We live in strange times, y’all—an era of fabricated electoral disputes, a very real pandemic, and seemingly a holiday for every event and demographic imaginable. For instance, here in the United States, November 11 is commonly observed as Veterans Day. But in China, the “Double 11" date is known as Singles’ Day—and for those of you wondering, it’s exactly what it sounds like: “a Chinese unofficial holiday and shopping season that celebrates people who are not in relationships.” Basically, if you’ve ever growled and glared your way through a Valentine’s or Sweetheart’s Day, this is the day for all you self-lovers out there—and what’s more self-loving than upping your beauty routine? (Okay, I can think of one thing more self-loving—but didn’t find any major discounts at those online purveyors, so beauty deals, it is!)
While I usually reserve this type of promotional content for our Big Beauty Tuesdays, since we’re now transitioning into the holiday season, any day is a good day to catch a good sale. Besides, as both an unmarried person and one who loves pretty much any excuse to shop, I happily jumped on this bandwagon. We may not be able to cuddle up with a loved one tonight, but our credit cards might be a worthy substitute—so let’s get into it!
Yo, for real? If you’ve ever contemplated spending $68 for Pat McGrath’s Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Foundation (because it really does live up to the hype), today is the day to get thyself over to the makeup maven’s online marketplace. “Mother” has discounted all 36 shades of the serum-enriched formula 30 percent for Singles’ Day (bringing it to a still pricey but far more reasonable $47.60), and to complete your flawless skin fantasy, head over to her “Xclusive Offers” section to cop the Sublime Perfection Primer (now discounted to $23) and a gang of other goodies for up to 50 percent off.
But wait, there’s more: If you’re in the budget to spend $85 or more, Pat’s throwing in a free Blitztrance lipstick (full price: $38) in one of three color choices (including an ill-ass copper-flecked red called “Blood Rush”). What do we recommend adding to your cart? The most coveted beauty gift of this holiday season is indisputably McGrath’s Mthrshp Mega: Celestial Divinity Palette ($78), which, while not currently on sale, has also turned out to be one of the best deals ever added to McGrath’s arsenal, offering 18 gorgeously curated luxury eyeshadows in almost the same size pans as her well-known 10-color palettes ($125). Do the math—and don’t ever sleep on Mother.
For those who prefer a more “Basic Beat,” here’s a very budget-friendly new favorite for you: Fashion Nova launched its first makeup line, Maven Beauty, earlier this fall, and while they may offer over 2000 styles of jeans (no, seriously), their “Basic Beat” is a tightly-edited and surprisingly conservative yet versatile collection of pro-level eye makeup, lipsticks, highlighters and brushes, fantastically packaged and nearly foolproof for makeup aficionados and apprentices alike.
The brand, which has launched fashion collabs with Cardi B and is soon to add Megan Thee Stallion to the mix, graciously sent over product for TGU to sample. Much to my delight, the color payoff is good, the textures on point, and the shades flattering to most tones (though I could’ve used one more deep lipstick shade out of the five debuted—but again, this is the first launch, and the brand has already announced more coming soon). In fact, the only stumbling block I hit was with Maven’s dial-up liquid eyeliner: love the clever packaging, but dialed just a tad too much—and ended up with an eyeliner explosion (however, I can fully confirm the formula is waterproof and doesn’t budge). So, don’t be like me; try the line, but be patient with that eyeliner. And there’s no time like the present: the already low-priced line (along with the entire site) is 40 percent off with the code 19MILL. At those prices, I’m going to give that liner one more go.
If you’re already a Sephora Beauty Insider, you likely took advantage of last weekend’s Insider Days to do some early holiday shopping. But if not, never fear: the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year at Sephora—it’s when their value sets come out in full force! One of the big bonuses of beauty and fashion journalism is getting to shop these deals before anyone else, so of course, I did—and therefore have a few recommendations for you.
Sephora got our attention this spring when they became the first retailer to join the 15 Percent Pledge, promising to allocate at least 15 percent of their future offerings to Black-owned beauty brands. They bolstered that effort by deciding to center BIPOC brands in this year’s class of its Accelerate Program, which helps independent beauty brands develop and ready themselves for the likes of Sephora. Accelerate alum, Bread Beauty Supply, is among the newest of the eight Black-owned brands already carried by Sephora; for the holidays, I highly recommend copping Bread’s four-piece Wash-Day Essentials Kit for Curly & Textured Hair ($58; value: $72), which includes a full-sized bottle of their amazing-smelling and performing Everyday Gloss Hair Oil ($24) along with their excellent hair wash, mask and scrunchie.
Another major Black haircare brand makes a sweet comeback at Sephora this year, as Briogeo re-releases its Don’t Despair, Repair! Honey Moisture Deep Conditioning Mask ($36; Value: $54). This honey bear-themed set is “infused with organic honey to restore essential hydration and strength to dry, damaged hair” and also includes travel sizes of Briogeo’s famed Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask and protein-free Be Gentle, Be Kind Avocado + Kiwi Mega Moisture Superfood Mask. This luxury haircare doesn’t typically come cheap, so I’d jump on it.
While not Black-owned, I also have to give a shout to Sephora’s in-house collection, as the holidays are when they really show out. The annual palette is a treat I’ve always looked forward to, and this year’s Wild Wishes Multi-Palette Blockbuster ($36; value: $179) doesn’t disappoint, boasting 86 highly pigmented shades for eyes, face and lips—a perfect and pricepoint-friendly starter set for the makeup-crazy teenager on your list (adults who love to experiment with color will love it, too).
And since this holiday season will be synonymous with mask-wearing, several other sets are perfect for stocking stuffing this year (even if the stocking is your own): Sephora’s Face Mask Magic Kit ($25; value $34) includes six enzyme-rich formulas to help combat “maskne; for those inevitably chapped lips, Laneige’s Dream & Wonder Gift Set of Lip Sleeping Masks ($29) is already keeping me kissable (should “single” not turn out to mean “solo”). And since it’s all about the eyes this year, Sephora Favorites Lashstash Mascara Set is a steal ($48; value:$172), since it includes a full-sized Pat McGrath Labs Fetishize mascara, among other great picks in the mix.
Want more? (Greedy.) Sephora’s Beauty Director Myiesha Sewell shared a few of her faves, so listen up (since we all know Myieshas/Maiyshas know best when it comes to beauty).
Granted, if you’re a one-stop shopper, you may prefer to cop your Fenty from Sephora, but you’d be missing out on the brand’s Singles’ Day deal: 25 percent off all highlighters ($27-$29.25). I’m a huge fan of the dual-color combinations that debuted with the brand in 2017, but since Rihanna is nothing if not timely (except when it comes to dropping that ninth album), the Singles’ Day sale of course includes the two new single-shade Killawatts the brand dropped today, Rose Rave and Royal Icing (pictured below).
While you’re there, step on over to that Fenty Skin tab and nab their new and limited edition All-Four-One AM-PM Skincare Set ($112; value $128)—if you’ve yet to try Fenty Skin, now is definitely the time.
Is that enough retail therapy to fill a lonely heart? I wouldn’t know, since alone has never meant lonely, to me. (Maybe it’s because I’m surrounded by so much beauty?) What I do know is like singlehood, these deals are fleeting...so shoot your shot!
Updated: Wednesday, 11/11/20 at 8:25 p.m., ET: For those of you who are Sephora Insiders, I forgot to mention that Sephora’s Rewards Bazaar currently enables members to donate charity points to the Black Women’s Roundtable through its Sephora Stands program—a gift that keeps on giving!