The Elle Beauty Advent Calendar has a multitude of products, some seen in other calendars as well, others unseen and innovative. Elle magazine is one of the most well known beauty and fashion magazines on the market. The items have been expertly chosen by Elle editors. Are they worth it? Is there diversity? What are its flaws?
£125 (worth over £530)
Makeup: 6 items
Out of six makeup items four are for the eye area. There is the Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow Stick in Golden Pink, which is a high-end product. This item is worth £14. The colour is universally flattering in my opinion, and it is a lovely product to be able to try.
To line the eyes, there is the Eyeko Eye Do Liner worth £16. This is also in the Next Beauty Advent Calendar, which has a tip suitable for precision. I think a black liquid eyeliner is always welcome in our collection.
For mascara we have the ABH Lash Brag Volumizing Mascara, which is worth £26. This is also in the Look Fantastic Beauty Advent Calendar. In my opinion it is always nice to get new mascaras in beauty advent calendars because it gives us the chance to try out more products. Also everyone can use mascara.
Lastly, for the eyebrows there is the Benefit Gimme Brow worth £8. This product will supposedly add volume and definition to your eyebrows. This is a risky choice in a calendar, as it comes in shade 3 Medium (Natural Light Brown). This is a problem because this shade will not suit everyone.
For the face there is only one product, the Benefit Dallas Rosy Bronze Blusher, which is a mauve-toned compact powder. It comes in a mini size which is worth £14.5. However, as I previously mentioned for deluxe sizes of powder products, you will probably not notice they are in a smaller size as you will get a lot of use out of them regardless. I think this Benefit Bronze Blusher is a nice addition and a hyped product to try. However, I do not think the shade will suit all skin tones.
For the lips there is a fantastic choice, which is the Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquer Lip Gloss in Pink Parade, a glossy, shimmery, high-luxury lip gloss. This is worth £30. The shade is a baby pink with opalescent glitter.
Although all items come in full size or in more than generous deluxe sizes, the makeup section in the Elle calendar feels shaky to me and not very well constructed. While the products are nice, from popular brands, in shades that are everyday neutral, there is just something missing from it. In the reviews I write on these beauty advent calendars I very often speak of the fun factor – a certain fun element added to it, that makes us try and experiment with fun colours or textures.
There are also a few risky products, such as the benefit brow product which is going to be a hit or miss depending on the eyebrows of the buyer, as well as the Dallas bronzer and blush.
The makeup section is worth £108, which makes up almost the entire price of the calendar, but only a fifth of its worth.
Skincare: 9 items
Surprisingly, this calendar only has one cleanser. This is the Aurelia Probiotic Miracle Cleanser, which is worth £22 in the calendar. This means that it comes in around 62ml, which is a generous size. This is an oil based cleanser that contains eucalyptus oil, chamomile oil, rosemary and bergamot oils. These are meant to decongest and calm the skin, but oils are also fantastic in removing waterproof makeup and sunscreen. It is impossible for me to look at each ingredient in detail for every skincare product in these calendars (especially since they have so many), but I did notice this cleanser has lactose and milk protein. I am intolerant to lactose, possibly even allergic. Does this mean someone like me cannot use this cleanser?
This product also has essential oils which some people would like to avoid. The product comes with a bamboo muslin that helps you remove the cleanser off the face.
The Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel is worth £12. The calendar offers three treatments. This is a two step peeling that has both alpha and beta hydroxy acids. The first step has a gently exfoliating action while the step two restores hydration. This product also contains retinol. I am not sure how strong this exfoliating product is.
It does sound appealing, and peelings are necessarily for a healthy, luminous skin. However, this product should be used by people that know their bit of skincare and understand the results of such products. After using a product of this sort, you could experience some stinging or skin irritation. Also, you should wear sunscreen, because your skin would become more sensitive to the sun. However, this does sound like a nice product, just be careful and inform yourself beforehand of the ingredients and of their effects.
There is the Sisley Velvet Sleeping Mask, worth £15.50 which means it probably comes in 10ml. This is a luxury brand and their masks are often positively spoken about by influencers and beauty editors. This product can be used as an overnight mask or rinsed off. It has a mixture of fancy sounding ingredients, like kokum butter, Japanese lilyturf and padina pavonica. This mask is intended for dry skin, and is indeed a lovely product to try, since not everyone is purchasing Sisley masks on their own.
The Elemis Pro Collagen marine cream is also in the Next Beauty Advent Calendar, in the same quantity of 15ml. This product is worth £30 and it is a moisturizing anti ageing cream.
There is the Doctor Barbara Strum Face Cream, worth £50. This means that it comes in about 18ml. A very expensive product, this is an anti ageing cream. It is supposed to hydrate, help fight the damage created by pollution and by the elements, and it also helps the skin to regenerate.
Another anti-ageing product is the Dr Sebagh Pure Vitamin C Powder Cream duo pack, worth £85. Each vial contains 1.9g of product so this is a very expensive item. Once you apply the powder to the skin, it transforms into a cream. This product has a high concentration of vitamin C, which is anti ageing and has a brightening effect on the skin.
The James Read Tan is another anti ageing product with a twist. It is an overnight mask that hydrates the skin and that also gradually tans your face. It is worth £15, meaning it comes in around 25ml. This quantity is not a lot, considering that if it tans, you would probably need to apply it at least on the neck as well.
From 111skin there is the Rose Gold Illuminating Eye Mask. This is worth £12 and is a single use mask. It is against pigmentation and it is supposed to bring luminosity for the eye area. A welcomed product especially in winter, when I feel that our eyes look more tired.
Lastly, there is one primer, the Illamasqua Hydra Veil Hydra Veil Mini, worth £10. This means it comes in 7 ml. This primer has microalgae and vitamin C and B3, being hydrating to the skin. Of course, as all primers, it is supposed to ensure a smooth application of your makeup.
Overall, the skincare section is slightly less than in other calendars for this year. Most of these products are anti ageing, so you need to keep in mind what your skin needs. There are a few items in a slightly more generous size, others are tiny and would not last you for a long time.
The skincare is worth £251 and it offers some luxury brands to play with. However, almost all of these items come in small sizes, which means none of them would offer you a long usage time.
Body, Bath & Other: 9 items
Hair: 3 items
There are some lovely hair products in this calendar, and from the calendars I have already reviewed for 2020, the Elle one has the most hair products so far. I see this as a good thing, as hair is easier to please and does not require such strict control as skincare (generally, hair will not get red and irritated from a bunch of creams!)
The Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Deep-Conditioning Treatment (worth £12) is a lovely addition and will be handy to most people, as it just deeply hydrates your hair. Everyone should deep condition their hair occasionally, and a deep conditioner does not have to be extremely particular for every type of hair. A version of this product is also included in the Look Fantastic Advent Calendar.
The Aveda Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair is a lovely leave-in cream that you use on wet hair before drying. This product was in the 2019 M&S Calendar, and I have since finished it. It detangles hair, hydrates and smooths. For 2020, this product is in many other calendars, like the Next Beauty Advent Calendar. This is another fantastic item that will be suitable for most people. Also, Elle states that it is worth £25 which means they included the full size.
Lastly, there is the OUAI Super Dry Shampoo which is worth £12, meaning it comes in a deluxe size. OUAI is a recently hyped hair line created by a celebrity hair stylist. While I am not familiar with their dry shampoos, this is a nice addition in the calendar. Whether you usually use dry shampoo or not, having one is always handy for the unexpected.
Overall I think the hair section looks great, and the products are all inclusive.
Body & Bath : 3 items
The body section has three items. There is a body wash from Molton Brown, the Re-charge Black Pepper, which is worth £5. This means we are getting around 70ml of product, which for a body wash it is not much at all. I still love trying new fragrances for body washes. As I have mentioned before, body washes are something that I think are always exciting in beauty advent calendars, as long as there are one or two options, not more.
There is the Vita Liberata Body Blur Instant HD skin Finish which is also in the Next Beauty Advent Calendar. In the Elle one, we get it in 50ml which is worth £15. Not a lot, considering it is intended for the body but still enough to enjoy it when wearing a dress this winter. This product is a wash-off tanning cream that also has anti-ageing and moisturising ingredients.
Lastly, there is a pillow spray, the Susanne Kauffman Pillow Spray Calming worth £6.80. This means the size of it in this calendar is somewhere around 25ml. This product smells of lavender and orange and is supposed to calm you before going to sleep.
Candle: 1 item
A lovely addition to the calendar is a scented candle from Bella Freud, the Starry Nights, worth £20. This candle comes in an elegant black glass that you could reuse after finishing the candle.
The scent is Frankincense, Cedarwood and Tobacco Flower, with notes of nutmeg and Ginger Musk. It is advertised as being perfect for dark, chilly nights, which definitely sounds like winter. I love burning candles around Christmas time and I am sure I am not the only one.
Perfume: 1 item
For some more diversity we also get a perfume, the Floral Street Arizona Bloom EDP worth £24 in 10ml. The fragrance is presented as a blend between Balinese Coconut, Madagascan Black Pepper, Oak Moss and Salted Musks.
Nail polish: 1 item
Luckily, there is also a nail polish, the Nails Inc Gel Effect Nail Polish in St James. This product is worth £15. There has been a nail polish from Nails Inc in many other calendars this year, but they always choose a different shade, which is a fabulous decision. In the Elle calendar, it comes in a gorgeous vibrant box red.
Other: 1 item
With this calendar you also purchase a digital subscription to the Elle magazine for one year. This is a fabulous addition, and at the moment the yearly digital subscription costs £36 down from £48. If you love reading the magazine this is such a fabulous bonus for the calendar.
This calendar comes in a black box with white stars. The packaging is designed by Bella Freud, and looks sleek. However, you do not get boxes for the items. You have to rip the box in order to reach the products, which is such a cheap design in my opinion. For £125, I would have expected boxes or drawers. This to me ruins the experience quite a bit.
There are 24 items so you do not get an item for Christmas Day. However, you do get a year of the digital Elle magazine, which I think can top it up to 25 items.
In terms of brands, there is a mix of higher end to luxury brands so you can feel pampered and special by trying some expensive products and see if they are worth it.
IS IT WORTH IT?
The Elle Beauty Advent calendar is certainly a strong one for this year. With a mixture of makeup, skincare, body and hair products, as well as many miscellaneous items, it offers a great mix of products. My only complaint would be that the makeup section could have included more.
In terms of makeup, this calendar is lacking the fun element and it definitely does not focus on it. If you want a calendar mainly for the makeup, then this might not be for you. Some items are essentials, such as the mascara and the eyeliner, but the lipgloss, the blusher and the eyebrow gel are personal preference and also depend a lot on your skin tone and the colour of your eyebrows. For next year, I do hope Elle will include more makeup.
In terms of skincare, there are some interesting choices, such as only one cleanser, one primer and a multitude of anti-aging products. Some are innovative and will definitely be fun to use. I can certainly see the fun element in the skincare section, with the powder to cream vials and with the retinol self-tan for example.
As I have mentioned plenty of times in my other reviews, too much skincare in advent calendars is difficult to navigate and might cause irritation. I think that nine items is not bad for a 24 item calendar and I am very grateful for this. This means that if some of the creams do not suit you, you still have a multitude of products left to try.
What this calendar has that is fantastic is that it also has nine miscellaneous items. You get some hair products, body ones, a perfume, a candle and so on, making the calendar fun and diversified. If you want a calendar because you simply want a bit of makeup, a bit of skincare, haircare and a bit of everything really, then this is the right one for you.
On a cool note, this calendar also offers you a year of digital subscription to Elle Magazine, so if you are a beauty lover you will certainly be extremely excited about this.
It is also noteworthy that the Elle calendar was put together by Elle editors. Considering their job is to constantly try products and review them, I would be inclined to trust their choice. There is a chance that these products are some of the best.
The downside though is the packaging, which does not contain individual boxes for the products. This takes away a lot, in my opinion. It is a shame that the box is designed by an artist, only to rip it apart.
Compared to other Beauty Advent Calendars for this year, the price of the Elle one is placed in the middle. For £125 you do get some luxury brands in it. There are cheaper options on the market though, so if you are not keen on the items it might be worth looking at some alternatives. For example, I noticed some similarities with the Next Beauty Advent Calendar which retails for £70. However, as I mentioned, I think the Elle one does bring a fun element to it because of its digital subscription. All in all, this calendar seems like a strong choice for 2020.
What do you think of this calendar? Let me know in the comments!
One of the best? Review: Next Beauty Advent Calendar 2020
Luxury brands and iconic products: Cult Beauty Advent Calendar 2020
Double the price? Macmillan Beauty Advent Calendar 2020
30 Products?! Look Fantastic Advent Calendar 2020
Is it as good as it sounds? No7 Beauty Advent Calendar
£20 Essentials with Essence? DIY Beauty Advent Calendar
Amazing Makeup Range! Glossybox Advent Calendar 2020
More Reviews of Beauty Advent Calendars 2020 coming soon!
SUBSCRIBE to be notified:
Follow Lipstick Café on social media:
Disclaimer: This blog post is not sponsored and does not contain affiliate links. None of these images are my own; images used for informational purposes only.