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BEAUTY ADVENT CALENDAR HACK

How to get the best out of beauty advent calendars... aka what to do with those advent calendar minis that just won't work for you. Plus the best sites for Essie, OPI and Bonne Maman advent calendars for 2022.
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advent calendar hack beautygeeks

Ever received a beauty advent calendar (self-gifted counts) that included stuff you'd never use? I have a hack for that.

Of course give them away, that's not a hack – it's sharing, and we love that. But I love even more the idea of turning one advent calendar into two or more gifts you can stretch out over several days, countdown-calendar or surprise-a-day style.

HACK THAT BEAUTY ADVENT CALENDAR

Traditionally advent calendars are about counting down to the 25th – they're not intended as THE Christmas Present.

The 12 Days of Christmas, however, according to the song, are all about a daily gift from December 25th to January 5th, so you can put a 12-gift calendar under the tree. But how about week's countdown to a birthday? Or making the days leading up to Mother's Day or Father's Day feel special?

My favourite idea is a springboard from our Liza Herz's genius November Box, literally an annual box of mood-boosting treats she puts aside for one of the most challenging times of the year. "You assemble it months in advance so you semi-forget what's inside," she says in her Oldish.ca post.

February Countdown Calendar, anyone? (That's such a blah month that it'll take 28 days of treats to get through it.)

THE BEST 2022 ADVENT CALENDARS TO HACK

Some of these 2022 advent calendars will be easier than others to use for DIY surprise-a-day gifts. No judgement if you eat all the Bonne Maman jams (plus a jar of Bonne Maman honey) yourself.

Some of these 2022 advent calendars will be easier than others to use for DIY surprise-a-day gifts. No judgement if you eat all the Bonne Maman jams (plus a jar of Bonne Maman honey) yourself.

You don't need pre-stocked countdown calendars for a DIY version, but they can help, at least as a source of mini items at a decent price because it's Big-Savings Season.

Obvi our focus is mostly on skincare and makeup, but mining the contents of candy or tea or accessories calendars and gift sets for other kinds of small-size treats is an easy way to flesh out a multiple-day gift. (I love a sheet mask, but some days a Ferrero Rocher is everything.)

Also, in assembling this post I discovered where NOT to buy the Bonne Maman 2022 Advent Calendar, and the BEST sites with this year's Essie and OPI holiday calendars.

The Body Shop Share the Love Big Advent Calendar 2022 ($99 CAD and $90 USD at thebodyshop.com): I hope the employee in Sweden who first thought to assemble an advent calendar bag was appropriately recognized for outstanding retail contribution. Immensely popular year after year in three sizes at great-value price points, each offers a satisfying variety of items in scents to please a variety of noses. And it's 30% off right now.

Sephora Wishing You After Calendar 2022 ($33 CAD and $25 USD at sephora.com):  This after-Christmas countdown to New Year's Day calendar rings in at a reasonable price for 12 items (two per day for six days). I'd swipe the Lip Stain in Marvellous Mauve if I didn't already own it. Sephora Cream Lip Stains are comfortable, long-wearing and retail for $18 if you buy them separately. (I like the Sephora Collection makeup in general, actually – nice textures, good prices.)

Marcelle 12 Day Beauty Calendar 2022 ($74.99 CAD and $77 USD at marcelle.com): A great 12 Days of Christmas gift you don't need to hack, with full sized mascara, eye shadow, eye pencil and lip gloss. This Canadian skincare and makeup brand is an affordable, drugstore-available gem. All their products are fragrance-free and designed with sensitive skin in mind; this calendar includes two of Marcelle's newest launches, 10% Vitamin C + Probiotic and Retinol + Probiotic Serum, as well as their bestselling cleanser and makeup remover.

Yves Rocher Advent Calendar 2022 ($75 CAD on sale for $65 CAD at yvesrocher.ca and $69 USD on sale for $59 USD at yvesrocherusa.com): Many a French woman has grown up with Yves Rocher; you want a real French-girl experience, this is a lovely way to do it. This calendar is a great gift from a well-priced beauty brand that changed the skincare landscape in France. When it was founded in the late 1950s by Yves Rocher, no one was talking about botanicals in skincare, and if you lived far away from a city, you didn't have access to much. Monsieur Rocher changed those things. Starting with formulas from his home laboratory, he gradually built a mail-order beauty business that now distributes millions of skincare, makeup and fragrance products worldwide via internet, catalogue and shops including a gorgeous location on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. (Also available is the Yves Rocher Curious Garden Advent Calendar ($65 CAD at yvesrocher.ca and $59 USD at yvesrocherusa.com) that contains 8 full sizes and 16 travel sizes.)

Shoppers Beauty 25 Days of Beauty Surprises ($95 CAD at shoppersdrugmart.ca): Minis from Estee Lauder, Caudalie, Benefit, Shiseido, Florence by Mills – this collection could easily become two multiple-day gifts you could augment with chocolate, and/or with cute extras from holiday sets such as the Quo Beauty Deluxe Lip Gloss Set ($20 CAD at shoppersdrugmart.ca) of eight lip shades. Also worth considering for DIY calendar gifts are the discovery collections of skincare, eye caremascara and fragrance, all of which include a gift card for a full size of the one the recipient (or you) likes best.

Kiehl's Limited Edition Holiday Advent Calendar ($155 CAD at kiehls.ca and $105 USD at kiehls.com): Stocked with 24 of Kiehl's bestsellers and fan favourites, including Creme de Corps, Ultra Facial Cream, Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, Midnight Recovery Concentrate and Retinol Skin-Renewing Micro-Dose Serum, this calendar might not leave you with minis to give away. Well it's a risk you'll have to take. Be strong.

LookFantastic Advent Calendar 2022 ($150 CAD at lookfantastic.ca and $120 USD at us.lookfantastic.com): Elemis Pro Collagen Cleansing Balm, By Terry Hydra Pressed Powder, Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream, Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub, First Aid Beauty Bump Eraser Body Scrub and a Rituals Ayurveda Mini Diffuser – that's a lot of buzzy beauty in one box.

NYX Cosmetics Mrs. Claus 24 Day Advent Calendar 2022 ($80 CAD at nyxcosmetics.ca and $65 USD at nyxcosmetics.com): I love this drugstore brand of makeup. Sure it skews young – hello, that's marketing – but they've got great stuff for faces of all ages and at affordable prices. I'd use a lot of what's in this calendar; it's great for someone who has fun with makeup, loves trying new stuff and isn't someone who already owns everything NYX.

L'Occitane En Provence Classic Advent Calendar ($90 CAD and $80 USD at loccitane.com) or Christmas Crackers ($34 CAD and $29 USD at sephora.com):  Grabby hands for Citrus Verbena Shower Gel, Citrus Verbena Body Lotion, Immortelle Precious Cream, Shea Light Comforting Cream – and is anyone else a sucker for L'Occitane's Shea Butter Intensive Hand Balm in a mini tube you can just pop into a pocket or throw into a little cross-body bag?

Pretty Little Thing Beauty Advent Calendar 2022 ($70 CAD at prettylittlething.ca and $55 USD at prettylittlething.us): Worth about £141, this box from UK-based retailer Pretty Little Thing includes a Pretty Little Thing eyeshadow palette, makeup sponge, definer brush, lip gloss and mascara, plus treats from Olaplex, Wet N Wild, Barry M, Carmex and Mario Badescu.

Clarins Advent Calendar 24 Days ($140 CAD at shoppersdrugmart.ca and $121 USD at clarinsusa.com) is another that might not leave you with many minis to give away. If you aren't already a Clarins fan, you'll want to try all the things (the Hand & Nail Treatment Cream and Lip Comfort Oil – a full size – are two of my faves). The Clarins Advent Calendar 12 Days ($95 CAD at clarins.ca and $78 USD at clarinsusa.com) is ideal as a ready-made 12 Days of Christmas gift to put under the tree; it also contains a full-size Lip Comfort Oil (reg. $32 CAD/ $27 USD) and 30 mL Hand & Nail Treatment Cream (reg. $15 CAD/ $12 USD), plus cult-favourites Beauty Flash Balm, SOS Hydra Refreshing Hydration Masque and a mini Hydra-Essentiel Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm. Frankly, these two calendars might be un-hackable. #SorryNotSorry

Essie Express Advent Calendar 2022 ($69.99 CAD at londondrugs.com*, $79.55 CAD at amazon.ca): This 12-item calendar (see third slide above) was $99 at Shoppers Drug Mart and sold out. But if you hurry, you might be able to snag it for less than that at London Drugs or Amazon... or at shopforbeauty.ca* for $49 CAD. I'm not familiar with this e-tailer at all (seems like a new site?), but they also have this Essie Minis for the Stocking set on sale ($12.99 CAD at shopforbeauty.ca).

OPI Jewel Be Bold Mini Nail Polish 25-Day Advent Calendar ($79.94 at amazon.ca, $77.99 at nailpolishcanada.com*, or $70 CAD at coastalbeauty.ca* and $79.95 USD on sale for $47.97 USD at ulta.com): Spoiler alert: you won't be giving any of these mini OPI nail polishes away because once they're all used up, you'll be repurposing the bottles for the most awesome, nail-polish-nerd project ever: How to Make OPI Mini Lights, by our clever Manigeek, Karen. If you need MOAR mini OPI bottles, how about this OPI Bring On The Bling Gift Set ($34.74 CAD at amazon.ca) of 10? It's sub-divided into two five-bottle sets for sharing – unless you need more OPI Mini Lights. #NoJudgement

Voluspa 12 Day Candle Advent Calendar 2022

Voluspa 12 Day Candle Advent Calendar 2022

Voluspa 12 Day Advent Calendar 2022 ($99 CAD on sale for $79.20 CAD at sephora.com): Another ideal gift for the 12 Days of Christmas, a selection of mini candles in gorgeous glass votive holders – yes, please. This array includes a variety of scents – White Cypress, Forbidden Fig, French Cade Lavender, even Spiced Pumpkin Latte – to please a variety of noses.

Bonne Maman Advent Calendar 2022 ($39 CAD at londondrugs.com*) and $39 USD at bonnemaman.us*): Out of all the advent calendars including beauty, this is the one that tempts me most right now – Orange Yuzu and Grapefruit, Mango Raspberry and Lime... I want to try all the things (see slides above for what's-inside details). Sold out at en.bonnemaman.ca*, it's available at Amazon.ca for an insane $109 CAD; don't buy it there though. London Drugs is where it's at, and if it's sold out there, a Canadian site called papajackpopcorn.ca* has it for $48 CAD.

Squish 24 Days of Candy ($46.99 on sale for $39 at squishcandies.ca*): If I were building a DIY advent calendar or multiple-day gift, Squish would be a non-negotiable component in part because I adore so many of their juicy gourmet gummies (Sour Peach, Mango Maracuja, Cuba Libre and Brains forever), but also because they have so many gluten-free and vegan options. In this advent calendar, only four of the mini packages inside are not vegan. There's an all-vegan advent calendar too, though; see slides.

David's Tea 24 Days of Tea ($55 on sale for $39 CAD at davidstea.com): Options include a 24-day Matcha Calendar), a 24-day Around the World version, and a 24 Caffeine-Free Days, but this one holds a variety of black and herbal seasonal bestsellers. (Alternatively, this 24-day Throwback calendar includes a few more everyday varieties if you're planning a gift for later in the year.) Because I'm just recovering from RSV myself (it's not just for kids, folks), if my DIY gift were to be opened in winter, I'd include several Cold 911 Organic Tea samples (requires a separate purchase).

Ferrero Collection Chocolate Christmas Advent Calendar ($20.99 CAD + shipping at amazon.ca): Ferrero didn't do an advent calendar for 2022, but this one from 2021 is still available if you like. In addition to Ferrero Rocher, it contains Ferrero Raffaelo (coconut) and Ferrero Rondnoir (dark chocolate). Or you could just snag this box of 48 Ferrero Collection chocolates ($22.49 CAD at amazon.ca) instead – they're fresher and a better price, too. Not interested in the coconut and dark chocolate versions? Then you want this Ferrero Rocher box of 48 ($20.99 CAD at amazon.ca).

Nestlé After Eight Holiday Chocolate Advent Calendar ($10.99 CAD on sale for $8.79 CAD at amazon.ca): Don't judge me for having this in my cart right now. It's stocked with After Eight Snowballs, After Eight Winter Pralines and an After Eight Santa – come ON! And only the Santa is holiday-specific; the others will hit the spot nicely come February.

Kinder Bueno Advent Calendar ($8.99 CAD at amazon.ca): Hear me out: there are no bitsy toys to assemble in this calendar. Every door reveals a chocolatey treat – white chocolate, milk chocolate or dark – in a wrapper that isn't holiday specific.

Apologies, I meant only to include beauty advent calendars that would leave you with at least a few minis you'd give away. But I fell into a hyperfocus zone and lost my head.

Usually when I look at these advent calendar gifts, even if the brand is a personal favourite there are always at least a handful of items I can give away for one of four reasons:

  1. it's not for my skin type, or 
  2. the fragrance or flavour isn't for me, or 
  3. I already have full size, or 
  4. it's just not something I use

That's why I see them as hackable. But there are actually a couple here that I'd want for myself because they're loves I'd like to revisit or samples I'd love to try. And obviously I'd probably eat all the chocolate. (They're still in my Amazon cart.)

Anyway, some of those calendars really do seem like whoever receives them would use every single thing. (The Charlotte Tilbury 12-Day Diamond Chest advent calendar for 2022 would have been one of those for sure, but it's sold out literally everywhere. The Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Dreams Come True Vault ($450 CAD at sephora.com and $375 USD at nordstrom.comis available, but it's a collection of 14 full-sized items worth $642 CAD/ $529 USD, not a calendar-style setup.)

Next post: DIY advent-calendar-style supplies available now for a reasonable price because I got lost in a hyperfocus on those, too.

OVER TO YOU

Are you a beauty advent calendar person? Or do they just seem too gimmicky and wasteful? (That's an understandable and acknowledged POV; no argument here.)

If yes, what's the best beauty advent calendar you've ever opened? Is there a worst?

Have you already bought a beauty advent calendar for this season?

Ever given away advent-calendar items that didn't work for you?

Would you make a multiple-day gift à la advent calendar? Or would you make a February (or November) Box as per our Liza Herz?

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