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Selfridges advent calendar 2021 review: Price, what’s inside and how to buy



We know, we know, Christmas is still a while off, but while you might not be quite ready to put up your tree or start shopping for gifts, if you want to get your hands on a beauty advent calendar, the time is nigh.

Now available from some of the best beauty brands and retailers in the business, from Liberty to LushJo Malone LondonCult Beauty and John Lewis, beauty advent calendars have become as much a part of the Christmas buzz as the chocolate kind and, if previous years tell us anything, it’s that they’re going to fly off the shelves – so, you’re going to have to get in there early if you want to nab the best ones.

Perhaps one of the most exciting calendars to be released each year is Selfridges’ offering (£210, Selfridges.com). The luxury department store, which first opened its doors in 1909, is home to pretty much every brand worth buying into and, when it comes to beauty shopping in particular, few locations are as famous the retailer’s winding halls, where you’ll find legendary brand names such as Augustinus Bader and Nars to the Insta-famous The Ordinary and Pat McGrath Labs.

Available to buy now, demand for the Selfridges 2021 advent calendar is already high – searches are up 106 per cent on 2020 – and it’s not hard to see why. With 25 days to count down, this year’s treasure trove is brimming with products from coveted brands including Charlotte Tilbury, Le Labo, Ren Clean Skincare, Hourglass and Maison Margiela. Plus there’s an extra bonus treat of a complimentary beauty concierge appointment.

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If any of these brands have been on your radar but felt out of reach, the Selfridges calendar is a great and surprisingly more affordable way to try new products and stock up on cult classics. At £210 it’s still an investment, that’s for sure, but when you consider that the value of its contents comes to £700 – that’s £200 more than last year – it feels like you’re getting a lot of beauty bang for your buck. We got our hands on one of the coveted calendars to see whether it really lives up to the festive hype.

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How we tested

To find out if this year’s offering is really worth the splurge, we took a peek behind every door, considered everything from the packaging design to the range of brands and products inside. We also evaluated it on the size of the products and, considering the high price point, the value for money it presents.

Brand include Charlotte Tilbury, Le Labo and Augustinus Bader

(Selfridges)

Buy now £210, Selfridges.com

  • Rating: 8/10
  • Number of days: 25
  • Products: 26 plus a complimentary beauty concierge appointment
  • Product sizes: 12 full size and 14 deluxe minis
  • Value of products: £700
  • Price: £210

Design

As you’d expect, the Selfridges advent calendar is a feast for the eyes. Housed in an impressive case, the front is printed with a gold illustration of its famous London store on top of a lilac background – a nice departure from traditionally festive hues – with a bright yellow circular button in the centre. Inside you’ll find 25 different sized drawers in a darker shade of purple, each labelled with a red number and decorated with a gold border.

The front of the calendar is printed with a gold illustration of Selfridge’s famous London store

(Sarah Young)

While it’s certainly impressive, the calendar might seem familiar to ardent fans as this year’s offering looks almost identical to last year’s, which featured the same gilded print against a pale pink back background. It’s a niggling point and irrelevant to those who are buying for the first time but does feel slightly lazy.

However, we did like that the entire box is recyclable and that, if you can’t quite bear to break it down, it can be repurposed as storage for anything from your existing beauty stash to crafts and jewellery or be refilled to create our own calendar next year.

What’s inside?

Tucked inside each drawer you’ll find a total of 26 products that span most beauty categories, from make-up and haircare to bath and home. But, if there’s one category the Selfridges calendar excels at, it’s skincare.

Beauty buffs certainly won’t be disappointed with the variety of options as there’s a total of 10 skincare products up for grabs, including three serums and a beauty tool, from beloved brands like Dr Barbara Sturm, Sunday Riley and Tan-Luxe.

For us, the main standout in this category is Augustinus Bader’s the rich cream (£125 for 30ml, Selfridges.com), which you get in a 15ml discovery size bottle. A product that’s likely to be out of most people’s price range, you get to give the cult rejuvenating moisturiser a try without paying full price. Fans of the coveted cream include Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Anniston, to name a few.

There’s also plenty of make-up options to stock up your collection, including a full-sized Charlotte Tilbury pillow talk mascara (£23, Selfridges.com) and a mini version of the cult-classic Nars bronzer in laguna (£17, Selfridges.com). Plus, if you’re yet to try anything from Pat McGrath’s much-hyped range, you’re in luck, because you’ll find a full-sized liquilust liquid lipstick in “divine rose” (£28, Selfridges.com) behind one of the doors. The make-up artist behind the eponymous brand recently did Adele’s make-up for her Vogue cover shoot, so it’s safe to say you’re in good hands.

Skincare obsessives will be particularly chuffed with this offering

(Sarah Young)

When it comes to haircare you’ll find bestsellers from the likes of Aveda, Moroccanoil and Davines, and one draw even gives you a double whammy with two products, but we won’t ruin the surprise by revealing what they are.

Fragrance lovers are also in for a real treat as Selfridges has included three perfumes that ensure there’s something for everyone. Our top pick has to be Le Labo’s santal 33 (£60, Selfridges.com), which has gained cult status for its aroma of leathery, musky notes. It’s unisex too, so if you have a partner or housemate that’s always stealing your scents, you might need to keep this one under lock and key. No, really, it’s that good.

We also love that Selfridges has included products designed to sooth the body and calm the mind – something we could all do with more of around Christmas time – including a mini Ex Nihilo fleur narcotique candle (£55 for 300g, Selfridges.com) and Susanne Kauffman’s St. John’s wort bath powder (£8, Selfridges.com). Plus, you don’t have to wait long before you can use them in tandem because they’re just one day apart in the calendar.

Read more: Mac’s sell-out beauty advent calendar is back for 2021

But that’s not all. As well as a whole host of luxury items, the retailer has also popped in an extra-special Christmas treat in the form of a complimentary 45-minute beauty concierge appointment, which consists of either personalised advice or a pampering treatment.

Value for money

If you were to buy each of the products included in this calendar separately, it would set you back a whopping £700. So, while spending £210 in one go might feel like a bit of a blowout, it is amazing value for money.

We’re certain there’s not a single product that you will be disappointed by, as each one has been carefully selected to suit a range of skin types and tones, with a mixture of everyday items you can easily weave into your routine and luxury buys you might not otherwise get to try.

We also appreciated the addition of two products in one draw and the complimentary concierge appointment, which you could choose to keep for yourself or pass on to a loved one.

The verdict: Selfridges 2021 beauty advent calendar

There’s no denying that the Selfridges advent calendar is expensive and, despite its rehashed design, we think it’s well worth the investment if you’re a devoted beauty fan. Just like the department store’s beauty hall, this year’s offering is a treasure trove bursting with a variety of products from both classic and up and coming brands, and we can’t think of a better way to countdown to Christmas.

Whether you’re treating yourself or buying it as a gift, it won’t disappoint. But, if you’re keen to get your hands on one you’re going to need to be quick, as we predict it won’t be in stock for long.

Selfridges 2021 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

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 £250, this is worth considering

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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