Glossybox advent calendar 2021 review: A must-have for make-up lovers

·9-min read
We considered the size, cost and quality of each item, as well as packaging and overall value for money  (iStock/The Independent)
We considered the size, cost and quality of each item, as well as packaging and overall value for money (iStock/The Independent)

With sell-out advent calendars in both 2019 and 2020, plus a flurry of online searches meaning that they trended on Google, Glossybox is a big name in the saturated beauty advent calendar market. Every year, the brand – best known as a beauty subscription service that boasts more than 1.1m subscribers – releases a hotly anticipated countdown to Christmas, packed full of treats.

This year is no different, with Glossybox unveiling an eye-catching pink, white and gold marble effect box that opens up to four drawers packed full of surprises.

Costing £85 for subscribers, or £105 for non-subscribers, the 2021 “surprise me” advent calendar has contents worth more than £465. Subscribers can also save up to £30 with Glossybox’s new bundle offer when they purchase three calendars. It’s always a favourite of beauty buffs, so how does this year’s offering fare? Luckily, we managed to get our hands on one of these hotly anticipated boxes, so, without further ado, let’s delve in and see what surprises are in store.

How we tested

While the fun of an advent calendar is seeing which goodies you’ll get day by day, we sped up the process by looking through all the dates and their corresponding gifts. We considered the size, value, quality and excitement factor of each item, and also the contents as a whole. We also assessed the packaging (both its presentation and after life), the overall value for money and how it compares with other options on the market.

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Glossybox surprise me advent calendar: £85 for subscribers, £105 for non-subscribers,


Rating: 8/10

  • Number of days: 25

  • Products: 25

  • Product sizes: 15 full-size and 10 deluxe minis

  • Value of products: £465+

  • Price: £85 for subscribers, £105 for non-subscribers


Glossybox is famed for its pale pink beauty subscription boxes, and has played on this for its advent calendar by going for a pleasing pink and white marble effect design, featuring festive gold splashes. It makes for a very pretty advent calendar, which can be kept and reused as a place to store your beauty goodies, thanks to its four pull out drawers inside (each with a pink ribbon attached to it). There’s also a big circular disc on the front, showcasing the brand logo and the “surprise me” theme.

The advent calendar is also recyclable, once you remove the magnets from the opening and ribbons from the drawer fronts, according to Glossybox. But, as the box itself is pretty sturdy and could easily last past Christmas, we think it would be a handy place to stash make-up, tools, minis and any other trinkets. After the design, the next detail that struck us was the weight of the calendar as we pulled it out of the box it had been sent in. It’s pretty heavy, which we figured was a good sign. It’s fair to say we weren’t disappointed.

Read more: Asos beauty advent calendar review 2021 – A treat-packed box with sustainable packaging

Open the doors of the Glossybox advent calendar and you’re faced with four drawers – again in the pink, white and gold marble effect. Pull the top drawer out and you’re presented with a mixture of boxes and numbers, artfully mismatched in their sizing. It’s a trend that many beauty advent calendars, such as Chanel, CultBeauty and Asos, have opted for. Inside each cardboard box is a beauty surprise, alongside some black shredded paper, which helps add to the suspense and occasion. Pink and black are very much Glossybox’s colours, but if we’re being picky, maybe shredded gold tissue paper might have looked a bit more festive. Saying this, both the cardboard box and shredded paper (depending on your council) can be recycled.

What’s inside?

First things first: the advent calendar was accompanied with a glossy brochure detailing its entire contents. Cleverly, Glossybox has put ample warning on the cover to tell you to look away if you don’t want any spoilers. It’s a nice touch that you can read up a little on each product in the calendar, but if you want to look at the description of an item on the day, then it’s pretty much impossible to avoid seeing what’s coming up next. So, if you don’t want anything spoiling your surprises, stash that booklet away to read on or after Christmas Day.

Brands inside include Pixi, Sarah Chapman and Eyeko (Amy Sedghi)
Brands inside include Pixi, Sarah Chapman and Eyeko (Amy Sedghi)

Glossybox’s advent calendars are known for offering a good variety of popular brands and appealing to savvy beauty fans. We don’t think they’ll be disappointed with this year’s stash, which includes products from big names such as Huda Beauty, Sarah Chapman, Elemis and Pixi. There are an impressive 15 full-size items in the calendar, plus 10 deluxe minis.

We also thought there was a good balance of longer lasting items: our favourites were the Glov pink satin sleep mask, Boucleme scalp massager (£12, and Magnitone’s super soft reusable microfibre makeup pads (£15, There is also a Sarah Chapman facialift tool (£30,, which we think is a bit of a Marmite item. Personally, we rate Sarah Chapman’s beauty products highly, so it would have been a real bonus to have a face product that could be applied.

If you’re a make-up devotee, then you’ll be over the moon, as there are cosmetics dotted throughout the advent calendar – most of them full-size too. Highlights include an Eyeko black magic liquid eyeliner (£16,, a fool proof product with serious staying power, a luxe Huda Beauty eyeshadow palette with a stunning mix of 18 shades (£52.50, and a Laritzy Cosmetics liquid lipstick in a flattering pink mauve (£14.51, In fact, we think the cosmetics on offer would top up any make-up bag impressively for all the socialising the festive season brings. There’s a full-size lip liner, eyebrow pencil, mascara, liquid eyeliner, liquid lipstick, blush and bronzer duo, plus the previously mentioned eyeshadow palette.

There’s a full-size Huda Beauty eyeshadow palette to be unwrapped (Amy Sedghi)
There’s a full-size Huda Beauty eyeshadow palette to be unwrapped (Amy Sedghi)

Like we said, it’s pretty extensive on the make-up front, so that obviously means that other areas, such as body and hair are a little scant in terms of options. In fact, apart from the scalp massager, there’s only one deluxe mini hair mask on offer if you’re after items for your tresses, while for the body, you’re looking at a couple of minis and a full-size bath crumble.

When it comes to face care, Glossybox has mixed treatment style items, such as a plumping lip mask and retinol face overnight tanning mask, with a couple of cult favourite full-size products: namely Pixi’s glow tonic (£18, and Rodial’s soft focus glow drops (£45, It’s a fitting idea: it is party prep season after all, and both of those skincare items focus on luminosity. It also all ties in neatly with the make-up items. We for one, can’t wait to get our glow on.

The verdict: Glossbybox surprise me advent calendar

If you’re a make-up fan, then Glossybox’s advent calendar is a must-have. There are some fantastic full-size cosmetics in there that we’re sure we’ll be using throughout the festive season and beyond. We don’t want to spoil the surprise, but the Christmas Day gift is a stonker, and one any beauty devotee will be delighted with.

There’s definitely a good mix of treats in there to keep you satisfied throughout the month, with a few handy reusable additions, such as the make-up pads, sleep mask and scalp massager. We also thought that the packaging was pretty and looked fancy, without being too gaudy. It would also make for handy and aesthetically pleasing storage if your make-up bag or beauty cabinet is overflowing.

As mentioned, if you’re looking for haircare and body care, then you might be disappointed, but we can see why Glossybox has opted to put its focus on make-up and party prepping face products. Overall, it’s very good value for money and there’s some products in there that are certain to brighten up the drabbest of December days.

Glossybox surprise me advent calendar

Buy now £105.00,

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Read more about the best beauty advent calendars for 2021

Beauty advent calendars 2021 – our ultimate guide to this year’s Christmas treats from M&S, Cult Beauty and more

Fortnum & Mason advent calendar – from traditional to 3D pop-ups versions, food fit for a feast and of course, the beauty advent calendar, you’re spoilt for choice

The Body Shop advent calendar – this year’s calendar features a selection of the ethically conscious brand’s cult classics

Cult Beauty advent calendar – it’s overflowing with skincare and make-up from Charlotte Tilbury, Sunday Riley and more

Benefit advent calendar – calling all Bene-babes, the gift you’ve been waiting for all year is here

Lookfantastic advent calendar – brimming with skincare, haircare, make-up and bath treats from all your favourite brands

Charlotte Tilbury advent calendar – the luxury beauty brand has gone all out for 2021, but is it worth the money?

The White Company advent calendar – sink into 25 days of utter indulgence with the brand’s seasonal offering

Clarins advent calendar – there are festive options for men and women this year and both are busting with cult products

Lush advent calendar – the eco-conscious brand has revealed its joyous gift set with a sustainable focus

Asos advent calendar – we got our hands on the fashion retailer’s festive box and there’s plenty to shout about

Next advent calendar – this year’s offering is packed with treats from big names such as Clarins and Mac

Liberty advent calendar – with treats from Augustinus Bader and Olaplex, this year’s calendar lives up to the hype

Jo Malone advent calendar – it’s stuffed with bestselling candles and bougie bathroom treats

Diptyque advent calendar – the French perfume house has unveiled a cabinet of curiosities

John Lewis advent calendar – with £600 worth of beauty products, is it worth the hype?

Mac advent calendar – packed with bestsellers, this one will sell out fast

Net-A-Porter advent calendar – with £1,300 worth of products for just £255, this is worth considering

Selfridges advent calendar – this one comes with a 45-minute beauty concierge appointment

Rituals advent calendar – this year’s offering is a 3D set up in the style of a Nordic festive village

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