It’s that time of year when the big beauty brands bust out their advent calendars. All our Christmases have come at once.

While advent may still be a distant mark on your calendar, September sees the release of the much-anticipated annual beauty advent calendars across department stores and online beauty sites. Yes, it’s early to utter the C word – but we say it’s worth it not to miss laying well-manicured hands on an edit of beauty brands in beautifully designed packaging, usually with a hefty saving. Whether you are devoted to a singular brand’s festive offering, or you love the surprise of discovering new brands each day, here are our tips for buying beauty calendars and a round-up of nine to look out for, coming soon…

Cult Beauty, £235

Cult Beauty has upped its game this year with its highest ever value calendar, featuring 37 beauty favourites, including 13 full-sized entries. Expect brands including Augustinus Bader, Hourglass and Jo Loves – plus three lucky customers will also win a £1000 gift voucher to spend online. Worth £1000. Buy it.

Next, £85

A great value calendar, with 25 gifts from a great well-rounded mix of global and British brands, including By Terry, Lancome, Pai and This Works. Worth £310. Buy it.

Space NK, £215

Guaranteed to delight luxury beauty junkies, Space NK’s beautiful red, pink and gold calendar is filled with a cherry-picked list of its bestselling brands, including Paula’s Choice, Olaplex and Jo Loves. Join the waitlist to be in with a chance to win gift cards to spend in-store, too. Worth £770. Buy it.

Liberty, £245

The most successful and fastest-selling product in Liberty’s 145-year history and the industry’s first beauty calendar, iconic Liberty print adorns a smart trousseau of cult products, niche buys and exclusive launches. Last year’s was a sell-out, so do register quickly if you want to get your polished mitts on one. Worth £1,065. Buy it.

Look Fantastic, £95

The details of the Look Fantastic beauty advent calendar are still under wraps but what we do know from the online beauty super store is that the savings will be huge. Sneak peeks include brands such as Drunk Elephant, Elemis and By Terry, covering make-up, skincare and fragrance. Sign up to be first to know when more details drop. Worth £500. Buy it.

MAC, £165

A great gift for anyone with a birthday in the run-up to Christmas, MAC’s unusual circular calendar in festive red and gold features 24 make-up treats, including 16 full-sized products. Perfect for restocking your make-up case ahead of the party season. Worth £405. Buy it.

The Body Shop, £55

The Body Shop’s trio of beauty advent calendars are beautiful in themselves. Each has a pop-up scene on top celebrating a different community of women who harvest the raw ingredients used in The Body Shops products, from Chhattisgarh in India to Tamale in Ghana. Filled with body-care, skin-care, beauty tools and more, they’re the perfect option for the conscious beauty buff. Worth £90. Buy it.

Fortnum & Mason, £245

Fortnum’s has decanted its beauty hall’s finest into a wardrobe of goodies, all in its signature duck egg blue livery, with a splash of seasonal red. Filled with brands including ESPA, Bramley, Penhaligon, Acqua di Parma and Aromatherapy Associates, it’s bound to delight even the most discerning of beauty buffs. Worth £845. Buy it.

Macmillan 24 Days of Beauty, £88

A brilliant edit for a brilliant cause, £2 from every calendar sold will be donated to Macmillan Cancer Support, with pampering gifts including Liz Earle, No. 7, Soap and Glory and Sleek MakeUp. A great price for a well-rounded edit of make-up, skincare and accessories. Buy it.

7 Tips When Buying Beauty Advent Calendars

Do look for those with a good mix of products, not just skincare or make-up. This will minimise wastage and stop you getting bored by mid-December.

Look for brands with plastic-free packaging, or think about how you can reuse the calendar, perhaps fill the drawers with chocolate next year?

Why not save up some of the daily gifts and use as table favours or stocking fillers on Christmas Day?

Rather than saving up a hoard of miniatures to use when travelling, why not put them in the bathroom when guests come to stay for a fun ‘hotel room’ vibe.

Advent calendars can be a great way of road-testing a range of products before investing in full-sized items. Do take snaps and keep notes of your favourites and then look in the January sales to re-stock your favourites.

Don’t be seduced by the savings. Sure, it can spoil the surprise but look through the contents list before buying and see whether you would truly use most of what’s inside. If you wouldn’t buy them individually, don’t be tempted to buy them just because they’re in pretty packaging.

If you really want one of the most popular calendars, get on the wait list and don’t hang around. Some have been known to sell out in 24 hours.

Lydia Mansi
September 2022

Lydia Mansi

Lifestyle Editor

Lydia is an all-round lifestyle guru, tireless champion of women in business and our resident expert on beauty.