Now I know it’s not even Halloween yet, let alone Bonfire Night, but if you want to get your hands on these babies you’re gonna have to act now, because they’re prone to selling out ever so quickly. With six brands returning and five newbies in the mix, competition is tougher than ever. In alphabetical order (for fairness), let the battle commence…
Last year’s purple discotastic ‘Countdown to Love’ calendar has had a super sweet makeover.
What’s in it? A whole heap of Benefit bestsellers in miniature form, a similar selection to last year: “that gal”, the POREfessional, high beam, sun beam, benetint, chachatint, posietint, ultra plush lip glosses, 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, sticky notes, a doodle pad and a couple of hair ties.
Contents are worth: Unknown
Where can I buy it? On the Benefit website or from Debenhams. It says sold out right now but I’m told you can go into Debenhams and reserve one on the Benefit counter for picking up on 1 or 2 November. If you don’t pick it up by then it’s gone!
2013’s Mini Mani Month has had a makeover – say hello to the even more alliterative Mini Mani Manor, where your stay will cost £7 more than last year.
What’s in it? Fifteen Ciate mini Paint Pots (four less than last year), eight textured manicure toppers and a surprise full size paint pot.
Contents are worth: About £85 by my calculations
Where can I buy it? On the Ciate website.
OK so it’s not technically an Advent calendar in the traditional sense, but you could easily open a window every day for the second half of Advent
What’s in it? Half a dozen minis lotions and potions from the well-respected skincare brand.
Contents are worth: £113
Price: £53.55 – £59.50
Brand new for 2014, this minimalist masterpiece, based on the brand’s Georgian townhouse, is by far the priciest calendar of them all.
What’s in it? Two-dozen dainties from the famous Brit fragrance brand, including body creams and colognes.
Contents are worth: Unknown. But obviously a lot.
Where can I buy it? In Harrods from 10 October and on the Jo Malone website from November.
Another one of the new kids on the beauty calendar block, each daily surprise in this high-end hoard is housed in a cute lil’ Liberty print drawer.
What’s in it? 25 pampering pressies from Liberty-stocked brands including Nars, Weleda, Decleor, Espa, Eve Lom, Dermalogica, Laura Mercier and – my favourite – a baby Baies candle from Diptyque.
Contents are worth: I reckon at least £250
Where can I buy it? On the Liberty website and in store from November.
Another set that stretches the Advent Calendar remit a bit, this baker’s dozen box is based on the French tradition of having 13 desserts on the Christmas dinner table, which is a tradition we could definitely get on board with.
What’s in it? 13 pots, bottles and dinky little metal tubes from chic French brand.
Contents are worth: £45
Where can I buy it? On the L’Occitane website from November.
This No7 branded calendar replaces last years, which was a mix of Boots brands, and you get an extra present for Christmas Day.
What’s in it? Mascara, nail varnish, eyeshadows, eye pencils, skincare (including famous Protect & Perfect Intense Day Cream) and bath treats.
Contents are worth: £130 (double last year’s £65 value)
Where can I buy it? They’re in store from 29 October and you can put your name on a waiting list now.
The original and once the most luxurious and beautiful of all the luxury beauty Advent calendars, Selfridges Lancome-dominated offering has since been trumped by some super-luxe competitors.
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, and Armani.
Contents are worth: Easily more than £100.
Where can I buy it? The Selfridges website says it’s sold out, but there will be a few more back online soon (sure to be snapped up quickly) or you can try in Selfridges shops.
A fiver less than last year’s calendar and twice as charitable, as for every gift purchase at the Body Shop this year they will send a child in a country affected by war to school, thanks to a partnership with War Child.
What’s in it? 24 Body Shops bestsellers, including soaps, hand cream, lip balm, night cream, eyeshadow and the Shop’s latest releases: Glazed Apple goodies, Wild Argan Oil products and Colour Crush nail colours.
Contents are worth: Unknown
Where can I buy it? On the Body Shop website
W7 Cosmetics Advent Calendar
One of the lesser-known beauty advent calendars, TK Maxx’s make-up focused bright red set is great value for money.
What’s in it? Lip glosses, glitter pots, foundation, eyeshadows and a bunch of nail colours, plus a Lashtastic mascara treat for Christmas Eve.
Contents are worth: £49.95
Where can I buy it? In store and on the TK Maxx website.
Still the one to beat in terms of price-to-value ratio, the YOU Beauty Discovery Advent calendar was one of the first on the market and is still up there with the best.
What’s in it? Make-up and skincare minis from the likes of Laura Mercier, Liz Earle, Sisley and Molton Brown.
Contents are worth: £240
Price: £49.95 (plus £4.95 delivery)
Where can I buy it? On the YOU Beauty website.
AND THE WINNER IS… If money were no object, and I could have any of these, I’d definitely go for the Jo Malone. And not just because it’s the most expensive – I love the black and white design, and I can see myself using up all the gorgeously-fragranced goodies, whereas some of the calendars that are more make-up heavy are bound to contain some products you just won’t really want. Realistically, though, £250 is kind of a crazy amount to spend, especially pre-Christmas, so in the sub-£50 category L’Occitane’s 13 French fancies get my vote. A manageable amount of products to populate my bathroom cabinet and make-up bag.