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John Lewis’s beauty advent calendar is back in stock today – is it bigger and better than ever?

Packed with perfume, make-up, skincare and more, Christmas really has come early this year...

Sabine Wiesel
Monday 01 November 2021 08:40
<p>With more than £600 worth of goodies inside, it’s a real treat for beauty buffs </p>

With more than £600 worth of goodies inside, it’s a real treat for beauty buffs

While it might be too early for some to start thinking about the C-word, if you want to get your hands on a beauty advent calendar you have to get shopping now, because they’re on sale and the best ones sell out quickly.

Every year there are more and more beauty advent calendar offerings from different brands and retailers, ever since the renowned London department store Liberty started the Christmas trend back in 2014. But some are more anticipated than others, if previous years are anything to go by.

One such beauty advent calendar is the offering from John Lewis & Partners. After all, the department store knows how to do Christmas – from pulling at our heartstrings with its famous TV ads to being a must-visit on the gift shopping rounds.

After last year’s sell-out success, the department store has promised the 2021 offering will be even bigger and better, with its highest ever value of over £600. So we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it to see what’s in it.

Given its popularity, the initial drop of John Lewis’s 2021 beauty calendar has already sold out online, but the retailer has assured us that it will be available online again later this week, and it’s still available in store. You can sign up to be emailed when it’s back in stock. Act fast!

How we tested

Father Christmas will be putting us on the naughty list, as we opened up every draw ahead of its on-sale date. We evaluated it mainly for its contents, considering the size of the products, the quality and also the variety. However, we also considered the design and packaging, and the value for money it presents. Here’s what to expect…

Read more:

John Lewis and Partners beauty advent calendar: £159, Johnlewis.com - back in stock online mid-October, available in store now

The packaging is fully recyclable and reusable

  • Number of days: 25 
  • Products: 26
  • Product sizes: 12 full-size, 14 travel-size
  • Value of products: Over £600
  • Price: £159

Packaging

We love how John Lewis had sustainability in mind when creating this year’s offering. The house is fully recyclable, but it’s designed to ideally be used again with its fun colours and built-to-last packaging.

Modern and bright, this advent calendar doesn’t ooze Christmas in a traditional sense – but that is also part of the appeal for us. When closed, the fun and colourful square box is covered in a paint-swatch pattern of pink, red and purple. Open up the two front doors to reveal 25 drawers with the same pattern on them, as well as drawers in purple that match the same coloured lining. Open or closed the design doesn’t look out of place on display, no matter what month of the year it is.

There’s 25 drawers to open in this coveted calendar

The advent calendar is large and heavy, and that’s not just because of the products inside, but the quality of the packaging used. The drawers are strong and sturdy, so there’s nothing throwaway about this calendar. After you’ve opened your last draw on Christmas Day, you can flip the reversible drawers around and use it as a jewellery or keepsake box.

The beauty advent empties can also be recycled using the in-store BeautyCycle service. It takes two minutes to sign up to become a My John Lewis member, and then you take along five or more beauty empties to receive £5 off your next beauty purchase.

Products

You get 26 products in total to enjoy, as there are two products inside the last Christmas Day draw, which is a very nice touch from John Lewis. Look away now if you don’t want us to spoil the surprise, but one of these is a full-size Neom Organics London real luxury scented candle (£32, Johnlewis.com) from its scent to de-stress range, with calming lavender, rosewood and jasmine – perfect to use after the busy festive season.

When it comes to variety, there’s a good mix of bestselling beauty products, modern favourites and new and exciting ones you might not have tried yet. Classic cult favourites that you’ll know and love include Estee Lauder advanced night repair serum synchronized multi-recovery complex (from £15, Johnlewis.com) and the suit-all nude Mac satin lipstick in twig (£15.75, Lookfantastic.com). Our testers personal current favourite, is the Sunday Riley good genes glycolic acid treatment (from £72.25, Johnlewis.com) and there’s brands causing a new beauty buzz like Dr.Jart+ with its ceramidin facial barrier mask (£5.95, Johnlewis.com) in one of the drawers. There truly is something for everyone.

The calendar features everything you need for a good AM and PM skincare routine

The assortment of products has been well thought out when it comes to skincare, as there’s everything you need for a good AM and PM routine. The make-up offerings are good too, when you take into account that the retailer can’t add complexion products and only suit-all make-up shades. There’s a great selection of eye-makeup favourites including the Charlotte Tilbury the queen of glow luxury palette with gold and copper shades (£34, Johnlewis.com) fit for the party season ahead.

The advent calendar also offers a good mix of wellness products that we’ve all learnt to cherish in the pandemic, such as our personal favourites the Aromatherapy Associates de-stress muscle bath and shower oil (£49, Johnlewis.com) and the This Works deep sleep pillow spray (£16.57, Johnlewis.com).

When it comes to fragrance, there are three types of mini fragrance samples from Hermes, Juliette has a Gun and Floral Street. We love the latter, as the Arizona bloom eau de parfum (from £60, Johnlewis.com) is such a delectable musky, amber floral.

Other stand-outs include the full-size vitamin C skin brightening Dermalogica bio-C serum (£72.25, Johnlewis.com), the Kate Somerville exfolikate cleanser (£28.90, Johnlewis.com), which gives you a deeper, glow-inducing cleanse and the Evolve rose quartz exfoliator from the vegan, British brand (£18.70, Johnlewis.com).

One of our favourite products is the full-size Dermalogica bio-C serum

We only have two bugbears. The first is with John Lewis claiming that there are 12 full-size items in the calendar. While the retailer technically delivers on the promise, don’t expect them to be of the large variety, or what you may think of as full-sized. While some are, we feel others are hard to justify as full-sized, such as the Living Proof PHD dry shampoo at only 92ml (£10, Cultbeauty.co.uk). The second is the lack of hair offerings altogether with only one product being offered.

Value for money

Even taking into account that some of the full-sized products are still on the small side, there is no denying the beauty advent calendar offers great value when compared to the original prices from the brands featured. Take three of our tester’s favourite products, Dermalogica bio-c serum, £85 ; Aromatherapy Associates de-stress muscle bath and shower oil, £49 and the Neom Organics London scented candle, £46, and you’ve already spent over what the advent calendar costs.

John Lewis sells some of our favourite premium beauty brands, and that’s what you get a collection of in this beauty advent calendar. There’s not a product you’ll be disappointed with, and with a combined value of over £600 that’s a lot of beauty bang for your buck.

The verdict: John Lewis & Partners beauty advent calendar 2021

Just like the John Lewis beauty hall itself, the department store’s beauty calendar offers a brilliant selection of beauty products from both classic and trusted brands, and new and exciting ones that will please a novice beauty buyer or seasoned pro alike.

It goes above and beyond with 26 quality products in total. The skincare offerings are well thought out, covering a thorough morning and evening skincare routine, as well as going the extra mile with products fit for a self-care ritual and vital me-time. The make-up products come in beautiful suit-all shades, and the fragrance selections will make people stop you and ask you what you’re wearing.

The bonus is there’s nothing throwaway about the housing of the products – you’ll want to keep it to use again next year or for storage. Just like last year’s sell-out success, we predict this won’t be available for long.

John Lewis and Partners beauty advent calendar

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

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

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.

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