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The official start of the Christmas season varies from person to person, for some, it’s when the festive adverts start appearing on the TV, while for others it’s when Mariah Carey declares ‘It’s time!’ Some start getting in the yuletide spirit when there are mince pies on the supermarket shelves, but for me, it’s the arrival of the highly coveted Lush Advent Calendar.
Beauty advent calendars have skyrocketed in popularity over the last five years, and there are so many to choose from. Not only do they provide the opportunity to stock up on some of the must have makeup and skincare essentials, they also allow you to discover new products across a range of exciting brands. The contents are usually worth at least double the price you pay, meaning you can save money on your stash, or split the products between friends and family over the festive season as stocking fillers as a way to spread the cost further.
And while Christmas may seem a way off yet, advent isn’t, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on unboxing a little slice of luxury each day in December because you forgot to order one, right? Over the next few weeks, I’ll be unboxing some of the best beauty Christmas countdowns for 2023 to help you decide which one to snap up ready for December 1.
For beauty enthusiasts and skincare aficionados, the Lush Advent Calendar is the official marker of the festive period, bringing with it seasonal scents, an element of excitement and the magic of Christmas.
In previous years, Lush offered a 12-day advent calendar which featured 12 of the brand’s iconic bath bombs and skincare favourites, but there was certainly high demand for a bigger, even more luxurious calendar. Their first 24-day calendar launched in 2019, proving popular both in store and online in the run up to December.
Last year they upgraded to a 25-day calendar, and upping the ante for 2023 Lush has brought out not one, but two countdowns to take fans right up to Christmas day: Christmas Buds Advent Calendar (£125) and The Lush Advent Calendar (£195), the latter of which I’ll be talking through in this review.
The Lush Advent Calendar features a carefully selected range of 25 vegan products to bring joy in the lead up to the big day. This year it’s packaged in a vibrant limited edition box featuring the word ‘Celebrate’ in 23 different languages, and has been designed by Andre Williams from Intoart – a London based studio for people with learning disabilities.
It’s got two toggle latches that keep it secure, as well as two metal handles either side to make it easier to carry. The reusable gift box is made from recycled paper board and the ribbon is made from recycled plastic bottles, in keeping with Lush’s sustainable ethos. Last year the design saw the top layer lift out (a bit like a Milk Tray), but this year Lush has incorporated a drawer which makes it easier to navigate. You can see how I reused last year’s Lush box here, and I’m excited to work out what I can use this one for long after December (the 2022 edition is now home to all of my hair accessories).
The cardboard doors have a small finger-sized tab that push in, allowing you to lift up the door to reveal a mass of yellow shredded tissue paper that further disguises the products behind. It feels pretty nostalgic, a bit like those lucky dips at the fayre, feeling around for a bottle, tub or naked product before the big reveal.
This year, the Advent Calendar costs £195, which is £10 more than last year. It’s a pretty big price tag, however, the contents typically total up to or over that figure, based on previous years. Not only that, but it includes 12 retro and exclusive products available in the Lush Advent Calendar. This means the calendar is your only chance to get your hands on these self-care Sunday saviours.
All of the products in the Lush Advent Calendar are vegan, and range from their iconic bath bombs – of which they sell around 14 million a year – as well as bubble bars, fragrance, skincare, soaps and shower gels. Not forgetting those retro and gift exclusive goodies, of course.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without an appearance from the extremely well-loved Snow Fairy. The cult fragrance has been a fan-fave for 17 years now, and the calendar offers the ultimate opportunity to stock up on this signature scent in shower gel form. And as excited as I am to revisit Snow Fairy after personalising my own bottle last winter, the Cinders shower gel is equally tempting and just as festive, with notes of cinnamon and almond for a cosy shower companion.
The bath bomb offering is highly impressive with no fewer than five tucked inside the calendar, from Twinkle to Snowdrift. While I adore Lush’s bath bombs, it’s the products that can be used time and time again that are the best value for money. For me, I am a big fan of a bubble bar, and there’s five of these too, including fan-favourite Sleepy, as well as festive editions in the form of the Christmas Morning bubble bar and Marzibain Bubble Bar, all of which will last for multiple baths and could potentially see me through to next Christmas if I use them wisely.
Last year I swooned over the Turmeric Latte fragrance and now I can’t wait to add All Is Full of Love to my perfume collection. I’m a big fan of a spritz that blends ‘masculine’ notes with more feminine fragrances, and this sandalwood and rose combo is undeniably dreamy. While it captures the spirit of Christmas in its slightly spiced, warm aroma, it’s certainly suitable for year-round wear.
To prep for a kiss under the mistletoe, I’m sure I’ll be using lashings of the Gingerbread lip scrub. These were the first Lush product I ever used when I was little and to this day they still give me a really sweet sense of nostalgia. New for this year, there’s a beautiful Christmas Eve scented candle – an advent calendar exclusive – though I am a little bit gutted there’s no shampoo bar this year (only because I’ve ran out of Honey I Washed My Hair recently, mind you).
Each year I wonder how Lush will make their advent calendar offering bigger and better, yet not once have they missed the mark. If you’re wondering what the full contents looks like, here’s each of the 25 products inside:
- All Is Full Of Love 15ml fragrance – Exclusively available in Advent Calendar
- Cinders 100g shower gel – Exclusively available in Advent Calendar
- Boogie Woogie soap – Exclusively available in Advent Calendar
- Snowman Bubbleroon bubble bar – Exclusively available in Advent Calendar
- Marzibain bubble bar – Exclusively available in Advent Calendar
- Jingle Jelly 100g shower jelly – Exclusively available in Advent Calendar
- Snow Angel bath melt – Exclusively available in Advent Calendar
- Christmas Eve scented candle – Exclusively available in Advent Calendar
- Christmas Morning bubble bar – Exclusively available in Advent Calendar
- Twinkle bath bomb – Exclusively available in Advent Calendar
- Bob soap – Exclusively available in Advent Calendar
- Fairy Tail Sugar Scrub body scrub – Exclusively available in Advent Calendar
- Penguin bath bomb
- Groovy Fairy bath bomb
- Dream Cream 45g hand and body lotion
- Magical Santa bath bomb
- Gingerbread lip scrub
- Snow Fairy 100g shower gel
- Candy Cane lip butter
- Strawberry Santa foaming shower wash
- Once Upon A Time 50g hand and body lotion
- Sleepy bubble bar
- Snowdrift bath bomb
- Berry Berry Christmas 100g shower gel
- Reindeer bubble bar
Renowned for its commitment to ethical and handmade products, Lush has once again curated a stunning collection that goes beyond the typical countdown to Christmas. Featuring a range of joyous products behind every door, it really is the ultimate Christmas countdown for those obsessed with the brand, or looking to indulge in some self-care throughout the festive season and beyond.
While £195 might seem like a lot of money to spend on an Advent Calendar, it’s worth working out how much you’d spend across the year on bath and beauty products, and see if it’s worth the splurge. While some of the products are single-use, others can last several baths, meaning some of these could see you all the way through until next Christnas.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to give as a gift, it makes an insane showstopper, while splitting it up to gift as stocking fillers could prove to be time-saving when shopping this Christmas. But if you’re not looking to spend quite so much, I suggest taking a look at some of Lush’s other festive offerings here.