Shopping at Net-A-Porter is always an experience to savour. From its slick website to its bespoke delivery boxes that are just as covetable as the products inside, the retailer is known for its pin-sharp attention to detail, which for many, warrants the high prices of its designer goods.
In short, the Net-A-Porter advent calendar has a lot to live up to when it comes to creating a calendar that lives up to its reputation throughout the rest of the year. But the 2021 offering is certainly a valiant attempt.
At £255, the investment is high – but with a purported value of £1,300, and an impressive 17 full-size products (one of the best full-size to mini ratios we’ve seen this year) we think it’s well worth it. Plus, the products included are from the biggest beauty industry hitters: think the likes of Tata Harper, Augustinus Bader, Charlotte Tilbury, Susanne Kaufmann and Sunday Riley.
If some of these brands are on your wishlist, but your budget has never quite stretched to shopping for them, picking up a Net-A-Porter advent calendar could be an unexpectedly cost-effective way of trying a wide range without paying full price.
But with so many beauty advent calendars these days stuffed with filler and sold on the merit of the occasional hero product, how does the Net-A-Porter line-up hold up when you break down each individual item? And is it really worth that £250 spend at one of the most expensive times of year? We got our hands on one to find out.
How we tested
We eagerly unboxed our Net-A-Porter advent calendar as soon as it arrived, paying particular attention to the packaging and the variety and desirability of the products inside. We considered overall value for money, and how suitable the calendar would be for gifting (to self or otherwise).
Net-A-Porter advent calendar: £255, Net-a-porter.com (available from 11 October)
Number of days: 25
Number of products: 25
Product sizes: 17 full-size, 8 mini
Value of products: £1,300
It’s not an especially creative or “out there” aesthetic, but it is a classic beauty advent calendar done well. Twenty-five drawers in varying sizes are nestled behind two ribbon-tied doors. The cardboard is sturdy and could easily be used to rehouse your existing beauty collection, or as storage for other miscellaneous essentials like craft kit or stationery.
The font of each number is clean, simple and easy to find – we appreciated the pops of red and pink against Net-A-Porter’s signature monochrome, which helped to make the calendar feel a little more festive.
The mix of products in the 2021 advent calendar weighs fairly heavily on the side of skincare. Our skin sucked up the Sunday Riley pink drink (£42, Net-a-porter.com) essence in double quick time, and we enjoyed the texture of Augustinus Bader’s eye wateringly expensive rich cream (£205, Net-a-porter.com) as a pre-Christmas pampering treat – it’s a great moisturiser for colder weather.
A lot of the products, like the Barbara Sturm lifting serum (£235, Net-a-porter.com), Agent Natuer holi(oil) ageless face serum (£113, Net-a-porter.com) and the Macrene Actives deluxe neck and décolletage treatment (£236, Net-a-porter.com) are targeted towards firming, anti-ageing results. We’d say this is a calendar that’s best suited to more mature skin that will really appreciate their virtues fully, rather than very young beauty fans.
However, there’s still plenty to enjoy if you fall outside of this demographic, like the mini Claus Porto candle (£57, Net-a-porter.com) and Margaret Dabbs foot cream (£20, Net-a-porter.com) (the best in the biz, if you ask us), to balance it out.
You could easily create your own home spa using the items included, and with the Susanne Kaufmann mallow bath (£47, Net-a-porter.com), This Works deep sleep body cocoon and dreamy (£25, Net-a-porter.com) Mauli pillow mist also in the arsenal, we found the nod to evening rituals welcome and refreshing.
They’ve even included a rose quartz from Hayo’u (£38.95, Net-a-porter.com) if facial massage is your thing, which is wonderfully cooling and calming.
Read more: The White Company advent calendar 2021
Make-up is always a big gamble in a beauty calendar – you can’t guarantee the items will work for all skin tones or types, so for us it’s often the most quickly abandoned advent product. However, Net-A-Porter has smartly played it safe in this area.
Opting to only include a Victoria Beckham Beauty lipstick in “sway” (£38, Net-a-porter.com) and Charlotte Tilbury’s eyeliner in “walk of no shame” (£19, Net-a-porter.com), a brick red hue that won’t suit everyone, but will suit many, and offers subtle colour that could integrate into an everyday look quite comfortably.
Topped off with a couple of hair products – a mask from Leonor Greyl Paris (£42, Net-a-porter.com) and Oribe’s colour preserving drops (£54, Net-a-porter.com) – a hand cream and a lip conditioner, we’d declare this to be a well-rounded overall package with multiple winners for most people.
Value for money
If you asked us if £255 was a lot for an advent calendar, we’d say yes – and we stand by that. However, the Net-A-Porter’s contents, if sold separately, rounds up to more than £1,300, so if you’re a beauty fan who aspires to a bathroom cupboard full of A-list brands, it could be worth the splurge.
We also appreciated the fact that 17 of the 25 products included were full-size – all the more impressive considering their RRP – and that 25 days were included, whereas many other brands default to 24 (who doesn’t want an extra present on Christmas day?).
The verdict: Net-A-Porter advent calendar 2021
If you’re in the market for a luxury beauty advent calendar this year, you could do a lot worse than Net-A-Porter’s offering. There’s a pleasing variety of products across a range of categories, with multiple items that will suit a wide range of tastes, and the sizes are notably generous to boot. Santa’s going to have a tough time topping this one…
Net-A-Porter advent calendar
Buy now £255.00, Net-a-porter.com
For the latest offers on skincare and beauty products, try our discount code pages:
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
The Body Shop advent calendar – this year’s calendar features a selection of the ethically conscious brand’s cult classics
Cult Beauty advent calendar – it’s overflowing with skincare and make-up from Charlotte Tilbury, Sunday Riley and more
Benefit advent calendar – calling all Bene-babes, the gift you’ve been waiting for all year is here
Lookfantastic advent calendar – brimming with skincare, haircare, make-up and bath treats from all your favourite brands
Charlotte Tilbury advent calendar – the luxury beauty brand has gone all out for 2021, but is it worth the money?
The White Company advent calendar – sink into 25 days of utter indulgence with the brand’s seasonal offering
Clarins advent calendar – there are festive options for men and women this year and both are busting with cult products
Lush advent calendar – the eco-conscious brand has revealed its joyous gift set with a sustainable focus
Asos advent calendar – we got our hands on the fashion retailer’s festive box and there’s plenty to shout about
Next advent calendar – this year’s offering is packed with treats from big names such as Clarins and Mac
Liberty advent calendar – with treats from Augustinus Bader and Olaplex, this year’s calendar lives up to the hype
Jo Malone advent calendar – it’s stuffed with bestselling candles and boujie bathroom treats
Diptyque advent calendar – the French perfume house has unveiled a cabinet of curiosities
John Lewis advent calendar – with £600 worth of beauty products, is it worth the hype?