It’s fair to say we often get overloaded with chocolate at Christmas time; from Terry’s chocolate orange and Quality Street tins to Ferrero Rocher and Lindt truffles. It can sometimes get a bit much, and the obligatory chocolate advent calendar can seem a little overkill. In comes, the beauty calendar – a sure-fire way to please any make-up and skincare obsessive in your life, and a way to make Christmas that much more special.
Each year both big name beauty brands and heavyweight retailers gather their finest products together and house them in beautiful packaging that’s just dying to be opened. The end result is a showstopping calendar with a glorious treat behind every door.
Of course, we couldn’t talk beauty without bringing up Benefit Cosmetics. Renowned for its bestselling “they’re real!” mascara and cult brow range, the Benefit’s festive offering always features top of every beauty lovers Christmas list.
This year is no different, as it’s entering Christmas 2021 with a bang. Benefit’s the more the merrier advent calendar (£58.50, Benefitcosmetics.com) is available to buy now and features 12 products, comprising a mix of minis and fun size goodies (one step up from the miniatures). From its all-star porefessional primer to the trusty hoola bronzer – it is the Aladdin’s cave of treats. But does this year’s packaging deliver that fun, luxury feel that we’ve come to expect from Benefit? And are the products inside good value for money? We got our hands on this year’s calendar to find out.
How we tested
Benefit is well known for its kitsch packaging as well as its great products, so we naturally paid close attention to all the details in order to decide whether this year’s calendar lived up to the hype. As for the products, we were looking for a mix of tried and true favourites and some newer products to try. We primed, blushed and bronzed to test the products for you, and here’s what we thought.
Benefit beauty advent calendar: £58.50, Benefitcosmetics.com
On sale: Now on Benefitcosmetics.com, launching nationwide from 15 September
Number of days: 12
Upon first impressions, the packaging is everything we’ve come to expect from Benefit: all pink, decadent and downright adorable. In a sea of sleek black packaging, Benefit’s make-up stands out like an inflatable flamingo dinghy. We loved the cute stocking and fireplace design on the front of the box, it will look very festive sitting pride of place on our dressing table come Christmas. And when the festivities are all over and done with, the box will make a convenient storage solution too.
Rather than doors you open, the sweet little calendar has numbered boxes that you pull out, much like a more traditional offering. The boxes themselves are removable, and filled with cute pink wrapping paper, which makes every day feel like a real treat. This is also very handy as you can re-gift the treats inside if need be. Not that you’d want to, of course, but sometimes a shade may not be a great match or you have a friend who needs a stocking filler.
One question that arose as we unveiled this calendar was: how does Benefit make its packaging and products smell so good? No synthetic, overwhelming scents here – all sweet and fruity like oranges and chocolate. Despite not being overtly festive, the fragrance does feel like Christmas to us, and that combined with the bright packaging is a real treat for the senses.
On the first day of Christmas, Benefit gave to me... a roller lash liner. This was one of the products we were really hoping to see, and thankfully for us, it comes in a fun-size which is slightly larger than the mini products. Both the minis and fun sizes are ideal for slinging in your handbag on a festive night out for post dancing top-ups, or should you be lucky enough to be going on a Christmas getaway, perfect for the 100ml cosmetic rule.
The calendar has got a good mix of some cult classics like the they’re real mascara, and the porefessional primer, which is frankly magic in a bottle. It’s a cult favourite for us, but we gave the mascara another go just to make sure it lived up to its cult status, and thankfully the formula still made our lashes look long and full. There was a fairly new contenders in the box too, the they’re real magnet mascara, which thankfully lived up to its predecessor and made our lashes flutter.
No one does powder products quite like Benefit – we’re a sucker for its hoola bronzer – but we discovered a new found favourite in the dandelion blush which gave a delicate baby pink shimmer to the cheeks – perfect for Christmas parties. But, all in all, our favourite product had to be the precisely, my brow pencil. The formula was creamy and smooth on the skin with great pigment pay-off but it was the colour that impressed us the most. It is the goldilocks of eyebrow shades, not too heavy, not too light – the perfect cool brown tone for brow hairs.
The porefessional hydrate primer was another welcome surprise; it glided on really smoothly and helped quench parched skin – a great option for those with combination or dry skin.
The verdict: Benefit advent calendar
Unfortunately, there were no full-size products in this calendar – but for this price, it’s not a deal breaker. The mini products mean you can try out some new cosmetics without committing to buying the full thing and are incredibly handy for holidays or nights out. With the whole box valued at over £130, you are getting 12 premium beauty products for only £58.50 – so it’s definitely not to sniffed at.
The clever packaging design with the individual boxing helps solve the age-old problem with beauty boxes, that not everything will suit you perfectly, this way you can easily re-gift to your closest and dearest.
When it came to the products, Benefit largely stuck to its tried and true favourites for this box – making it perfect for someone who is new to the brand and wants to sample the best of the best. They are classics for a reason, but it would’ve been nice to see more of a mix of new and old, and perhaps four mascaras is one too many.
Despite this, there’s no denying that Benefit’s advent calendar feels like a real treat. The packaging is very on-brand and definitely embodies the Christmas spirit and you get a lot of bang for your buck in terms of the products. But buyers should beware, gifting this may make you the favourite aunt or uncle, sibling or offspring.
For the latest discounts on beauty advent calendars and other skincare offers, try the links below:
Read more about the best beauty advent calendars for 2021
Beauty advent calendars 2021– Our ultimate guide to this year’s Christmas treats from M&S, Cult Beauty and more
Fortnum & Mason advent calendar – From traditional to 3D pop-ups versions, food fit for a feast and of course, the beauty advent calendar, you’re spoilt for choice
Lush advent calendar – True to form, the beauty brand’s calendar is made from reusable and recyclable packaging and is every bit as bold and colourful as you’d expect
Body Shop advent calendar – This year’s calendar features a selection of the ethically conscious brand’s cult classics
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