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The best of the beauty Advent calendars for Christmas 2023

The beauty Advent calendar is a blissful addition to the Christmas countdown, offering a much-needed moment of me-time amid the festive madness.

The Cambridge Independent has rounded up some of this year’s best buys.

Rituals' Premium Advent Calendar
Rituals' Premium Advent Calendar

The Ritual of Advent Premium Advent Calendar, £186.90, Rituals, Market Hill, Cambridge and rituals.com

On the outside: The outer sleeve slides off to reveal a village of cardboard houses and the flagship House of Rituals store.

On the inside: Rituals draws on “the wisdom and traditions of ancient cultures” to create home and body products which enhance mood as well as your space and skin. This Premium Advent Calendar includes full size products of beautiful quality and range. Among the 24 gifts to discover – within each house and window – are The Ritual of Karma Body Lotion Mousse, The Ritual of Mehr Hair & Body Mist, Sweet Jasmine Hand Wash and The Ritual of Namaste Skin Brightening Face Exfoliator. Look out for Foaming Shower Gel, Body Scrub, Fragrance Stick and a Mini Candle Private Collection and much more. Rituals is also offering a Classic calendar, priced at £87.90 and a Deluxe version at £120.90, ready for your treat someone special.

Best for: Anyone who deserves some pampering.

Anthropologie Advent
Anthropologie Advent

George & Viv 24 Days of Beauty Advent Calendar, £78, Anthropologie, Market Hill, Cambridge and anthropologie.com

On the outside: Anthropologie’s own bath and beauty brand, George & Viv is named after a fluffy rescue pup and his human, both of whom regularly feature on its famously pretty packaging. The advent box is, as you’d expect, a stunner: illustrated by Canadian artist Emily Taylor, it shows a snowy street scene on the outside, festive florals under the lid and, slowly revealed as the one-a-day boxes are removed, a mural of wintry motifs - cosy sweaters, steaming toddies - in the base. Crying out to be reused as a gift/storage box, it’s definitely a keeper.

On the inside: Worth a whopping £300, the contents is an impressive showcase of ‘only-at-Anthro’ premium brands. There’s an emphasis on wellbeing-boosting skincare - anatomē Sleep Oil, Solasta Skin Nourishing Rose Facial Oil, FEWE Take a Deep Breath Spray, Spritz Wellness Atmosphere Mist - with a small-but-perfectly-formed curation of fragrance (STORIES, Floral Street) and nail polish (Nailkind, Palette) mixed in. Every brand featured has solid eco/ethical credentials and the tesselating boxes are recyclable.

Best for: A delight both inside and out, nobody could fail to be charmed by this calendar. Treat someone special (ie yourself).

Paul & Joe Advent Calendar
Paul & Joe Advent Calendar

Paul & Joe Advent Calendar, RRP £84, Anthropologie, Market Hill, Cambridge and anthropologie.com

On the outside: Quite possibly the cutest advent calendar we’ve ever seen, this festive beauty is fashioned in the shape of a cat’s head, and not just any feline; the twinkling eyes on either side belong to Paul & Joe designer Sophie’s beloved cats, Gipsy and Nounette. A purr-fect tribute!

On the inside: Behind the dinky doors of this magnificent makeup coffret - returning for its sixth incarnation - is an array of limited-edition products faithful to the quintessentially Paul & Joe feline theme. Think glittery foundation primers, dazzling skin and bodycare products, beautiful makeup and accessories. Our favourite is the adorable lipstick in the shape of a cat face. Fur-real!

Best for: Cat lovers and those that appreciate high-end beauty booty that comes in the prettiest of packaging.

Soap & Glory: It’s A Pinker Wonderland Advent Calendar, £45, Boots stores and boots.com

On the outside: Bubbly brand Soap & Glory describe themselves as ‘concocters of the fantastical and the luxurious, the fun and the efficacious’, which sums up this advent calendar perfectly. With flamboyant wall-to-wall pink packaging, gloriously kitsch in design (glitter balls meet Babycham glasses), it’s a big box of joy.

On the inside: A ‘scent-sational’ selection of feel-good skin and body products worth more than £87. The calendar opens up to reveal a myriad of different-sized pink boxes, decorated with candy canes and festive baubles. There’s a lovely mix of Soap & Glory’s quirkily named favourites, such as Call of Fruity Body Butter, alongside brightening face masks, a sleep-inducing bath milk, scented candle and much more besides.

Best for: Those that appreciate a long soak in a bath, adore quirky packaging and love all things pink.

Body Shop Advent Calendar
Body Shop Advent Calendar

The Body Shop Advent of Change Advent Calendar, £59, The Body Shop, Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds, and thebodyshop.com

On the outside: The lid, printed with The Body Shop’s signature stylish graphics, lifts into a playful pop-up illustrating the brand’s core commitments to natural, cruelty-free, fairly traded and sustainably sourced formulas. The two-layered jigsaw of (recyclable cardboard) ‘parcels’ inside is inviting.

On the inside: In keeping with the calendar’s ‘advent of change’ theme, every mini product (soaps, shower gels, sheet masks, body butters) has been chosen for its changemaking ingredients - such as the shea butter, mango seed oil and aloe vera, all fairly traded from female-run farms in Ghana, India and Mexico, thus providing both much-needed employment and community support. The boxes are printed with both these positive messages and positive mantras too, encouraging connection with friends, family, strangers and yourself.

Best for: Anyone looking for fun and fabulous beauty products which are kind to both people and planet. Whether you’re new to the brand or a devotee, the selection - worth £119.50 - is sparkling.

Lumene Advent Calendar
Lumene Advent Calendar

Lumene’s Nordic Beauty Advent Calendar, £94.90, John Lewis & Partners, Grand Arcade, Cambridge and johnlewis.com

On the outside: This would make a luxurious present. The box has a sleek, embossed gatefold cover decorated with a painting of a Nordic sunset over snow, by Finnish illustrator Satu Kettunen, promising wintery goodness within.

On the inside: It opens to reveal a jigsaw of 24 boxes fitted snugly together, each containing a skincare or makeup treat. A perfect introduction to the Lumene range, it has 18 skincare favourites and six makeup surprises made with natural Arctic ingredients. These include glow-boosting Arctic cloudberry, conditioning Arctic heather, hydrating organic Nordic birch sap and balancing Nordic meadowsweet. There are six full-size products and the rest are mini versions.

Best for: Someone who wants to indulge in some serious skincare thanks to the selection of cleansers, serums, masks, moisturisers and night creams - so far we’re loving the Nordic C Triple Glow Radiance Elixir and the Overnight Bright Sleeping Cream.

L'OCCITANE Advent Calendar
L'OCCITANE Advent Calendar

L’Occitane en Provence Classic Advent Calendar, £62, L’Occitane, Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds, and uk.loccitane.com

On the outside: Paying tribute to the brand’s Seventies roots - it was founded in 1976 - the calendar’s packaging is decorated with bright and bold emblems of peace and love, including hearts, flowers, doves and a central circle of people from around the world holding hands. It opens to lie flat, a Provencal olive tree - olives being core to numerous L’Occitane formulas - popping up in the middle. It’s really cheery.

On the inside: Including both best-selling hero products (like the Shea Butter Hand Cream, a must-have for every handbag in winter, and the miraculous Overnight Reset Serum) and brand new releases (Noble Epine Shower Cream, Barbotine Scented Soap), the product selection is a sweetly-scented, high-performing reminder of all that L’Occitane does best, for face, body and hair. The contents is worth double the pricetag, too, totalling £122.50.

Best for: Any friend or family member you’d like to spoil - it’s 24 days of delight.

Dr Hauschka Advent Calendar
Dr Hauschka Advent Calendar

Dr Hauschka Advent Calendar, £90, drhauschka.co.uk

On the outside: Bundled in beautiful packaging, the Dr Hauschka Advent oozes a sophisticated quality that consistently carries through to the products inside, with gorgeous glass and aluminium containers.

On the inside: With a varied mix of hand-bag-handy products, it’s a great way to try out a sizeable portion of the Dr Hauschka collection without splashing out on full-size versions, as well as being a charming way to enjoy a treat every day of the Christmas countdown. A mix of best-sellers and new launches (worth £133), you’ll find 23 individually boxed dinky products and a full-size Hydrating Cream Mask.

Best for: An absolute must for the skincare savvy!

Jurlique Advent Calendar
Jurlique Advent Calendar

Jurlique Advent Calendar, £110, jurlique.co.uk

On the outside: The 24-day advent offers a delightful countdown to the Christmas season, with its festive red and green abstract design and recyclable cardboard packaging.

On the inside: Discover 24 deluxe beauty treats for your skin, mind, and body. With sustainability at the heart of the brand, Jurlique has been committed to creating natural skincare for more than 35 years, cultivating ingredients - from seeds to plants - on its biodynamic farm in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia. Each calendar door reveals a carefully curated Jurlique surprise with a divine and must-have selection of aromatherapy oils and creams and serums, accompanied by an uplifting wellness mantra. Each daily reveal is bound to bring you joy!

Best for: A fabulous festive pressie for the sustainability minded natural skincare and botanical beauty enthusiast.

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