Thursday, December 12, 2013

Guest Post from Savannah Scorpion: Makeup Gift Guide

Ed.: Our wonderful Savannah Scorpion has done what I had no time to do: give you a gift guide! And guess what, unlike 99% of gift guides on blogs, this isn't an affiliate-linked shopping list!

Felicitations and Happy Holidays, everyone!
(Every time you say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas", Bill O'Reilly gets explosive diarrhea.)
It's time for another guest post with me, Savannah Scorpion, your humble guide to the world of cosmetics sales and retail bullshit.
I am working on several product comparison posts, but I'm searching for a good camera to borrow, and some willing victims, er - models to be photographed.
In the meantime, it's officially Shopping Season! Here's what you need to know when it comes to giving makeup as a gift, or otherwise just plain saving money during this holiday season.
First of all, I'm writing this post Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Why The Fuck Are You Shopping When You Should Be With Your Family Or Even Volunteering In Your Community Thursday.
All of the great discounts have disappeared, right?
Think of Black Friday as the "kickoff" to shopping deals to come. Retailers still have a lot of holiday stuff that they need to move out of their stores as quickly as possible. There are still plenty of sales to be had.
If you are shopping for clothes, check the clearance racks frequently. At this time of year, there's higher turnover--especially at fast fashion retailers. Which means that while there's new stock coming in every day, thinks are moved to clearance at a faster pace than usual.
This is also the time of year that many charities are collecting items for food and winter clothing drives. Check to see if a store is partnering with a charity--you might get a discount if you donate items like nonperishable foods or gently used clothes.
Now, when it comes to cosmetics, buying presents can be tricky. What we dab, brush, slather, and smear on our faces is a very personal choice. When buying cosmetics, consider the following:
Is your recipient a:
-casual makeup enthusiast, or a newbie who is just starting to fuel their passion for makeup?
-moderately passionate makeup junkie?
-Completely obsessed with makeup?
-A professional makeup artist/student training to be a makeup artist or cosmetologist? 
If your giftee is newer to the magical world of makeup, consider getting a kit of some kind, which will allow them to play around with a variety of products, and help them find what they like. Or, buy them a year-long subscription to a beauty box service. There are a huge variety of box services now, at a variety of price points.
If your giftee is more on the obsessed/aspiring professional end of the spectrum, straight-up ask them if their is a specific product they are looking for/lusting after. If they are a student, contact their school, and see what products they use. Cosmetology schools usually use specific brands--and expect their students to wear those brands. The last thing you want to do is give them a Bite Beauty lip set when their school requires everyone to only wear Aveda products.
Also, as a rule, the worst products to give are:
-Skincare products
The last thing you want to do is buy a foundation or concealer that is the wrong color, a skincare product that they re allergic to*, or a fragrance they hate. Now, if you know your giftee has a favorite scent, go ahead and get them a nice gift set.
A good gift option is brushes. Great implements can make any product look flawless, and giving duplicates is less of a problem. I personally love having brush duplicates because cleaning brushes can be a tedious pain in the ass. My favorite brushes come from Real Techniques (available at Ulta, and a variety of drugstores and big-box retailers), EcoTools (available at Ulta and a variety of drugstores and big-box retailers), and Sephora (available at Sephora, and uh, Sephora)**. Check out Beauty and the Bullshit's great post on brushes here. Err on the side of synthetic brushes, in case your giftee is a vegan.
Of course, you can always get them a gift card to a cosmetics retailer, or to a salon or spa. When purchasing a gift card at a salon ALWAYS INCLUDE A TIP AM0UNT ON THE GIFT CARD. That way your giftee avoids confusion when they come in for a service.
"But gift cards are so impersonal" you say. I have one word for you:


This is the season to redeem all of your VIB samples, and pick up as many of Ulta's free gifts with purchase***. Samples make excellent stocking stuffers, and you can easily jazz up a gift card by putting it in a nice gift bag with some great samples of products. That way, your giftee has a physical gift they can immediately play with, along with a card they can use to get something that you know they will love. If you're getting a gift card to a salon, ask if they have any samples they can include .
And finally...

The holidays can be a very stressful season for retail employees--many of which are temps hired on for the holiday season. If you have a question, and an associate doesn't' have the answer, simply ask for a manager. Do not take your stress out on the person who is making minimum wage and would rather be spending time with their family.
*Gifting skincare is also a potential landmine. The last thing you need is a loved one who gets upset because you got them an antiaging product and yells "DO YOU THINK I LOOK OLD?"
**If you would like to gift me a new synthetic kabuki blending/powder brush, please send an email to with "BUY SAVANNAH PRETTY THINGS" in the subject line.
***Ulta is even offering dish sets with a $40 purchase, and spa robes with a fragrance purchase. Think of all of the regifting possibilities

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