Everyone loves a Christmas countdown and what better way to count down to Father Christmas’s arrival than with an advent calendar?
“Advent” is derived from the Latin word for “coming” (as in the arrival of Christmas) and, traditionally, people would mark down the days until Christmas with a chalk line. We can thank German-born Gerhard Lang as the inventor of the first printed Advent calendar in the early 1900s (and that didn’t take off because of a little thing called WWII) but it wasn’t until the 1950s that the first commercially printed calendars were produced by another German, Richard Sellmer, bringing joy to children everywhere with printed calendars with little doors that revealed a surprise picture.
A little history lesson: the origin of advent calendars
In 1958, the first chocolate advent calendars appeared but they weren’t mass-produced and universally popular but in 1971, Cadbury’s launched its first version, but they didn’t produce them every year.
In 1993, Cadbury’s had another go and started to produce the popular chocolate advent calendars that we all know and love (and can pick up for under £10 and usually around £1) and they became a mainstay of British Christmas tradition. So, although they seem ubiquitous, advent calendars as we know them today are a relatively new invention – being under thirty years old.
In the last decade, manufacturers have joined the bandwagon and you can pretty much get any sort of advent calendar you want from socks to soaps to candles to beauty products to skincare to toys to alcohol and much, much more. These new sort of advent calendars are immensely popular – and considered rather luxurious. After all, who doesn’t deserve a little self-love?
Although the exact date is difficult to pin down, beauty advent calendars seemed to start around 2013 and they’ve experienced an evolution in the last eight years.
These beauty calendars are often spectacular, chocked full of gorgeous luxury products but the only downside is they come with a luxury price tag. And let’s not forget that these twelve, twenty-four or twenty-five little luxury gifts are meant to be leading up to Christmas and not even the main event. So, that means you must shell out for the calendar plus your Christmas gifts too. The luxury advent calendars can range in price from, say, £50 to over £400. They are, undoubtedly, worth the price tag for those that can afford them as if you added up all the products at full retail price, they’d set your back even more; we recommend using these beauty advent calendars as the main Christmas present and then you can enjoy them in January instead. It defeats the object, per se, of counting down to Christmas but who doesn’t want the excitement of little gifts all January when most of us are feeling the post-Christmas glumness? Let’s have a look at Tria Beauty’s favourite beauty advent calendars.
1. LOOK FANTASTIC x Stylist Advent 2021
For one of the more affordable beauty advent calendars, Look Fantastic has a wonderful mix of full size and deluxe mini products. For this twelve days of Christmas box, Look Fantastic teamed up with Stylist magazine for this special navy and silver calendar.
We personally love the Oskia Renaissance Mask, which is usually £64 on its own!
Cost: £100 (on sale for £80)
2. Glossy Box “Surprise Me” Advent Calendar 2021
If you want a full twenty-five days of treats (and who doesn’t?), Glossy Box’s calendar is beautifully presented in pink and gold and features a whopping fifteen full-sized products.
Spoiler alert: we love that full-sized Huda Mercury Retrograde Palette (worth £58) with 18 galactic-inspired metallic shades and the This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray (worth £25). Buying these two items alone would set you back £83 and you can snap up this whole calendar on sale for £84, so go get yours now!
Cost: £105 (on sale for £84)
3. Cult Beauty Advent Calendar 2021
For those who want to splash out on a luxury calendar, this Cult Beauty advent calendar features the latest and hottest products in beauty from Augustinus Bader to Victoria Beckham Beauty.
There is an impressive thirty-eight (yes!) items behind its doors and one lucky winner will win a Willy Wonka-style lucky golden ticket to win £1,000 worth of products from their website. Plus, for those who like giving back, Cult Beauty will donate £40,000 of the profits to Beauty Backed Trust to support beauty professionals impacted by Covid-19 and they’ll also plant one tree for every calendar sold via its ClimatePartner. Beauty with a conscience!
With twenty full-sized products, this calendar is worth the heftier price tag. Plus, you’ll be doing your part for the environment and those impacted by the pandemic. Our favourite pricey product is the Augustinus Bader The Face Oil which will normally set you back £180 alone.
4. Lush Advent Calendar 2021
Lush is one of those already eco and vegan brands that’s continuing to promote mostly plastic-free recycled packaging. This pricey-yet-worth-it calendar has twenty-five days of your favourite Lush products and some calendar exclusives that you won’t find anywhere else.
The exclusive products are the Kris Mousse (a bubble bar), Sleepy (a bath bomb), and Merry Christmas (a shower gel). And some exclusive retro products: Cinders and Thundersnow (bath bombs) and The Christmas Penguin (bubble bar).
We love the new shampoo bar that comes in an eco-friendly cork pot.
5. Huda Beauty Advent Calendar 2021
For those that love Huda Beauty products, this twelve-product calendar is a must-have. The fun geometric lip-shaped rose-quarts patterned pink box (made from recycled materials) has twelve varying sized drawers.
We love the Obsessions palette, where you’ll receive one of three eyeshadow palettes: Nude Light, Haze Sand, or Nude Rich (worth £27). Who doesn’t love new eyeshadow shades?
6. The Body Shop Share Love & Joy Ultimate Advent Calendar 2021
The Body Shop has four spectacular beauty advent calendars in various sizes and price points (£55, £80, £140, and £320) but we are going to look at the “Share Love & Joy Ultimate Advent Calendar” (the second high-end one). These advent calendars are sure to delight anyone visually. They’re truly beautifully designed with popup scenes to enjoy as you open the lid.
There are twenty-five products with a mix of full-sized and deluxe minis – all in eco-friendly and reusable packaging. And who doesn’t love a Body Shop product?
We love the Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask (worth £18).
7. OPI Celebration Collection Advent Calendar 2021
OPI has long had a fantastic reputation for quality nail polish. For those who want a slightly more affordable beauty calendar option, this calendar is the least expensive on our list. The calendar features twenty-five OPI products, including twenty-two nail polish shades in festive colours (reds, pinks, greens, blues, etc) and three nail care treatments (topcoat, nail bath, and finish).
For a nail polish lover, it’s good value for money as a four-pack of minis from the brand usually sets you back £23 – and you get five times as many so you’re theoretically saving over £40 already.
We love the “Paint the Tinseltown Red” shade of red (usually £13.90).
8. L’Occitane Reusable Advent Calendar 2021
For the eco-conscious L’Occitane have a reusable advent calendar where you can buy a refill each year for less than the price of their usual calendar.
L’Occitane has made a promise to become more sustainable and remove plastic packaging from their calendars. The reusable calendar this year was designed by illustrator Kitty McCall, inspired by nature, and made from recycled cotton.
We love the shea butter hand cream (£21.50 value) with 20% shea butter (which would pair perfectly with Tria Beauty’s own Super Smooth Leg Butter with 85% shea butter).
Refill: £120 (worth £199.50)
Beauty advent calendars are certainly one of those splurge luxury gifts (self-gift or for someone else) and, whilst they are good value for money and are packed full of fun surprises, they are on the pricey side. Do you like to open yours through December or save them for a January treat and have them as your main Christmas present? Let us know on social media.
What did you think of our picks? Did we miss any off the list that you love? Which beauty advent calendar do you plan to buy this year? Or are you planning to stick to the cheaper chocolate kind? Either way, we hope you have a fantastic lead up to Christmas and get all your shopping done in the most stress-free way possible. Um, perhaps you might need some of these beauty products to unwind in the bath?
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