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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Last-Minute Ulta Beauty Mother's Day Gift Ideas for Every Budget

If there is any occasion worthy of a splurge, it's Mother's Day. Whether it's for your own mother or any mother figure in your life, now's the time to treat that special person to something luxurious. HOWEVER, this is Nouveau Cheap after all, so let's not get crazy! There's such a thing as "affordable luxury" and that's what this post is all about.

I teamed up with Ulta to create this Mother's Day gift guide, and they provided me a stipend with which to select and purchase some products to share with you. So although I did not purchase these items with my own funds, I did select each of these items myself, with all mothers in mind. And I'll be explaining my reasoning behind each selection below.

Ulta has a handy Mother's Day section on their site and it's broken up into four categories (click a link below to view each category on the Ulta site):

When tasked with purchasing beauty products for Mother's Day, I found these categories to be quite helpful. Because as we all know, there is just so much to choose from on the Ulta site, so it's nice that Ulta narrowed it down a bit with specific suggestions. There are lots of great ideas for every budget within each category.

So let's start with what I selected from the On Trend Mom category:

Tarte Tarteist Blush Palette ($38 at Ulta, 0.16 oz.)

I am a fairly recent convert to the Tarte Blush Cult, but I now totally understand why so many people love Tarte's blushes. These blushes have great pigmentation, they're buildable, the shades are gorgeous, the texture is smooth, and the staying power is excellent even on my super oily skin. And can we talk about how gorgeous this palette is for a minute? The magenta with the gold accents just looks so luxurious--it's even more impressive in person. The shades in this palette (all but one are matte) are so universal and would work on so many skintones. They're both beautiful and wearable. I showed this palette to my own mom and she immediately said, "May I have that if you don't want it?" So I ran out the next day and bought her one, too (I hope she's not reading this because I'm giving it to her for Mother's Day. Sorry for the spoiler, mom!).

I also want to mention that compared to the deluxe samples I've received in a few value sets recently, I find the pigmentation of the blushes in this palette to be far superior in terms of how easily they pick up on the brush and deposit onto the skin.

BareMinerals Invisible Light Translucent Powder Duo ($32 at Ulta, 0.31 oz.)

I chose this new BareMinerals duo because if your mom is anything like mine, the words "highlighting" and "strobing" are not in her vocabulary. So if you want to introduce your mom to those concepts, this duo is PERFECT. You get both a matte setting powder and a subtle highlighter in this palette. The setting powder is truly matte and absolutely colorless. It's a dream to work with and it's very finely milled. The highlighter is subtle yet gorgeous. It's perfect for adding a beautiful, soft glow to the skin and just like with the matte powder, it's very finely milled--not chunky or glittery in the slightest (see swatches below). You really can't overdo it with these products, so it's perfect for moms who may want to try their hand at all this "highlighting business", without worrying about looking like a disco ball.

PS: I've heard that this highlighter is also a nice dupe for the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder, which retails for $45.

Next up, my selections from the Natural Mom category:

Zoya Nail Lacquer Madeline ($9 at Ulta, 0.5 oz.)

My first pick for my mom, when it comes to any gift, is always nail polish. I selected Zoya Madeline for a few reasons. First of all, it's Zoya. If your mom hasn't experienced Zoya before, she really should. Their polishes are 5-free, come in gorgeous colors, and the formulas are always top notch (I've been a fan of Zoya since the 90s, if that's any indication as to how much I love these polishes).

Madeline jumped out at me because it's the perfect "mom color" (in the best way possible). It goes with everything, and it's classic yet modern. Madeline is sort of a rosewood color--a perfect blend of mauve and brown. It also reminds me of the famous polish shade that Molly Ringwald wore in The Breakfast Club

Madeline is a one-coater; perfect opacity after just one coat (great for busy moms on the go), but I applied two coats in my pic below, because I always apply at least two coats for swatch pics. No top coat in my photo:

Marc Jacobs Rain Eau de Toilette ($62 at Ulta, 3.4 oz.)

I had to include a fragrance in my post because perfumes are always a great gift for mom, right? I chose Marc Jacobs Rain because it's the type of fragrance that even non-perfume-lovers might love. To me, this fragrance smells like a really, really fancy laundry detergent. That's sort of a weird description, I know! But it's just a very clean scent that isn't "perfume-y". It's fresh and simple, but there's something special about it. I also love that it doesn't have super strong projection, which makes it perfect for the office or any type of professional environment.

Top - Wet cut grass, sparkling wild strawberry, clementine zest, dewy cypress
Heart - Tropical rain accord, passion flower, sunshine flower, white orchid
Base - Beech amber, tree moss, musk and teakwood

Next up, my selections from the On the Go Mom category:

IT Brushes for Ulta Your Superheroes Full-Size 6-Piece Travel Brush Set ($50 at Ulta, 6 brushes)

If any one deserves truly luxe, soft-as-can-be makeup brushes, it's mom. And what's great about this set is that it comes in a small travel case, which can easily fit in a purse or bag. The brushes in this set are all full-size, with a combined retail value of $100. For $50, that's quite the steal since that breaks down to $8.34 per brush.

What I also love about this set is that it only contains the essentials:
  • Unstoppable Powder: Plush, large domed brush head for even powder application
  • Seamless Foundation: Dense, tapered brush head in flat paddle shape
  • Effortless Crease: Narrow, tapered head designed to fit into the crease of the eye
  • Smoothing Concealer: Small thin, tapered flat brush head great for getting into small hard to reach areas of the face
  • Absolute Shadow: Small, soft rounded head designed for the delicate eye
  • Flawless Liner & Brow: Firm, flat angled brush

There's no fluff here in terms of the selection--this set contains exactly what most of us need to get the job done, without any brushes that mom might look at and say, "What the heck do I do with this?" 

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herb and Rosewater ($7 at Ulta, 4.0 oz.)

I chose the extremely popular Mario Badescu Facial Spray because it's one of those products that many moms wouldn't buy for themselves, but they will SO appreciate and be grateful to have once they give it a try. I love this stuff, and so does my own mom (I bought it for her, of course!).

This is one of those facial products that you just have to experience yourself to understand. A few spritzes to your face and you will feel instantly refreshed. This product provides some lovely hydration to the skin, without upsetting makeup (although you can certainly apply it to your bare face as well). Perfect for the upcoming summer months, this product is a true, affordable luxury. And it smells divine as well--like rosewater and aloe. So fresh and lovely.

Philosophy Travel Size Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser ($11 at Ulta, 3.0 oz.)

I'm betting YOU have tried this ridiculously popular facial cleanser, but has mom? If not, why not have her give it a try, too? At $11 for this 3-oz. bottle, this is a great way for mom to experience this popular facial cleanser without much risk. And take it from me--the 3 oz. bottle lasts a long time since you don't need much per application. This is definitely enough product for her to determine whether or not she may want to invest in a large bottle.

And finally, my selections from the Classic Mom category:

Buxom Full-On Lip Polish in Dolly ($20 at Ulta, 0.15 oz.)

I am not a gloss person, but I have heard so many raves about these Buxom lip polishes that I just had to get one. And boy, these are pretty fabulous even for a non-gloss person. I love this shade Dolly, since it's a Your Lips But Better color that goes with anything (swatches below). It's nicely pigmented and not too sticky, and it feels amazing on the lips. Buxom calls these "refreshing" and that is the perfect word to describe how they feel on the lips. This product does tingle due to the Menthone Glycerin Acetal (a derivative of menthol) but the formula doesn't sting or feel uncomfortable. Just the opposite, actually. It truly feels refreshing and I have never quite experienced anything like it (and I've tried a zillion lip products that contain menthol and/or plumping agents). It's like a fresh breeze is blowing on your lips when you're wearing this gloss. That's the best way to describe it!

This gloss doesn't smell or taste like menthol--to me it both smells and tastes like peppermint-infused marshmallows. Yummy. Also, this is so easy to wear, it's extremely shiny and it also delivers some subtle plumping, which is always nice for mature lips. Plus, the tube looks very luxe with the frosted plastic and long applicator. I totally understand the hype about these now that I've tried one, so if your mom loves lip gloss and she hasn't tried one of these yet, I think she'll love it.

Smith's Rosebud Salve Tube ($6 at Ulta, 0.5 oz.)

One of the best moves ever was when Smith's put their classic Rosebud Salve in a tube. Genius, right? So many people prefer tubes to tins (much easier and more sanitary), so now you can get mom on the Rosebud train without her having to fuss with a tin. And be sure to remind her that, in addition to lips, she can use it on cuticles, elbows, knees, heels, and even curling iron burns. The perfect "keep in your purse" product for emergencies. I have a tube in my purse as I type this. You can't go wrong with this little treat.

I hope this post helped give you some gift ideas for Mother's Day. You can purchase all of these products online at Ulta (direct links above and below) or in-store at your local Ulta, and don't forget that Ulta is offering free shipping on orders $35+ at the time of publication. You can also check out my weekly wrap-up for additional Ulta deals and sales.

Click an image below to go directly to the item listing at Ulta:

This is a sponsored post containing original content written by Nouveau Cheap. Products in this post were selected by Nouveau Cheap and supplied by Ulta Beauty. For more information, click here.


  1. I usually make my mom some skincare for mother's day - she likes skincare but is not into makeup, and this way I can custom-blend scents for her.

    1. Aaaaw, that's very sweet of you! Handmade gifts are wonderful! :)

  2. I want that Tarte Blush Palette. So pretty

    1. It's even prettier in person, I promise! :)

  3. I love your choices G.! Especially the blush. This mom would love this one. I hope my daughter is reading! Lol. As I read through the post it gave me an idea for my 87 year old mom who still puts her face on every morning! I think I am going to a whole face of higher end minis. Thanks for the ideas! Xo

    1. Thank you so much, Robin! I actually thought of you when I was using that palette because I know you love Tarte blushes. You kind of need this one. Lol. Hoping your daughter is reading this, too. Lol! ;) And what a fun gift idea for your mom! Great idea. Happiest of Mother's Days to both of you beautiful women! xo

  4. Those are great choices. I wish my mom and/or my mother-in-law was into beauty and makeup. My birthday falls on Mother's Day this year, so maybe I'll mother myself with a couple of these suggestions!

    1. Thank you so much, Heidi! And YES! You should definitely mother yourself since it's your birthday! If anything, you kind of need that facial spray if you haven't already tried it. It's such a pampering little luxury that's also so affordable. :) And Happy early birthday to you!!! xoxo

  5. Great post, G! I love it when you do gift ideas like these!

  6. The image is of a Lip Cream not a Lip Polish like you wrote.


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