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Aldi’s first-ever beauty advent calendar is full of cult brand dupes – we took a peek inside

From cleansers to mascara, this budget box features limited edition products from its coveted Specialbuys range

Louise Whitbread
Thursday 28 October 2021 10:57
<p>Costing just £54.99, it’s a far cheaper option than many other beauty calendars </p>

Costing just £54.99, it’s a far cheaper option than many other beauty calendars

With the festive season fast approaching, there is an abundance of beauty advent calendars to get your hands on. For beauty aficionados, it’s the most fun way to kick off the countdown to Christmas.

Every brand imaginable gets in on the action, with a growing list of participants every year: Liberty London, Cult Beauty, Jo Malone London and Charlotte Tilbury are just some leading the charge for 2021.

They offer a great way to try a range of different products that you wouldn’t usually buy separately, or a chance to stock up on some of your cult favourites. The catch? beauty calendars tend to be expensive, with many costing hundreds of pounds. A newcomer this year is Aldi, who has launched its own take with 24 products, costing a seemingly reasonable £54.99.

The budget supermarket has fast become an affordable beauty hotspot with an ever-growing range of skincare and make-up products, many of which look eerily similar to cult-favourites from luxury brands. If you’re not familiar, read our review of the best Aldi beauty dupes of Pixi, Elizabeth Arden and Clinique products.

How we tested

We were keen to see if Aldi’s advent calendar is a worthy contender in this year’s battle for the best. We explored the contents, packaging and value for money to determine if it’s worth adding to your shopping list.

Read more:

Aldi Lacura beauty advent calendar: £54.99, Aldi.co.uk

The calendar features 24 products

  • Number of days: 24
  • Products: 24
  • Product sizes: 1 full-size, 23 travel size
  • Price: £54.99

Packaging

Aldi’s beauty calendar is designed with 24 mini drawers of equal size, with a variety of products hiding inside. Other brands such as Chanel, Bobbi Brown and Amazon have gone for more ad hoc design this year, with some drawers being different shapes and sizes, but Aldi’s is proudly uniform.

The outer packaging is luxurious, emerald in colour with gold foil lettering and details, and feels weighty, not dissimilar to advent calendars by high-end brands.

There’s a silk bow to untie to reveal two velvet-clad doors; opening to reveal the numbered drawers, which are surprisingly sturdy. Given Aldi’s low prices across every one of its product categories, we were admittedly expecting something flimsier.

The drawers are sweet and other than the Lacura logo in gold foil on the front, the calendar isn’t overly branded, so you could definitely repurpose it if you wanted to fill it with sweets or other types of trinkets.

Inside each drawer is a product resting on black tissue paper, which although looks the part, does feel like filler. Our only gripe with the packaging is that two of the products come wrapped in plastic, which is wholly unnecessary.

We will give Aldi top marks for clearly displaying the product names, ingredient info and expiry dates on the back of the advent calendar’s cardboard wrapping, which is a helpful, transparent touch for shoppers with sensitive skin or allergies.

The packaging features a fancy silk bow

Products

Aldi has packed this with a mix of popular Lacura beauty products, such as the brilliant oil-based cleansing balm (£6.99, Aldi.co.uk) which is a great alternative to the pricey Emma Hardie moringa cleansing balm (£37.50, Feelunique.com). In our review of the beauty dupe, we were left impressed by its ease at removing a full face of make-up. It’s not in currently stock on Aldi’s website, so this is your opportunity to get your hands on it.

Other products that are exclusively available in the calendar include the Lacura dewy lip balm, which has a thick texture that hydrates dry skin and leaves lips looking glossy.If you’re a fan of French skincare brand Sisley, whose black rose skin infusion cream (£146.50, Johnlewis.com) is one of its most popular products, you’ll find its dupe in the advent calendar from Aldi – albeit in miniature. The full-size version was only £6.99 when available.

The Lacura too legit mascara (£5.99, Aldi.co.uk) also features, which eagle-eye beauty fans will notice is a dupe for Benefit’s ‘they’re real’ lengthening mascara (£23.50, Boots.com).

It’s easy to forget just how varied Aldi’s beauty range is, and added extras included two mini fragrances,rose noir and je suis belle, and the corresponding travel size votive candles were unexpected. There’s some product repetition too, with three serums, two masks and two cleansers – one balm, one micellar water.

If you don’t want too many product spoilers, look away now. Most of the affordable beauty advent calendars feature one, sometimes more, full-size products and in this one from Aldi, drawer number 24 is home to a Lacura dream big bronzer (£4.99, Aldi.co.uk), a dupe for another Benefit cult favourite – the hoola matte bronzer (£27.50, Benefitcosmetics.com).

If like us, there’s already a roster of Lacura products you’ve tried and loved, you’ll know many of them appear in Aldi’s Specialbuy section, and therefore are limited edition. As a result this advent calendar allows shoppers access to products that are no longer available online or in-store.

Aldi conveniently included a list of product details on the back of the calendar

Value for money

When compared to other beauty advent calendars, at face value it’s easy to think £54.99 is a decent price for Aldi’s.

However, while the packaging is surprisingly luxurious and sturdy, all of the products are minis except for the bronzer on day 24. Given that Aldi’s full-size products are so affordable anyway, buying them all separately wouldn’t cost much more than £54.99. So to pay almost £60 for a very small amount of product left us feeling a bit cheated.

But with the price tag comes access to limited edition products, the majority of which are unavailable to buy separately.

That said, some products in particular, such as the jelly cleanser (full size £3.99, Aldi.co.uk), microdermabrasion scrub (full size £3.99, Aldi.co.uk) and snapshot ready foundation primer (full size £5.99, Aldi.co.uk) are so small in size – under 15ml – they will barely last three or four uses. Even if you love them, for some you can’t then buy the full size versions as they’re no longer in stock.

The verdict: Aldi lacura beauty advent calendar

Overall this is a decent start for Aldi’s first beauty advent calendar, with a wide variety of products and top marks for its understated elegant packaging.

However it’s let down by the sizes of the products, some are so small it’s difficult to see the value of what you’re paying for. If you’re an avid Aldi fan, you may be left disappointed by this, but if you’re looking for a budget-friendly beauty advent calendar that replicates many of the luxury options design-wise, it’s a decent option.

Buy now

Voucher codes

For discounts on skincare and make-up, check out the voucher codes 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

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 bougie 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?

Mac advent calendar – packed with bestsellers, this one will sell out fast

Net-A-Porter advent calendar – with £1,300 worth of products for just £255, this is worth considering

Selfridges advent calendar – this one comes with a 45-minute beauty concierge appointment

Rituals advent calendar – this year’s offering is a 3D set up in the style of a Nordic festive village

Marks & Spencer advent calendar – the retailer’s festive treat for 2021 delivers luxury beauty on a budget

Boots No7 advent calendar– the high street beauty brand’s offering is packed with skincare and make-up for all

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.