Calendar Girl

No 7

Lauren Oakey opens a pile of beauty advent calendars and chooses the best. It sucks to be her.


I was always a massive fan of the advent calendar. Right up to the moment I opened the first door, and weeks of anticipation evaporated at the revelation of December the 1st’s vaguely elf- or Santa-like blob of what was generously known as ‘calendar chocolate’. By the second week, I’d forget about the whole thing for several days, then feel obliged to shove four in my gob in one go, or leave it by the fireplace so that the melty chocolate would weld the doors shut.


If my nine-year-old self could see what advent calendars were to become, it would’ve blown her tiny mind. A giant box of 24 doors or drawers, each containing not dubious confectionery shapes, but makeup, skincare, and other lovely treats. Here are six of the best. Merry Christmas one and all.



Ciate Mini Mani Manor, £49,  available now


If, unlike me, you can manage to say ‘Mini Mani Manor’ without sounding like you have a mouth full of pine cones, then you deserve this calendar. It contains 15 best-selling mini paint pots in various textures, one full-size paint on Christmas Eve and eight nail effects. Which means you’ll have a new nail look for every Christmas party and needn’t lurk at the office do hiding chipped nails behind a glass of Prosecco.





benefitBenefit Candy-Coated Countdown, £60,  available now


I would’ve done some pretty terrible things for one of these bad boys as a teenager and fans of Benefit’s dressing-table-worthy packaging might be tipped right over the edge. The calendar includes 18 of their iconic products and 6 accessories, hidden away in a suitably whimsical old sweet shop design, like a traditional chocolate calendar. Such was the demand in 2013, this year’s waiting list for the calendar at Debenhams started on 1st October. But they are still in available in store and online.




LibertyLiberty, £149,  from 6th November


Even though this beautiful Liberty calendar is crammed full of some of their beauty hall’s finest offerings, I’m most excited about the mini Hera-print drawers that house each product. I would happily open one each morning, check the contents, then slide it back and ‘surprise’ myself again when I got home from work, like the overgrown child I am. Products include Diptyque, Eve Lom and Nars, as well as Liberty own brand products, and it’s as close to Christmas shopping in the store as you can get.




No 7No7 25 Days of Beauty Secrets, £35,  from 29th October


That’s right, 25. No7 have popped an extra Christmas Day treat in their first ever advent calendar, which opens like a book and includes a beauty quote behind each door. It’s filled with £130 worth of skincare and make-up best sellers and amazingly includes their Protect and Perfect night and day creams in brilliant sizes that probably cover the cost of the whole thing. It’s basically buy two, get 23 free.




Jo-Malone-London-Advent-Calendar-2014-2Jo Malone, £250, from November 10th


Jo Malone’s elegant offering holds mini fragrances and body creams in a beautiful box sporting an illustration of their London townhouse HQ. Inside are 24 mini drawers that you’ll have to stop yourself diving into all in one go. At £250 it’s perhaps indulgent, but each drawer gives you the chance to try a fabulous new treat and the denouement (spoiler alert) is a full-size bottle of Pomegranate Noir, so it’s like a month-long, fragrant game of pass-the-parcel.




loccitaneL’Occitane 13 Pampering Treats from Provence, £45, available now


L’Occitane’s gorgeous calendar echoes the Provençal tradition in which 13 desserts are served at the end of Christmas Eve dinner and remain in situ for three days. Sadly there are no puddings here but instead 13 good-sized products including bestsellers from skincare, fragrance and bodycare. At £45, the calendar offers the perfect way to dip your toe in the brand and properly treat yourself in the run up to Christmas.

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