Tis the season for gift giving, list making and suddenly getting the urge to try every beauty product you see while doing your holiday shopping. Even if something you’ve been wanting to try is on sale, the last thing you want to do is spend money on a cream that ends up irritating your skin or a lipstick color that makes your skin look sallow. Enter: Makeup advent calendars. They’re filled with makeup, skincare and hair care samples, and there’s a new one for you to try every day of the month. Whether you buy one for yourself or gift one to someone you know will appreciate getting a surprise each day, these calendars almost always sell for less than their total value, saving you money and adding some joy to the days leading up to the holiday. Read on to find out more about how makeup advent calendars work and which ones offer the best bang for your buck.
What are makeup advent calendars?
Like any other advent calendar, makeup calendars offer anywhere from 12-24 products sealed in boxes that you open on the days leading to Christmas. “Makeup advent calendars are a fun gift and also a great, affordable way to try out a few different products before investing in a full size,” says Dr. Claire Wolinsky, MD, NYC-based board-certified dermatologist and St. Ives partner.
Opening the different “boxes,” usually numbered by the day of the month, is like getting a surprise gift each day. Is it going to be your favorite moisturizer? A new lipstick? A gorgeous, shimmery eyeshadow? You’ll have to open to see!
Plus, with the popularity of makeup advent calendars, which are trending on TikTok, it shouldn’t be hard to find one that’s the perfect fit for you. So many brands and stores have formulated their own calendars, from drugstore to high-end — and at reasonable prices.
Keep reading to see the beauty advent calendars you should try this year.
The best beauty and makeup advent calendars of 2023
We rounded up the best makeup advent calendars (and added a few others we think no one can resist) for you to gift yourself or a loved one this season. Here, the top 15:
1. Sephora Collection makeup advent calendar
Sephora Collection Advent Calendar (Buy from Sephora, $49)
The popular beauty store’s 24-day advent calendar has all of the Sephora brand’s favorites in one box. Products include face masks, nail polish, makeup sponges, lip products and more! You’re sure to find one to add to your beauty arsenal!
2. Ulta Beauty makeup advent calendar
Ulta Beauty Collection 12 Days of Beauty Advent Calendar (Buy from Ulta, $22)
This advent calendar has 12 days of fun, and the pretty packaging just adds to the joy! Goodies inside include everything you would need for a full face of makeup: eyeshadow, primer, blush, you name it, all from the Ulta Beauty collection.
3. Kiki Milano makeup advent calendar
Kiko Milano Holiday Première Advent Calendar (Buy from Kiko Milano, $100)
Kiko’s advent calendar is full of 24 gorgeous makeup products, from a bold red lipstick that’s perfect for the holidays to matching lip liners, a long-lasting brow gel and so much more. Plus, the packaging is one of our favorites — the classic white, red and gold color scheme will put you right in the holiday spirit.
4. Makeup Revolution makeup advent calendar
Makeup Revolution 25 Days of Glam Advent Calendar (Buy from Walgreens, $60)
For $60, you get 25 products — everything you would need to achieve your ultimate glam. With pretty pinks and warm neutrals, this makeup advent calendar has every shade you’d want for a soft, gorgeous look.
5. Bobbi Brown makeup advent calendar
Bobbi Brown 12 Days of Glow Bestsellers Advent Calendar (Buy from Ulta, $180)
If you’re looking to create the glowy makeup look of your dreams, Bobbi Brown’s makeup advent calendar to the rescue. This 12-day calendar includes their iconic shimmery shadow sticks, highlighter, lipsticks and even a brush. Although a bit pricier than some others, three of the 12 products are full-sized, whereas many of the other advent calendars comprise only minis, so you’re getting your money’s worth.
6. NYX makeup advent calendar
NYX Limited Edition 12 Days Of Kissmas Lip Makeup Gift Set (Buy from Ulta, $37.50)
Pucker up because this makeup advent calendar by NYX is filled with 12 gorgeous lip products, from glosses to creams to sticks all great staples to have in your makeup bag. They won’t seep into fine lines and wrinkles, and have a satin-y, creamy finish. Plus, the calendar is on sale at Ulta, so grab it while you can!
7. bareMinerals makeup advent calendar
bareMinerals Clean Beauty Countdown 12-Day Advent Calendar (Buy from bareMinerals, $73.50)
Clean makeup products are not only better for the environment but also better for your skin. Instead of worrying about your makeup clogging your pores, causing break outs or irritating your skin, you’ll be wondering how you’re ever going to choose a favorite product from this calendar when they’ll all impress you! It comes with both makeup and skincare, for the best of both worlds.
8. Dermstore skincare beauty box
The Dermstore Holiday Beauty Box (Buy from Dermstore, $130)
This beauty box isn’t technically an advent calendar but a set of some of the best beauty products on the market. It features 21 full-size and deluxe-size products and is perfect for the skin-savvy guru in your life. Plus, it’s valued at $798 — a true bargain! It’s a favorite of Dr. Wolinsky’s as well: “I like The Dermstore Holiday Beauty Box because there are high-quality products infused with all kinds of antioxidants and ingredients such as resveratrol, retinol, niacinamide, AHA and BHAs,” she says.
9. Estee Lauder variety advent calendar
Estee Lauder Holiday Countdown Gift Set 24 Beauty Surprises (Buy from Estee Lauder, $275)
Not only does this calendar have stunning makeup products, it has a little bit skincare and fragrance too. With this wide variety of goodies, it’s sure to be worth the splurge.
10. Macy’s perfume advent calendar
Macy’s Favorite Scents 12 Days Of Scent For Her Advent Calendar (Buy from Macy’s $30)
A fragrance advent calendar will help the perfume-lover in your life choose her new favorite scent without committing to the full-size price, plus provide her with minis to have on hand at all times. She can throw it in her purse, leave in her car, keep in her work bag, you name it. Wherever she goes, she’ll arrive smelling great with these luxury perfumes. And for just $30!
11. Clarins skin and makeup advent calendar
Clarins 12 Days of Christmas Calendar (Buy from Nordstrom, $67.15)
The tried-and-true skincare brand happens to have one of the best advent calendars when it comes to what you pay compared to the value you get. It’s currently on sale at Nordstrom for less than $70, and you get a whopping $215 worth of product. From creams to balms to micellar water, this calendar has what you need. Plus, you may even find some makeup goodies included, like mascara and lip oil.
12. Anthropologie variety advent calendar
Anthropologie The 2023 George & Viv Beauty Advent Calendar (Buy from Anthropologie, $88)
Another great deal, this advent calendar has a $350 value and costs less than $100. Inside, you’ll find everything from skincare to perfume to shampoo. 24 samples are included, and to make it even better, the artwork on the packaging will put you in the festive spirit before you even open the box.
13. Le Mini Macaron nail advent calendar
Le Mini Macaron 12 Days of Nails Advent Calendar (Buy from Le Mini Macaron, $47.60)
Want to start DIYing your own gel nails? This advent calendar by Le Mini Macaron has all the supplies needed for an at-home gel mani: seven stunning nail polish shades, a mini LED light, three nail files, prep pads, removal wipes, holiday nail stickers and a sanding sponge. All of that for less than $50 sounds like a pretty good deal to us!
14. Altar’d State jewelry advent calendar
Altar’d State Advent Calendar Jewelry Box (Buy from Altar’d State, $128)
That loved one who never leaves the house without her jewelry will love this jewelry advent calendar from Altar’d State. Necklaces, rings, earrings, oh my! With 10 gorgeous jewelry items in this beautifully designed packaging, whoever receives this gift will have all the jewelry she needs for the holiday season.
15. Larchio candle advent calendar
Larchio Candle Advent Calendar 2023 (Buy from Amazon, $34.99)
Cozy up by the fireplace, snuggle into your favorite blanket and light one of the 12 delicious-smelling candles that you’ll find in this candle advent calendar. From cinnamon to lavender to cedar, you’ll fall in love with one (or all!) of these scents immediately.