birthday gift guide (and giveaway!)

It's my birthday!

Well, my birthday week. And soon it will be this blog's second birthday! So there's lots to celebrate around here.

We just finished the biggest gift-giving season of the year, but we're starting fresh on the chance to give the perfect birthday gifts to your friends and family this year.

Quite frankly, I love gifts. It makes me so happy to give a personal, practical, or sentimental gift. I keep a list in my planner of gift ideas, based on what I hear and see that hints at what someone really wants. But let's face it, sometimes no matter how much we love someone or how well we know them, we can't think of a thing to take to their birthday party. For the times when you're stumped, I've put together a list of beauty-themed gift ideas.

Side note: This post isn't sponsored by or in any way affiliated with Ulta, but that's where I've taken my ideas from. Consequently, all of the product images used come from and link to their website. If you're curious, I used to be an exclusively-Sephora makeup shopper, but I've recently changed my tune. Ulta's rewards program is, in my opinion, far superior to Sephora's.

So without further ado, I present my 2016 Birthday Gift Guide:

For your mom

There are lots of beauty products that are perfect--even essential--for aging women. But let's face it, no one wants to unwrap a gift that has "anti-aging" in the title on the day they turn a year older. So eye creams and moisturizers don't make great gifts. Instead, try a brow product. A lot of women experience thinning eyebrows as they get older, but it's not a gift that is necessarily tied to age. (Few of us are lucky enough to have perfect eyebrows, after all.) I recently blogged about this universal brow pencil, and I stand by that recommendation. But another favorite of mine is Anastasia's tinted brow gel
And for a more budget-friendly option, give this Maybelline brow mascara a try.

For your dad

Dads are usually professional, well-groomed, grown-up men. So a gift for shaving makes a lot of sense. Ulta has a great selection of shaving materials--lotions, shaving cream, beard trimmers, you name it. If your dad is anything like mine, he's been using the same electric razor forever. Why not upgrade his morning routine with a new one?

For your brother

Even though, in my opinion, guys are the worst to shop for, there are actually a lot of fun sets at Ulta that could be the perfect gift for your brother. Does he sport a beard? Help him keep it less disgusting with a beard envy kit. 

Or maybe he thinks he's cooler than he is. Feed the delusion with this bad boy grooming set

For your sister

I really enjoy recommending makeup products (which I think goes without saying, since I have this blog). If you're the same way, for your sister's next birthday consider creating a gift set of your latest favorites. You can decide how many products to include based on your price point. Some options would be Urban Decay minor sin eyeshadow primer (how did I ever live without this?).

Or Too Faced Melted liquified lipstick (my favorite is Nude). 

For your significant other

For your husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend, consider getting them a new fragrance to try.

For guys, I love Polo Red.
And for girls, my new love, Marc Jacobs Dot.

For your niece

Whether your niece is old enough to be experimenting with new makeup looks or is still young and just likes to play dress-up, I love the idea of getting her one of Ulta's makeup sets, like their 74-piece Cranberry collection.
For your bff

Along a similar vein, how about pampering your bff while allowing her to experiment with new colors or products? A great way to do that is with a luxury brand palette or makeup set. If she doesn't use a lot of big brands and wouldn't already own one, any of the Urban Decay Naked palettes are classic and great options. But if you want something newer, check for a recently released set, like this Too Faced Bon Bons eye shadow collection.
And now, let's talk about a gift for you! As a thank you for reading for the last two years (and as a way to narcissistically celebrate my own special day), I've put together a little gift set for one lucky reader. Enter to win below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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