When Selfridges launched the Lancome luxury beauty Advent calendar back in 2011 it was an almost instant sell-out. Since then, four other brands have jumped on the bandwagon with their own versions packed full of beautifying treats for every day of Advent 2013. Here, from £30 to £84, we survey 2013’s offerings from Boots, Benefit, Ciate, and You Beauty, alongside the Lancome original.
Boots Beauty Advent Calendar
This is the first time the high street chemist has sold a beauty Advent calendar. It’s got a traditionally Christmassy red box, and the great thing about it is that you get a mix of own-brand and branded products in mini and full size versions. Plus, if you buy any of the products later you can get triple Boots Advantage card points on them.
What’s in it? Mascara, nail varnish, hair products and more from brands including Soap & Glory, Nails Inc, Paco Rabanne, Juicy Couture, Rimmel, Mavala, Umberto Giannini, Vichy, Boots Botanics and Seventeen.
Contents are worth: More than £65
Where can I buy it? On the Boots website.
Benefit’s Countdown to Love Advent Calendar
I first glimpsed Benefit’s beauty Advent calendar at the Debenhams beauty press day a few weeks ago. In its cartoon-covered purple party box, it’s supremely stylish – as you would expect from Benefit.
What’s in it? A whole heap of Benefit bestsellers in miniature form: “that gal”, the POREfessional, high beam, sun beam, benetint, chachatint, posietint, ultra plush lip gloss in dandelion, ultra plush lip gloss in sugarbomb, ultra plush lip gloss in CORALista, hoola, dandelion, CORALista, ultra plush lip gloss in A-lister, BADgal lash, stay don’t stray light/medium, BADgal liner waterproof, it’s potent eye cream, girl meets pearl, total moisture facial cream, ooh la lift. Plus, a horseshoe charm bracelet, star charm necklace and ribbon bow barrette.
Contents are worth: Unknown
Where can I buy it? On the Benefit website (but at the time of writing it’s out of stock and won’t be back in this year)
The Body Shop Advent Calendar
This glitzy golden offering from The Body Shop gives you pretty much an Advent of aromatherapy as it’s full of lusciously scented soaps, gels, balms, lotions and other bathtime favourites. And with many in 60ml bottles it’ll actually last way longer than a month.
What’s in it? 24 Body Shop miniatures: Shea Body Butter, Shea Lip Butter, Shea Shower Gel, Strawberry Lip Balm, Strawberry Shower Gel, Moringa Shower Gel, Moringa Body Milk, Almond Hand Cream, Mango Body Whip, Coconut Shower Cream, Satsuma Body Puree, Japanese Cherry Blossom Body Lotion, White Musk Body Lotion, Cranberry Joy Mini Heart Soap, Ginger Sparkle Mini Heart Soap, Chocolate Soap, Ultra Fine Bath Lily White, Lip & Cheek Stain 02, Facial Brush, Honey Lip Balm, Raspberry Lip Balm, Vitamin E Moisture Cream, Vitamin E Moisture Mask, Vitamin E Night Cream
Contents are worth: £80
Where can I buy it? On the Body Shop website
Ciate’s Mini Mani Month
Nail art addicts (I’m looking at you, Helen Coakley) will adore this luxury Advent calendar from Ciate, the brand famed for it’s caviar manicure sets. But beware, with 24 different options you’re going to have to find the time for a mini mani every day in December.
What’s in it? Nineteen bestselling Ciate mini Paint Pots, four textured manicure toppers including Caviar and Sequin and a surprise full size paint pot.
Contents are worth: About £85 by my calculations
Where can I buy it? On the Ciate website
Selfridges’ Exclusive Beauty Advent Calendar
The original and still the most luxurious and beautiful of all the luxury beauty Advent calendars is the Lancome-dominated offering exlcusive to Selfridges. They haven’t changed the contents since it launched in 2011 (we first saw it at the Selfridges Christmas press day that July) and it continues to sell out year on year.
What’s in it? Lots of Lancome mini favourites like eye cream, face cream, anti-ageing serum and a Juicy Tubes lip gloss, make up from Yves Saint Laurent and skincare from Kiehls. Plus fragrances from Yves Saint Laurent, Victor & Rolf, Armani, Maison Martin Margiela and others.
Contents are worth: Easily more than £100.
Where can I buy it? The Selfridges website says ‘Shop now’ but leads to a broken link sadly.
YOU Beauty Discovery Advent Calendar
Clearly the winner in the price-to-value ratio, the YOU Beauty Discovery Advent calendar definitely falls into the luxury category as it features a host of high-end beauty brands and is worth a whopping £240. In a less-is-more white box, this is one for the real brand lovers.
What’s in it? Make up and skincare minis from the likes of Caudalie, ESPA, Dermalogica, Leighton Denny, Sisley and Stila.
Contents are worth: £240
Where can I buy it? On the YOU Beauty website
AND THE WINNER IS… Since two of the calendars are sold out, this is pretty much a three horse race (yes I realise I’m mixing my sporting metaphors now.) While the Boots Calendar is good ‘budget’ option (if you can call a £30 Advent calendar budget) my winner is the YOU Beauty Discovery Advent Calendar, for it’s excellent beauty brand range and value for money – you’ll be using those products up well into 2014. Well done, YOU Beauty.