The Definitive Guide to the Best Beauty Advent Calendars of 2021


The internet loves an unboxing video, about as much as Julie Andrews’ Maria von Trapp swooned for brown paper packages. A little mystery goes a long way, provided there’s some handsome wrapping involved. That seems to be the underlying idea behind the inescapable phenomenon of beauty advent calendars, those multi-item tableaux designed to be doled out daily. They march along like clockwork, keeping time with the calming regularity of a day-of-the-week vitamin dispenser. But behind those tiny mouse-size doors is the good stuff. Maybe it’s Dior nail polish in the crisp red #999 one day, a miniature flacon of Gris Dior the next. Or Augustinus Bader’s cult Rich Cream, followed by a firming body oil by the minimalist label Costa Brazil. 

If you’re not already a convert to this kind of gifting, there might be some hesitation: sticker shock, or a wonder whether all those palm-size treasures will be put to good use. Trust us, they will. We culled through the great many calendars out there for the showstoppers, with the idea that these are gifts of plenty for plenty. Acqua di Parma’s calendar speaks to a household’s delight: the citrusy-sage Colonia Futura eau de cologne heading into one set of hands, the Magnolia Nobile hair mist into another. Charlotte Tilbury’s rose-gold collection, meanwhile, might wind up dispensed among a teen’s eager best friends. As for the expectedly chic set of bath potions and head-to-toe body care by Austria’s natural-beauty pioneer Susanne Kaufmann, the modern-day Von Trapps would approve. As the saying goes: the more, the merrier.

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