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With the weather cooling down and the days getting shorter, all I can think is, “This year is flying by.” The arrival of fall means that the countdown to the holiday season has begun. While I’m not exactly ready to deck the halls, I am excited about the release of this year’s advent calendars, which come in a plethora of versions, like chocolates, wine, spirits, puzzles, and my personal favorite to give and receive: beauty.
If you love makeup and skincare, a beauty advent calendar is a great way to try out new products or get your hands on full-sized favorites at a great deal. From affordable to luxe, there’s a collection for every taste, and they’ll encourage you (or your giftee) to think a little more about self-care in that stressful period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Read on for our picks for the best beauty advent calendars to pretty yourself up for party season.
For the Sample Hoarder: George & Viv 24 Days of Beauty Advent Calendar, $85
Beauty aficionados and dabblers alike will love this affordable advent calendar designed by George & Viv, featuring artwork by Canadian artist Emily Taylor. This set features 24 individually boxed samples of a variety of products from popular brands like Supergoop, Youth to the People, and Mario Badescu. Some of my personal favorites from this collection are Caudalie’s Vinoperfect Serum for fighting fine lines, Sunday Riley’s Good Genes for chemical exfoliation, and butter London’s nail lacquer in “All Hail the Queen,” a taupe-y neutral that will look great on a variety of skin tones.
For the Skincare Junkie: Dr. Barbara Sturm Advent Calendar, $560
Dr. Barbara Sturm’s science-based skincare line is a favorite among the Hollywood elite because it gets results—it is credited most of all for its remarkable, rejuvenating effects on tired or dull skin. This popular advent calendar contains a mix of various products from the line, including full sizes of must-haves like The Good Vitamin C Serum ($145 retail) and Anti-Pollution Drops ($160 retail). While this set has a fairly steep price tag, you’re getting over $1000 worth of products and a chance to sample the best of the brand—totally worth it in the grand scheme of things.
For the Spa-Lover: The Ritual of Advent 3D Advent Calendar, $125
Founded in Amsterdam, Rituals focuses on wellbeing and a philosophy of soulful living, with products for beauty, bath and body care and the home that are heavily influenced by Asian wellness traditions. This unique calendar requires some assembly, but the result is a mini Christmas tree with 24 ornaments, each containing an item from the brand’s collection. This set includes The Ritual of Ayurveda Scrub Glove, a mini reed diffuser, mini candles, and more, with a total worth over $200. One of my favorite inclusions is the Ritual of Sakura line, a shampoo and conditioner set that contains rice extract—great for strengthening hair—with a delicate cherry blossom fragrance. You’ll want to open it all at once and set yourself up for a relaxing moment during the hectic holiday season.
For the Manicure Obsessed: Olive & June Christmas Calendar, $65
Los Angeles-based Olive & June made a splash on Instagram in 2013 with whimsical nail designs and pretty polish colors offered at its Beverly Hills salon. During the pandemic, the brand pivoted to stick-on decals, an expanded polish line, and other manicure-centric accouterments, and now offers this whimsical advent calendar just in time to deck out your nails for the holidays. This set is composed of a handful of mini polishes, sticker packs, and even a set of press-on nails – it’s got everything you need to keep your hands (and feet) looking immaculate this season.
For the Makeup Maven: Charlotte’s Diamond Chest of Beauty, $200
British makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury has curated a collection of her favorite products from her beloved makeup and skincare line in this stylish advent calendar. Each of the 12 jewel-adorned drawers holds either a full size or mini version of iconic products, like Brow Fix, Wonderglow primer, and the Hollywood Beauty Light Wand highlighter. Other items include the award-winning Magic Serum Crystal Elixir, Colour Chameleon eyeshadow pencil, setting spray, and more. Valued at $325, this glittery box of beauty goods is well worth its price tag and is perfect for sampling the brand. Pro tip: the mini mascara and lip liner are great for travel or on-the-go touch ups!
For the Luxury Beauty Connoisseur: Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar 2022, $320
This best-selling advent calendar hails from Liberty London, the UK-based department store specializing in designer goods. This set includes 30 items, 20 of which are full sized versions from Liberty’s Beauty Hall, by highly-curated brands like Le Labo, Davines, Trish McEvoy, Aveda, Malin + Goetz, and more. My personal favorites include Kate Somerville Exfolikate, Ren Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal, and the lipstick from Surrat. With over $1200 worth of beauty finds, this collection is definitely a great deal, and five lucky advent calendars have a golden ticket awarding winners 1000£ to spend at Liberty.
For the Dapper Gent: Mr. Porter 12 Days of Grooming Calendar, $150
The stylish men’s retailer Mr. Porter has curated its own advent calendar with 12 Days of Grooming, an assortment of 12 luxurious products—eight of them full-sized—from best-selling brands like Augustinus Bader and Dr. Dennis Gross. I’ve tried the Tata Harper exfoliator and the Malin + Goetz deodorant which are both excellent. Also included: anti-bacterial hand cream from Grown Alchemist, a couple of hydrogel masks from Bro Masks, and an herbaceous bubble bath from Susanne Kaufmann. I can’t think of a better assortment for a guy who either already enjoys a self-care routine, or for one who is open to starting one.
Let the countdown begin! Happy holidays.