Beauty Advent Calendars: Which One Did I Buy?

December is upon us and with the arrival of the festive month, we all start to crack open our advent calendars. When I was younger I loved eating that small square of chocolate in the morning. It was a treat. Now-a-days I can think of nothing worse than chocolate in the morning. For the past few years my chocolate advent calendar has come from Hotel Chocolat. I actually worked there for a bit and since then it is the only chocolate I like. Every year I treat myself to the Caramel Advent Calendar which is expensive for a chocolate advent calendar but 100% worth it. The difference between a Hotel Chocolat calendar and a normal calendar is that I actually will eat it everyday instead of it sitting around until June then I eventually throw it away. Luckily for people like me, there is an alternative. For a number of years different companies have started to release non-chocolate calendars. You can even buy alcoholic calendars if you find the lead up to Christmas problematic. The market which has seen the quickest rise in the advent calendar has to be the beauty industry and this year I finally bought my first beauty advent calendar in addition to my chocolate calendar. 

It might be a bit late to talk you through an advent calendar as I'm sure you can't buy them anymore. The reason I wanted to talk you through it now is to discuss why I chose this one and more widely about beauty advent calendars in general. 

The beauty advent calendar is something that has seen a phenomenal rise in popularity over the course of a few years. Something that started out with just a few brands creating them is now a staple in every beauty brands Christmas collection. In previous years I have always wanted one but I had been put off by the cost. They are a lot of money to spend on yourself just before Christmas and they never seem worthy of buying as a full present.

Not only do I find them difficult in this sense but some of them just aren't worth it. Firstly it is important for you to never take notice of the sticker which says 'worth......, you save.....' Yes compared to RRP you might be saving that much but a lot of the products/sizes included in the beauty advent calendar are samples and therefore would be given away for free at some point. Most of the products are deluxe samples and some of them are created especially for these calendars but a lot of them won't be. This makes it important to fully work out if something is worth it or if you could just get a couple of samples of the products you really want to try elsewhere.

Some beauty advent calendars will be worth it as it will have a lot of products which take your interest and some products you will be disappointed by. A beauty advent calendar is a mixed bag. This really doesn't matter if you get a calendar which is specific to one brand or if it is a calendar which has multiple brands. There will always be products you have a greater interest in and some you will never use. When I was shopping for mine, I didn't want to memorise every single item so the element of surprise was ruined but I wanted to make sure that I would get use out of most products. This was a hard line to take as so many bloggers detail every single item of every single calendar, plus as a consumer you want to make sure you get the most for your money. I wish more people would just give an overall review without taking apart a calendar, I just want to know if it is worth it or not. 

There were so many wonderful calendars out this year. The ones which appeal to me the most are in fact the ones which hold multiple brands as they give you a wider range of products to try out. I especially liked the look of the Estee Lauder Companies calendar which featured all the brands that they own except Jo Malone London and Tom Ford. It featured brands like MAC, Glamglow, Bobbi Brown and of course Estee Lauder, just to name a few. I love all of these brands so this would have been an amazing calendar for me. The other one I liked the look of was from John Lewis. John Lewis have seriously upped their make up game with brands like Fresh, Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford all coming to the retailer this year. Last year they renovated my local John Lewis beauty hall and since then it has been one of my favourite beauty haunts. The advent calendar had a mix of every product you could ever want. There was skincare, make up and even mini bottles of perfume. For £149 I thought it had a good range of products and it actually seemed worth it. However who has that sort of money to casually drop on an advent calendar? I do understand that some people will get this as their main present but I think receiving an advent calendar for Christmas takes away from the reason for an advent calendar. They are used to count down each day until Christmas and if you open them all in one go then that bubble of excitement does not last a whole month, it ends up being for less than an hour. That is just my opinion though. 

The John Lewis Calendar isn't even the tip of the iceberg in terms of prices. Harrods, for the first time, launched an advent calendar and it was everything you would expect from such a prestigious brand. It had high end products from Nars, Sisley and Givenchy. At £250 it is the same price as the one from Liberty but each day the products come in a little pouch and it looked beautiful. This sold out so quickly so if you wanted one you had to be quick, which is the same with most advent calendars.

My favourite brand specific calendar has to be from Jo Malone London. As everyone should know, Jo Malone London is one of my all time favourite brands and the advent calendar is a work of art. They have released it for a few years now and this year was the first year I didn't see it sell out in a day. It features mini perfumes, candles and body care products. They all come in an array of Jo Malone's wonderful scents. At £300 that is never going to be something I could have but I would love to get one. It is hands down one of the most extravagantly priced advent calendars but at the same time one of the most coveted.

I decided not to go for any of the ridiculously priced calendars listed above. I went for a calendar which was reasonably priced, had a few products I wanted to try and it had a mixture of products instead of being from one brand. This is the Marks and Spencer Advent Calendar. I actually wanted one last year but it seemed a bit frivolous spending money on myself at Christmas. Even though I still spent money on myself, at the time I couldn't justify it. In order to get this calendar all you had to do was spend £35 and then you could buy the calendar for £35 so the least you would spend was £70. I like this idea because if you have stuff to buy in Marks and Spencer anyway this works as a Gift With Purchase. I didn't really need anything from Marks and Spencer so I bought a Glamglow Mask in order to get my calendar. (Glamglow: Powermud ) I bought it on the day they were launched and literally everyone around me was buying one alongside their Christmas shopping. In my opinion this is one of the best advent calendar deals when you consider all the advent calendars I have just spoken about were all over £100.

The Marks and Spencer advent calendar is a 25 day advent calendar which was important to me as what is the point in 12 days and why would you spend around the same amount of money on a 12 day calendar? It features some of the brands stocked by Marks and Spencer. Marks and Spencer easily has one of the most underrated beauty halls, they stock some incredible brands like Origins, Rodial and Stila. Some of the products in the calendar are own brand and some are from well known make up and skincare brands such as Ren, Pixi and Alpha-H. One problem I do have with this calendar is that it does have a filler day. One day is a make up bag. I hate when advent calendars contain crap items, just to fill up a day. I remember a few years ago there was a lot of fuss over the Benefit Advent Calendar as one day was hair bands. Who the fuck spends £60 on an advent calendar for one of the days to contain hair bands? 

I know this year there was a lot of fuss about the Zoella advent calendar. A 12 day calendar with cookie cutters which cost £50? What was she thinking? The price ended up being lowered as everyone complained and it ended up being major news. I don't think it required all of the news coverage this got, it was massively blown out of proportion. Something to be learnt from this is that these filler/cheaper items never go over well. In Zoella's defence she isn't the first person to do it and she most certainly won't be the last. I imagine next year there will be the same fuss over another brand who will do the same thing. Luckily for M&S they only have the one crap item and to be honest it isn't that crap. At least it wasn't hair bands or cookie cutters. 

Back to the Marks and Spencer advent calendar, yes the own brand products aren't the most exciting but some really good reviews have been written about the Rosie for Autograph range which was the first gift on day one. As I am opening this every day I don't want to spoil the whole contents. If you want to know what is in this calendar, there are thousands of reviews that tell you the contents. So far I have received from the calendar:
  • Rosie for Autograph - Amazing Radiance Body Glow
  • Filorga - Meso Mask
  • Nuxe - Prodigieux Shower Gel
Not only does this feature great brands (I'm counting down the days until I find the Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm) but it looks unusual as well. I'm guessing it was modelled on a German market, as it looks like little stools. It is a different format from your traditional advent calendar which makes it even more special. The only problem with this calendar is that it is huge. I have really struggled to find somewhere to put this in my bedroom but on the plus side it does look like a decoration.

I am so excited to be opening this each day throughout the month and I can't wait to crack into some of the products that come in this advent calendar. The Rosie For Autograph Body Glow will be perfect for my Christmas party. The time for buying an advent calendar is kind of gone but you can still get some in The Body Shop which are now discounted. I have no doubts that next year we will see every brand launching an advent calendar as they have been as popular as ever this year. This year has seen a lot of brands stepping up their game in terms of packaging so I am sure that next year there will be some fantastic looking calendars. 

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Glamglow: Powermud
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Marc Jacobs Beauty
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