Holiday Beauty Gift Guide 2017

Let’s say you’ve got a beauty junkie in your life.

Someone that takes at least 30 minutes to get ready, someone who plans their makeup before their outfit (or even coordinates them, which is pretty next level), someone who knows the difference in tones between red lipsticks or someone who enters Sephora and actually knows what they’re looking for.

What do you get this person for Christmas?

Firstly, don’t underestimate the power of a good snoop. See what brands they seem to like, items they go through quickly. Listen to them when they talk about makeup. Maybe there’s something they wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves, but something they’ve always wanted.

While you can always go the gift card route — tried and true, though a little uninspired —  you could also dive headfirst into Christmas-shopping-mania and find the perfect gift for the beauty lover in your life.

We can help you there.

tarte Limited Edition Treasure Box

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This is a wildly-well-priced gift set from a wonderful makeup brand, containing almost everything you need to do a full face of makeup except for foundation. tarte’s makeup is good, in the nature of full disclosure they are one of my favourite brands, and is entirely vegan if your beauty junkie is concerned with the ingredients of the product. This guy will keep on giving: the potential for a lot of use, over a long period of time.

Find it here.

Juliette Has a Gun Discovery Kit

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Fragrance is so specific to every person that it’s hard to get it right unless you know someone really well. A good solution to that, of course, is to bombard them with so many scent options they have no choice but to find one they really like (and possibly regift the rest.) Mini perfumes are perfect to take on the go, not to mention Juliette Has a Gun have some wonderfully unique and gorgeous scents available. This is the perfect way for someone to be introduced to the brand.

Find it here.

Tom Ford Black Orchid Set

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So yes, scent is specific to every person, but come on, I think everyone likes Tom Ford. His makeup brand is the pinnacle of luxury. The packaging! The scent! The price tag! This is a splurge gift for sure, only for those who have made peace with a high budget, but if you know your intended gift receiver is a bit of a lush, the you know this gift will be a hit. Like, when you wear this, you smell expensive.

Find it here.

Sephora Favourites Give Me Some Nude Lip

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If you can’t decide on one lipstick to get someone, or if you go spying in their makeup collection see so many brands you don’t even understand how its possible, I will point you in the direction of the Sephora Favourites lip set. This gift set has lippies from Kat Von D, Buxom and Bite Beauty and contains both liquid lipsticks and, well… lip-sitcks. And they’re all nudes so they’re guaranteed to actually be used. Basically the perfect gift for the person you have no idea what to get for.

Find it here.

Fenty Beauty

Okay, so we all know Rihanna is a goddess who can do no wrong, and it was a surprise to absolutely no one that there makeup collection is damn good. Even if someone already has pieces from the collection, it seems unlikely someone would say no to getting more Fenty Beauty. Nearly everything from the collection is a safe bet, but may I point you towards:

Galaxy Eyeshadow Palette
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Glittery eyeshadows galore in beautiful, limited edition packaging.

Find it here.

Killawatt Freestyle Highlight in Trophy Wife
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The greatest highlighter to have ever been made. Whoever wears it will literally look like a million bucks. Like a stack of gold coins.

Find it here.

MAC Rossy de Palma Collection

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“Limited edition” and “collaboration” are words that are pretty exciting and hysteria-inducing in the beauty community and MAC is on top of the game. Their collabs are always timely, well-made, and beyond tempting. They do have a few available right now, such as the Nicki Minaj and Robert Lee Morris collections, and, while both are exquisite, my personal favourite is the collection with Spanish actress Rossy de Palma partly because she’s fabulous and partly because the packaging is so luxe.

Find the collection here.

MAC Snow Ball Pigment and Glitter Kit

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If you know your gift-intended loves some glitz and glam in their life, why not give the gift of glitter? MAC pigments are famous for their staying power and potency and these colours are perfect for the winter. Not to mention they come in a cute little disco ball clutch for even more glam.

Find it here.

Colorpop Yes Please! Palette

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Colorpop is a well-made, incredibly fairly-priced makeup brand, so most of their products are good for the more modest budget but will make a huge impact. The Yes Please! palette is a real show-stopper for the brand. The palette was on Nylon’s beauty hit list of 2017 and features 12 gorgeous warm-toned shades, guaranteed to look good on everyone.

Find it here.

L’Occitane Advent Calendar

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At this point, it’s getting close to the wire, but I had to include one beauty advent calendar, firstly because they are just the best and secondly because they are so difficult to find in Canada that we all need to share the good ones when we are able to find them. L’Occitane’s advent calendar is pretty iconic already, at a decent price point for the amount of high-quality products you get from it. This year they’ve also put out a premium advent calendar for the big spenders, but the original is a great way to introduce someone to the brand if they’ve never tried it before.

Find it here.

L’Occitane Divine Collection

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For the skincare fanatic in your life, L’Occitane is a good way to go, and their Divine collection is a particularly well-advised gifting idea. It’s anti-aging, but you won’t necessarily offend anyone by giving it to them because the products in this line are also moisturizing, luminizing and all-around nice-skin-makers. (That being said, maybe don’t gift this to anyone who is real sensitive about aging.) The set contains an all-over cream, an eye cream, a cleaner and a face oil — a full skincare routine ready to go.

Find it here.

Inspired Soap Works Velvety Salve

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Lastly, I’ve got something pretty different from everything else we’ve talked about on here. Inspired Soap Works is a smaller Canadian company with a big impact, selling hand-made affordable skincare products. One of their last launches are a line of salves for the entire body, from head to toe. The salves are formulated without water, so despite them coming in small packages, they really will go a long way. These are the ideal ~stocking stuffers~.

Find it here.

Fragrances you’ll love all year around

Choosing the perfect year around fragrance can sometimes be the most difficult beauty decision one has to make. Feminine fragrances tend to be too sweet for everyone’s tastes, men’s fragrances tend to be far too spicy or woody, and unisex fragrances tend to underwhelm. However, there are a few fragrances that stand out as not only interesting, but they also perfectly move from summer to winter without creating a jarring wall of scent.


Maison Margiela: Replica Soul of the Forrest

Photo: Sephora

$200.00  @ Sephora | Soul of the Forest encapsulates the strength and severity of strong woods and leafy forest greens. Many fragrances claim to encompass the fresh and familiar scent of a walk in the forest, but Maison Margiela‘s Replica fragrance perfectly recreates the smell of a dense forest that glistens with the faint sparkling of a sun shower’s remnants. It is packed with strong notes of balsam fir, cedar, and incense, creating an intoxicating masculine scent that edges ever so slightly into gender neutral territory.

Atelier Cologne: Sud Magnolia

Photo: Sephora

$145.00 @ Sephora | Atelier Cologne‘s Sud Magnolia may not be the first for a masculine fragrance at first glance, however, the light Magnolia scent is wrapped beautifully in tart citrus notes of pomelo and bitter orange, giving the scent a sweet yet hard bite that meshes perfectly with the elegant and warm scent of southern Magnolia. Perfect for cold winter days that need a warm pick me up or warm summer days that require a familiar summer sweetness.


Gender Neutral

CLEAN: Cool Cotton

Photo: Sephora

$95. 00 @ Sephora | One of the most pleasing scents available on the market is the unisex fragrance CLEAN Cool Cotton, which boasts a beautifully pure and impressive aroma of clean countryside cotton. Imagine leaving your house like the freshest breeze of the wind you’ve ever smelt; like a sweeping hillside cinematic moment captured in a small glass flacon. That’s the beauty of this lemon peel, cotton, and mint concoction. It’s also slightly more cost effective than many other options on this list!

Tom Ford: Mandarino Di Amalfi

Photo: Sephora

$172.00 @ Sephora | One of Tom Ford‘s best selling and most appreciated sscents is Mandarino Di Amalfi. It conjures up images of the fresh Mediterranean coast. An image of inviting sea water, white sailed sail boats, tan bodies, and the freshness of a citrus orchard under the sun all come crashing together in this stunning confection. The absolutely fresh unisex is made possible by the presence of grapefruit, lemon, and orange blossom.



L’Artisan Parfumeur: Les Chasse Aux Papillons

Photo: Sephora

$170.00 @ Sephora | Florals are a sure fire way of capturing a soft and feminine scent that isn’t overly sweet or childish. The playfully elegant and entrancing Les Chasse Aux Pipillons by L’Artisan Parfumeur aims at bottling a memory rather than a scent. Instead of bottling the literal, Papillons is a blend of tuberose, linden blossom, and jasmine, which carries a memory rather than just a fixed scent. Unlike other florals, Papillons’s transports the wearer back to their childhood of butterfly chasing in a lush fragrant meadow bathed in sunlight.

Guerlain: Aqua Allegoria Pera Granita

Photo: Sephora

$78.00 @ Sephora | Guerlains Pera Granita is a scent built on the more light and effervescent side of the fragrance spectrum. With sparkling grapefruit, pear, and lemon, this tart scent perfectly compliments high summer and adds an aromatic and invigorating zest to the winter months. However, this can be a tad bit sweet depending on personal preference, but nothing compares to the tarty bitterness of grapefruit in the morning. Think of it as breakfast for your body!

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Best Beauty Products for Winter Months

There is no arguing that a Canadian winter is no joke. Not only do the harsh winds and bitter temperatures take a serious toll on your overall mood and desire to go outside, but they can also cause your skin to become a lot duller and drier than usual. That’s why it’s important to switch up your beauty routine during the winter months to keep your skin properly hydrated and protected from Mother Nature’s cold wrath.

Here is a list of the best beauty products to help warm up your beauty routine, and get you and your skin through the ice cold winter months.

Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel with Marula Oil

If you change one thing about your skin care routine in the winter, change your cleanser. After a lot of trial and error, I found that it was my cleanser that was drying out my skin the most during the cold months. Swap out your harsh foaming cleansers for something more moisturizing like this gel-turned-oil cleanser. It removes makeup and effectively cleanses at the same time without drying out your skin. And as someone who is prone to some breakouts, it did not aggravate or cause more breakouts on my skin. It leaves your skin feeling soft and clean.

Available at: Shoppers Drug Mart, Hudson’s Bay, or

Dr. Jart+ Water Replenishment Cotton Sheet Mask

When my skin was at it’s driest last winter, I was on the hunt for a good moisturizing face mask, and sometime during the cotton sheet mask craze, I stumbled upon this gem. No joke, this one-time-use mask has worked miracles as a part of my winter skin care routine. The cotton mask is cooling and hydrating and leaves my skin feeling completely refreshed. After taking the mask off, I massage the leftover serum into my skin and let it get absorbed before applying my moisturizer as usual before heading to bed. Trust me, your dull winter skin will thank you by the next morning.

Available at: Sephora or

Kiehl’s Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum

When moisturizers are not enough to hydrate your skin in the winter — serums are the answer. When your skin is dry, the texture becomes rough and uneven. I would definitely recommend this to soothe and plump your dry skin. It changes the appearance of dehydrated skin by plumping the fine lines and smoothing the uneven texture. It’s the perfect serum to layer under your moisturizer as part of your winter beauty routine.

Available at: Kiehl’s stores or

Lush Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub

This scrub is great because it can be used to buff away dry, dead winter skin on your entire body. Even though the name sounds like it would be drying because of the salt factor, the scrub is balanced with coconut oil and avocado butter that replenishes the skin while exfoliating. You don’t need to use much for your skin to reap the benefits.

Tip: If you’re in the mood for a full at-home facial, I recommend using the Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub to exfoliate your skin before applying the Dr. Jart+ Water Replenishment Cotton Sheet Mask. That way your skin is perfectly buffed and moisturized.

Available at: Lush stores and

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream Moisturizer

I searched high and low for a moisturizer I love until I found this one. I am a fan of Vichy products and I feel like this is one of their best. It hydrates without leaving your skin looking or feeling greasy or oily. It evenly moisturizes my skin and doesn’t irritate or cause breakouts, and keeps my skin hydrated under my makeup. This moisturizer contains Hyaluronic Acid which is a key re-plumping ingredient in moisturizers. I swear by this moisturizer.

Available at: Shoppers Drug Mart or

Roc Enydrial Repairing Lip Care

I don’t care how good you say your lip balm works, I bet you it doesn’t have anything on this Roc lip balm. Hands down, this is my holy grail lip care product all year long. It’s moisturizing without being too thick or heavy and glides on smoothly. I can’t function without this stuff. Throw out whatever you’re using and get one of these.

Tip: Exfoliate your lips using a lip scrub or your toothbrush to remove any dead skin and smooth those chapped lips before applying the Roc Repairing Lip Care.

Available at: Shoppers Drug Mart or

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Holiday Beauty Gift Guide 2016

Christmas will officially be upon us in only a few short weeks, so it’s crunch time if you haven’t already put a dent in your holiday shopping. Everyone needs a little help when it comes to gift giving. If you’re unsure what to get the beauty guru and makeup junkies on your shopping list, have no fear, Novella is here to help. From makeup to skin care, to scents and body treatments, we’ve got gift or stocking stuffer ideas for everyone on your list. These treasures are sure to please the beauties in your life.

Mèreadesso Clear/Tinted Lip Treats


These are an awesome gift for someone who loves lip colour and chap sticks. Not only are they lightweight, but they are also a great primer for any lipstick, gloss, or liner. Plus, they’re perfect for the winter because they are super moisturizing! Can someone say mistletoe?

Available at Nordstrom: $28

Laura Mercier Translucent Powder


This powder is the holy grail in the world of beauty bloggers. If the YouTube beauty guru in your life doesn’t already have this, it’s the gift that will make their Christmas.

Available at Sephora: $47

The Good Bar Soap “Goodie Bag”


This little bag of body treats contains the perfect variety of soaps and body care to give your special someone the chance to dabble in a variety of Good Bar Soap products (so they can pick their favourite). Not only are The Good Bar’s soaps handcrafted, and all-natural, but they are also made in Toronto.

Available at The Cure Apothecary in Toronto or at $12

L’aromatica perfume “Dapper” Eau de Toilette


This is the ideal gift for the tomboy in your life who doesn’t necessarily wear a lot of makeup or use a lot of beauty products. This unisex scent is one of L’aromatica’s most popular. This fragrance is masculine, woodsy, and spicy, but sexy nonetheless.

Since it is made from alcohol in Oregon, it can’t be shipped to Canada. However, you can find it at The Cure Apothecary in Toronto: $30

Doe Hair Pact “Bora Bora” hair mask


For the person that is always colouring and changing their hair, gift them with this moisturizing mini escape. The “Bora Bora” hair pact mask contains coconut and avocado oil and is meant to nourish the driest and dullest of hair. Plus, it smells like a mini vacation.

Available at The Cure Apothecary in Toronto, Urban Outfitters, or $17

Kunye Nourish Face Mask


Known as the “green smoothie for your face, this organic vegan face mask is perfect for the health conscious, all natural, beauty lover. Its gentle formula combined with wheatgrass, neem, spirulina, sea kelp, and Canadian bentonite clay is great for all skin types.

Available at The Cure Apothecary in Toronto or $38

L’Oreal Telescopic mascara


I know drugstore mascara seems like a rather unconventional gift for the holidays, but mascara is arguably one of the most important items in any girl’s makeup bag. This mascara is the gift that keeps on giving, but without the scary price tag.

Available at Shoppers Drug Mart: $15

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The hot summer weather is finally here, and hopefully, there is no turning back! We’ve had enough of the cold and snow, and are ready to slip in our sundresses, while sipping mojitos on a patio. With the change in weather, our skin begins to change as well.

Have you ever taken the time to observe the difference in your skin during the colder and warmer months? Have you noticed a change in texture, appearance, and elasticity? During the winter period, because the air is cold, it makes the skin a lot more drier and brittle. The skin may also have a dull appearance to it, which is why it is highly recommended to keep your skin moisturized. Doing so will not only save you and your skin from experiencing any unwanted cracking, but it will also prevent any future fine lines and wrinkles.

I am sure by the time summer rolls around; you probably think that you have no skin worries since the heat will act as a natural moisturizer; wrong! Since the climate goes through a drastic change leaving the air to become more moister, your skin immediately reacts and sometimes does not adjust right away. If you have ever been to a dermatologist, they will tell you to stay away from saunas, or not to take hot baths because it isn’t the best route for your skin. Hot water opens the pores, while cold water closes them. That is why your skin will be more prone to breakouts, and your pores are more visible during the warmer months. Don’t Worry, you can still take that vacation to the Bahamas next month; I just have some tips that will save your skin from this pesky heat.


With the sun blazing down, you will, of course, start to perspire a lot more than usual. When we sweat it is our body’s way of cooling us down, but we also don’t want to keep that perspiration on our skin. If you are out and about, try holding a cloth on you so that you can wipe away any excess sweat; however, the second you get the chance, wash your face! Sweating causes a build-up of oil and dirt so that you will want that off your face as soon as possible. Wash your face with lukewarm water, since hot water can also strip the skin of moisture.


The weather usually cools down around the evening time leaving a nice summer breeze. Although there’s a slight drop in the temperature, that doesn’t mean your skin won’t react. You may not have sweat buildup, this time, but more so of an oil accumulation. When this happens, avoid touching your face with your hands since that can transfer bacteria to the skin, and only use blotting sheets instead. Blotting sheets will instantly soak up any unwanted oil, leaving your face looking clean and completely oil free. If it’s a special night out and you have your face all done up, do not worry, the blotting sheets will not remove an ounce of your makeup.


If you’re like me and suffer from super oily skin, try opting for an oil-free moisturizer. Oil-free moisturizers are typically very lightweight simply because they are water-based. That is perfect for the warmer months as it won’t leave your skin feeling heavy, overly greasy, and won’t clog the pores. A trick I like to use is avoiding the T-Zone region while moisturizing since that is the area that gets the moist oily.


If you choose to wear makeup and like using a base primer, the best way to go is with a matte primer for oily skin. In the previous tip, we avoided the T-Zone region with moisturizer, but this time around we’re going to fill it in using the primer. If you choose to apply it to your entire face, that is fine as well.


The last and probably the most important tip is to use sunscreen! Everyone should be utilizing a sunscreen with a high SPF, which will keep your skin safe, avoid any burns, and prevents your chances of developing skin cancer. Find an oil-free sunscreen which will also feel light on the skin, and won’t leave it feeling heavy, greasy, or uncomfortable.