Beauty calendars are big business. Just ask ASOS, who have already had to restock this year's after it sold in moments when it dropped in September. Launching today, Liberty's now iconic beauty advent calendar has seen a 300 per cent increase in demand since it first came out in 2014. So much so that, this year, they've had to produce double the amount of 2016 in order to keep up with demand, with half the stock selling online (33 per minute) before the store even opened early at half 8, so elbows out, if you want it. And so eager are Jo Malone's customers that they'll put their name down up to a year in advance to ensure they're top of the first-come-first-served waiting list.
But why are we falling over ourselves for them? Well, it's simple, really. As far as gifts that keep giving go, these deliver every day, for 25 whole wonderful days. They're a great way to explore brands or products you may not have come across before and you simply can't beat products made miniature for prime handbag usage – just ask Daisy Buchanan, whose only answer for spending upwards of £500 on beauty calendars for herself is "Shut up!" .
This year, there's more choice than ever, from the uber luxury (such as the beautiful Charlotte Tilbury, £150, ESPA, £100, The White Company, £150, and Estée Lauder, £125, offerings) to the more affordable (such as Primark, £10, Soap & Glory, £40, and The Body Shop, £45 – all lovely compilations). But we've rounded up an edit of our favourites for your perusal.
8 of the best beauty calendars to buy this year
This is jam-packed with glorious booty, most of which has reached cult status on account of their sterling beautifying abilities. Included is Alpha H's Liquid Gold exfoliator, Smashbox's Photo Finish Primer and The Ordinary's Natural Moisturising Factor + HA. In my opinion, the star of the show is Foreo's Luna Play, which is worth £29 on its own, and will give your face a sublime clean, especially when paired with DHC's silky cleansing oil which, as luck would have it, is also in the mix.
It may not have escaped your attention, but we're firm fans of No7 here at The Pool because of their brilliant foundation, kickass mascaras and excellently effective skincare. For £40, expect a stockpile of some of No7's greatest hits in travel sizes you won't find anywhere else (including their Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum, a silky eye pencil, mini lip crayon and festive eyeshadows). The packaging, too, is beautiful – teal star print on the outside, gold and festive in the centre. If you want it, though, you'll need to move fast – their waiting list topped 100,000 and it's expected to sell out quickly, so grab it before it's gone.
Decorated with a winter-wonderland landscape, the whole feel of L'Occitane's charming classic beauty advent calendar is of cosy indulgence and nights in, enjoying a bit of time to yourself. Completing the line-up are a generous helping of shower gels, lotions, shampoos and soaps. Top stuff for bathtime, trips away or popping in your handbag (as is the case for the four lovely handcreams contained).
A chance to explore a mix of make-up, skin and hair products, Look Fantastic's calendar covers all bases. Coming in at £79, it's a bit of a treat, but you get £300 worth of absolutely terrific products, including luxury brands like Elemis, Oskia and Molton Brown. Also included is James Read's fabulous bronzer, Redken's No Blow Dry Cream and an exclusive lipstick shade from Illamasqua – not a single dud in sight.
If you haven't tried Fresh's Soy Cleanser, Zelens Transformer Mask or Sarah Chapman's Morning Facial, then you, my friend, are going to enjoy this a lot. These are high-performing, luxurious products that will leave your face feeling brand-spanking new and fresh as you like. For a bit of familiarity, they've chucked in classics like MAC's creamy Liptensity lipstick, Nars' universally flattering Orgasm blusher and Bobbi Brown's Smokey Mascara.
Best VAlue For Money: MARKS & SPENCER, £35
This is not technically available yet (sorry), but had to be flagged up for when it drops on November 9. Worth a whopping £250, the M&S calendar was an absolute hit last year and this year is set to be no different. Highlights include Eyeko's Black Magic Mascara, Balance Me's Rose Face Oil and Ren's Instant Firming Beauty Shot. This calendar showcases the truly excellent brands stocked in M&S's extensive beauty section. It costs a very reasonable £35, when you spend £35 on clothing, so pick up a dressing gown for Uncle John's Christmas present and you've killed two birds with one stone.
One thing I would happily receive for Christmas is the gift of good skin, especially since party season, before and after Christmas, can be a recipe for gripey skin. Build up your immunity with the Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifier and Overnight Mask, then wake up after a little too much the night before safe in the knowledge that hidden behind a little advent door is Clinique's health-infusing Pep-Start Hydro Blur Moisturiser. If all else fails, sling on their Chubby Stick in Whoppin' Watermelon and a lick of Lash Power Long-Wearing Mascara, and no one will be the wiser.
Yes, this is a small fortune, but it contains a humongous £500 worth of product, so you can erase some of that guilt in by knowing that you truly are getting your money's worth. Recipients of this year's stash are in for a real treat – Diptyque candles, Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream, Votary cleansing oil, Trish McEvoy lip gloss, Laura Mercier Caviar eye stick, Byredo hand cream – be still my beating heart. Plus, if you hang on to the beautiful drawers (and why wouldn't you?), you can refill them yourself next year as a personalised gift for a pal. It practically pays for itself. *Throws caution to the wind*