5 MEGA Makeup Palettes With Minimal Prices Make Marvelous Gifts @Rickys_NYC, @avoninsider, @smashbox, @Lorac_Cosmetics @Tartecosmetics

It’s not always true that less is more.  When it comes to some of the truly amazing, big, bigger and biggest makeup palettes on the market for Holiday 2011, MORE is more! Big makeup palettes in the past used to cost a queen’s ransom. They were precious playthings for those with a lot of cash. The most shocking (and awesome) thing about these mega makeup palettes is that they are all from high quality brands, and all are actually affordable. They are within the reach of most everyone, with quality, color selection and a range of options that are truly staggering. Some of these will be in permanent collections, but others are limited edition and/or exclusive. They’ll be gone with the new year,  or when collectors snap them up. SO HURRY!

















The grandest and largest makeup palette of them all is the Mattese Elite Makeup Palette Kit $39.99 billed as: “all the makeup you could ever want.”  They are not lying! It is truly is a makeup addicts dream!  The large, black palette looks neat with a clear plastic top that showcases the staggering, 96 eye shadow shades (no, it isn’t a typo).  But that only hints at what is under the proverbial hood of this astounding kit. Open the top (there’s a slim mirror underneath) and slide the eye shadow trays apart to the left and right, to reveal 63 lip glosses (no, that’s not a typo, either) and under these, a dozen powder blushes.  A little tray at the bottom also holds mini makeup applicators:  two double-ended, sponge tipped applicators, two blush brushes, and two lipstick brushes. IN all, this amazing kit has 172 different shades, and that’s before you even get the urge to blend and mix them! Some of the shades are matte, some shimmery, a few, ultra- shimmers.  The intensity of the colors vary too, from fairly sheer, to very intense, You can wet the eye shadows and make them into liners–there is just about nothing you can’t do with this kit! Although it is beautiful to look at, actually, dazzling, it is also a bit daunting if you are just not sure how to handle so many different shades. My advise is to experiment. Try each shade at least once on your skin, so you know what you love. The eye shadows and lip glosses are actually split into half by cooler shades on the left, warmer ones on the right. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use them all (you absolutely can). When you get a kit these large and fabulous, the idea is just to play with it until you get the looks you want.  The conservative makeup user will have plenty to choose from, the creative one, an entire playground!  The thing that totally blows me away is that this costs less than a high end lipstick, and yet the Mattese products are fashion-forward, high quality, and offer excellent performance. If I have any issues with the kit is it simply that the mini applicators are too small to really be really useful, but at less than $40, who caress?  If this is a gift, add an inexpensive but nice makeup kit (the advice sisters have reviewed so many over the years on the What Works Beauty reviews, and on this  new, website as well).  You can get the Mattese Elite palette exclusively at Rickys NYC store locations and at www.RickysNYC.com as well. The best news? While this new mega-kit is being launched during the holidays, it will be available after the holidays as well. This is the one gift you really will want to give to yourself. I can’t think of a nicer way to start the new year than with a huge, makeup kit created by Mattese Elite’s pro makeup artists. You deserve this one!

Also very impressive, and quite large, is the $29.99 Expert Mega Palette by Avon. This palette comes beautifully boxed, ready-for-giving, with cheerful, hot pink and silver metallic with a striking, lattice-work styled design. But look inside, and your heart begins to race with excitement!  Closed, the palette is  6 1/2” L x 5 1/5” W x 1 1/8” D. The sleek black box has a lid with two dozen little clear-squares to showcase the color beneath, and an interior mirror. It lifts up to showcase a total of 75 different colors including:  36 eyeshadows and 36 lip glosses, plus  6 blushes. Also included are a mini blush brush; double-ended eye applicator and  double-ended lip applicator. As you can see from the photo, the products are arranged with shadow to the left, lip glosses to the right, and the six shimmery and matte blushes in the middle. As with the other palettes, this one has a combination of shimmery shades and creamy or matte ones. Avon eye shadows are very versatile, and can be used dry for a softer and more sheer effect, or wet for intensity. They are long lasting, too.  Most of the shades are sheer or fairly so, but there are also some more intense ones. The best way to learn what works for you and what doesn’t, is to try them all. Then around! There are some unusual shades in the palette, such as sheer glittery orange, and glittery bright purple lip glosses, but for the most part the palette is composed of very wearable earth tones for the eye shadows, plus a few blues, black, greys and greens, and pinks, nudes and peaches for the lip glosses, plus a few reds. The blushes include three very warm nudes, a peach, apricot and rose. There is so much to please everyone, and yes, Avon makes very good quality makeup. It seems almost impossible to put out a palette like this for under $30.00, but Avon has done it. Alas, this palette, along with a “Makeup To Go” mini palette that I’ll be reviewing later in the month,  are limited edition for Holiday 2011, so visit the Avon Web Site or call your favorite Avon representative asap. These are not going to last long.

Also check out these killer palettes below,  from Smashbox and Lorac.  As with the two palettes above, the gifts that are most impressive are happily also turning out to be the best values. Lorac and Smashbox are two personal favorites of mine, and both offer a lot of holiday makeup gift options. But if you are looking for superb and impressive makeup gifts, I present: the Bejeweled Day & Night Jewelry Box ($56.00 – a $415 Value) from LORAC available at Sephora, and the $60.00 Be Discovered Holiday Palette from SMASHBOX, exclusive to ULTA.

A few of the great holiday gifts from Smashbox. Be Discovered far left.

the bottom drawer of Smashbox Be Discovered has 9 eye liner and sheer lip glosses

This “Smashbox Be Discovered Holiday Palette” is large and really, eye-popping.  I don’t know just what the comparable retail value would be, but I am sure that it is much, much more than just $60.00. Inside a cardboard box with colorful graphics, is an even more stunning, shiny, red, mirrored, two-tiered  box that holds a treasure trove of Smashbox’s best selling eye, lip and cheek products, plus a few new colors to spark your interest.  On the top level, looking like a big, artist’s palette of watercolors, are a whopping, in 45 powder eye shadows in light to deep and in matte, perle and shimmer formulas, three powder blushes, two powder highlighters, and a powder bronzer (light/medium).  Pull out the little drawer underneath these, and delight in nine cream eye liners (including gold and silver) and very shiny, silky and sheer six lip glosses (the most intense is a deep raspberry stain), plus four mini brushes and a booklet with three tutorials. As co-creator of Smashbox, Davis Factor always emphasis when he talks to beauty editors, that Smashbox is unique because it was born in an actual, working studio. If the products look good on models and photograph well, they are going to be good for the average woman too. Smashbox pro lead makeup artist Lori Taylor also advised that when she looks for new colors, she tries them on a wide variety of different women with different complexions, so she can see right away what works. There are so many colors in this box that you will find most, if not all, flattering and fun to use!  And, you can blend for even more possibilities!  My only complaint if you can call it that, is while the palette is beautiful and full of amazing products, you can’t remove the products from the large box, which means if you love something, you can’t take it with you for a touch up, or travel. But SMASHBOX quality, performance, beauty, and an amazing price,  makes this one of the top makeup gifts of the season! Visit www.ulta.com or your favorite ULTA store but hurry, this is a holiday limited edition.

the glittery BeJewled Gift Set by Lorac has remove-able products

The first thing you notice about this Bejeweled Day & Night Jewelry Box from LORAC is that it is glittery inside and out!  The large, hard-sided cube, is already dressed to party, draped all over in champagne lace and sparkling with holographic glitter. Lift the lid of this three-tiered treasure, and find a large, oval mirror, plus 2 high shine lip glosses in peach and rose, plus a medium toned bronzer compact. The best thing is that you can remove the products in this set from the box for touch-up or travel, and yes, they’re full sized. They are also limited edition, exclusive to this set. Then use the glittery box for other “jewels” or little treasures (or give it to a young lady who isn’t ready for makeup, but loves girly things)!

The drawer beneath the top yanks open with a silver knob. Inside is a large, square, slim palette robed in shiny silver glitter material. This “day palette” has a dozen eye shadows in matte, and shimmer formulas, plus a short, dark brown eye liner pencil. The shades range from light and nudes, to deep charcoal and khaki. I’d say that for the most part the tones are neutral to warm, plus a deep, peachy blush. The powder formulas offer intense but silky and blend-able color. Pull open the second drawer and find a similar, silvery palette, this time with deeper colors for evening. There is also a deep rosed-salmon blush and a black eye liner pencil. These colors are neutral to cool.  I am not sure why the day palette is most warm, the night, mostly cool, but since you have 24 eye shadows and two intense blushes to choose from there is more than enough to capture your fancy. LORAC makes amazing, fashion-forward colors that look trendy but not crazy. And the products do not have Parabens,Sulfates,Synthetic Fragrances, Synthetic Dyes, Petrochemicals, GMOs or Triclosan. Get this very special, limited edition gift while supplies last at  Sephora or www.sephora.com
Last but not least, is The Starlet Makeup Vanity by Tarte.  This limited edition gift-able is just $52.00 but it is a $502 value. Tarte is a brand I personally enjoy a great deal. Their fashion-forward and user-friendly colors are flattering, and the products are excellent. I am also a fan of the blush powders with Amazonian Clay. (four are included in this gorgeous set).  The box and the three drawers (two hold eye makeup combos) are completely covered in mirrors with beveled edges and smooth, shiny pull knobs,  and it obviously a two-in one gift since once the makeup is removed, you can use it for keepsakes or jewelry. Glittery silver frames the powder eye and face powder. There is even a large, pop-up mirror to check out your final looks.
The top two trays have 24 soft, blend-able, sheer-to-intense eye shadows in shimmer and matte textures. To make things even easier, the shadows are grouped into six “shadow quads” with light, medium and dark shadows.  In drawer #2 there are also travel sizes for Tarte’s excellent Lights, Camera, Lashes! (natural) mascara, and a mini MultipleEYE Natural Lash Enhancing Primer. According to the information on the Sephora Web Site where you can purchase this awesome face-in-a-case-kit, The MultipleEYE Primer delivers 739% increase in the appearance of lash volume while increasing the appearance of lash length.Lights, Camera, Lashes! Clinically-proven Natural Mascara: 424% increase in the appearance of lash volume.In the bottom drawer (oh joy!) there are four of the gorgeous, Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blushes,  in new shades:  Glory (shimmering peach) and Starlet (shimmering rose), Park Avenue Princess Mineral Powder Bronzer and Provocateur Amazonian Clay Shimmering Powder in Rose (a gorgeous soft petal pink).  Just so you know, there are no Sulfates- Synthetic Dyes- Petrochemicals- GMOs- Triclosan.  If you want to learn more about Tarte’s terriffic offerings, you can also visit the official Tarte Website (and grab a few goodies for yourself while you’re looking).
Which of these would YOU choose for your wish list? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts
About Advicesisters

Alison Blackman Dunham aka. “Advice Sister Alison” and “The Advice Sisters” is a writer, photographer, online advisor, and lifestyles consultant. She has built her reputation offering readers a unique perspective on life, in print, in person and through the camera lens. Her focus is on advice, beauty, fashion, lifestyles, relationships and things that help make life easier, more successful and more fun. Please follow Alison on Twitter @advicesisters and check out her other web (advice-related) sites: leatherandlaceadvice.com & leatherandlacespice.com

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