🛍️ Product reviewed: Liberty London Beauty Advent Calendar
💸 Cost: £250 (Worth £1,043)
💰 Product highlights: Votary Night Star Serum (usually £140), the A-list approved Augustinus Bader Cream (usually £71) and a Liberty candle that is sure to help you unwind throughout the busy festive season
✋ Biggest drawback: The calendar is definitely luxurious costing £250, which is not feasible for many. If you're after a more affordable beauty advent calendar, we've found options starting from £45
My first foray into the crazy world of beauty advent calendars was in October 2019. I stood in the pouring rain at 7am in a queue that snaked around the iconic Liberty London store on Regent Street.
Why was I there? To interview eager shoppers who were trying to get their hands on the highly-anticipated Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar (yes really, you can watch the video below).
Since first launching in 2014, the Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar has become a cult favourite among beauty lovers, with sell-out success every year. By 2018, tens of thousands of people were registering their interest for the product online and it remains the fastest selling product in the brand’s 147-year history.
The first edition cost £149 with contents worth £420, and every year since it has become bigger and better. The 2023 version costs £250, but is packed with £1,043 worth of extremely luxurious products.
Beauty advent calendars have hugely risen in popularity in recent years, with savvy-shoppers quickly discovering that they're a cost-effective way of exploring luxury brands you’d never buy usually.
Inside the 2023 calendar, you'll find a whopping 29 products (20 of which are full-size), which have been expertly curated by Liberty beauty buyers' to include must-have products spanning skincare, haircare, make-up, fragrance and self-care. Plus, in five calendars this year there will also be a Golden Ticket worth £1,000 for lucky customers to spend in-store and online (I can confirm I was not one of the lucky ones).
However, I have been lucky enough to get my hands on the calendar (it's available to buy now). And yes, I have cheated and opened every single draw to give you my honest thoughts on everything inside. So, if you don't want any spoilers, stop scrolling.
For starters let's discuss the calendar's presentation. All the goodies are housed in a beautifully illustrated box of the famous Liberty store by Clym Evernden. It's quite a sight to behold and is sure to look very stylish in your home this December.
What's *actually* inside the calendar?
Allow me to break down the contents into useful categories - inside you'll find:
11 luxury skincare products
5 haircare products
3 handy handbag-sized perfumes
3 make-up essentials for party season
1 pack of trendy hair clips
1 hand cream
1 pocket mirror
1 bar soap
1 deep relax roller
From testing out the products I discovered something new about myself: I have pretty expensive taste. You see, I tested the products first without researching the prices. Consequently, I had quite a shock when I went to pop a few of my fave products on my Christmas list.
My top 5 Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar products
Votary Night Star Serum 30ml | costs £140 for 30ml
With 11 skincare products in the calendar (all pictured above), there's some fierce competition for the top spot. I am already a firm fan of Paula's Choice BHA Liquid Exfoliant (£11), Ren's Clean Skincare Overnight Sleeping Cream (£49) and 111 Skin's Eye Masks (£14), all of which make a regular appearance in my evening skincare routine.
So, I focussed my efforts on trying out products I'd never heard of, starting with the Votary Night Star Serum, which turned out to be by far the most expensive item in the calendar.
The Night Star Serum (which retails for a whopping £140) is a triple-action night serum that features a unique Meta Complex of brightening, anti-ageing and hydrating actives. It helps increase moisture levels and reduce wrinkles, making your skin look rejuvenated. I haven't used it long enough to speak on the results, but the lightweight serum sinks in fast and I've found it really does help to hydrate my skin overnight.
Augustinus Bader The Cream 15ml | costs £71 for 15ml
You'll find this night cream in many a A-listers bathroom cupboards. I was fittingly first introduced to the cult beauty product backstage at a Victoria Beckham London Fashion Week show (Beckham herself is a fan and now has her own skincare collaboration with Bader).
At £71 for 15ml or £225 for 50ml, it's definitely luxe - but there's a reason it has such a cult following. Professor Augustine’s Bader is one of the world’s leading stem cell and biomedical scientists. He created a truly unique skincare advancement named TFC8 (Trigger Factor Complex), which is a blend of natural amino acids, high-grade vitamins and peptides. The formula helps to give your skin key nutrients, supporting an optimal environment for cellular renewal that results in the skin looking and feeling healthier and firmer.
Runners-up in the skincare category go to: Dr Barbara Sturm's Face Cream (usually £55) and Dr Sebagh Repair Serum (£69), both of which have nice consistencies and are unscented, which I appreciated.
Poets of Berlin Eau de Parfum Perfume | costs £40
Everyone needs to smell this perfume. I'd never heard of Poets of Berlin so wasn't expecting much, but holy moly it smells divine. Featuring top notes of blueberry and base notes of vanilla and sandalwood, it's a perfectly balanced scent. I'm going to be sad once I use it all up, as I've already looked into how much it would cost to buy a 100ml bottle and it's a rather spenny £220.
Byredo Lipstick | costs £40
I've never opened a lipstick that comes in its own dust bag before, so that was an experience.
Steering clear of the stereotypical festive red, which, let's face it, isn't to everyone’s taste. Liberty's expert buyers chose this Bydredo lipstick in a universally flattering berry hue, which is ideal for everyday wear.
The Rose Inc Cream Cheek & Lip Blush (usually £23), which you'll also find behind one of the doors, is an almost identical shade and is a great compact to pop in your bag over Christmas party season.
Liberty Stately Bouquet Votive Candle 60g | costs £52 for 300g
Let's face it, there are only so many beauty products you can try out at once, so I actually loved that Liberty switched things up and filled some drawers with other goodies.
For example, the Verden D'Orangerie Hand Cream 75ml (usually £25), The Uniform tortoiseshell hair clips (usually £25), Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Roller Ball (usually £15) and a very useful Liberty pocket mirror and pouch.
However, my favourite non-beauty pick was the travel-size version of the Liberty Stately Bouquet Votive Candle. Featuring notes of blackberries, musk and cashmere woods, it's a lovely calming aroma. Plus, it comes packaged beautifully in a box covered in one of Liberty's archival floral artworks.
My 3 Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar lowlights
We like to keep things balanced around here, so I thought I'd also share a few products that weren't for me. It's worth noting that opinions on products are very subjective to personal taste. For example, I gave the Sunday Riley oil to my sister, who loves it.
Sunday Riley's Sleeping Night Oil (usually £45): The serum is blue, yes blue. I feel like you should definitely know that from the outset - and for me, I found it also had a too overpowering scent
Estella Bartlett Stars So Bright Gold Plated Bracelet (usually £18): While the bracelet isn't to my taste, it does come packaged on a beautiful presentation card, so it would make an ideal gift for a friend or loved one this Christmas (if you're open to regifting)
Malin & Goetz Rum Bar Soap (usually £14 for 140g): Again, this is subjective, but I simply don't use bars of soap, so I'm going to give it to my Mum (not for Christmas) who does