Your Holiday Gift Guide for Makeup Lovers Who Don’t Do Glitter

Emery shares the best makeup you can gift this holiday, suitable for any level.
December 13, 2019, 3:15pm
Emery Coopersmith in blue mascara
Photo by Emery Coopersmith

It’s the season of light—and we don’t mean the shiny holiday decor.

December is the month when stores stock up on glittery holiday beauty sets, all begging to be purchased for that makeup lover in your life. But Emery Coopersmith says smart gifters should avoid these promotions.

“The best makeup gift is actually a look, and not just a trendy product,” he says. Following this adage, Coopersmith takes into consideration three factors that make a product giftable: “It’s not polarizing, it’s not overwhelming, and it’s a little bit different.”


Here, Coopersmith offers his recommendations for all the makeup wearers in your life, whether they’re veterans to the craft or are beginners in need of foolproof products. Read on before you buy that limited-edition eyeshadow palette that’s only going to work for New Year’s Eve.


winged eyeliner

Photo by Emery Coopersmith

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna

Liquid eyeliner by Fenty Beauty

Flyliner Longwear Liquid Eyeliner, $20

“I will anoint you as a beauty expert if you can do a cat eye. It takes experience, a steady hand, and [an] understanding [of] your face and style to truly master the look,” he says.

Luckily, this look only requires one product: the perfect liquid liner. “Flyliner from Fenty Beauty is the best black out there,” he says.

Makeup Forever

Makeup Forever eyeliner

Aqua XL Ink Eye Liner, $24

If your giftee already has their favorite black liquid liner, Coopersmith says there’s always room for a collection to grow beyond a classic black.

“Makeup Forever’s Aqua XL Ink Eye Liner has great colors and an even better formula,” he says. “The white shade literally lasted me though a 20-hour shoot day—sadly—and did not budge at all.”


Eye with blue mascara

Photo by Emery Coopersmith

Marc Jacobs Beauty

Marc Jacobs Beauty velvet eyelash primer

Velvet Primer – Epic Lash Primer, $26

“I’m known for sauntering down the office staircase with the audacity to rock cobalt blue lashes, and the look is fairly simple,” Coopersmith says. Before you even begin to use a colored mascara, Coopersmith says a good primer is a must to keep the color vibrant and the mess in check.

Marc Jacobs Beauty’s Velvet Primer can be used over curled lashes to help build length and volume, lighten the color of your natural lashes, and won’t make your eyelashes droop.


“Use just enough to coat your lashes and wait a little less than 30 seconds before applying color,” Coopersmith says. “I just switch to the second eye and that’s usually enough time.”

Sephora Collection

Volume on mascara

Volume ON Mascara in Navy Blue ON!, $10

“The bougie primer compensates for this chaotic product,” Coopersmith says of Sephora’s colored mascara. “It’s highly pigmented, but the formula and brush are a little wack. You will not notice this at all over the primer, so I don’t think you need to spend a ton on even Marc Jacobs’s colored mascaras. Together, the look lasts all day without flaking and transitions well into your office holiday party.”

If the person you’re gifting this mascara is also feeling a little experimental, Coopersmith says the product can also be used on the eyebrows: “[It] looks insane, but I love it.”


Eye shimmer

Photo by Emery Coopersmith

Haus Laboratories by Lady Gaga

Haus by Lady Gaga shimmer

Glam Attack Liquid Shimmer Powder in Aphrodite, $20

“Haus Labs has a holiday collection, but I would recommend the Glam Attack Liquid Shimmer Powder in Aphrodite from [Lady Gaga’s] first launch. It sheers out more than the other colors with a champagne-like color—it makes me feel more like Mariah than Gaga, but I don’t hate that,” he says. “The formula and applicator makes swiping this on and blending with your fingers a two-minute affair that lasts all day on my eyes. You could even experiment a bit, like using this as a highlighter for the cheeks [or] brow bone.”

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna

Fenty Beauty shimmer

Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer, $18

“Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb is pretty much a must-have,” Coopersmith says. “I personally use [the] shade Diamond Milk to top off my lips and occasionally my eyes, which sparkles to high heaven. Definitely grab two, and keep one for yourself.”

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