When the Pumpkin Spiced Lattes are gracing the counters of Starbucks and the nights start drawing in, you know that the festive season is once again around the corner. Although the beauty industry starts talking Christmas from as early as July, it’s October that really sees everything ramp up a notch – especially as the beauty advent calendars start making an appearance at any given opportunity. Over the last few years this ground-breaking concept has moved into the mainstream and captured the imaginations of anyone and everyone interested in beauty; it may have started as a premium way to discover beauty gems, but now you can’t step sideways without discovering another incarnation of the idea. In 2016 we’ve got more choice than ever before, but I can’t help wondering if we’ve reached saturation point. Has something that used to be the root of pure joy and festive spirit become a little limp and a bit meh? Are we so used to seeing the same idea, year in and year out, that it’s lost its sparkle and become as expected as the TOTP Christmas Day special?
I can recall clearly the first time I ever laid hands on a beauty advent calendar. It was a rather large number by You Beauty and contained some mini samples of my soon-to-be favourite products; the idea was cemented in the concept of discovery and the excitement I felt every morning upon opening each door was one only rivaled by the thought of taking a small step closer towards the 25th. Like with beauty boxes, the beauty advent calendar was perceived to offer value and an element of exploration; may of them showcased a variety of brands or products we didn’t necessarily know about, providing mini samples that would undoubtedly encourage full size purchases come January’s pay day. In some instances it was the only way of picking up mini sizes, while in others it was the most affordable way of trying those treats we had our eyes on all year; it was a way of injecting excitement into every day of the month and gave us all a collective excuse to spend even more on beauty than we really needed to.
However, over the last couple of years the concept for me has gotten a little stale. Many of the brands just re-hash exactly what they had the previous year, thinking that jiggling the contents around is all they need to do to keep interest spiked. Others fail to understand they need to offer value for money and instead create something that’s hard to justify from a price point of view – why spend a small fortune on a calendar when you can take that money and buy things you really want? After a few years of beauty calendars I’ve also started to find the endless supply of mini products less exciting and more irritating; the challenge of where to put them and when to use them in January almost outweighs the daily excitement I felt in December. Furthermore, with so much choice it’s now far harder for brands to sell out, meaning the demand isn’t strong enough to create the frenzy we once saw; if it’s not harder to get hold of than the latest H&M collab, is it worth having at all?
Although there are undoubtedly some great calendars available in 2016 and I’ve no doubt that a handful of them will be incredibly popular, I’ve also concerns that the majority may fall a little flat. If they’re not exceptionally beautiful, exceptional value or exceptionally different, it’s going to be increasingly hard to stand out and generate the sales brands need to make the project worthwhile. With DIY projects and upcylcing all the range, it may be that this is the year we swap the expensive outlays for home-made treats and re-use the calendars that have graced our fireplaces in the last few years. Or will 2016 see the best year ever for beauty calendars, with them flying off the shelves like never before? Will we be lapping up the latest incarnations with glee and throwing our money at the sales assistants like a scene from Confessions Of A Shopaholic? Either way, Christmas 2016 is set to be a big year for beauty – in whichever form we choose.
What are your feelings on beauty advent calendars? Are you a little bit over the concept already, or are you counting down the days until you can get your hands on one again?