I'm a beauty editor and the M&S beauty advent calendar ticks all boxes for me this year

It's a yes from me

m&S beauty advent calendar - katie thomas, senior beauty editor at marie claire holds the calendar
(Image credit: Katie Thomas)

My obsession with Marks & Spencer shows no signs of waning. I get my lunch from there every day (yes, it is slowly bankrupting me), I'm often dressed head-to-toe in it and now the M&S Beauty Advent Calendar has stolen my heart too.

As a beauty editor it is my job to research the best beauty advent calendars each year. And whilst at times I am fatigued by the number available now, there are still some that spark joy.

It doesn't have to be all bells & whistles, the beauty calendars that really excite me are the ones that contain products that I'll actually use, don't feel wasteful and are affordable.

This year's offering from Marks & Spencer is a cracker (pun absolutely intended). Let me tell you why. And remember, I'm a beauty expert and an M&S superfan.

Here are all the reasons why I think it's the perfect choice this year...

M&S beauty advent calendar - senior beauty editor, katie thomas, holds the calendar

(Image credit: Katie Thomas)

Marks & Spencer Beauty Advent Calendar 2023

M&S beauty advent calendar

(Image credit: M&S)

M&S Beauty Advent Calendar


Price: £35 when you spend £45 in store or online
What are the contents worth?: £340
When is it available?: 26th October

1. It's sustainably-minded

Rather than arriving in a casing that works around the festive period only, this calendar comes in a really big vanity come wash bag. It really is sizeable, so my plan is to keep all of my make-up in at home or use it as my washbag and make-up when I next go away.

Don’t get me wrong I love the beautifully decorated cardboard ones - I’ve kept an old Liberty one and I refill it every year for my children. But in a world of excess packaging, I love that I will definitely reuse this bag in the future.

Each of the products comes in a cardboard box that can be recycled in any roadside recycling bin.

M&S is big on sustainability and has taken bold steps to do better where possible. For example, it ensures 100% of cotton used by the brand is responsibly sourced, any unsold stock is redistributed to charity partners and 100% of the electricity used to power its UK stores is from renewable sources and its operations globally have been carbon neutral since 2012.

m&s beauty advent calendar - image of someone holding the vanity case

(Image credit: Katie Thomas)

2. I would use every single product inside

From nourishing shampoos and conditioners from haircare experts Philip Kingsley to the perfect red Nails Inc nail varnish, the products inside will work for anyone. Where possible M&S has chosen shades that will suit the masses - like the Pixi Brow Tamer that's translucent rather than a specific hair colour. There are no punchy ingredients in the skincare products, so even those with sensitive or reactive skin should feel happy knowing that if they buy this calendar they'll be able to get the most out of it.

It's also got some of all time favourite products inside, which is always a pleasure to  see. Benefit's Roller Lash mascara is one of the best mascaras (fact!) as it creates the most beautiful fluttery everyday lash. As we're currently experiencing the beginnings of the end of year cold weather, I am already excited to use Clinique's Moisture-Surge Cream which always cocoons my skin in hydration.

M&S beauty advent calendar - editor holding benefit roller lash mascara

(Image credit: Katie Thomas)

3. It's super affordable

Yes, the bougie luxury beauty advent calendars are fabulous, but at the end of the day not everyone wants to part with £250 before they've even started buying presents for other people. Which is why M&S's calendar is a welcome purse-friendly option.

To get the calendar all you have to do is spend £35 on Clothing, Home & Beauty either in store or online, and the advent calendar is yours for just £45. Which, as I am currently refreshing the M&S New In page on an hourly basis (could that be the Sienna Miller effect?!), should be very easily achieved.

4. There are a decent amount of full sized products

The trouble with some calendars is that even though you get up to, and often over, 25 new beauty products a lot of the time they're actually small samples. And whilst they are really handy when you're travelling, it's always so much better getting a full sized product. Which is why I love that the M&S beauty advent calendar has twelve full-sized products inside. That's just under half, which is impressive.

This year's full sized products are Percy & Reed's Turn Up The Volume Volumizing No Oil Oil, Pixi LipLift Max in Sheer Rose, Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash Curling Mascara, This Works Deep Sleep Body Cocoon, REN Clean Skincare Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Gel, Pixi Brow Tamer in Translucent, Clinique Pop Lip Colour + Primer in Plum Pop, Dr Paw Paw Overnight Lip Mask, L’Occitane Cherry Blossom Hand Cream, L’Occitane Verbena Shower Gel, Apothecary Revive Clarifying Mask, Dr Paw Paw Overnight Lip Mask.

M&S beauty advent calendar - editor holding a full sized product

(Image credit: Katie Thomas)

What's inside?

Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Booster Restoring Conditioner 20ml, Philip Kingsley Moisture Balancing Combination Shampoo 20ml, Philip Kingsley Moisture Balancing Combination Conditioner 20ml, Nails Inc Victoria & Albert Nail Varnish 10ml, Nail Inc Crown Place Nail Varnish 10ml, Percy & Reed Turn Up The Volume Volumizing No Oil Oil 60ml, Pixi Brow Tamer (Translucent) 4.5ml, Shay & Blue Atropa Belladonna Natural Spray Fragrance 10ml, L’Occitane Verbena Shower Gel 250ml, Apothecary Revive Clarifying Mask 75ml, This Works Deep Sleep Body Cocoon 100ml, Murad Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30 25ml, Apothecary Meditate Hand Cream 30ml, Dr Paw Paw Overnight Lip Mask 10ml, Pixi LipLift Max (Sheer Rose) 2.7g, L’Occitane Cherry Blossom Hand Cream 75ml, Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash Curling Mascara 8.5g, Leighton Denny Renovate Intensive Nail Repair Cream & Buffer 10ml, Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose Dry Oil for Face, Body, and Hair Mini 10ml, REN Clean Skincare Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Gel 150ml, Aveda Botanical Repair Styling Crème 40ml, Clinique Pop Lip Colour + Primer Plum Pop, Filorga Hydra-Hyal: Hydrating Plumping Serum 7ml, Clinique Moisture Surge 100H 15ml, Origins Ginzing Gel 30ml

Katie Thomas

Katie Thomas is the Senior Beauty Editor at Marie Claire UK. With over 10 years of experience on women's luxury lifestyle titles, she covers everything from the best beauty looks from the red carpet and stand out trends from the catwalk, to colonic irrigation and to the best mascaras on the market. She started her career on fashion desks across the industry - from The Telegraph to Brides - but found her calling in the Tatler beauty department. From there she moved to Instyle, before joining the Marie Claire digital team in 2018. She’s made it her own personal mission to find the best concealer in the world to cover her tenacious dark circles. She’s obsessed with skincare that makes her skin bouncy and glowy, low-maintenance hair that doesn’t require brushing and a cracking good manicure. Oh and she wears more jewellery than the Queen.