This year, IMHO, Estee Lauder has THE holiday blockbuster set-and it is insane. They are referring to it as the Color Spectacular and it is available online (it almost puts Lancome’s to shame) for a mere $55.00 with a fragrance purchase. It's valued at $340.00 and for once, I'm almost convinced that they're close.
Now, Dear Reader, you must understand my personal feelings about Lauder, Corp. on the whole and what giant over-marketed-under-quality mayhem they have wreaked on wonderful brands (Prescriptives, MAC...anyone?) during their reign. However, this blockbuster is really pretty damned fabulous for the once-a-year make up buyer or their mom.
The big centerpiece, IMESHO, is the shadow palette, with 15 shadows. (does anyone remember the swoon worthy Laura Mercier palette from Neimans? OMG.) It’s definitely an “anyone” palette, as the shades are tres' wearable without being too shimmery. The number of shadows in the kit makes it perfect for travel or the purse, or downsizing the makeup collection. The shades are Vanilla, Ginger Drop, Mink, Sand Box, Amethyst, Camouflage, Bronze Cube, Mocha Cup, Cinnamon, Honey Drop, Pale Moon, Sugar Cube, Ivory Box, and Roseberry Duo. Add to that 3 Artist's Eye Pencils (great for smoky eyes, in SoftSmudge Black, SoftSmudge Brown and Slate Writer) , Projectionist High Definition Volume Mascara (10-day supply, in Black), Lash Primer Plus (10-day supply) and full size Gentle Eye Makeup Remover and just you can't miss!
In the blush department we have the trifecta of enhancement with two blushes (Nude Rose and Pink Kiss) and a bronzer (the matte Bronze Goddess that is universally flattering)...and we're talking big rectangular pans (not just chintzy stripes) so it makes them a lot more useful and long lasting. All of the shades are very user friendly and the little brushes (even though they should be thrown out or burned upon arriving home) are a nice touch.
Moving onto the lips. There are four full-sized Pure Color Long Lasting Lipsticks (full-size, in Candy, Rose Tea, Fig and Tiger Eye)...all of the shades are lovely and super silky.
Finally, there are the accessories. You get four different make up brushes-a face brush, a blush brush, a lip brush, and an eye brush. I have tried the EL brushes but they are only slightly better than your fingers but they're free so whatcha-gonna-do. They are perfect for the gym bag or the flight pack that won't be a full blown tragedy if they go missing...or your 10 year old niece who needs to be involved in your cosmetic existence without great investment . Additionally there are two cases (a small red train case and a gold zip pouch) along with a look book to help you navigate this cosmetic cornucopia.
Enjoy & Happy Holidays!