Traditional Advent calendars contain small treats, oftentimes chocolates and small candies. Beauty Advent calendars, on the other hand, have a heftier return. From the elaborate, ornate designs of the calendar box itself to the quality of products, beauty Advent calendars are a fail-safe way to ensure plenty of fun this holiday season.
The best beauty Advent calendars include a mix of products that come in mini and full sizes, which will build upon a pre-existing beauty arsenal of your go-to products with some newness. Department stores will often share various brands in their Advent calendars, while brand-exclusive calendars will include different items from their collections.
To better understand the ins and outs, we sought expert advice from Dr. David Shafer, a double board-certified plastic surgeon and founder of Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue. Shafer says that “smaller sizes of beauty products are great to get you started, but don’t forget they would have to be replaced with the full-size version.”
From brand-specific calendars to annual bestsellers, see which beauty Advent calendars are worth gifting (or purchasing for yourself) this Christmas season.
Cult Beauty Advent Calendar
Cult Beauty’s Advent calendar stands out because it contains a whopping 20 full-size products, as well as 19 travel- and deluxe-sized products, for a truly well-rounded gift set. If you’re doing the math, that means that each day has at least one product to open—and day 25 (aka Christmas Day) has seven! Brands include Biossance, Dieux, Saie, Sunday Riley, and Augustinus Bader, while products range from makeup and beauty to hair products and candles.
Price at time of publish: $280
Bloomingdale’s 25-Day Beauty Advent Calendar
The department store’s Advent calendar is chock full of beauty favorites, from YSL mascara and Kiehl’s cleanser to Le Labo perfume and a Maison Francis Kurkdjian candle. The box itself is a gorgeous gift itself—inspired by the brand’s legendary 59th Street flagship and its cosmetics floor, it has a sleek black and gold appearance. This is a good option if you want more makeup than beauty.
Price at time of publish: $300
Charlotte Tilbury Lucky Chest of Beauty Secrets
Celebrity makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury’s namesake brand continues its tradition of Advent calendars with its 2023 Lucky Chest of Beauty Secrets. The twelve-day countdown is on the smaller side compared to other prestige cosmetics companies, but what it lacks in days, it makes up for in product offerings. Inside, the Advent features two full-sized lip products and a variety of deluxe-sized skincare and viral beauty offerings like the Beauty Light and Blush Wands. Another defining feature that sets this Advent apart is the inclusion of a large mirror at the top of the box, allowing you to keep the storage chest long after the holidays have passed.
Price at time of publish: $210
L’Occitane Premium Advent Calendar
The Premium Advent Calendar from body care brand L’Occitane is an affordable offering not to be missed. Within this 24-piece kit comes six retail-sized classics like the Amande Delightful Body Balm and coveted Sheet Mask. The scent across the brand’s product assortment is a luxe almond gourmand that lingers on the skin without being overly cloying, something those with sensitive noses can appreciate.
Price at time of publish: $140
Que Bella 12 Days of Masking Advent Calendar
If all you want for Christmas is face masks (or if you’d rather not splurge on a luxury beauty Advent calendar), the Que Bella 12 Days of Masking set is a fantastic option. It contains 12 face masks of all varieties, including muds, clays, gels, creams, and peel off masks. There’s a mask here for every need, whether you need something hydrating, exfoliating, or detoxifying. Pro tip: Don’t use these masks every single day, but space them out over the winter months.
Price at time of publish: $15
Dermstore Holiday Beauty Box
While not technically an Advent calendar since it doesn’t have any doors to open, Dermstore’s Holiday Beauty Box is still worth checking out. It includes 21 of the retailer’s best-selling products, including brands like EltaMD, Augustinus Bader, Indie Lee, Virtue, and Eminence Organics. Plus, every product is either full- or deluxe-sized (the total value is over $750!).
Price at time of publish: $200
Bobbi Brown 12 Days of Glow Advent Calendar
Makeup enthusiasts will love the Bobbi Brown 12 Days of Glow Advent Calendar. It features 12 of the brand’s beauty products, including three full-sized goodies (a lip tint, mascara, and eyeshadow stick). Also included are a few beauty tools, like a travel-sized face brush and makeup remover. The box is just as fun—it’s shaped like an octagonal ornament and has a shimmery gold face.
Price at time of publish: $180
Liberty London Beauty Advent Calendar 2023
The iconic Liberty London Advent calendar is one of the most well-known beauty calendars around, and this year’s version lives up to expectations. Inside you’ll find an excellent curation of well-loved products, including a variety of full-sized picks. Brands include Paula’s Choice, Le Labo, Byredo, and Dr. Barbara Sturm, among others. Plus, the box is a keepsake on its own—it’s shaped like the Liberty London store decked out for the holidays.
Price at time of publish: $320
BeautyBio 12 Days of Glow
The 12-days’ worth of skincare staples from BeautyBio gives anyone who is skin-obsessed the chance to dabble in the brand’s product offerings outside of their tools and devices. They’ll get everything from a cleanser and serum to clarifying and facial pads. Reviewers love the included headband to protect their hair during the ritualistic skincare process, plus the deluxe-mini versions of the brand’s best-sellers gave them vibrant and glowing skin.
Price at time of publish: $125
Saks Fifth Avenue 25 Days of Beauty Advent Calendar
Saks’ 25 Days Of Beauty Advent Calendar has an emphasis on luxury items, making it ideal for the prestige beauty lover in your life. You’ll find brands like Diptyque, Augustinus Bader, Gucci Perfume, Balmain, and Louis Vuitton Beauty, covering the scope of cosmetics, skincare, haircare, and fragrance. While none of the products are full-size, the items exceed traditional sample sizes, so you get a considerable number of uses out of all 25 pieces.
Price at time of publish: $225
Longtime Lancôme fans and newbies alike will love the brand’s well-stocked Advent calendar. It has 24 days worth of products, including five full-size goodies (a lipstick, perfume, mascara, serum, and eyeshadow palette). It contains a good mix of skincare and makeup, so it’s a great option if you want to totally revamp your beauty collection.
Price at time of publish: $180
bareMinerals 12 Days of Joy Holiday Advent Calendar
Vegan and cruelty-free, bareMinerals is offering a 12-day beauty Advent calendar filled with four regular-sized and eight mini versions of their award-winning products. From blush and bronzer to mascara and lip gloss, this branded Advent calendar doesn’t skip a beat. It is one of the more affordable options this season, making it ideal for those on a budget or a giftee just getting into beauty.
Price at time of publish: $110
Rituals 3D Advent Calendar
With twinkling lights and ornament wellness goodies, the Ritual Advent Calendar of 2023 is equal parts holiday countdown, decoration, and product sampler. While the brand does not specify what items are included this season, they do promise that the 24 offerings are a mix of new products along with old favorites and will even feature some full-sized items. Delivery on this Advent calendar is free and includes complementary wrapping, which saves time in the long run.
Price at time of publish: $125
Fresh Advent Calendar Skincare Set
Fresh is well-received for its holiday beauty offerings, and this year’s Advent calendar is no exception. The 24-piece set includes brand classics like the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, Creme Ancienne Soft Cream, and Tea Elixir Skin Resilience Activating Serum. Like most Advent calendars, not everything is full-sized, but the miniature items are perfect for traveling. Given the sheer size of each product and the unit itself, this holiday exclusive is not eligible for the brand’s complimentary gift wrapping; however, the ornate packaging definitely makes a statement as compensation.
Price at time of publish: $350
NYX Pull-To-Sleigh Surprise Makeup Box
The NYX Professionals Pull-to-Sleigh Surprise Makeup Box exceeds the expectations of any TikTok beauty junkie, thanks to the inclusion of the brand’s beloved lip products and illuminator.
Unlike traditional Advent calendars, this iteration from NYX is in the style of a piñata. So, while you don’t get the luxury of a daily countdown with this 14-piece set, you get a fun moment that sparks a child-like sense of wonder that’s often missing from the modern holiday season. Not to mention, it’s affordable and features an undisclosed surprise.
Price at time of publish: $70
The Body Shop The Advent of Change Calendar
The Body Shop specializes in beauty products that are ethically-sourced and naturally-based, and the brand’s Advent of Change set includes a variety of good-for-you products. You’ll find 24 travel-sized goodies, including shower gels, body creams, and masks. If you want even more, you can also take a look at the Big Advent of Change (which features some full-size products) or the Ultimate Advent of Change (which includes some full-size products and some new accessories).
Price at time of publish: $89
Dr. Barbara Sturm Advent Calendar
The Advent calendar from celebrity-loved skincare expert Dr. Barbara Sturm includes 25 products, including best sellers like The Better B Niacinamide Serum and Face Cream. While most of the products included in the calendar are mini or deluxe sizes, three products (The Glow Drops, Super Anti-Aging Hand Cream, and Hair and Scalp Comb) are full-size. The brand totes that the set is worth over $1,600, which conceptualizes the higher retail price. The calendar’s design is straightforward and minimalist, evoking a sense of elegance to display as you countdown to the holidays.
Price at time of publish: $560
Neiman Marcus Beauty Holiday Advent Calendar 2023
The Neiman Marcus Advent calendar contains 25 travel-sized goodies from buyer-favorite brands, like La Mer, Sunday Riley, R+Co, and Molton Brown. Beyond creams and serums, this set has shower gels, hair products, perfumes, and even deodorant. It’s all packaged in a festive bright red box with 25 boxes to open throughout December.
Price at time of publish: $225
Kiehl’s Limited Edition Holiday Advent Calendar
If you’re someone who already loves Kiehl’s or wants to buy for someone who’s just starting to get into skincare, the brand’s Advent calendar is a great buy. It holds 24 iconic Kiehl’s products, including classic favorites like the Ultra Facial Cleanser, Midnight Recovery Concentrate, Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, and Midnight Recovery Omega-Rich Cloud Cream. Plus, the box itself is beautifully designed with lots of colors and festive scenery.
Price at time of publish: $125
Created for Macy’s 12 Days Of Beauty Advent Calendar
The Macy’s Advent calendar is small but mighty, with 12 standout products from brands like First Aid Beauty, Elizabeth Arden, Shiseido, and Drybar. Plus, each box contains a $10 coupon that you can redeem on your next Macy’s beauty purchase of $40 or more. This calendar is also a very affordable option, so it’s a good pick if you’re not convinced that a beauty Advent calendar is worth splurging on.
Price at time of publish: $25
Net-A-Porter The Ultimate Gift Set
Net-A-Porter is a go-to source for luxury fashion and beauty, so it’s no surprise that the brand’s Advent calendar is, in a word, luxurious. It’s on the higher-end price-wise, especially considering that it only contains 15 products (a mix of full- and travel-size), but that’s because it includes top brands like Augustinus Bader, Charlotte Tilbury, and Sarah Chapman. Plus, there are some unusual extras, like cashmere gloves and silver earrings.
Price at time of publish: $375
Peter Thomas Roth 12 Days of Holiday Glow Advent Calendar
The Peter Thomas Roth calendar is the ideal choice for someone who wants to focus solely on skincare rather than makeup or hair care. The 12-piece set includes a curated collection of the brand’s top-selling products, like the Water Drench Cloud Moisturizer, Cucumber De-Tox Hydra-Gel Eye Patches, and Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel. Every product is full- or deluxe-sized, making this a great value buy.
Price at time of publish: $150
Questions You Might Ask
Are beauty Advent calendars worth it?
Dr. Shafer says that beauty Advent calendars, in particular, are worth purchasing during the holiday season. “These are a great way to try different products you might not have normally seen or used,” he says. “The sample sizes also make great travel beauty items.”
But, there are some drawbacks that can hinder your post-purchase experience. For example, he warns that “if a person starts using a variety of products, it might throw off their routine.” This rapid onset change in products can be particularly troublesome for individuals with skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, or psoriasis, as well as those with acne-prone skin. So, be sure not to use every new product all at once—instead, take your time, savor each one, and extend the fun of new products!
What are the most popular beauty Advent calendars?
While Shafer’s children prefer chocolate Advent calendars, he believes that the top-performing beauty Advent calendars cater to a wide variety of shoppers and blend products across categories—cosmetics, skincare, and fragrance. “I like the one from Diptyque, which has a mix of scent and skincare,” he shares.
Some of the most popular Advent calendars come from famous department stores, like Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrods, and Selfridges. Other great options include Advent calendars from large beauty retailers, like Sephora, Dermstore, Space NK, and Ulta. All of these options typically feature a range of products from different brands, including highly coveted luxury brands.
Take Our Word for It
This article was written by Samantha Parsons, a beauty industry veteran, and writer with experience across the cosmetics, skin, and wellness industries. She researched countless sites and brands to find the best beauty Advent calendars of the season. She also consulted Dr. David Shafer, a double board-certified plastic surgeon and founder of Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue, to solidify her product assortment.