Whether you’re shopping for Christmas, need to buy a belated Eid present, or just want to treat someone, there are thankfully a lot of beauty gift ideas for dark-skinned girls. I find it hard work going to Boots for a Meal Deal and not looking at all their gorgeous No7 and Sanctuary sets, strategically placed near the till. With all the choice out there, it’s easy to hammer your credit card and make a mistake, by buying someone an unwanted gift.
So, to make things a little easier, I’ve selected some beauty gift ideas – for different budgets – which are guaranteed to please. And of course, I’ve included my warts-and-all critique.
Beauty gift ideas for dark skinned girls – Secret Santa
Stargazer eyeshadow singles – £4 each
Let’s face it, we’ve all either been on the giving or receiving end of a crappy Secret Santa present. With a budget of usually £5 or £10, there’s little room to please or be pleased.
My personal ‘favourite’ was a toxic-looking makeup set, consisting of chalky eyeshadow and gloopy, candy-coloured lipgloss, which needless to say I never used. Another memorable gift was a jotter pad and a packet of candy sticks. The budget was £5, but I suspect the pad and sweets cost no more than a pound, so my Secret Santa made a nice profit.
I’ve also been guilty of giving rubbish presents. Short of ideas, I’ve doled out not-so-fresh-smelling smellies, and even a Kylie calendar to a male classmate who didn’t appreciate the suggestion.
Anyway, if you would like to give a girlfriend a secret Santa she may actually use, why not try Stargazer’s stunning eyeshadows?
Despite their modest £4 price tag, they actually come in pretty impressive colours, which are neither cakey nor chalky. I tried two of their eyeshadows, a Hot pink/Fuscia shade, along with the coppery brown, and was pleasantly surprised. The Fuscia is actually a very impressive vivid colour, that doesn’t betray its price once applied.
One observation is that I noticed that as I was dabbing into the colour with my brush, the eyeshadow did crumble slightly, so it may not be the most durable shadow compact, but I’d say it’s better than some of the Collection 2000 Eyehadows, which crumble far more easily. And also for £4, you can’t expect Mac-quality.
But aside from this, it’s a fab secret Santa which will be gratefully received and has a much higher likelihood of actually being used than a nasty toxic makeup set.
Stargazer is available online.
Beauty gift ideas for dark skinned girl – Best friend or sister
Frontcover Style Queen gift set – £35
Frontcover Style Queen gift set
Frontcover Air Kiss lipstick set – £20
So the boat is pushed out a little further when it comes to your bestie or sister, but of course, a bigger budget doesn’t guarantee a better buy. If you’re buying makeup, the risk is even higher, as it’s such a personal purchase. The safest way of ensuring you get it right is by buying a gift set with a variety of options. That way something should definitely float their boat.
To deliver the real wow factor and cover all bases, Frontcover is your brand of choice. You may have seen them in Boots, but Frontcover is a relatively unknown brand (at least to me) of gift sets which combine three must haves for any wannabe beauty – great makeup, the essential tools, plus a handy guide. It’s like a makeup artist in a box!
I tried two of the box sets. The first is Style Queen (£35), which apart from your base, provides everything you need for you face – eyeshadows, lip glosses, blusher and the brushes you’ll need to get arty. Heck, they even throw in eyelash curlers!
I gave myself a makeover by religiously following the instructions on the box, and was pretty impressed with the results.
I love the shadow line (for those who don’t know what that is, it’s a clear eyeliner pen which you dip into a pot of powder to create a coloured liner), though my only bugbear was that you had to be so careful of loose powder falling onto your face. It happened to me. Twice.
My other niggle was that whilst the baked eyeshadows looked beautiful, they didn’t quite translate onto my eyes as well. This was a shame, as some of them are really drool-worthy. I’ve yet to try them wet, maybe this will give me more luck.
See below the baked eyeshadow result:
Frontcover baked eyeshadows
However, the negatives about the baked eyeshadow and tricky shadow liner was far outweighed by the many positives. The lip glosses are stunning. I tried ‘Brick Wall’, and loved it for its understated, subtle colour (this suits me best). The non-baked eyeshadows come on nicely and helped me create an impressive smokey eye.
Frontcover gift set – the makeover
My favourite item of the set is the domed blushers. The set has two blushes – one is a silvery pink shade, but I’ve gone Gaga for the darker blush, a perfect combination of gold, pink and peach. It’s the perfect blush, and looks beautiful on Asian skin. It reminds me a bit of Bobby Brown’s Shimmer Brick with its multiple shading. Swept onto cheeks, it gives a golden, rose glimmer, and seems made for us desi girls, who may struggle with silver tone-blushes.
And to top it all off, you have every type of eye brush you’d need, with a blusher brush and lip brush to boot. For the novices (like me), each brush has it’s purpose etched into it, for example ‘Fluff and Buff’, ‘Blend and Shadow’ is written on the side for us dumb-asses.
This gift box is impressive in size, and would put a smile on anyone’s face.
I’ve also tried Frontcover’s Air Kiss Lipstick set (£20), which has 20 lipsticks in almost every shade going. The set also comes with a retractable lip brush and nude lip liner.
On opening the box, I was slightly unimpressed by the size and presentation of the lipsticks in their Perspex cases. However, the lipsticks themselves are of good quality and are long wearing, which is much more important than having a pretty outer cover.
The lipsticks come in gloss, matte and frosty tones. Shades range from deep red to the lightest of peach. Some of the colours don’t translate so well on Asian skin tones, such as the first row of lighter shades, which range from lilac to salmon. However, there are enough colours there that can sort you out for most occasions, whether it’s just a trip to the shops, a day in the office, or a wedding.
Being a lover of lipstick, I love the idea of experimenting with different shades, and this really is the kit for it. So if you’re buying for someone also loves lip colour, this is the ideal set.
Finally, it works out about £1, per lipstick, which is a price you’d never pay for a decent lipstick on the high street. So from that point of view, it’s pretty good value for money.
Both Front cover gift sets are available at Boots.
The girl that has it all… but you’re still despo to impress
Arbonne Vanilla Amber gift set – £81.
Arbonne Vanilla Amber gift set
Finally, there are some people who just have it all. They shop in Whistles, and wear Swarovski. For this lucky lady (who you may secretly hate), any old gift won’t do. I found this out when I was charged with buying the leaving present for my boss. While I was intent on spending the kitty on some jewellery, I was assured that she would never wear anything under £100. So she got flowers, which no doubt died within a week. In hindsight, some luxury skincare would have been a much longer lasting, better buy.
If you know a lady who loves her indulgent skincare goodies, you can’t go far wrong with the Arbonne Vanilla Amber gift set, which really is luxury in a box.
The set contains a shower gel, sugar body scrub, body lotion and shimmer body powder. While it may be steep for some budgets, Arbonne is all about premium luxury. The brand can be seen as an upmarket Avon, so all the products are aimed at girls who like the finer things in life.
As you’d expect, the Vanilla Amber gift set contains pure vanilla as well as amber, dewberry, lemon and orange. Given its price tag, you’d expect something special, and that’s what you get. I’ve tried the set, and can vouch for its potent fragrance, which stays with you all day. While the body wash cleanses and adds fragrance, the sugar scrub is a great exfoliator which adds moisture at the same time. Finishing off with the body lotion gives you the full Vanilla Amber treatment, and smells a treat, too.
I hope that this post gives you a few options when buying gifts this season. I know I haven’t gone into gift options for men, but I will impart this bit of wisdom: if you have the misfortune of landing a boy as a Secret Santa, do what I did this year, and get a Gillette wash bag.
I’m a British-Bengali Muslim mum-of-two. My pictures aren’t filtered and neither are my words. I’m not a makeup artist, chef or lifestyle guru. I’m just me, sharing honest beauty reviews for brown skin, halal restaurant finds, travel inspo, mum life hacks, easy Bengali recipes and more. If that’s your bag, keep reading!