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Cult Beauty advent calendar review: A must-have gift for make-up and skincare connoisseurs

The retailer has packed the very best trending brands into its chic offering this year

Rebecca Fearn
Thursday 14 October 2021 10:29
<p>We considered cost, design, the products and ease of use  </p>

We considered cost, design, the products and ease of use

As October arrives, we’re approaching peak beauty advent calendar season, with seemingly every brand and retailer under the sun offering something to the keen beauty consumer.

Perhaps one of the most exciting beauty advent calendars to be released every year is Cult Beauty’s, largely due to the fact that the retailer really does offer the best in beauty. Whether it’s new trending products or cool brands hot off the press, Cult is a must-visit for the beauty connoisseur.

In previous years, the brand’s advent calendar has been packed full of beauty goodness, and this year, things are no different.

The 2021 offering — which is available to buy now — features the hottest brands in beauty, from Augustinus Bader to Victoria Beckham Beauty. Costing £215 but worth a staggering £975, the calendar hides an impressive 38 items behind its 25 doors, and one lucky winner will even find a golden ticket in theirs, giving them access to a cool £1,000 worth of products at the site.

This calendar also has a charitable spin, promising to donate £40,000 of the profits from sales of the calendar to the Beauty Backed Trust, which has supported beauty professionals throughout the impact of Covid-19. Cult will also plant one tree for every calendar sold, through its work with ClimatePartner.

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How we tested

The appearance of the calendar, the ease of use and design were all considered, alongside the range of brands and products inside, and how much you get for your money.  We trialled each product to assess the overall quality of its offerings, too. Here’s our full review of the epic 25-day beauty buy.

Cult Beauty advent calendar 2021: £215, Cultbeauty.co.uk

Rating: 9/10

  • Number of days: 25
  • Products: 38
  • Product sizes: 20 full-size, 5 deluxe, 13 travel-size
  • Value of products: £975
  • Price: £215

Design

Visually, the calendar looks impressive, and not too Christmassy if you’re fed up with over-the-top forest greens and shimmering glitter. With a pink background and red illustrations, the design is meant to be a nod toward the "abstract nature of beauty," according to the brand.

Containing 25 drawers, this is actually a great calendar to keep and re-use next year for friends or family members who deserve a bespoke present. It’s not too heavy on branding, and its hard-wearing material will last for years to come if you don’t want to create waste by throwing it away. Perhaps the only downside to the design of the calendar is the drawers, which can be a little stiff when opening and closing.

Products

There are a whopping 38 products in this calendar, meaning some drawers (such as number 18) feature several items on a single day. There’s a good mix of travel and deluxe sizes, combined with full-sized items which culminate in a pink loving candle by Bella Freud on Christmas Day.

In terms of what stands out the most about this calendar, it has to be the nod to some of beauty’s most impressive brands of the moment. For example, there’s a face oil by Augustinus Bader, the cloud dew oil-free gel cream from Summer Fridays (£14, Cultbeauty.co.uk), and two full-size make-up products (a lipstick and eyeshadow, respectively) from Victoria Beckham Beauty and Westman Atelier. In short, if your beauty knowledge is constantly wowing your friends whenever you see them, this calendar is suited to your top-tier taste.

For make-up, there is enough to give buyers a festive glow and then some. You’ve got not one but two mascaras from Sweed Lashes and Too Faced, along with a bestselling Nars laguna bronzer (£31, Narscosmetics.co.uk), and even a full full-size palette by Roen Beauty, which deserves a special mention thanks to its creamy textures and warm hues. We recommend using it with fingers rather than a brush, for peak blending.

You won’t be short on skincare goodies if you buy this one, either. Notable finds within the calendar include Drunk Elephant’s t.l.c framboos glycolic night serum (£76, Cultbeauty.co.uk), packed full of glycolic and salicylic acids, along with the auto correct brightening and deputing eye contour cream from Sunday Riley (£60, Cultbeauty.co.uk). Affordable favourites by The Ordinary and The Inkey List will also be found, as will a mini SPF from trending suncare brand Supergoop (£15, Cultbeauty.co.uk).

Elsewhere, you’ll get your money’s worth in terms of bits for the hair and home. Day 25 will bring you the ultimate joy of that Bella Freud candle, and across the month you’ll be greeted by hair goodies from Briogeo — two travel size offerings (a shampoo and conditioning mask), to be exact.

If we were being very critical, it could be pointed out that within the calendar, there are significantly less hair and body products than make-up and skincare. However, with the impressive array of brands and bestsellers, you really can’t complain on the whole.

Value for money

As mentioned, Cult Beauty’s advent calendar for 2021 is £215, which perhaps sits on the pricier end of the spectrum. However, its price point is not totally outlandish and feels justifiable when considering that the entire contents is worth £975. For the brands you have access to and the deluxe feel of the calendar, £215 does feel about right.

The verdict: Cult Beauty advent calendar

The Cult Beauty advent calendar is always one of beauty’s most rewarding buys, and understandably so when you review the line-up. This year, there is plenty to love about the item. First and foremost, it’s impossible to downplay the calibre of brands featured in the calendar, from Victoria Beckham Beauty to Shiseido. It’s like a who’s who of cool beauty brands in there, and the products themselves are each gems within their respective categories.

We are also big fans of the pink and red design this year, our only minor quibble being that the drawers don’t open as seamlessly as we perhaps expected. But given the quality of everything else, this doesn’t really matter, especially when you consider how many times you’ll be able to re-use the packaging for future bespoke advent calendar gifts.

In short, we fully recommend Cult Beauty’s advent calendar and believe it’s one of the best in beauty this year, as it is every festive season. Is it worth the money? It’s a resounding yes from us.

Cult Beauty advent calendar 2021

Voucher codes

For the latest offers on skincare and beauty products, 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

The Body Shop advent calendar – this year’s calendar features a selection of the ethically conscious brand’s cult classics

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

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.