Luxury with a conscience: We reviewed the £335 Chantecaille advent calendar 2021

We are fast approaching the end of the year, and as we round that final corner to the festive season, the niggling little voice in your head saying “treat yourself” gets harder and harder to ignore. But if you can’t spoil yourself, as well as your nearest and dearest, at Christmas then when can you?

And what better way to spoil yourself than some much-needed beauty TLC. There are few things that feel quite as indulgent as Chantecaille, from packaging to ingredients, the luxury French brand has got it down. Famous for its bio lifting cream (£227.95, and luminescent eyeshade (£48,, Chantecaille has set the bar high for luxury beauty made from only the purest botanicals, flowers, and essential oils.

This year, for the first time ever, the brand has launched its own beauty advent calendar to count down to the big day in a suitably opulent fashion. All the products included are made from natural ingredients – all vegan, “PETA approved” and cruelty-free. And what the brand takes from the natural world, it gives back, by providing support and raising awareness for charities that protect wild species, and spaces, in our world.

The brand’s founder, Sylvie Chantecaille, has made sure we are reminded of this pledge by inscribing it on the inside of the calendar: “We are committed not just to the best products, but also philanthropy and conservation… Chantecaille helps conservationists all around the world protect the ocean, environment, endangered animals and endangered plant species – it is an integral part of our brand”.

With so much to shout about, we had to put the brand’s debut calendar to the test. Read on for everything you need to know.

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How we tested

For testing, we broke all the rules and peeked inside each drawer to find out what Chantecaille has in store for the countdown to Christmas. We considered the calendar’s contents and scrutinised the variety of skincare and make-up, as well as value for money, and of course the all-important full-size to mini-product ratio.

Given the brand’s reputation for luxury, the calendar’s overall presentation and packaging was a point of consideration. Naturally, as the brand focuses heavily on environmental issues, we examined the eco-credentials of the calendar.


  • Number of days: 12
  • Products: 12
  • Product sizes: 5 full-size, 7 deluxe
  • Value of products: £598
  • Price: £335


This is, by no means, your typical Christmas calendar. There is no gaudy Santa-themed packaging here – meaning it can stay pride of place on your dressing room table, even once the festive season is over.

Instead, the calendar design is wildlife-inspired, with each drawer decorated with strikingly beautiful images of nature, animals and the botanicals that are at the centre of the brand’s philosophy. To touch, the calendar feels weighty and expensive, and the packaging is made from 100 per cent post-consumer waste. A big eco tick.

It even smells good, with a fresh scent of roses that drifts towards you as you open the box. Thoughtful and deliberate, everything about this packaging feels luxurious and carefully planned.

Inside, there are 12 drawers to pull out, each containing one skincare and make-up goodie, a veritable treasure trove for the beauty connoisseur.


Instead of one product for each of the days of December, Chantecaille has opted for a more streamlined approach, offering 12 days of botanical beauty. At first, we found this to be somewhat disappointing, as many of this year’s beauty calendars are offering 25 gifts for the month (sometimes two a day), but what Chantecaille lacks in quantity, has more than made up for in quality.


The advent calendar contains 12 of the brand’s bestselling favourites, including five full-size items and seven deluxe-size products. This is truly an impressive full-size to mini ratio for a beauty advent calendar and our tester was most impressed that the deluxe products were of the same quality as the full-sized ones. There was no difference in packaging, for example – the brand hasn’t scrimped whatsoever here.

Included in the calendar (spoiler alert!), you will find; the luminescent eyeshade in zebra (£48,, cheek shade blush in shade smitten (£48,, lip veil in honeypot (£42,, full brow perfecting gel (£34, faux cils longest lash mascara (£63,, lip potion (£30.60,, stress repair concentrate+, 3ml (£185,, gold recovery mask, 5ml (£239,, bio lifting serum+, 15ml (£244, Spacenk.coml), rose de mai face oil, 15ml (£165,, bio lifting cream+, 15ml (£304, and purifying and exfoliating phytoactive solution, 10ml (£76,

<p>We’re a big fan of this peachy blush </p>
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We’re a big fan of this peachy blush

(Eleanor Magill)

Our tester was most excited about the cheek shade (£48, in smitten and was pleasantly surprised when the product exceeded expectations. It is a finely-milled powder in a universally flattering peach shade, embossed with a sweet little elephant, in a silver pebble compact. Perhaps even sweeter, is that a portion of the proceeds from sales of the blush goes to support the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in its fostering of orphaned baby elephants. The shade can even be refilled – another eco tick!

Similarly, the lip veil (£42,, also supports Space for Giants and its work to preserve the migration path of elephants in Africa and keep them thriving. Good for the environment and good for your pout too, this lip product is enriched with softening baobab oil perfect for chapped lips in the winter. While it wasn’t long-wearing, which is to be expected of a sheer lipstick, our tester can attest to its moisturising properties and loved the colour for its “just bitten” look. Another fabulous revelation was the product design, a magnetic closure so you never have to lose your lipstick lid in your bag again.

<p>This sheer lipstick nourished our lips and gave a ‘just bitten’ look </p>
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This sheer lipstick nourished our lips and gave a ‘just bitten’ look

(Eleanor Magill)

The eyeshade in zebra (£48,, was also particularly delightful. It was a simple “one and done” product – with just a singular swipe covering the whole lid. The gel-to-powder formula is unlike anything we have tried before and, with a little primer, had very impressive staying power and required very little blending. Its flattering rose gold shade will see us all the way through the Christmas party season and beyond.

But it’s the all-natural skincare that Chantecaille is most famous for and, boy oh boy, were we impressed. The gold recovery mask (£239, felt the most indulgent, especially because of the lavish gold pot it comes in. Rich, creamy and infused with actual 24k gold (yes, really), a little went a long way when it came to this mask. Our tester actually left it on overnight (who washes off gold?), and woke up with plump, glowing skin with less of the pesky morning redness she usually suffers with. While the skin benefits were obvious, we felt like royalty while applying this mask and who can put a price on that?

<p>We left this gold-infused mask on overnight for the best results </p>
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We left this gold-infused mask on overnight for the best results

(Eleanor Magill)

The pièce de résistance has to be the 15ml bottle of bio lifting serum (£244 for 30ml, While it is slightly oilier than most serums, it felt as silky as it is possible to get and truly heavenly to apply. Almost immediately, our tester’s skin lapped it up, feeling plumper and firmer. But it was overnight that the serum did the most work and we noticed an immediate difference in the appearance of fine lines.

Value for money

There is no shaking it: this is a luxury calendar. Chantecaille’s products are not cheap, with one eye shade costing £48 and with a full-size 30ml of the aforementioned serum costing an eye-watering £244, of which you get a 15ml bottle. Truth be told, we could not justify spending that amount on one product, no matter how good it was. Yet this beauty calendar, with its deluxe samples and wide selection, is worth buying. While the value of the products included in the calendar comes to a whopping £600, we cannot forget the impressive conservation efforts of the brand – it’s hard to put a price on a clear conscience and the planet, after all.

The verdict: Chantecaille 12 days of botanical beauty holiday box

This calendar is really something special; all the products are of the highest of quality from the sourcing of ingredients, to the packaging design. The make-up is beautifully formulated, but in honesty, not too dissimilar from other high-end make-up brands. It is the skincare where this brand really excels – it is lavish and luxurious, truly “treating yourself” in a bottle.

While Christmas is all about spoiling yourself – it is the packaging and careful thought behind the products that appeal to the conscious consumer. It is opulence with a conscience. What makes this beauty calendar so special, and indeed this brand, is its commitment to conservation. Who said eco-beauty can’t be glamorous?

This calendar is on the more expensive end, but its value for money means it’s a worthwhile buy – especially for the Chantecaille fanatics in your life. Getting over the price and keeping in mind the sweet baby elephants, our tester thought this was probably the only beauty calendar she would spend her hard-earned pennies on this year.

Chantecaille 12 days of botanical beauty holiday box

Voucher codes

For the latest offers on make-up and other beauty products, try the discount codes below:

Read more about the best beauty advent calendars for 2021

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

Aldi advent calendar – the budget supermarket’s first-ever beauty advent calendar is full of cult brand dupes

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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