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The Best Beauty Advent Calendars to Buy Before They Sell Out

Photo-Illustration: Courtesy of the retailer.

In 2014, Liberty London took the Advent calendar — a time-honored tradition of daily chocolate-eating and twee Christmas scenes — and beauty-fied it, swapping out candy for a selection of its best-selling products. Needless to say, it was a hit, and many beauty retailers quickly followed suit. Now just about everyone has a gift-worthy Advent calendar, from Space NK to YesStyle to Macy’s, offering a curation of their greatest hits. The deals vary. Some, like the Cult Beauty calendar, contain lots of full-size products, making them well worth the money. Others offer tons of travel sizes and minis with a few full-size products thrown in, a good way to discover new brands or stock up on TSA-approved versions of things you’re already familiar with.

Below, I’ve curated the best calendars available this year, many of which we’ve mentioned in years past. If you’re planning on grabbing one, I recommend shopping early. Although December is a ways off, these often sell out by Thanksgiving, if not sooner.

Beauty enthusiasts know that Sephora Collection, the retailer’s in-house line, is the go-to for cult-favorite dupes (the concealer, for example, is a near dupe for Tarte’s Shape Tape and costs $16 less). The standard-size calendar, which we recommended last year, is a good way to test some of the brand’s greatest hits, including a full-size Cream Lip Stain in the classic shade 01, which we’ve said is one of the best red lipsticks of all time.

As always, the Liberty London calendar contains some of the year’s most coveted (and luxurious) beauty products, and similar to years past, there’s enough variety to overhaul your entire beauty routine. Some standouts from this year’s calendar: Paula’s Choice exfoliant (a beauty-editor favorite), a full-size Byredo lipstick, and a sample of Le Labo Rose 31 — a favorite of Robb Report senior editor Justin Fenner, who describes it as “charming and warm.”

At $560, Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Advent calendar is among the priciest, but it’s worth it given that a single serum will run you around $150. This set lets you try out the beloved skin-care brand and includes an assortment of full-, deluxe-, and travel-size products, including a travel version of the face mask, a favorite of tennis phenom Maria Sharapova, who uses it as a moisturizer.

Space NK’s beloved Advent calendar is a bit pricier this year (up to $306 from last year’s $280), but it also comes with eight additional products, an even better deal for the money. It’s one of the best curated calendars I’ve seen so far this season, filled with minis of Strategist-approved brands like Boy Smells’ Hinoki Fantôme and Nécessaire’s silky body serum.

Cult Beauty’s calendar is always one to watch, especially if you’re looking for lots of full-size products. This year’s calendar has 20, and, at $321 (converted from pounds), it’s the best value for the money. Among the spoils: a full-size bottle of Sunday Riley’s Good Genes Glycolic Acid Treatment ($91 at full price) and Dieux Skin’s Forever Eye Masks, which are so beloved here at the Strategist that they made the “Beauty 100.”

L’Occitane, a brand that tends to be a hit with moms (and others who hoard hand creams), has an Advent calendar packed with some creams as well as soaps. One of its hand creams — which our friends at the Cut say is as “luxurious as the packaging” — typically costs $12, so the fact that you’re getting a medley of 24 pocket-size goodies for $80 makes this a really nice gift for said moms or anyone else you’re looking to impress.

M.A.C’s Advent calendar is practically catnip for any early-2000s mall kid. There are lipsticks and glosses in just about every finish the brand has to offer along with mascaras, eye shadows, and lip liners to construct an entire look.

Macy’s beauty Advent calendar is a who’s who of beauty-guru-approved products like Belif’s Aqua Bomb (a personal favorite), Stila’s Stay All Day liquid liner, and Sunday Riley’s Good Genes lactic-acid serum. Unlike most other calendars, it includes a coupon for $10 off your next $40 beauty purchase.

Olive and June’s $65 calendar includes six mini-polishes, a set of press-ons, and a shrunken, travel-friendly version of its manicure accessories, so you’ll have everything you need to do your nails on the go. This includes the hand-stabilizing Poppy, which makes it easier to paint with your nondominant hand.

Burn a new scent every day with Voluspa’s 12-day Advent calendar, which comes with a variety of the brand’s Japonica scents. In addition to candles, it includes a wick trimmer, essential for getting a clean, even burn.

Benefit fanatics will appreciate the brand’s Advent calendar. It includes a full size of the Benefit Roller mascara, which we’ve said is the best for curling lashes because the brush lifts and separates as you comb.

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