A beauty advent calendar is not a virtuous product. Let’s get that out of the way before we take off our coats and settle into this annual showcase of wonderfully packaged beauty minis. There is no such thing as a sustainable advent calendar full of cosmetics. If a brand is trying to assuage your consumer guilt with promises of reusable hemp bags and recycled cardboard, don’t be fooled. The most environmental way for a brand to make a beauty advent calendar is simply not to make it. They’re heavy on packaging and ultimately inefficient.
However, if you want to buy one – and I don’t think whether or not to do so is a question to tie yourself in knots over, it’s important to acknowledge that advent calendars are indulgent, unnecessary, expensive and for beauty lovers, utterly thrilling. Their profligacy reminds me of the fascinating charge of electric anticipation that a lucky dip bag used to inspire in childhood. If you’re making an advent calendar purchase this year, there are some obscenely good options to choose from. If you want to buy one and minimise impact, the best way to do so is to choose a calendar from which you know you will use every product.
If I were to buy one beauty advent calendar this year, it would be the Mac Box of Tricks Advent Calendar (€150 at maccosmetics.com). It is absolutely jammed with legitimate hero products, including agonisingly cute mini lipsticks in iconic shades like Velvet Teddy and Ruby Woo. If you wear makeup regularly, there is nothing in here that you won’t use. All of the products are practical and wearable, making the calendar a sound option.
I have really fallen back in love with The Body Shop this year – it was the original brand with a conscience, and The Body Shop Share the Joy Advent Calendar (€85 at The Body Shop stores nationwide) really is a joy. Particular heroes are the banana shampoo and conditioner and the famous mango body butter which rocketed me back to perusing the shelves as a teenager. Like The Body Shop, L’Occitane is one of a few brands offering slightly more affordable (relatively speaking) calendar options. Their Classic Advent Calendar (€65 at loccitane.ie) solely contains beloved options across their range from elevated basics such as moisturisers and lip balm to bestsellers like the almond hair and body products and large Shea Butter Hand Cream.
Jo Malone London 24 Day Advent calendar (€370 at brownthomas.com) is a big investment but is also an annual launch that renders fans of the brand weak at the knees. This year, the most beloved beauty advent calendar of them all has had a makeover. Gone is the former design which opens like a book – the calendar now takes the form of an impossibly elegant and classically understated jewellery box-style chest and is especially chic. If you’re seeking something extraordinary to impress a fragrance lover, this features a standard 30ml fragrance plus 23 mini-iterations of Jo Malone London’s most celebrated products across fragrance, body and home.
Product of the Week
Bamford Woodland Moss Eau de Parfum (€114 at bamford.com)