With the festive season fast approaching, there is an abundance of beauty advent calendars to get your hands on. For beauty aficionados, it’s the most fun way to kick off the countdown to Christmas.
Every brand imaginable gets in on the action, with a growing list of participants every year: Liberty London, Cult Beauty, Jo Malone London and Charlotte Tilbury are just some leading the charge for 2021.
They offer a great way to try a range of different products that you wouldn’t usually buy separately, or a chance to stock up on some of your cult favourites. The catch? beauty calendars tend to be expensive, with many costing hundreds of pounds. A newcomer this year is Aldi, who has launched its own take with 24 products, costing a seemingly reasonable £54.99.
The budget supermarket has fast become an affordable beauty hotspot with an ever-growing range of skincare and make-up products, many of which look eerily similar to cult-favourites from luxury brands. If you’re not familiar, read our review of the best Aldi beauty dupes of Pixi, Elizabeth Arden and Clinique products.
How we tested
We were keen to see if Aldi’s advent calendar was a worthy contender in this year’s battle for the best. We explored the contents, packaging and value for money to determine if it’s worth adding to your shopping list.
Aldi Lacura beauty advent calendar: £54.99, available to pre-order online from 24 October at Aldi.co.uk, available in stores from 28 October
The calendar features 24 products
Aldi’s beauty calendar is designed with 24 mini drawers of equal size, with a variety of products hiding inside. Other brands such as Chanel, Bobbi Brown and Amazon have gone for more ad hoc design this year, with some drawers being different shapes and sizes, but Aldi’s is proudly uniform.
The outer packaging is luxurious, emerald in colour with gold foil lettering and details, and feels weighty, not dissimilar to advent calendars by high-end brands.
There’s a silk bow to untie to reveal two velvet-clad doors; opening to reveal the numbered drawers, which are surprisingly sturdy. Given Aldi’s low prices across every one of its product categories, we were admittedly expecting something flimsier.
The drawers are sweet and other than the Lacura logo in gold foil on the front, the calendar isn’t overly branded, so you could definitely repurpose it if you wanted to fill it with sweets or other types of trinkets.
Inside each drawer is a product resting on black tissue paper, which although looks the part, does feel like filler. Our only gripe with the packaging is that two of the products come wrapped in plastic, which is wholly unnecessary.
We will give Aldi top marks for clearly displaying the product names, ingredient info and expiry dates on the back of the advent calendar’s cardboard wrapping, which is a helpful, transparent touch for shoppers with sensitive skin or allergies.
The packaging features a fancy silk bow
Aldi has packed this with a mix of popular Lacura beauty products, such as the brilliant oil-based cleansing balm (£6.99, Aldi.co.uk) which is a great alternative to the pricey Emma Hardie moringa cleansing balm (£37.50, Feelunique.com). In our review of the beauty dupe, we were left impressed by its ease at removing a full face of make-up. It’s not in currently stock on Aldi’s website, so this is your opportunity to get your hands on it.
Other products that are exclusively available in the calendar include the Lacura dewy lip balm, which has a thick texture that hydrates dry skin and leaves lips looking glossy.If you’re a fan of French skincare brand Sisley, whose black rose skin infusion cream (£146.50, Johnlewis.com) is one of its most popular products, you’ll find its dupe in the advent calendar from Aldi – albeit in miniature. The full-size version was only £6.99 when available.
The Lacura too legit mascara (£5.99, Aldi.co.uk) also features, which eagle-eye beauty fans will notice is a dupe for Benefit’s ‘they’re real’ lengthening mascara (£23.50, Boots.com).
It’s easy to forget just how varied Aldi’s beauty range is, and added extras included two mini fragrances,rose noir and je suis belle, and the corresponding travel size votive candles were unexpected. There’s some product repetition too, with three serums, two masks and two cleansers – one balm, one micellar water.
If you don’t want too many product spoilers, look away now. Most of the affordable beauty advent calendars feature one, sometimes more, full-size products and in this one from Aldi, drawer number 24 is home to a Lacura dream big bronzer (£4.99, Aldi.co.uk), a dupe for another Benefit cult favourite – the hoola matte bronzer (£27.50, Benefitcosmetics.com).
If like us, there’s already a roster of Lacura products you’ve tried and loved, you’ll know many of them appear in Aldi’s Specialbuy section, and therefore are limited edition. As a result this advent calendar allows shoppers access to products that are no longer available online or in-store.
Aldi conveniently included a list of product details on the back of the calendar
Value for money
When compared to other beauty advent calendars, at face value it’s easy to think £54.99 is a decent price for Aldi’s.
However, while the packaging is surprisingly luxurious and sturdy, all of the products are minis except for the bronzer on day 24. Given that Aldi’s full-size products are so affordable anyway, buying them all separately wouldn’t cost much more than £54.99. So to pay almost £60 for a very small amount of product left us feeling a bit cheated.
But with the price tag comes access to limited edition products, the majority of which are unavailable to buy separately.
That said, some products in particular, such as the jelly cleanser (full size £3.99, Aldi.co.uk), microdermabrasion scrub (full size £3.99, Aldi.co.uk) and snapshot ready foundation primer (full size £5.99, Aldi.co.uk) are so small in size – under 15ml – they will barely last three or four uses. Even if you love them, for some you can’t then buy the full size versions as they’re no longer in stock.
The verdict: Aldi lacura beauty advent calendar
Overall this is a decent start for Aldi’s first beauty advent calendar, with a wide variety of products and top marks for its understated elegant packaging.
However it’s let down by the sizes of the products, some are so small it’s difficult to see the value of what you’re paying for. If you’re an avid Aldi fan, you may be left disappointed by this, but if you’re looking for a budget-friendly beauty advent calendar that replicates many of the luxury options design-wise, it’s a decent option.
For discounts on skincare and make-up, check out the voucher codes below:
Aldi Lacura beauty advent calendar
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