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For makeup addicts like me, December is a good time to avoid department-store cosmetics areas and any Sephora within driving distance. This is due to the fact that every makeup company on earth seems determined to dangle even more temptation than usual in front of us in the form of palettes and kits.

Since I wrote my first column about Christmas-season kits five years ago, a growing number of companies have begun putting out multiple gift items for your consideration. They often include special colors or products designed to entice you even more. This year, these are my picks for some of the best on the block.

Last year, Sephora quickly sold out of their fragrance sampler box. It contained 10 vials of best-selling perfumes and a gift certificate for a full-size bottle of any one of the scents contained within. This year, not only is there a set of best-selling perfumes, they have a set of classic perfumes (including Shalimar) and one of “trendsetters” (including Ferragamo Incanto Heaven). There’s also a men’s sampler set.

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Too Faced is known for their collection of tiny palettes called “The Quickie Chronicles," each named after an archetypal movie character (for example, The Temptress). This year, you can get eight of these palettes in a collection, or spring for the World Domination Tour All Access Backstage Beauty Collection! Inside a jewel box — with a tiny dancer swirling to the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” — are eye shadows, bronzer, blush, lip glosses, a cake eyeliner and an illuminator.

If you’re a fan of Lorac, you might consider the Croc Case Full Face Collection of 16 eye shadows, two blushes, a highlighter , bronzer and three lip glosses in a fake crocodile skin case. Or Tarte’s The Vanity Limited Edition Palette that also has 16 eye shadows, along with 16 glosses and mascara and brushes.

The Stila Step Out & Shine Color Collection comes in a lovely silver evening bag and consists of the Montmarte eye shadow quad (purples), Convertible Color in Orchid, plus a mini-mascara, All Over Shimmer and lip gloss in Pomegranate Crush.

Urban Decay’s Book of Shadows Palette not only contains eight of their best-selling eye shadows, there are an additional eight shadows created exclusively for this set. It also has a travel size of their very popular Primer Potion and two brushes.

At the high-dollar end are offerings from two of the biggest names in luxury products: the Givenchy Very Couture Holiday Palette (containing a mini-gloss, tiny mascara and a Purple Couture eye shadow quad and a compact powder quartet); and the Dior Chic Makeup Palette for the Eyes, with six rich colours to make any look your own.

Every year, MAC offers about a dozen different palettes and sets, and this year is no exception. The popular Viva Glam lip sets come in warm and cool versions. And the sure sell-out every year: the brush sets in makeup bags. This year, there are three brush sets — one of basics, another of face brushes and a third of eye shadow brushes.

For the true color-junkie, or the teen who just wants MORE makeup, the Sephora Ultimate Blockbuster Palette should be on your list. There are 84 eye shadows, 60 lipsticks, 3 blushes, 3 face powders, a lip liner and an eye liner pencil along with 7 applicators. That’s a lot of makeup for less than $50 (even in Canadian dollars)!

Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season!


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