The best value beauty advent calendars this Christmas including a luxury buy worth £1k & rip-off item saving just £4
CHOOSING an advent calendar used to involve little more than deciding which cartoon hero you wanted on the front of your 25 minuscule foil-wrapped bits of chocolate.
Now, the choice is endless, from Lego to caviar, jewellery to booze.
Sephora Favourites advent calendar, £189 (worth £1,045) – buy here
Credit: Dan Duchars
Fortnum & Mason’s beauty advent calendar, which costs £260 and has goods worth £1,020 – buy here
It’s not uncommon to see shoppers lining up in London’s Carnaby Street to guarantee themselves a Liberty beauty advent calendar, £250 (worth £1,043) – buy here
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The beauty industry was in at the start of the non-chocolate trend, with Liberty department store launching its first cosmetics calendar in 2014. In the nine years since, it seems everyone is following suit, with a dizzying number of Christmas countdowns on offer.
This year even sees a handful of ultra-luxurious ones, worth more than £1,000.
They include Fortnum & Mason’s beauty advent calendar, which costs £260 and has goods worth £1,020, and Sephora Favourites advent calendar, £189 (worth £1,045).
It’s not uncommon to see shoppers lining up in London’s Carnaby Street to guarantee themselves a Liberty beauty advent calendar, £250 (worth £1,043), at this time of year.
Meanwhile, more than 170,000 people have signed up to the waiting list for the No7 25 Days Of Beauty advent calendar, of which there are four to choose from. For brands, it’s a golden opportunity to entice new consumers as well as retain loyal fans keen to experiment with other products.
But there’s an uglier side to the industry, with some shoppers claiming the calendars are filled with old stock, unused samples and gifts traditionally free with a purchase.
In 2021, for example, luxury brand Chanel caused outrage when its inaugural calendar, which cost a huge £610, contained just stickers behind five of its doors. Other slots had budget items such as bookmarks, magnets and key rings.
To avoid falling into a similar trap, here’s everything to consider before you part with your hard-earned cash . . .
Do you trust the brand?
IF it’s a company you know, check the contents to see if they include products you’ve used before and would buy again, or that it at least has new products you will actually make use of.
Most one-brand calendars have a high proportion of minis, so if you know you love a particular product it’s worth shopping around to see if you can get a full-size version in a multi-brand calendar instead. If you are considering purchasing a multi-brand calendar, are you familiar with any of the brands or products it includes?
This year, I was drawn to Space NK beauty advent calendar, £235 (worth £1,008), as it contains a few products I already use. My regular products alone added up to £145, or 62 per cent of the calendar price, which makes it less of a risk.
Will you use the products?
QUITE a few of the more affordable beauty calendars contain fake eyelashes and glue-on nails. Are those products you are likely to actually use?
If you know you don’t like taking baths, for example, then a calendar such as The Body Shop’s Advent Calendar Of Wonders, £95 (worth £173.50), which is heavy on self-care products, probably isn’t worth shelling out on.
Is there space in your routine?
IF you’ve already got a strict regimen in place and you’re happy with the results, it’s unlikely you’re going to ditch it in favour of your new haul.
Only consider calendars with products you’re actually looking to improve on. If you love your skincare products, but are less enamoured with your make-up, consider a make-up-only calendar.
Do you have anyone to split it with?
TWENTY-FIVE new products in one month is a lot for one person. Some of this year’s calendars, such as the Cult Beauty advent calendar, £225 (worth £1,000-plus), have more than 30 inside.
If you have a friend or loved one willing to share the calendar, then split it with them for half the cost.
Do you travel regularly?
IF you often find yourself buying minis for holidays from the pick and mix stand in Boots, then stocking up on them in an advent calendar now will save you money in the long run.
However, if you’re more of a home bird, then the minis are of limited use. Instead, look for the calendars with the highest ratio of full-sized products.
Do you have a use for the box?
ADVENT calendars can create a lot of packaging waste. If there’s any metallic bits on the box then it will be tricky to recycle in most areas.
Can you think of a way to repurpose it in future? If not, consider a calendar that comes in a vanity case, such as the No7 Ultimate 25 Days Of Beauty advent calendar, £149.95 (worth £465), which can sit pretty on your dressing table after.
Do you know the calendar’s worth?
AN immediate red flag is if the brand does not disclose the calendar’s “worth”.
It is not necessarily a bad thing — the products may have been specially made for the calendar so you can’t buy them separately. This is OK if you trust the brand.
But with beauty calendars themed around non-beauty brands, such as Boots’ Harry Potter Hogwarts advent calendar, £40, it is harder to judge their quality.
The lack of disclosure for some could be because the contents are worth less than the calendar’s price.
M&S, £45 when you spend £35. Worth £340: The best-value luxury option, with 25 varied products held in a reusable wash bag – buy here
Lookfantastic, £99. Worth over £565: At £97, the Avant Skincare hyaluronic acid eye cream almost recoups the cost alone – buy here
Harvey Nichols, £250. Worth: £1,300: As well as having the highest worth, one in every 50 contains a voucher for £100 to spend in-store – buy here
Garnier 12 Days Of Maskmas, £38. Worth £42: Nine face masks, three under-eye ones. Quality is great but they are often on offer at Boots
Macmillan 24 Doors Of Joy, £90. Worth £167: Just £2 is for charity, so buy M&S’s £45 calendar and donate separately to this very worthy causeCredit: supplied
Dr Hauschka, £90. Worth £133: All but one of the products is travel size, and as many are body products, you’re likely to run out