‘Tis the season for holiday beauty — well, almost! At the very least, ’tis the season for counting down to the holidays.
Advent calendars have come a long way since the cardboard windows we used to open when we were kids, and the beauty industry has hopped on board, producing Christmas countdown calendars packed with fun cosmetics bath and body treats. Some of them are insanely expensive, and some are, in my opinion, really overpriced for what you get (sixty bucks for perfume sample vials? No thanks), but there are plenty of others that either are good value for the product or are fun enough that they’re worth shelling out for.
Here are some of the Advent calendars and “12 Days of Christmas” boxes I’m eyeing this year, at price points ranging from $12 to $225.
If you need an excuse to do your nails every day in December, here you go. This countdown calendar includes 20 mini Ciaté polishes, one full-size polish, a treatment, a topcoat, and nail tattoos. (And I had to include that spoiler photo just so you could see the dreamy little stars in Shooting Star. Sorry not sorry.)
It started snowing today in Milwaukee, so of course I’ve got winter skincare on the brain. At $70, this adorable case full of surprise Kiehl’s treats ain’t cheap, but knowing the brand (and the fact that I’ve never tried a Kiehl’s product I didn’t like), I’m willing to bet that every single day will bring a product that can be put to good use at this time of year.
Love shimmer? Want to shine at a bargain price? Here’s your calendar, filled with affordable Lottie London color cosmetics (no sensible skincare here) in metallic, shimmer and holographic finishes.
(These 12-day calendars are cute enough that I’m willing to forgive them for perpetuating the misconception that the 12 days of Christmas are for counting down to December 25. In reality, the 12 days of Christmas start on the 25th and continue through Epiphany. But this is a beauty blog, not a theology blog, so I’ll end the catechism class there and get back to ZOMG HOLIDAY BEAUTY.)
This year’s NYX calendar includes Soft Matte Lip Creams, Butter Glosses, eye shadows and highlighters in 24 new shades. This is a great one to try if you want to try to tiptoe outside your comfort zone — there are lots of wearable colors, along with some adventurous shades for lips.
I haven’t used many Rituals products, so I can’t promise you that the $89 price tag is worth it — but if you’ve been waiting to try this luxury brand, its 24-day calendar is packed with travel-size bath, body and skincare products, along with some mini candles. I’m personally intrigued by the Hydrating Ampoule, Wonder Mask and Samurai Cool Down.
I am always up for an OPI holiday collection, especially one that’s doled out in daily minis behind little numbered doors. If you had to make me choose between this calendar and the Ciaté one… you wouldn’t really know me at all, because there’s no such thing as too much nail polish.
Twenty-four days of luxurious bath, body and skincare products and sales help benefit UNICEF? Yes please. This L’Occitane calendar has all kinds of travel-size soaps, creams, shower oils, and other beauty goodies, plus $2 from every sale goes to support work to prevent childhood blindness.
If you just want fun seasonal makeup at a great price, this is the calendar for you. There’s no shortage of glitter and shimmer in this annual collection of makeup minis from Ulta.
As a teenager, I spent a couple of holiday seasons working at The Body Shop, and the brand still always feels festive and cheery to me. This year, The Body Shop has three different Advent calendars, ranging in price from just kind of expensive to Very Expensive! (yes, with the exclamation point), and I couldn’t pick just one for this list. The $225 Ultimate box contains 14 full-size products along with 11 minis and accessories, and it and the $110 Deluxe box both come in boxes that transform into picture puzzles. Besides bath and body products, all three calendars include daily challenges “to reconnect you with nature,” which is so very The Body Shop.
If you hadn’t noticed that the ’90s are back in style, you will now. This Target exclusive is literally everything I would have ever wanted when I was 14. And it appears to include some of the best Lip Smackers flavors, like Kiwi, Mango and Bubble Gum. (If they’d included Passionfruit I’d have a dozen of these en route to my house right now.)
LUSH’s limited edition holiday items are some of my favorite bath products, and this collection is a this-year’s roundup of greatest hits — four bath bombs, three bubble bars, two shower gels, bath oil, body conditioner, soap, and a partridge in a pear tree (OK, fine, a reusable box). This isn’t technically an Advent calendar (you’re not going to find any little doors to open), but it’s festive AF.
My caveat as always with LUSH gift sets is: The cost of the gift set is going to be greater than the cost of buying the products individually. (Read this post for LUSH’s explanation of why this is.) So if you don’t actually want all the products, or if you don’t care for the box, you’re better off ordering individual products. But if you want an easy gift — for someone else or yourself — and you’re OK with paying an extra $3 for the packaging, this is an A+ holiday treat.
There are many more beauty Advent calendars out there this year… which ones are on your list?