Holiday Gift Guide 2021: Beauty Advent Calendars


Whether devoted to a single company or a portmanteau one that showcases different products, in the past few years, luxury beauty calendars have become a Christmas staple. Single brand calendars are celebrations of brands, none more so than Chanel, which releases its first this year to celebrate the centenary of its No 5 fragrance.  


Now in its 4th year, no portmanteau advent calendar has more full-size products than this one ($350). There are 17 in total, including Victoria Beckham lipstick in Sway. Other products include Dr Barbara Sturm’s Lifting Serum, Tata Harper’s Purifying Cleanser and This Works Deep Sleep Body Cocoon. There’s also 111Skin’s Rose Gold Radiance Booster, Mauli Rituals’ Sleep Dharma Pillow Mist and the deeply cult Sachajuan Ocean Mist Cream for hair. 

Chanel Number 5 

Chanel’s first beauty advent calendar ($825) has been issued to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its most famous fragrance. Instead of the usual 12/24 or 25 items, there are 27 drawers to open, starting with 5 (naturally), ending with 31 (referencing the address of Coco Chanel’s first boutique). It’s in the shape of the couture house’s most famous product; with a fragrance in 35ml, hand cream and other incarnations, but there are other 5-related objects, including a snow globe, key ring and tree ornament plus, two full size limited edition Rouge Allure lipsticks, one in matt and one in a satin finish. 


Always good on niche, emerging brands as well as cult classics. This year, the Selfridges beauty calendar ($250) is particularly strong on fragrance, with Maison Francis Kurkdijan Oud Satin Mood and Maison Margiela Lazy Sunday Morning eau de parfums, plus Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Mascara, Huda Beauty Cleansing Balm, Susanne Kauffman St. John’s Wort Bath soak and a Ex Nihilo Fleur Narcotique candle.


One for all those people (ok, parents) who said that the best things came in smaller packages. There may just be 12 doors to open in this calendar ($375) but each product is a stellar example of what this resolutely French company does best. There are a pleasing number of full sizes, including luminescent eyeshadow in Zebra, its best selling lip veil in Honeypot and blusher in Smitten, along with smaller versions of Rose de Mai Face Oil and the Gold Recovery mask. 


The notion of a cabinet of curiosities started in the Renaissance; a collection of small treasures from around the world; (theone in the Archbishop’s palace in Salzburg takes the example to a fabulous extreme). Diptyque ($425) has used the concept to create this year’s advent calendar. There are 11 candles, all in 35g, including a limited edition Flocon (snowflake) and 8 10ml scents, including the new Orpheon, plus cult solid perfumes and limited edition holiday decorations.


One of this year’s most beautiful; artist Anne Shirley has entwined Parisian architecture and landmarks embellished with gold for this year’s Dior calendar ($550). Inside, the drawers have been stuffed with mini versions of its most famous fragrances, including Miss Dior, Sauvage and Dior Homme, as well as cult lipsticks and skincare, plus ​​an 85gm Collection Privée Christian Dior 30 Montaigne candle. Supplies disappear fast but Dior is hoping for regular restocks. 


With cheery art work from artist Marylou Faure, this calendar ($99) is a joyful romp through the greatest hits of this 150-year-old, all-American company and the trial sizes inside work brilliantly with its heritage of free samples and word of mouth. Tried, tested and revered products include Calendula Petal-Infused Calming Mask, Facial Fuel, Midnight Recovery Concentrate and Creme de Corps along with the Ultra creams in all its forms, cleansers, creams and gel formulas. 


For most people, the holiday season involves rituals and if your stress levels are rising at the prospect, this calendar (£299) by CBD-driven OTO should help you take the more serene path. There are 12 days to open, which include  Glow Treatment Ampoules, Ampify Body oil, Ritual Day Cream and lip balm, plus face mask, sleep drops and pillow mist alongside a gua sha face tool and eye mask, as well as a night face mask and hand balm.



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