It’s fairly easy to shop for someone who’s into minimal, no-makeup makeup — a simple, multi-use product (something of the stick variety, perhaps) will often do the trick. But when it comes to the friend who’s a beauty maximalist — you know, the one who cherishes color and boldness and subscribes to the cheerful dopamine glam beauty trend — you might find yourself a bit stumped on what to gift them this holiday season.
That's why we sought guidance from a reliable source: Serena Tea. The Brooklyn-based drag queen has earned her rightful spot on stages in New York City and across the U.S. (and she’ll soon hit our television screens in an upcoming drama series that explores queer identity and the beauty industry). Night after night, as she has for the past five years, Tea energetically performs and dances in DIY outfits, her signature high ponytail, and a makeup look she calls her “stamp.” Angular, sharp, and strong, it’s “kind of mean-looking,” she tells Refinery29. “I paint my eyes very cat-like and draw my eyebrows super thin and arched. And I love to overdraw my lips so they look really plump. There’s definitely nothing light about my makeup — I don’t ever do ‘soft’ or ‘natural.’ It’s very in your face: My nose is sharp, my eyes are snatched back, and it’s all very high and defined.”
In addition to using makeup that withstands hours of spotlights, movement, and sweat, Tea looks for products that are affordable and multifaceted (being strongly pigmented doesn’t hurt, either). Below, with support from Ulta Beauty, Tea shares the top products worthy of gifting your makeup-loving friend or relative this year, from an unassuming eyeliner that truly will not budge to a nine-pan eyeshadow palette that doubles as blush.