DON'T buy an advent calendar until you have read this

Hannah Betts’s Better…not younger: DON’T buy an advent calendar until you have read this

  • Hannah Betts shares things to consider when buying a beauty advent calendar 
  • UK-based columnist reveals a selection of the best multi-use balms 
  • Dr Hauschka Spruce Warming Bath Essence is this week’s cosmetic craving  

Several years on from the first, showstopping Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar (£225 this time round, libertylondon.com) and now everyone and their dog does one.

Some brands offer legions of the things (I’m looking at you, The Body Shop). I started keeping track of what was on offer back in August, then began losing count.

Obviously, being presented with 25 luscious grooming treats sounds like a no-brainer, but is it really?

All I’m saying is that, come December, our homes will be submerged under cards, tinsel, wrapping paper, pine needles and presents. Do you want to add a stonking great box, plus 25 products that may or may not float your boat, to that?

Even if you do thrill to every last item, Yuletide is so full of vomitous excess that you may feel indulged enough as it is. I start feeling queasy around December 3. Maybe the trick is to buy a calendar and save it for February, when you need the will to go on?

But, if you’ve got your heart set on one now, I would still only urge you to part with your cash if . . .

Hannah Betts shared things to consider when buying a beauty advent calendar to countdown to Christmas

1. You need it to get through December

I get it. Christmas is a ghastly period full of forced fun with people you don’t like, meaning you are allowed some genuine pleasures. Do your research now so that you’ve forgotten what’s in your treasure trove by December, and invest.

2. It’s a love bomb gift for someone

Liberty’s haul makes a magnificent present for a friend who needs treating — and one can need treating; it’s medically proven.

Ditto if you’re a godmother who has missed a few birthdays. Think: hair, bath, skincare and make-up, perfume, and a wash bag from the most stellar names.

Should you be a chap endeavouring to demonstrate undying devotion, or tempt a woman into bed, then investigate the first ever advent offerings from perfume houses Chanel and Guerlain.

Guerlain’s (£490, guerlain.com) is more perfume and candle-orientated; Chanel’s (£610) is No 5-inspired, and also features cosmetics and trinkets. The latter is sold out online, but it is available from Harrods, or Chanel’s beauty boutique in London’s Covent Garden.

3. The brand is one of your favourites

Said brand could be Diptyque, Dior, YSL, Armani, Clarins, Clinique, Origins, Acqua Di Parma, Penhaligon’s, Jo Malone, Lancome, Kiehl’s, Shiseido, Chantecaille, Decleor, Espa, Elemis, Liz Earle, Dr Hauschka, Dr Barbara Sturm, MAC, Benefit, Charlotte Tilbury or Bobbi Brown.

With make-up firms, do ensure the chosen colours will work on you. The same goes for nail varnish guru OPI’s Celebration Collection advent calendar (£69.90, opiuk.com).

I am devoted to OPI, but would I use all the shades? I would not.

That said, I’m certainly going to acquire Ciate’s rainbow-hued Mini Mani Month 2021 (£59, ciatelondon.com) for the teenagers in my life.

Hannah (pictured) suggests purchasing a multi-brand calendar from a seller you trust to modernise your beauty regime 

4. Your routine needs a shake up

We could all do with modernising our beauty regimes to keep up with the latest tech and textures. Seek out a multi-brand calendar from a seller you trust, such as Harrods, Selfridges, Fortnum’s, Net-a-Porter, Space NK, Cult Beauty, LookFantastic, Feelunique, John Lewis and ASOS.

The latter’s array (£75, asos.com) is rather winning — and not just for the pubescent.

5. You will gut it for daily use and travel

Canny buyers establish which advent calendar edits work best for their needs, then use them to buy luxury brands more cheaply — not least now that many products will be full-sized.

Liberty boasts that this year’s £225 haul has its highest-ever value of £844.

A neighbour has already got all her M&S goodies-on-the-go via the calendar (available in store for £40 when you spend £30, worth £300); a globe-trotting colleague uses hers for travel sizes.

And a mother of five I know empties The White Company’s selection (£160, worth £254, thewhitecompany.com) for stocking fillers and forgotten gifts, filling the empty packaging with sweets for her offspring.

RACE YOU TO IT 

Yes, £50 is a lot of money for a shampoo, but Dr Barbara Sturm fans are a fanatical tribe and will be desperate to snap up the Molecular Hair & Scalp Collection. The eight products promise healthier, more robust growth. With one use, my hair looked younger and glossier. Think: the infamous Sturm facial glow, but on hair.

en.drsturm.com 

MY ICON OF THE WEEK

CANDACE BUSHNELL 

Candace Bushnell (pictured) tends not to eat until 4pm, then snacks, cooks dinner, and quaffs wine

The 62-year-old Sex And The City creator has declared: ‘Turning 60 feels a little like waking up from a bad dream.’ She’s fit as a flea, and says: ‘I do stretching exercises. I do the plank and I do sit-ups. If I’m in the city, then I’ll do some kind of calisthenics. I have a mini trampoline, so sometimes I jump on that.’ She tends not to eat until 4pm, then snacks, cooks dinner, and quaffs wine. If she’s being photographed, she’ll have her make-up done by MAC.

COSMETIC CRAVING 

It may be too soon for Christmas trees, but it’s never too soon for Dr Hauschka Spruce Warming Bath Essence, an evergreen bestseller back for its annual visit — in a 100ml bottle three times its former size.

Spruce can sound a bit bracing, but this Norwegian take is sublimely comforting, while nourishing essential oils leave the skin feeling silky smooth.

It’s also soothing during times of seasonal illness, helping you breathe a bit more clearly.

A simple, soulful joy.

drhauschka.co.uk

MULTI-USE BALMS

Loved since 1930 for its ability to rescue dry hands and lips, shape brows, shine cheeks and soothe grazed knees.

elizabetharden.co.uk

What doesn’t this cult ointment do? It’s great at calming insect bites and inflamed or chapped skin, and can also be used as an intensive mask.

boots.com

This is perfect for stressed-out skin that needs an extra level of care. It’s famed for being miraculous on eczema.

monushop.co.uk

An award-winning balm brimming with antioxidants and restorative neroli that is gentle enough to use on babies.

balanceme.com

This blend of honey, beeswax, olive oil, royal jelly, bee pollen and propolis moisturises and primes skin. It even smooths frizzy hair.

lookfantastic.com

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