

To me, all Charlotte Tilbury make up just screams luxury. Before now I was only ever able to get my hands on the make up if I was in London or Manchester (I prefer to buy make up in store rather than online) so I couldn’t be more excited that the brand have finally landed in Belfast’s House of Fraser. The gorgeous coppery, brown and gold shades included in the Dolce Vita palette make for the perfect festive eye makeup look. The rich shades also double as the perfect combination for a casual everyday look and the compact design make it easy to slip into your make up bag without taking up too much room.

Last Christmas I bought the Bobbi Brown Chocolate Eye Palette for my mum and it went down a treat. My mum has her make up routine down to a tee and other than her classic eyeliner look she doesn’t tend to stray too far from said makeup routine. However, as part of her job she attends a lot of events and so likes to get dolled up every so often. She was looking for something simple that she could master herself and something easy that she could slip into her bag. The Bobbi Brown eyeshadow palettes are both compact and classic and each shade is easily buildable so is the perfect all-rounder product that can take you from an off duty casual eye make up look during the day to a sultry smokey eye for a night on the town.

Pippa O’Connor is part of the same crew as Irish boss babe Suzanne Jackson, taking over the blogosphere, beauty and fashion world one killer product at a time. Bloggers are constantly using and recommending the Pippa Palette that she did in collaboration with another Irish business, Blank Canvas. Another all rounder face and eye palette with 6 matte eye shadows and 3 powders (highlighter, bronzer and blusher) for your face and by buying the palette you’re supporting a local, Irish business.


3. Beauty Package offers

If you feel like choosing a makeup product for someone else is too risky, a pamper session is always a safe bet. It means that they can use it whenever it suits them, perhaps save it up for a special occasion especially with school formals coming up this year and they get to personalise the experience to them. When I heard about the Jason Shankey deal in House of Fraser Belfast I was instantly intrigued and almost wished I had a formal to go to just so that I had an excuse to book myself in. For £40, whilst stocks last, you get to choose two Urban Decay products to the value of £30 and receive a full urban Decay facial make-up application followed by a visit to the new Jason Shankey braid bar in House of Fraser and get your hair braided.

Hopefully this gift guide has given you some inspiration for the beauty obsessed girl in your life. Gift guides are posted weekly on Niamh Serena so if you’re still struggling with gifts to buy for those important people in your life check back next week. Alternatively check out my gift guide edit of the best personalised gifts here.

Niamh ♥


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