Marks & Spencer Beauty Advent Calendar 2016 Review

This year I decided was going to be the year that I tried an alternative Advent Calendar.

After looking at the available options (hello, beer Advent Calendars!) I settled on a beauty one. The reviews of last year’s Marks & Spencer Advent Calendar sold me. It sounded amazing and definitely worth the money. Obviously a great year last year was no guarantee it would be as good this year but I took the risk.

The only caveat to the £35 price tag is that you also have to spend £35 on clothing, beauty and home to get it for that price. Thanks to some cute jumpers and a fab beauty hall, spending £35 is easy to do.

First thing to note is this Advent Calendar is pretty huge which shouldn’t be surprising really considering what’s in it, but kind of is when you first see it in the store. They’d clearly upped their game on the packaging front since 2015, and instead of just a box shape this year was a Christmas Tree.

This calendar certainly made my December mornings a lot more exciting. It’s no exaggeration to say that the thought of opening up the day’s box helped me get out of bed each morning. Not every morning was a happy surprise, but more often than not I was excited to try what was in there.

The goodies – make up

For fear of making this post super long I decided just to pick out my main favourites from the month.

M&S Advent Calendar

There was’t a huge amount of make up in the Advent Calendar. The Nails Inc Gel One Coat is the stand out product though. I generally find Nails Inc too thin and very easy to chip but this gel style formulation appears to get around these quite nicely. With a nice brush too it’s very easy to apply. If only it was cheaper than £13 a bottle – I can get a bottle of real gel polish that lasts longer for that.

The brow tamer from Pixi I’ve included as it’s a generous size and I’m a fan of Pixi products. I normally use a tinted brow gel but I will try this on pencil days.

beauty advent calendar

The Rosie for Autograph Lip Crayon isn’t cheap at £12.50 and after initially being unimpressed at the colour I was nicely surprised once I applied it.

Rose for Autograph swatch

It’s very subtle and just enhances my lips slightly, giving it a nice shine. Like with most glossy products and me, it doesn’t last. Nice item, but probably wouldn’t repurchase.

Finally, the Look Good Feel Better mini brush. This is mini in terms of the handle size only it seems, this is a pretty big brush! As I don’t use powder I’ve been using this for blush. It’s probably a bit big for blush but it’s beautifully soft and really sturdy. Next time I need a brush, I’ll be checking out the full range of Look Good Feel Better brushes. It’s also for a good cause, even better!

The goodies – facial skincare

marks and spencer skincare

These were the goodies I was most excited about! My mum had been raving about Alpha H and was desperate to get this off me. I haven’t gotten around to trying this or the Rodial Peel just yet. Given how much I loved the Rodial free gift I got from M&S last year, I think I’m going to love it.

I love cleansing balms and had never tried Emma Hardie before so I was super excited to try this Moringa Balm. At £38 for 100ml it’s not cheap but my skin felt amazing and soft after using it. This isn’t quite as oily as other cleansing balms I’ve used so it wasn’t great at removing make up. You also needed a little bit more of the product to really leave your skin feeling clean. While I did really like this, I think I still prefer the Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser.

Last up for the skincare was the Skyn Iceland Eye Cream. Given the Christmas stress and poor weather this is just what my eyes needed. This smells oddly sweet and has the strangest texture. It’s almost like a jelly, but still a cream? When I opened it I thought it had gone off to be honest. I’ve been using this for a few weeks so far and I really like it. I’ve still got loads left so the £38 for just 14g doesn’t make me too horrified. I’d be very tempted to repurchase this.

The goodies – bodycare

M&S beauty calendar

You can’t beat a good hand cream and this full size, worth £10 from Neals Yard smells amazing! I can’t wait to get using this. The Rituals body cream is included just because Rituals is amazing quality and I’ve loved everything I’ve ever used of theirs. I’d of preferred something for the shower rather than more moisturiser, but I’m still keen to use this. The Nuxe Dry Oil I’d had before in a subscription box, but the shimmery variety. I wasn’t too keen on the shimmer so to get the opportunity to use this normal one is welcome.

Was it worth it?

The price of this had gone up since the 2015 offering – it was priced at only £25 back then. Given what I received – from full sizes, to deluxe samples it’s clearly worth the money. There were a couple of brands missing from year to year (Stila and L’Occitane in particular) that I was disappointed about but the inclusion of Skyn Iceland and Emma Hardie more than made up for it.

The only thing I’d have liked more in this Advent Calendar was make up. Last year’s didn’t have huge amounts either and I can only assume it was to make it as accessible to as many people as possible. It’s hard to find colours that’ll suit the majority of people though so I can understand why they avoided loads. Two nail colours that were almost the same shade shouldn’t have happened though… There was a shimmery version of the Nails Inc colour about two days later, but this time from an M&S brand.

Will I be buying next year?

Not sure. I did really like this calendar, and enjoyed opening it every day. However, when you compare 2015 to 2016, a lot of the brands are the same. Therefore next year I’ll probably try and go for a different one. Given the rising trend of these Advent calendars I’m sure there’ll be some new ones out there to try.

If you had a beauty Advent Calendar this year please let me know what you thought in the comments below!polkadotparadiso

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