The holiday beauty collections are upon us, and as always, I’ve waded through press releases and reviews to help you decide what’s worth to spend your hard earned cash on. Without further ado, let’s jump into the sea of red lipsticks and golden highlighters that have to pop up in any holiday collection. It’s basically the law!

Chanel – Collection Livre Numeros Rouges

Chanel holiday 2017
And then Chanel drew me back in with the gorgeous promo picture… (picture courtesy of Chanel).

Lucia Pica is basically a red lipstick woman, and it shows in this collection. It’s touted to have a red lipstick for every woman’s skin and undertone, and while I salute the thought, I’m sceptical about its execution (we’ve some fab posts about wearing red lipstick, btw! Here and here). Four lipsticks seems both to little a number for that, and also weirdly superfluous, because in BBB’s swatches, I can see few variations in colour. So, whatever? (Two are Rouge Allures, and two are Rouge Allure Mattes, if you’re in the market. And just FYI, I can’t stand Chanel’s mattes, and think there’re better ones around.)

Chanel calls everything else in this collex ‘supporting cast’, and truly, the only exciting item I can spot is the red blush that should look fab on a vast number of complexions, from snow white to ebony. While people may call this a collection of classic items, I call it an unimaginative snoozefest. (Silverkis has swatches for about everything.) It’s time for Pica to both step out of her comfort zone and step it up.


Dior – Precious Gems

Dior Precious Gems
Again, a gorgeous look on Lindsey Wixson, if only it could be done with products featured in the collection… (Picture courtesy of Dior).

Dior’s Peter Philippe does it better: He took Dior’s traditional holiday concept and packaging and managed to make it look somehow interesting and new. The jewel-like embossing on the powder products is pretty, but not pretty enough to convince me to splurge. The two eyeshadow palettes lack contrasting shadows, and the blush is nothing special.

But the combined lip and cheek colours look promising, and the crayon-like looking lipsticks are something new. If you like highlighters (and who doesn’t, these days?) the highlighting powders are for you – pretty pattern, good quality. The nailpolishes, though, remind me of granny colours with that uninspired shimmer. (Some swatches from The Happy Sloths.)


Guerlain – Holiday 2017

Guerlain Holiday 2017
Isn’t the packaging totally gorgeous?! (Picture courtesy of Guerlain)

We’ll see below that ‘tis the season for pretty packaging. I’ll leave it to you who’ll win this year’s round, but Guerlain’s is very beautiful with the art deco vibes in its packaging and embossing. We have an eyeshadow palette, a bronzing powder, the famous balls aka Meteorites, a mascara topcoat and two red Rouge G lipsticks.

While it is all very covetable, I’ll leave you with a few thoughts: The Meteorites are nearly always indistinguishable once you applied them. The eyeshadow palette houses pretty basic shades I’m pretty sure you own already, and if your skintone is a light medium, the Terracotta bronzer might fit. And two red lipsticks – groundbreaking! All in all, pretty, expensive af and rather likely dupeable.


YSL – Dazzling Lights

YSL Dazzling Lights collection
’cause baby, you’re a firework… (Picture courtesy of YSL)

Again a collection that impresses due to its packaging, and not because the items’ quality. Well, actually, that’s not completely true, because YSL has a great lipstick formula called Rouge Pur Couture that features in this mini collection. Six rather basic (and permanent) colours (swatches), housed in a hefty gold case embossed with fireworks. Very pretty, but you can get the shades any time (without the firework print). Also in this collection is the famous Touche Eclat highlighter pen (also in special packaging) and two glittery nail polishes (gold with bar glitter, ugh! and red with reflecting hex glitters).

And then we have what YSL clearly thinks is their pièce de resistance, and what always reminds me of cheap duty free offers: The combined eyeshadow/blush and lipcolour palette. It’s always a bad idea to combine cream and powder products in one palette, and it’s a bad idea in this case. Ugh. Pass.


Armani – Holiday 2017

Armani holiday beauty collection 2017
The platonic ideal of a makeup look, in one picture. (Picture courtesy of Armani)

OHHAI Armani, haven’t seen you in a while. Did your creative directors fall asleep for spring/summer? Never mind, for the holidays, they’re coming out with a palette (business as usual), an extension line of the Lip Magnets and two darling gift sets. The Palette looks stunning when it comes to the first tier, and then it all goes to hell. Who is going to look at the powder and the two shades of Maestro foundation and is like ‘yeah, that’ll suit me fine!’?! Only a very, very small percentage of women. If you think that might be you, and you’ve got 130 EUR lying around, go for it! (Or not, because, you know, powder and cream products in ONE BLOODY PALETTE! Blergh!) (Twitter vid showing the first tier.)

I wasn’t very moved when I tried the lip magnets. But the lip kits are cute? One houses four little Lip Maestros in pink, red, and nude-ish colours, while the other one has a mini pink Lip Magnet and the matching Extasy Shine mini lipstick. Minis ftw. And that’s all the feelings I have about this.


Givenchy – Striking Night Lights

Givenchy Striking Night Lights
Givenchy’s Holiday Palette. (Picture courtesy of Givenchy)

Proceeding in the same vein, here’s Givenchy, recycling last year’s palette and throwing some uninspired items into the collection. The blue glittery packaging is the most exciting thing in the yawn-worthy mix. The eyeshadow palette has three shades in pans that look like stars, and is your basic smokey palette. (The Velvet Kiss has swatches.)

Two lipsticks in red and a MLBB shade, a glittery blue mascara topper with a flock applicator like a lipgloss that confuses me (honestly, how am I supposed to apply this?!) and a setting powder. Is that supposed to be appealing? To anybody? Really?!


MAC – Snow Ball

MAC Snowball collection
MAC Snowball collection promo pic. (Picture courtesy of MAC)

MAC’s ginormous Holiday LEs are legendary and difficult to write about. It’s. Just. So. Bloody. Enormous! Usually, we have a colour collection, and a collection that’s made up from different sets and gift packages. So, let’s check: gorgeous packaging? Yup. Sets galore? Check. The MAC Extra Dimension eyeshadow/highlighter formula is one of my faves, and oh, look, there’re ED shadows in both the colour collection and in the gift sets, as are the ED highlighters. You can’t go wrong with them.

If you want to get something from the collection just for the gorgeous gold packaging and the snowflake embossing (not judging), I’d pick an eyeshadow (this one – swatches). The standout from the gift sets is certainly the ten-piece lipstick set of classic MAC shades. The famous Whisper of Gilt ED highlighter makes a comeback in one of the sets as well. Otherwise note that all sets decreased slightly in price, but then, like in former times, we get only three items in the lip and pigment sets, which is rather disappointing.


NARS x Man Ray

Nars Man Ray collection
The gorgeous packaging of Nars x Man Ray (picture courtesy of Nars).

Nars has partnered with various artists for the last holiday collections, which suits the brand very well. It’s always executed flawlessly and each artists’ idiosyncrasies are always allowed and encouraged to influence each item. This year, they go with Man Ray, and as usual, you’ve to like the artist to be really wowed by the collection.

Similar to MAC, the collection consists of a colour collection and a variety of gift sets. Highlights (some swatches from VampyVarnish) are the highlighter in a light gold that veers into rosegold, the eyeshadow duos in rich purples (swatches from Karen), and the very pigmented blushes in a very unusual tangerine colour and a bright shimmery pink. My pick from the gift sets would be the both eyeshadow palettes which houses rich jewel tone shadows of greens and neutrals (the smaller six pan palette) and a mix of green, reddish, pink and blue shades (12 pan palette). The packaging is fun (gold lips everywhere), and when all other Holiday collections are a proper snoozefest, this one definitely isn’t.


Tl, dr – holiday 2017 makeup collections roundup

2017’s Holiday collections are very likely going down in history as the most yawn inducing collections ever. Reds and golds galore, but why do I have the feeling that the big luxury brands nowadays think that pretty packaging will make us look benevolently upon the most mediocre mix of products ever?! NOT ONE THING in all the collections has that exciting mix of a great quality formula paired with great packaging paired with Holiday spirit. It’s just not there.

Sure, some nice lipsticks (Chanel’s, Guerlain’s, YSL’s), some nice highlighting powders (Dior, Guerlain), and some nice eyeshadows (MAC, NARS), but in the end – you’ll have these in your stash anyway. Go and get your loved ones some nice gifts, treat yourself to a spa treatment, or a good dinner, and I guarantee you, you won’t miss a thing.

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Beauty junkie with about 20 years of beauty experience under her belt. Editor, writer and twindly's PR heroine. Has an unbelievably large nail polish stash and a passion for skincare. Gets a kick out of pretty powders.


  1. Thank you Dorit for the roundup.

    It seems that most brands are presenting just variations of neutral eyeshadows and red lipstick and a lot of shimmer. You’re absolutly right about it being so boring.
    I will skip nearly everything, perhaps try one of the Dior powder lipsticks in that horrible Diorific packaging. They are a bit more unusual.

    Is there something that you will possibly buy?

    I’ve bought the NARS 12pan palette, wich is really small, but the shadows are nice. In fact there are a few of the neutrals which I didn’t have dupes for in my collection.
    And I got my first Hourglass product, that new Ambient Lighting Palette. While the products themselfs are nice, the packaging feels incredibly cheap. Espacially reagarding that 75 Euro price tag. Very lightweight plastic, can’t think of a drugstore brand, that still has that kind of packaging.

    Hope you’re doing as well as possible.

  2. Thanks for collecting everything for us in one article. I’m looking forward to Mac and maybe I’ll get something from Chanel this year but that’s it for me. Didn’t get as weird as I would have done in past years somehow!

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