The Official, First Ever, Beauty Professor Holiday Shopping Guide!

With Black Friday less than 24 hours away and Cyber Monday following mere days after that, I am excited to offer the first ever Beauty Professor holiday shopping guide for every category (color, luxe splurge, men, gadgets, trinkets & treasures and home) on your list, comprised entirely on products that I have vetted, experienced and enjoyed first hand! 

COLOR…For the Makeup Lover

  • Kanebo Sensai Cellular Performance Cream Foundation: I’ve lauded the many merits of this supreme formula and am happy to report that the recently released US version (swatches of every shade soon) is equally effective.  This is a must for all foundation lovers! Reviewed HERE.
Above: Kanebo Sensai Cellular Performance Cream Foundation.
  • By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Bronze Moon #4: Silky full coverage? The most perfect shiny taupe? Creaseless performance for the entire day? If you or someone you know are in the market for these qualities in a single eye product, then this little gem must be procured…for it is truly the best.
Above: Swatches of By Terry Ombre Blackstar Bronze Moon.

  • Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Palette: This trio of powders adds dimension, refinement and glow to the face…I love that there are an endless supply of options in a single compact and think this is one of the very best offerings from the venerable Hourglass line.

Above: The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Palette.
  •  Jouer Lipcolor in Sophia: As a perennially nude lip color lover, my receptivity to red lipstick is limited at best.  However, I have found “my red” in Jouer Sophia, a warm nude-toned red that is bright while still being subtle overall.  I may not wear it daily, but this shade never leaves my makeup bag, on reserve for those moments when only red will do! Reviewed HERE.
Above: All things Jouer Sophia.
  • Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Crayon: In my opinion, this eyeliner is the standout formula in the Marc Jacob line, which debuted this summer.  They deposit smooth, rich color, are indelible once they set (in seconds!), and wear extremely well along the waterline.  Taupy-brown Ro(cocoa) and jet black Blacquer are my favorites. Reviewed HERE.
Above: Swatches of Marc Jacobs Blacquer and Ro(Cocoa)
  • Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope Lipcolor in Star System: From the luxe gold case, reminiscent of glamorous days gone by to the pigment-saturated, full coverage formula, this decadent lipstick is sure to please.  Star System (reviewed HERE) is a pinky, nude peach that makes the lips look velvety soft and alluring.  I’m ready for my close up Mr. DeMille…
Above: The pristine Lipstick Queen Star System…a true luminary.
  • Rouge Bunny Rouge Nocturnal Ink: Liquid liner is an endless pursuit…European line Rouge Bunny Rouge latest release offers a solution with their satin liners that have an easy to wield felt tip for cat eyes and tight lining in three covetable shades…I’ve been wearing the black-meets-brown-meets-khaki nonstop as of late. Reviewed HERE.
Above: All things Nocturnal Ink.
  • Le Metier de Beaute Kaleidoscope in Carnaby Street: For the lids, I tend to gravitate towards a single wash of color, but when I am feeling creative, this 1960’s London-inspired quartet utilizes rich taupe, warm peach, sophisticated matte purple and a stunning peacock blue, all nestled into a single cylindrical compact.  Together, the shades are brilliantly harmonious….reviewed HERE.  Also, I cannot go without mentioning the genius of my beloved LMdB Peau Vierge (reviewed HERE).  Although the one ounce bottle may be difficult to procure right now as they go through packaging transition, the two ounce tube (which is a great deal, I might add) is available and highly recommended.  It has been a daily skincare staple for two years and running!

Above: LMdB Carnaby Street, resplendent in the sunshine.

  •  Chantecaille Faux Cils Mascara: This rosewater-infused formula sweeps on the darkest black pigment, building lashes to their full potential.  Two coats and mine are long, lush and ready to face the day.  Smudging and flaking are thing of the past and the natural ingredients are great for sensitive eyes.

  • Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate: I bought my first S & I exactly a year ago while shopping in San Francisco…initially, I wasn’t sure how often I’d use it but in twelve months of possession, rarely a day goes by without me employing the use of this creamy, believable contour.  Applied with an angled brush, it’s chisel and cheekbones in a compact! Reviewed HERE.

  • Surratt Lipsliques: Fee Soie’s hyper-moisturizing sugar pink glow (with slight coral leaning) is utterly entrancing.  Those who adore nude lipstick need this in their lives. This entire line is beyond exciting…take a peek and ordering something for the beauty lover who “already has everything”  An overview of the line HERE.
    Above: Wearing Surratt Beauty Fee Soie on the lips.

  • Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation Illuminator: Since receiving this little bottle of liquid light, I simply cannot stop using it.  The delicate rose gold beige tone blends with any foundation, leaving healthy, radiant skin in its wake!  Reviewed HERE.

Above: Swatches of the KGD Illuminator in Sheer Beige.
LUXE SPLURGE…When Money Is No Object

Above: The La Prairie Eye and Lip Compact…luxury embodied.

  • Quasar MD Plus: This anti-aging red light laser offers the most effective at-home treatment possible and the increased collagen production and reduction of fine lines and wrinkles in my face are making this investment entirely worthwhile. Reviewed HERE.

  • Serge Lutens Compact Foundation Powder: Perhaps the most expensive powder I have purchased to date, this finely milled formula is pure finery.  I love the sleek case and exclusivity…for the woman who already owns every other powder on the face of the planet. Swatched and Reviewed HERE.

Above: All things Serge Lutens Powder Foundation-related.

MEN…Guys Need Products, Too

  • Tom Ford Hydrating Lip Balm: Tom Ford’s Mens Skincare line debuted but a couple of months ago (close up and detailed review soon), blending a masculine edge with skincare staples.  My husband, who uses lip balm multiple times a day, loves this. 
Above: The Tom Ford lip balm.
  • Kiehls Facial Fuel: For the man in your life who might only imbibe in high-end skincare if it looks and feels “manly,” the Facial Fuel is a sure bet.  This serum acts as a moisturizer, toner and (gasp!) anti-aging product, streamlining efforts while still remaining effective.  ALL the men in my immediate family use this!
  • Laura Mercier Secret Finish Mattifying: Great for any guy who may not be as in pursuit of the “dewy look” as we women are, a couple of dabs from this low-profile brown tube keeps oil at bay for hours.  I just bought my husband his second!  
Above: Laura Mercier Mattifying Gel.
GADGETS…The Future Is Now: 

  • Clarisonic: What can I say about this award-winning device that hasn’t already been said?  How about that I bought my traditional version nearly five years ago and, aside, from replacing the brush head ($25) every three months or so, it is the “gift to self” that keeps on giving. I keep mine in the shower to “wash off the day” every night and benefit from smoother, healthier, more even skin.
  • Hana Air Hairdryer: My thick long hair makes the hair drying process laborious to say the least.  Enter the Hana Air…this state-of-the-art, Italian designed hair dryer features a tourmaline-line ceramic heater and powerful airflow to dry hair up to 60% faster.  I am loving it in this cold winter weather when air-drying is simply not effective.  In twenty minutes, my hair goes from sopping wet to full, silky and dry…happy girl am I.  Plus ordering from guarantees your gift will come with all sorts of adorable extras.  Full video demonstration/review soon!
Above: The Hana Air dryer is the most powerful hair dryer I have encountered to date…silky, straight hair on the horizon.
  • Clarisonic Pedi: The quintessential Clarisonic for the feet, this smoothing set has the fortitude to reverse my rough soles and callouses (I have a major problem with this thanks to heredity and a penchant for high heels) with a three-minute treatment.  I was skeptical, but my baby-smooth feet have made me a believer. 
Above: The Clarisonic Pedi Set (full review + video soon)
  • Illuminage Pillowcase: A silky pillowcase infused with copper to create an anti-aging effect?  Yes, please!  This space-age wonder fights wrinkles while you sleep…what could be better? I am currently using this nightly and am impressed with the effects thus far.
Above: The luxe Iluminage Pillowcase.  Full review soon!

TRINKETS & TREASURES…Sometimes the Small Things Are the Best:

  • Jouer Sparkle and Shine Holiday Favors: Each delightful party popper houses a mini gloss, hair clip, hair elastic, wish necklace and party blower…what a delightful way to embrace this joyous season! My video review for this favor can be found HERE.
Above: The Jouer Sparkle and Shine Favor.
  • Seth Wegter Bags Makeup Bags: Made of luxe leather and vegan textiles, these durable, stunning,  fully-lined cosmetic pouches embody the notion of style and substance.  I adore my snake (lamb)skin pouch…it never leaves my handbag.
Above: My Seth Wegter Bags lambskin snake makeup bag = LOVE.
  • Beauty Blender: I avoided boarding the Beauty Blender Train for years, dismissing the little pink egg as some sort of frivolous hype.  I have learned, however, that this has revolutionized my foundation application.  Nothing is better for an even, dewy, skin-like seamless finish.
  • Napoleon Perdis Luminous Lip Veil in Overcoat: This transparent yet creamy neutral light beige shade has a pink micro-shimmer to add a pleasantly robust pop of pale color.  I adore wearing it on its own or over my myriad of nude lip options for a shiny, non-sticky, vanilla-scented glow.   Reviewed HERE.
Above: Napoleon Perdis Luminous Lip Veil in Overcoat.
  • Le Metier de Beaute Nail Polishes: Housed in square bottles that remind me of oversized gems, this formula is one of the glossiest indulgences in town.  I adore Cocoa Me Crazy, a creamy grayish beige that lasts for days on end.
Above: LMdB Cocoa Me Crazy.
  • Any jewelry from Loren Stewart and Hitchcock Madrona…I adore these independent lines for the high-end materials (gold, silver, diamonds) and classic yet edgy aesthetic.  The pieces are unique and timeless…it might be time to add to my collection ; ) Below is my HM Shield Necklace (which I never take off) and my Loren Stewart Itsy ID Bracelet (also, permanently on my wrist alongside my beloved Cartier Love bracelet).


  • AirRepair Skincare: This clever skincare kit caters to those of us who travel by plane frequently and includes five key items (moisturizer, eye cream, cleansing milk, facial mist and the utilitarian Rescue Balm) that fight environmental stresses and flight fatigue.  I love the fact that this company is independently owned and run by a wonderful woman named Denise Spanek; her products streamline the daily routine and this particular kit is also TSA compliant, making packing a carryon an absolute breeze.
Above: The entire AirRepair Skincare kit…everything you need for good skin on the go.
  • ArteStile Fingernail Scissors: These stainless steel beauties cut the nails in a pristine fashion…smooth edges and maximum control for those of us who may have trouble using our “non-dominant hand” for a trim (like me!).  I love the artistic “hugs and kisses” design, which causes these scissors to stand out amongst a sea of conventional silver options.  High quality and affordable!
Above: ArteStile scissors…the blades make a clean, precise cut every single time.
HOME…There’s No Place Like It

  • NEST Holiday Home Spray: If the constraints of this world were lifted allowing the very essence of Christmas could be bottled up, I believe would smell like exactly like this home spray.  A single press of the atomizer evokes everything good about this season!
Above: NEST Holiday Room Spray…intoxicating.
  • NEST Opulence Candle by Ken Downing: As the name would imply, this takes the notion of a holiday candle to another level…orchid, sandalwood, plum and amber work in harmony to create the richest, most luxurious winter months candle ever. I’ll be burning this for months to come.
Above: NEST Opulence Candle.
  • Threshold Faux Fur Throw: I received this plush furry blanket as a gift earlier this year and am delighted that they are still available at Target.  It is large enough to envelop you in instant warmth and comfort…beginning this month, mine will be a permanent fixture again.  Couple this with a crackling fireplace and there may never be a reason to leave home ever again.
  • Nespresso De’ Longhi Lattissima System: I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of our system before heading out of town, but as extreme espresso lovers, please believe me when I say that my husband and I get giddy when thinking about this new addition to our kitchen.  With a built in milk frother and endless pod options, this is a serious step up from our Tassimo (which finally died after a worthy five years of service).  Easy to clean, streamlined for the counter and perfect for espresso on the go, I have a feeling we will soon be wondering what we ever did without it!
Above: A cup of Nespresso made at home in less than 60 seconds…the fluffy, frothy milk is almost too much to bear! 
Above: In the holiday spirit and ready to brave the Black Friday masses!

Bottom Line: I firmly believe that Thanksgiving is a time for being grateful…family, friends, food and the ability to celebrate our blessings in freedom; the fact that it leads into a massive day of shopping, however, I suppose is inevitable!  I truly hope that this basically beauty-oriented shopping guide is helpful for you as we spend the next few weeks attempting to find the perfect gifts for our loved ones…I cannot wait to hear what you ended up with after Black Friday/Cyber Monday and which gift ideas might have been helpful for you!  


–The Beauty Professor

**Some products mentioned are PR samples provided for review, however, as always, all of my opinions are expressly and unequivocally my own.  This post contains  affiliate links as well unaffiliated links for your convenience; my disclosure policy contains additional details on how these work.

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Comments (14)

  • Unknown Reply

    Hi and Happy Thanksgiving, although we don't celebrate here in Australia, it is good to take a moment to be thankful for everything and everyone near to us.

    Now what a SENSATIONAL list you have compiled! It has given me a few ideas for my Christmas list, especially the Rouge Bunny Rouge eyeliner and the KGD Illuminator oh and the Lipstick Queen lipstick and the Kanebo Cellular foundation and the By Terry eyeshadow.
    Now to convince Santa that I 'need' them all lol.

    Have fantastic Thanksgiving

    Talk soon
    Julie xox

    November 29, 2013 at 3:24 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello Julie,

      Thank you so much…yes, holiday or not, engaging in thankfulness is essential!

      Many thanks for your words on my shopping guide…it was definitely a time-consuming endeavor to prepare but I am quite proud of it now that it is finished ; ) The five products you mention are truly divine and I am confident that you will be able to convince the gift givers (your lovely family!!) in your life to pick them up for you!

      Enjoy the rest of your weekend and talk soon…xoxo,

      –The Beauty Professor

      November 30, 2013 at 7:15 am
  • Anonymous Reply

    Is Kanebo US version the same formula as the original one, the one you have? Your skin look gorgeous in that photo!!! I can't wait to get my hands on this foundation! =)

    Happy Thanksgiving!!! =)

    – Kate

    November 29, 2013 at 4:29 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello Kate!

      Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! Yes, the Kanebo US version is the same as the one I have (and thanks for the sweet compliment!). The only difference is that the US version doesn't have sunscreen (and the original version had a negligible amount). I'll be posting swatches of every shade of the new US version (which appear to be exactly the same) ASAP.


      –The Beauty Professor

      November 30, 2013 at 7:17 am
  • MG Reply

    Happy Thanksgiving! I love this post. But I must say, I'm surprised you didn't include your beloved LMdB peau vierge in the small edition for one of the smaller gifts! Either way, this list is great. I've been following your blog from the very beginning, so I already own many of these things thanks to you (Kanebo Sensai CP foundation, MJ eyeliner, Sierge Lutens powder foundation). It looks like I must buy myself the Chantecaille mascara next! Do you prefer this over Chanel volume and GA eyes to kill?

    November 29, 2013 at 2:31 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello MG!

      I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful and thanks so much for your kind words! I pondered including Peau Vierge to this list but initially decided against it since I've written about it so much and also, the one ounce size is getting repackaged so I didn't know how accessible it would be to buyers this season. That being said, your comment inspired me to add it back in because I love it THAT MUCH!

      I so appreciate your loyal readership…thank you for being there since the beginning! I beyond glad that you have found your way to certain products that we both love ; ) I do really like the Chantecaille mascara…it is slightly less thick than the Chanel Le Volume (just finished my tube!) and a bit more lengthening than the GA ETK Excess (which is, of course, a bit more black). Highly recommended!

      Have a beautiful weekend…xoxo,

      –The Beauty Professor

      November 30, 2013 at 7:36 am
    • MG Reply

      I'm definitely one of your very loyal readers:). And I just purchased the Chantacaille mascara on Friday and already loving it! Every compliment I'm getting lately is thanks to you. Today, I wore my Kanebo Sensai CP foundatoin on top of LMdB peau vierge, topped off with Serge Lutens powder foundation. Then some Illamasqua Katie blush (been meaning to try the LMdB cream one you use but I haven't gotten around to it) and TF shade and illuminate. In my eyes, I used the MJ eyeliner:). Although, I have my HG eyesahdow, which is part of the TF Cocoa Mirage quad and I must use concealer (my skin isn't as flawless as yours!) so I use my beloved Nars creamy concealer. But aside from those two items, all my compliments today were a true testament to how amazing the products you recommend are:). On my Thanksgiving, I'm thankful to have found your blog.

      December 1, 2013 at 4:07 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello MG,

      Thank you ever so much! I am so glad to hear that you are loving the Chantecaille mascara…I just put some on today and it's as good as gold ; ) I am thrilled that we share a love of so many wonderful products; truly, the items you mention are ones I continue to use everyday. I haven't tried the TF Cocoa Mirage quad but am tempted to based on your endorsement! And, despite what you may think, I definitely have need for concealer as well : )

      I am terribly thankful to have you as a reader and friend…have a beautiful week and talk soon…xoxo,

      –The Beauty Professor

      December 2, 2013 at 4:49 pm
  • Lynn127 Reply

    Happy shopping B.P & I love the post! Too bad I want to buy everything For ME! Thanku soo much for the ideas. xoxo

    November 29, 2013 at 7:04 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello Lynn,

      Thank you, my dear friend and my pleasure! We had a super fun day today at Neiman's and Barney's…details and pics soon ; ) I hope your Thanksgiving weekend is absolutely spectacular!

      xoxo and talk soon,

      –The Beauty Professor

      November 30, 2013 at 7:48 am
  • Unknown Reply

    Omg this is absolutely amazing. Sincerely well done. Tysm!!!

    December 1, 2013 at 3:24 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello Elyse,

      Thanks so much…I really appreciate the positive feedback on this post!


      –The Beauty Professor

      December 2, 2013 at 4:20 pm
  • Unknown Reply

    How does the lipstick queen compare to tom ford pink dusk/Spanish pink?

    December 1, 2013 at 5:38 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello Elyse,

      The Lipstick Queen Star System is equally as hydrating and full coverage as the Tom Ford formula; shade wise, Star System is similar in tone to Spanish Pink, but I think it is a hair lighter and a bit more velvet matte in texture. Pink Dusk is much more mauve pink than both of the other shades!

      Hope that helps…xoxo,

      –The Beauty Professor

      December 2, 2013 at 11:40 pm

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