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Rituals beauty advent calendar review 2021: Luxury scented goodies at an affordable price



Since the absolute queen of beauty advent calendars launched in 2014 – from one of London’s most prestigious department stores, Liberty, no less – practically every other brand has got in on the action.

Many calendars sell out in days and some even launched way back at the end of August, when we were still hoping for a last glimpse of summer. From online brands such as Asos to classic make-up go-tos like Charlotte Tilbury, it seems everyone wants a slice of the profits, including one of our favourite high-street beauty brands, Rituals.

This year, Rituals is offering two options: a 24-door 2D calendar for £59.90, which has a value price of £120, and a 3D set up in the style of a Nordic festive village. With 24 goodies hiding inside little houses and trees, it costs £89.90 and has a total worth of £150.

How we tested

Despite it traditionally being bad luck to open your advent calendar before 1 December, someone’s got to do the hard work of testing. We set up this cheerily festive Nordic scene, adding the lights to the back and slotting the goodies into their allocated place, before getting to the fun bit: opening them up to see what’s inside.

As we counted down and unpackaged each item, we considered the size of the products, the variety of them and how many new products there were, as well as the overall value of the calendar.

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(Rituals)

  • Rating: 8.5/10
  • Number of doors: 24
  • Cost: £89.90
  • Value: £150

Design

The more luxurious – and expensive – of the two Rituals offerings this year really sets itself apart from the crowd, just by the way it looks. The classic design that many take is a sort of cabinet style with little drawers or doors revealing a gift. Yet, Rituals has thought a little more out the box – quite literally.

Arriving as what looks like a slim gold box, wrapped in a red bow, it’s actually much more unassuming than what it eventually turns into. After unboxing it and reading the instructions, we realised there was a little more to this calendar – and setting up to do – than we initially thought.

Read more: The Jo Malone advent calendar is a scentsational festive gift

First of all, there’s the 24 little houses that make up the scene. These are already pre-made with the beauty products inside them, phew. That’s the easy bit. Inside is a string of mini fairy lights, with a battery pack attached, but with no batteries included. There’s also 32 little stickers to secure the festoon lights to the back of what becomes the floor of the village. You need to follow the dotted line to wind the lights around the slots the houses go in, ensuring the lights go where they’re supposed to, which are also helpfully marked out.

Admittedly, this set up is fairly fiddly, with lots of doubling back on yourself, and we felt a little like we’d unknowingly embarked on an afternoon of arts and crafts, which surprisingly took just over 30 minutes. But with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie, we think it would be a lot more enjoyable.

(Emma Henderson )

Then, your base completed with fairy lights, is placed into the bottom half of the box, and is ready to slot the pre-packed boxes into the numbered holes. Each house or tree has a number on it to correlate, and on the side of each house, or on the stump of the tree, written in festive gold writing says what’s in the box. This is cleverly hidden though, so you only see it when you’re going to open the box.

Lastly, the top half of the box sits upright and slots into the bottom half, forming the backdrop of your wintery scene with snow-dusted pine trees. The end results are impressive, but with the set up time, it really makes you work for your treats.

Read more: 9 best outdoor Christmas lights for some seasonal sparkle

Our only gripe with the design is that almost all of the boxes can’t be recycled as they have a thin coating of plastic on them to make them glossy – apart from the trees – which considering its 2021, is quite disappointing as there’s a lot of packaging that will only end up in landfill.

What’s inside?

There’s 24 treats, most of which are encased in cute little houses, while four sit inside little green trees. Featuring 11 of the brand’s scents (which are all named as “Rituals of”), the products cover a broad range of what the retailer has to offer when it comes to fragrances, as well as types of products, such as home fragrance, body moisturiser and even an eye cream.

Despite the first day of December falling on a Wednesday, inside the box labelled number one is a little candle, which is to be lit and enjoyed on the first Sunday of advent. There’s four of these, for each Sunday, and scents range from imperial rose, sweet jasmine, jade vine, and lastly violet and orris – our favourite overall.

Read more: 15 best Christmas gifts for wine lovers

There’s also four of one of our favourite Rituals products, the foaming shower gel, each of which are a generous 50ml size. The scents include Rituals of Holi, inspired by the Indian event of the same name, Rituals of Oudh, a rich musky scent, as well as Rituals of Jing – our favourite fragrance from the brand which promotes calmness. And finally, Serendipity, a brand new limited edition product which has beautiful vibrant blue packaging. All of these will keep any Rituals fan going for a little while, and helps make a mundane event like showering a little more luxurious.

Other highlights include some of the newer collections we weren’t so familiar with, such as Rituals of Amsterdam, which has gorgeous blue and white patterned packaging, influenced by classical Japanese pottery design. The limited edition collection is in collaboration with Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, and the product we opened here is the body mist, which has delicate notes of fragrant flowers and a hint of spice.

(Emma Henderson )

Our favourite treat though was the Rituals of Sakura magic touch body cream, which is the only 100ml product in the calendar. But it’s a great choice to have as a full size. This is one of the brand’s best sellers and for us, it’s an absolute go-to for a deliciously thick body cream, that smells fresh with a slightly floral hint, as we don’t like overly floral scents in any sort of skincare.

There’s not an equivalent version of this to buy online, only the 70ml (£5.90, Rituals.com), or the 220ml version (£18.50, Rituals.com) – and you can buy refills for this too (£15.50, Rituals.com) which we’re pretty sure you’ll be doing soon. The Rituals of Ayurveda, hand cream, 70ml, (£9.90, Rituals.com) is another one of our favourite scents too.

Read more: 14 best scented candles to help you relax

Other products which did surprise us, and we’ve not come across in the range before included the soul shimmering body oil, in the fragrance of holly lotus and white tea. While the other unexpected product was a radiance and anti-aging eye serum (£29.90, Rituals.com) from the Rituals of Namaste collection.

There’s also just one product from the Rituals of Samurai range, which is aimed at men, and is a decent sized tube of ice shower gel. Of course it can be used by anyone, but we were surprised to find just one product aimed at men.

On the last day, 24 December, you get a mini 15ml bottle of eau de parfum, Reve de Hanami; a pretty pink glass bottle with an engraved branded lid, which is sweet and vibrant and one we’ll be wearing in spring.

Value for money

Out of the 24 products, only one could really be counted as full size, with four 50ml and a 70ml product, while the others are well within mini status, which are still useful for holidays and weekends away. Most products are genuinely useful too, and won’t end up sitting in your bathroom cupboard for a year, unused.

Read more: Selfridges advent calendar is a luxury offering worth a whopping £700

It does however feel a far more DIY job than most other advent calendars – which come already prepared without a 30 minute set up time. And having to buy batteries too was another faff and an extra expense, as it’s not something we usually have. But in saying that, the calendar does give an excellent insight into the breadth of what Rituals has to offer, with the four foaming shower gels alone coming to £20, and accounting for less than a quarter of what’s inside.

As for the rest of the contents, it’s hard to properly price it up as most are not available to buy in those sizes on their own. Considering you get 24 products for under £90, and the fact it can actually be reused for at least a couple of years, depending on how you look after the little boxes, it’s not a one hit wonder.

The verdict: Rituals the ritual of advent 3D calendar

We really love the design of the Rituals advent 3D calendar, and appreciate Rituals has quite literally thought outside of the box, turning a gorgeous snowy capped village scene into a lovely daily treat. Plus, it has serious potential to be reused for a handful of years too, as it’s sturdy and neatly packs away into the slim box.

One of the highlights is that it includes three of our favourite products – Rituals of Sakura body cream (220ml, £18.50, Rituals.com), Rituals of Ayurveda hand cream (70ml, £9.90, Rituals.com), and Rituals of Jing foaming shower gel (200ml, £8.50, Rituals.com). But it also includes newer collections and products too, as well as being under £90, it’s one of the most affordable beauty advent calendars available.

But, seeing as it took half an hour to assemble it, and it doesn’t come with the batteries you need in order to make it sparkle, it is a little bit of a pain, and more time consuming than practically any other beauty advent calendar. We would also like it to have been 100 per cent recyclable.

Yet, if keeping the price more affordable is an important factor in choosing which calendar to buy, this does give bang for your buck, and manages to maintain the brand’s affordable high street luxury appeal. Just remember to add your own sparkle and buy some batteries.

Rituals the ritual of advent 3D calendar

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on beauty advent calendars and other skincare offers, try the links below:

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

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.



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