TBN: 2018 Advent Calendar Edition: Space NK Calendar Review- Is it worth the price tag?
(make a cup of cocoa- this is a long one)
Buying an advent calendar makes perfect sense for me as a reviewer because it's a great way to try dozens of super-hyped products without breaking the bank for a full size of everything.
But what does an advent calendar mean to you as a beauty consumer? As high-end options go, it was a battle between this and the Liberty London one (legend- this year's is better than ever). Oh and the Harrods one (god, that was great too). But this won because it has more things I personally wanted to try/review. Hopefully, the feedback you get from this general overview helps you decide whether you'll take the 250 pound plunge, or even buy specific products included.
The price tag is very steep, however, the contents are worth more than 600 pounds. I am not a penny-pincher but I am VERY value-for-money oriented. I scrutinised this beauty box and can now safely say it has addressed all considerations. It passed with flying colours.
To me, this is worth the money. It has mediocre reviews on the Space NK website, exclusively complaining about the price. I strongly disagree, this is no mediocre selection and that's considering the price. You get six months' worth of top-notch skincare, lots of impressive haircare and more. If you're reading this, you're obviously into skincare. How much can you honestly say you spend in six months on cosmetics, including the cheap stuff that adds up? I'll bet it's a lot more than 250 pounds,
In the near-future, I will post full reviews on the best products in this box and there were a lot. First, the winning points:
1. The serums. Full-size and minis of the best ever. And, they are GLORIOUS. I don't really care about creams, a regular moisturiser is fine for me as long as I have super-serums. There's a lot to choose from in here and they will last you easily into the summer.
2. The premium cleansers. That is the single step that changed my skin for the better, so I'm always grateful for an excellent cleanser. There are so many here, you will definitely find your holy grail among them.
3. The haircare. Now, this was a surprise. I loved these, they are all hero products that contributed something new to my hair regime.
4. The exfoliators. Again, you're covered for months. These are the most sophisticated formulas around for chemical or mechanical exfoliation. We're talking top-grade lab technology here. Combined with the serums and masks, it's like getting an aesthetician-grade treatment at home.
Chantecaille – Jasmine and Lily Healing Mask (10ml) HIT: I would not buy this at full price, but it's lovely to use. Excellent moisture boost, sophisticated formula.
Christophe Robin – Volumizing Paste (75ml) HIT: This is fantastic for anyone who wants volume. You get what you hoped for, multiplied by two. Highly recommended. Will buy again. Full review coming soon.
Cover Fx – Glitter Drops (15ml) MISS: I don't want to look like a discoball. End of.
Darphin – Hydraskin Light (30ml): HIT: I've fallen in love. I expected this to be meh, but it takes extreme moisture (plumpness is a more correct term) to another level. Highly recommended, even for oily skin types.
Dr Dennis Gross Extra Strength Peel (5 pack): HIT: This entered my bi-monthly ritual (not more often) and was excellent. Strong and gentle. Just how I like them.
De Mamiel – Cleansing Dew (20ml): HIT & MISS: This product confused me. I followed the instructions for one or two pumps and it was a dud. Not nearly strong enough as a second cleanse. But then I used 5-6 pumps and, boom, sparkling, plump perfection. At this rate, though, I'll use this up in a week. The product, its packaging and the price don't compute in my head.
Drunk Elephant – Marula Oil (8ml) HIT: People sing songs about this. Is it worth the hype? Yes, it's lovely. Is it worth the full-product price tag? For me the Caudalie Premier Cru Precious Oil is the best (as explained in my review here https://bit.ly/2Q68m8a) in this category at a much lower price. So, no. Am I glad I got this at a reduced price to try? Oh yes. I use it mostly in the mornings, mixed with my moisturiser and it rocks.
Eve Lom – Cleanser (20ml): HIT: Oh my God. This has officially dethroned my Lixir Electrogel Cleanser as the best of the best. It really is divine- the suprising texture, the smell, the amazing feeling after. But, again, the price. 55 pounds for 100 ml. Dude, no. I'm very happy to use this, though, and it takes a small amount to do a perfect job. At a 30% lower price, this would be my holy grail.
Goldfaden MD – Bright Eyes (15ml): MISS: I have pronounced crows feet which I treat with Botox, but otherwise I have no undereye problems. No circles to speak of, or puffiness. But this was a spectacular miss. It made my undereyes look sallow and dark, which is ironic, considering its name. All bets are off with how skincare matches different skins and this is no exception. I know women who swear by this for undereye darkness so don't let my experience discourage you.
Hourglass – Veil Powder (2g) HIT: This is great. Smooth, luminous skin with controlled dewiness. It's a solid performer- dare I say I prefer it to Laura Mercier's one? Will I buy a full size? No. I'm a lazy person and can't stand the faff of loose powder. I will prefer this for trips, I'm always scared my compacts will break and this is safe. But for all intents and purposes, my Tilbury pressed powder still reigns supreme https://bit.ly/2PsBmKd
IGK – Rich Kid (50ml) HIT: A revelation product for me. This is a joy, it's the hair I was meant to be born with. I will always prefer styled hair but this hits the ball out of the park in the natural hair game. Will, absolutely, buy again. Read the full review here: https://bit.ly/2OhbSLc
Kevyn Aucoin – Lipgloss in Sunlight (5g) HIT: I am a matte lips girl, through and through. No shiny lips for me. As lip glosses go, this is fantastic (and surprisingly non-sticky). How to describe it on one word? Chic. It is the right kind of shiny and juicy, so yes, I would buy again. If I were a shiny lips girl.
Lipstick Queen – Medieval Mini (1.5g) HIT & MISS: As explained above, I am pro-matte. This turns into a pleasant, juicy, universally flattering pink. I would adore this if I were up to 23 years old. I am 38, so I don't.
Malin + Goetz – Dark Rum Votive (67g) MISS: This smells amazingly before you light it, and when you do, it doesn't smell of anything. I lit it in a large living room, so maybe the space was too big? Then again, I don't live in a palace, so, no, the candle was definitely weak. Shame.
Nars – Mini Laguna/Orgasm (2.5g) MISS: It's blasphemy to speak badly of NARS but these were so weak on me! I couldn't build up the colour, there was just no pigment. I tried these for two full days, and even though I had managed to create passable shading and blush, both disappeared within an hour. I suspect they pressed this travel compact WAY too much, so you can't work with it. Impressively unimpressive.
Odacite – Vital Glow (5ml) HIT: Damn it I loved this! At first you think the quantity is ridiculously little, but then you get the system: you mix only 2-3 drops of this into your moisturiser. Beware! Do not use this liberally, it's potent. I hoped my carrot allergy won't get in the way, but of course it did. After the fourth night, I woke up in hives. I repeat, its not the product's fault. I applied something I know I am allergic to. Wishful thinking gone wrong. Up until then, I loved the effect it had on my skin, luminous, plump, nourished. I didn't like it for day use, even two drops weighed down my skin. If you're not allergic to carrots like me, you'll enjoy this a lot.
Omorovizca – Queen of Hungary Mist (30ml) HIT: Ooooooh this is my guilty pleasure. A 60£ for a small bottle of water, how decadent. Ha. You haven't tried it, that's why. I receive this in all my preferred beauty boxes and by now, I actively seek it out (because I know I'll never actually buy the full bottle myself). It's a super-hydrating, minutely fine mist that smells like a corner of heaven. I've already been using this every night before my serums, for a whole year. I'm very thankful to Space NK for replenishing my reserves, I've been running low.
Oribe – Mystify Spray (50ml) HIT: I tried this to re-style my hair when my hair flopped from the humidity. It did a great job. But it's not something I would personally buy again, I hate re-styling hair when it's not freshly washed. I feel like I'm locking dirt particles in the hair shaft. If you want to be perpetually perfectly coiffed, go for it.
Ouai – Wave Spray (30ml) This is a legendary product and the only one I haven't tried. I've tried more wave sprays than I care to remember (and I don't care for curls). This is going straight to my curly girl stepdaughter. Maybe I'll get back to you with her feedback.
Patchology – Weekend Trio (3x28ml) HIT: Ever since I began my Lixir regime, I don't mask as much. I don't need to, the skin's too good and stable (here's the full review on the line https://bit.ly/2AAEPxZ). But a great mask is always appreciated and these are great indeed. Leave them on for longer than it says in the directions. Why waste all the goodness after just 5 minutes? All three are lush and effective. Will buy again.
Space NK – Shimmering Spice (35g) HIT: This is a classic spice/fruit scent, you've smelled this before. But I light it when I'm working on the laptop and it makes me feel good, so it's a yes on this one.
Sunday Riley – Luna (15ml): Hate to admit it but it's so good. After the recent Sunday Riley scandal, I was very blasé about trying this. Will buy again (and again). Full review coming soon.
Tan Luxe – The Face (10ml): HIT: I've already been using this religiously. It's the best face tan, foolproof to use and looks completely natural. Already have a full bottle (which lasts more than a year because you only use 4 drops, once a week). This travel-size will be my trip companion (user tip: don't mix it with your moisturiser, but a face oil - it doesn't show up otherwise).
Tata Harper – Regenerating Cleanser (50ml) HIT: Another product I am already familiar with. This is the Bentley of mechanical exfoliators. I prefer chemical exfoliation but I do use this, with caution, because there's a superb clarifying and softeting quality to it that I enjoy. It's not my favourite, but I am glad to have it back in my kit, I had ran out. If you like face scrubs, you seriously cannot get better than this.
Votary – Toning Serum (50ml) HIT: This is in my top 3 of all the products in the box. I knew nothing about it, it's a plant-based resurfacing formula. Full review coming soon. All you need to know for now: it's your high-end hyaluronic acid AND your exfoliation acids in one. AND it's a 50ml bottle. Epic.
What fun I'm having with this box! I expected top quality, but I was also really surprised with some of these (so relieved it wasn't a dud). I'll enjoy these for months to come.
The calendar is available here https://bit.ly/2JlCx8D
So, how does TBN work? We upload brief, concise reviews and tips on beauty products that work. Subscribe on the top of this page and receive our weekly TBN newsletter informing you on all new posts! Find us on Instagram https://bit.ly/2Le9F3m for even more TBN goodness!