There’s truly no better holiday gift for a beauty lover than an advent calendar stocked with cosmetics. No matter how old you are, opening up a new tiny door every day to reveal a present will always be just as exciting as when you were a kid (though back then you were definitely collecting chocolates, but we digress). Whether you opt for a skincare, makeup or fragrance-themed beauty advent calendar (or a mix of everything), you’re ultimately treating your lucky recipient to an opportunity to play with new products — ones they might not have tried otherwise.
The variety of beauty advent calendars is really what’s most alluring about these fabulous gift sets. The greater the number of surprises inside, the greater the odds your loved one will discover at least a few things they adore. Another perk is that if you added up the retail price of each item, it would surely exceed the price of the advent calendar — and who doesn’t love a beauty bargain?
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, having the opportunity to play with products and explore new brands in stores isn’t as common (let alone doable in some areas), so this is a fun, safe alternative to make up for that. But last-minute shoppers be warned: The best beauty advent calendars from coveted brands sell out fast, so you’ll want to check these names off your list early. Some of this year’s most coveted sets are from Liberty Beauty (always a hot ticket item), Charlotte Tilbury, Glossybox, Space NK and Benefit, to name a few.
Have your credit card handy, because the best beauty advent calendars below are some of the dreamiest we’ve ever seen.
1. The Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar
Liberty London can be credited with sparking the holiday beauty advent calendar craze back in 2014 when the retailer premiered its version to celebrate the relaunch of its beauty hall. People lined up outside the store to buy the advent calendars. The Liberty London team spends a year carefully curating its assortment of luxury goodies. And its 2021 edition is the largest yet, valued at over $1,000. Available when the clock strikes midnight on Oct. 6, the decadent package contains 26 items, including a Liberty gift voucher. It has 25 drawers and 19 of them have full-size products, including a bonus gift on Christmas Day. And the products come courtesy of in-demand brands such as Le Labo, Uoma Beauty, Augustinus Bader, Susanne Kaufman, Trish McEvoy, (Malin & Goetz), and Decree. The Liberty London advent calendar is clean beauty at its finest and the packaging is recyclable to go with the mindful theme.
2. Kiehl’s Limited-Edition Skincare Advent Calendar
A gift that’s kind to the environment always brings extra holiday cheer, and this option from Kiehl’s is no exception. In fact, its holiday gift sets are the most eco-conscious yet. Made with zero plastic and 100% previously recycled paper with fully recyclable gift boxes, this year’s box has been adorned with the, quote, “lively illustrations” of French illustrator and artist Marylou Faur. The advent calendar features 24 travel-sized versions of the brand’s most beloved hair, skin and body care products, including cleansers, face masks, facial serums and moisturizers. With stars like the label’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate, Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado, and Lip Balm #1 the advent calendar has a $245 value, but the price tag is only $99.
3. Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte’s Beauty Dreams & Secrets Advent Calendar
This glimmering advent calendar courtesy of British makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury will bring even more joy to the 12 days of Christmas. Each bejeweled drawer in the set holds one of Tilbury’s iconic makeup or skincare products in travel and full sizes. By Christmas Day, your recipient’s collection will include cosmetic wonders like the Goddess Skin Clay Mask, Multi Miracle Glow, Charlotte’s Magic Serum Crystal Elixir, Wonderglow primer, Walk of No Shame Eyeliner and more. Plus, with any purchase on the brand’s site, you also get to choose two free samples at checkout. And, you can opt to have the box gift wrapped before it comes to your door if you’re on a time crunch.
4. Sephora Collection Holiday Vibes Advent Calendar
The countdown to Christmas will be even more fun when you have 24 beauty presents waiting for you inside this festive advent calendar. There’s a range of full-size, mini and exclusive items from Sephora’s namesake collection included in the gift, such as its signature eye mask in cucumber, lychee or pomegranate; Bright Skin Exfoliating Scrub-Exfoliate + Smooth; two Fizzing Bath Stars in Cotton and Monoi; and three Color Hit Nail Polish minis in Cherry Popsicle, Rose Bouquet and Gel Effect Top Coat. A scrunchie, pocket mirror, hair clips, mini nail file, and phone accessory are also hidden behind the vibrant flaps, so recipients will be well-stocked with makeup and accessories heading into the new year. The box in its entirety is valued at $102, but priced at $45, and same-day shipping is currently available. And eco-friendly shoppers will be happy to know, the cardboard of the box is sourced from sustainably managed forests.
5. Benefit Cosmetics The More The Merrier Makeup Holiday Advent Calendar Set
Pretty in pink, 12 of Benefit’s best-sellers in travel sizes are wrapped up in this charming limited-edition advent calendar. The set includes everything needed for a glam look, like the Precisely, My Brow Ultra-Fine Shape & Define Pencil, Hoola Matte Bronzing Powder, Dandelion Blush Brightening Face Powder, 24-Hour Brow Setter Shaping & Setting Gel, The Porefessional Hydrate Face Primer, and PoreEfessional Face Primer. You’ll also be counting down to the holidays with plenty of the brand’s coveted mascaras, including Roller Lash Curling & Lifting Mascara, They’re Real! Lengthening & Volumizing Mascara, Badgal Bang! Volumizing Mascara. Each item comes in a fun mini size, so its the perfect gift for avid travelers. It’s also one heck of a steal for bargain shoppers, as it’s priced at $65 but valued at $140.
6. Ulta Beauty 12 Holiday Must-Haves Advent Calendar
Like Sephora, Ulta has its own beauty advent calendar, too. This 12-day countdown is comprised of beauty must-haves outside the Ulta brand (consider it a kind of sampler box of cosmetics). Featuring a combination of coveted skincare and nail care items from brands like Beekman 1802, Estee Lauder, Mac, Peter Thomas Roth and Armani, to name a few, it’s the perfect gift to give to others or treat yourself to (we won’t tell). And unlike other boxes on this list that are a bit on the pricier side, Ulta’s keeping its holiday bundle budget-friendly at just $30. The only downside to this advent calendar is its packaging, as recipients will see exactly what they’re bound to get from the box.
7. Elemis London No.25 Beauty Advent Calendar
Any skincare enthusiasts would love to receive this well-stocked advent calendar from Elemis London. The gorgeous (and 100% recyclable) box contains 25 of the British brand’s bestselling face and body products that have been dubbed favorites by frequent shoppers. From its Pro-Collagen Marine Cream and Overnight Matrix to its Papaya Enzyme Peel and Herbal Lavender Repair Mask, Elemis has provided every must-have for everyday wear and elevated pamper sessions. It’s worth a whopping $562 but priced at $250 (not cheap by any means, but still a steal). The only major caveat is its sample-to-full-sized product ratio, but we guarantee fans of the brand won’t be bothered regardless.
8. Rituals The Ritual of Advent Deluxe 3D Advent Calendar
The Rituals brand is a personal favorite, and this year, the luxury skincare boutique is introducing a 3D advent calendar with packaging and products sure to wow. Instead of a traditional box with drawers, doors and flaps, the Rituals advent calendar comes in the form of a pop-up, snow-dusted Christmas village. Each house, aglow from the included light fixture, conceals a gift chosen from one of Rituals’ many skincare collections (each of which has been inspired by ancient Asian traditions and culture). Some of the surprises included in the 24-day calendar are The Ritual of Karma Mild Body Scrub Clay, The Ritual of Sakura Body Cream, Serendipity Foaming Shower Gel and an Amsterdam Collection Body Mist. And while, yes, the box does require some assembly, it’s worth the display and doubles as holiday decor.
9. Glossybox Advent Calendar 2021
Beauty gurus expect great things from their beloved subscription boxes around the holidays, and Glossybox is making it very clear they’re exceeding expectations in 2021. After all, ‘tis the season for extravagance, and this year’s Glossybox advent calendar is the most extravagant it’s ever been. While most advent calendars only contain 24 to 25 products, Glossybox is presenting its shoppers with a generous 27. Featured brands include Viktor & Rolf, Glow Recipe and Medik8, and products will span from haircare to makeup and skincare. The set is valued at $550, but subscribers pay $89, while non-subscribers pay $99.
10. LookFantastic Advent Calendar
Another beauty subscription bow brand hopping on the advent calendar bandwagon is LookFantastic. Now available for pre-order and officially on sale starting Oct. 1, the brand guarantees its box for 2021 is its best yet. Worth over $500 but generously priced at only $115, the box contains 25 beauty products spanning from skincare to makeup. And while LookFantastic is keeping the majority of its featured brands under wraps, a sneak peek reveals the inclusion of NARS Blush in Orgasm, the Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate, Aveda Botanical Repair Treatment, Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cleanser and the ESPA Active Nutrient Clean & Green Detox Night Mask. LookFantastic subscribers will have early access to purchase the box, while both old and new subscribers can get $20 off this limited edition gift box with the code ADVENTNEWSUBS.
11. NYX Gimme Super Stars! 24 Day Holiday Countdown
Everyone could use a little glitz during the merriest time of year. Aptly named, NYX’s Diamonds & Ice, Gimme Super Stars! Holiday Countdown Advent Calendar will help you create all the holiday beauty looks that will let you shine at the season’s soirees — even if they’re on Zoom. The set features 24 of the brand’s best-sellers in mini and full sizes, including Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator, Soft Matte Lip Creams, #THISISEVERYTHING Lip Oil, Butter Lip Glosses, Pore Filler and Hot Singles Eyeshadows. It’s priced at $60, and because you’ll be spending over $50, you’ll receive two free gifts with your purchase and a free marshmallow primer sample. Hooray for gifts that keep on giving!
12. Olive & June 8 Nights of Mani Magic Hanukkah Calendar
Every night of Hanukkah is pure magic, and Olive & June want to contribute to the enchantment with eight days of festive manicures. This advent calendar is perfect for nail artists, professional and novice alike. Behind every door is a component necessary to create the perfect mani, including six polishes, a top coat, cuticle serum, hand serum, clean-up brush, buffer, file, poppy, remover pot and six sticker packs, all in miniature sizes. You could be patient and open each present one by one, but we won’t judge you if you indulge all at once. The entire set has a value of $91, but you can get yours for only $48 (note: Olive & June Club members only pay $43.20).
13. Huda Beauty House of Huda Advent Calendar
Huda Kattan has proven herself a beauty expert, so it’s no surprise the artist’s beauty advent calendar is masterfully curated. The items included in the calendar are both cult favorites, and favorites of Huda herself, and range from eyeshadow palettes and blush to eyeliner, mascara falsies and lip balm. Huda also made sure to include some of her top-selling skincare products, such as the Eye Lift & Snatch Sculpting Mask, Thirst Trap Juice HA3 & Peptide Serum and Yo Glow Gingerbread Latte Enzyme Scrub. The 12-day calendar costs $175 and comes pristinely packaged in a reusable box designed to look like Huda’s favorite crystal, the rose quartz. Its aesthetic is so gorgeous, wrapping is unnecessary; all you need to do is add a bow for a festive touch.
14. By Terry Jewel Exclusive Fantasy Advent Calendar
Give the gift of luxury with this diamond-shaped beauty advent calendar from By Terry. The 24-day calendar is studded with metallically decorated doors, behind which are full and mini-size samples of the brand’s most lavish skincare and makeup products as well as beauty tools. Surprises include By Terry Baume de Rose Hand Cream, Baume de Rose Micellar Water, lip mattes in various shades, the brand’s signature hyaluronic powders and creams and a mini Kabuki Brush, to name a few. The calendar retails for $233.30, but we guarantee the countdown is worth every penny. Plus, a free By Terry Gloss Terrybly Shine Lip Gloss (worth $45 alone) is included with your purchase. Buy a gift, get a gift.
15. Space NK The Beauty Advent Calendar 2021
Now available for pre-order, the Space NK advent calendar is highly anticipated every year, and for good reason. This year, the box is valued at over $900, but will only set you back $245 (in other words, it’s quite the bargain as far as beauty gifts go). Unlike other brands that only offer as few as eight gifts, Space NK generously stuffs its countdown box with a whopping 30 beauty products from a variety of brands. This year’s lot includes goodies from Sunday Riley, Olaplex, Drunk Elephant, Hourglass, Caudalie, Kate Somerville, La Mer and more. Complimentary gift wrap is available at check out, but be advised this gift box goes fast, so don’t hesitate to add it to your cart, or risk missing out.
16. The Body Shop Share the Joy Advent Calendar
For some, bath time isn’t just about hygiene, it’s a form of self-care and indulgence. For those people, there’s the beauty advent calendar by The Body Shop. Share The Joy is a 24-day gifting experience, in which behind every door lies a little treat to be added to any bathroom shelf. Its pop-up construction fuels joy and excitement every day of the month and inside every door is a brand favorite, like the beloved Bath Bubbles, Body Butters, sheet masks and 96hr moisture. Valued at $132.50 but retailing for only $79, this beauty advent calendar is one of the more budget-friendly on our list.
17. Saks Fifth Avenue Ready, Set, Refresh! 14-Piece Advent Calendar
Surprises aren’t for everyone, and if you know this to be true of the beauty lover on your list, the Saks Fifth Avenue advent calendar is your best bet. What you see is quite literally what you get with this beauty countdown exclusive to the Saks brand. It’s a 14-piece compilation of skincare, fragrance and haircare products, described as suitable for “all skin and hair types.” This year’s gifts include the Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Hair Mask, Eve Lom balm cleanser, Patchology Flashpatch Restoring Night Eye Gels and more. It retails for $75 and standard shipping is 100% free.
18. Chantecaille 12 Days of Botanical Beauty Holiday Box
Though Chantecaille’s 12 Days of Botanical Beauty Holiday Box isn’t aesthetically festive, the wildlife-inspired artwork is a nod to the brand’s greatest inspiration: nature and wildlife conservation. Within each drawer lies a Chantecaille best-seller. Product sizes range from full-size to travel-friendly deluxe and include the brand’s must-have natural products like the Luminescent Eye Shade in Zebra, Faux Cils Longest Lash Mascara, Bio Lifting Serum+ and a Gold Recovery Mask. Together, the items in the box are worth $671, which might make the set’s $375 price point feel less steep.
19. Lumene 24 Nordic Beauty Wonders Advent Calendar
Nordic brand Lumene launched its advent calendar for 2021, and the surprises inside don’t disappoint. Underneath the pristine packaging and hidden behind 24 windows are a combination of the brand’s coveted skincare and makeup products. From its Pure Arctic Miracle 3-In-1 Micellar Cleansing Water and Invisible Illumination [Kaunis] Dewy Glow Setting Spray to the brand’s unique Blueberry Sensitive Automatic Eyeliner and Nordic Bloom [Lumo] Anti-wrinkle & Firm Day Moisturizer, there’s something for every beauty lover in this value gift set. And, for a limited time, you can score 15% off your order with the code FALL15 (consider it a token of thanks for those who shop early).
20. Susanne Kaufmann Advent Calendar
Susanne Kaufmann is on a mission to support and pamper the skin you’re in, in a sustainable manner. The skincare expert’s beautifully assembled advent calendar is made from a recyclable board. It’s also decorated in the same rosy red hue of Santa’s suit. (Coincidence? We think not.) The highly anticipated box is stocked with four full-size products and 21 deluxe minis, all of which are made and packaged without plastic. Featuring Kaufmann’s nourishing hand cream and rejuvenating hand peel, an Eye Rescue stick, lip balm, body butter, body oil, body scrub and moisturizing mask, this is one luxurious gift worth splurging on for any beauty lover on your nice list.