Beauty | 10.12.2023

Is Ulta’s Self-Care Advent Calendar Worth It?

Ulta Self-Care Advent Calendar for 2023.

By Franki Hanke

Every year, a dozen beauty advent calendars hit the market boasting hundreds of dollars of value for a box of itty-bitty miniatures. Sometimes, it can feel like a big waste for some tiny samples. This year, Ulta Beauty released a special box combining 24 different products from across their high-end brand offerings with a comparably low price tag of $60. 

For comparison, The Body Shop’s brand advent sells for $195, Bare Minerals is $110, Benefit Cosmetics’ is $149, MAC’s is $220, and Charlotte Tilbury’s is $210. A high price tag is common with high-end beauty brands, after all, we know how quickly a little Sephora run adds up, right? Advent calendars are no different! 

But, is the Ulta Self-Care Advent Calendar worth it? 

No Spoilers: Is It Worth It?

If you want to know the value of Ulta’s Self-Care Advent Calendar without spoiling the contents for yourself, here’s the scoop. 

The box is primarily filled with skincare products with a few haircare or specialty-use items. The majority of the box is highly useable items for a range of skin types, that is, items that most people could sample in their routine or use during a trip whether they have dry, oily, or combination-style skin. Plus, the contents feature 24 different beauty brands for a lot of variety across Ulta’s Cruelty-Free brands. 

However, if your skin is very sensitive, I would skip this box as you risk triggering reactions with a variety of different products.

For most skincare enthusiasts, this box has a great value with a good variety of well-known, popular skincare products.  I’d recommend it! 

If you continue reading, there will be spoilers for the contents of this gift set

What’s the Value of the Box? 

Ulta claims the box has a value of $250, but our math with the most likely product size purchase works out to be closer to $225. Their math likely uses the price per ounce of each product’s largest full-size comparison, while we’ve used the standard smaller product size more purchasers would buy as first-time buyers. 

Notably, the box contains one full-size product Cosrx The Retinol .1 Cream which retails for $27, making up nearly half of the box’s value by itself. If you (or your recipient) are on the hunt for a new retinol in your routine, this product carries most of the box’s value. 

A white cosmetic tube superimposed over an off-white cream.
Notably, the only full-sized product in Ulta’s Self-Care Advent Calendar.

The main appeal of Ulta’s 24 Days of Self-Care Advent Calendar is its usability. The products inside are primarily skincare with four haircare products and four specialty-use items. The majority of the skincare are moisturizer-type products which are generally easy to use up before the expiration date. 

The highlight products, to me, are the following

  • Belif Aqua Bomb Sleeping Mask – Great Addition to Existing Routine
  • Cosrx The Retinol Cream – Full-Sized
  • Living Proof Dry Shampoo – Great Usability for Anybody
  • Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen – Top Selling Product for Anybody to Use
  • Juice Beauty Exfoliating Mask – Great One-Of Product for Existing Routine
  • Patchology Eye Gel – Highly Usable One-Off

What’s inside Ulta’s Self-Care Advent Calendar? 

This Christmas advent countdown contains the following 24 skincare and hair products:

  • Belif Aqua Bomb Sleeping Mask (0.33 oz)
  • Briogeo Don’t Despair Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask (1.0 Oz)
  • Cosrx The Retinol 0.1 Cream (0.67 oz)
  • Dermalogica Deluxe Daily Microfoliant (0.14 oz)
  • Drybar Liquid Glass Smoothing Sealant (0.34 oz)
  • Exuviance Overnight Transformation Complex (0.35 oz)
  • Living Proof Advanced Clean Dry Shampoo (0.9 oz)
  • Origins Plantscription Multi-Powered Youth Serum (0.17 oz)
  • Perricone Cold Plasma Plus+ Sub-D/Neck (0.25 oz)
  • Philosophy Smooth Glow Moisturizer (0.23 oz)
  • Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream Hydrating Moisturizer (0.25 oz)
  • Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment (0.17 oz)
  • Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen Spf 40 (0.5 oz)
  • Tan Luxe The Face Light/Medium (0.14 oz)
  • Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme Lip Gloss 0.05 oz)
  • Vacation Eau de Toilette (0.05 oz)
  • Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Full Strength Exfoliating Mask 0.5 oz)
  • Kopari Beauty Moisture Whipped Ceramide Cream Deluxe (0.7 oz)
  • Murad Retinal Resculpt Overnight Treatment (0.17 oz)
  • Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector (0.68 oz)
  • Patchology Flashpatch Rejuvenating Eye Gels (1 pr)
  • Peace Out Skincare 10-Dot Acne Dots (10 ct)
  • Strivectin Tl Advanced Tightening Neck Cream (0.25 oz)
  • Tula Skincare The Cult Classic Purifying Face Cleanser (1.0 oz)

However, the trade-off to this holiday gift is that most of the heavy hitter products within won’t provide enough product to get a fair test of that item’s efficacy, so this box is ideal for the fun of trying them out, rather than testing them long-term. 

Who’d Like The Ulta Self-Care Advent Calendar?

This is for the skincare and beauty lover who experiments. This item is great for the collector who swaps out their products used often. I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone with sensitive skin or who sticks to their tried-and-tested holy grail items long-term. 

Please note, too, that this isn’t a makeup advent calendar, but a skincare and haircare advent calendar. There are no makeup products like eyeliner, mascara, nail polish, or eyeshadow in this box. The only beauty product is the Too Faced Lip Injection Lip Gloss. If your loved one focuses on makeup rather than skincare, opt for a different advent calendar this holiday season. 

Shop the Ulta Self-Care Advent Calendar. 

What Other Beauty Advent Calendars Are There?

If Ulta’s 24 Days of Self-Care Advent Calendar isn’t your perfect fit, there are more advents to consider. 

If you’re gifting this advent calendar, I recommend experimenting with building your own. Start with these fillable gingerbread gift boxes from Amazon and fill them with a selection of your favorite products from the year. Your personal recommendations of 24 days of bath and beauty products will be some of the best for a friend or loved one to try, and you can easily tailor items to their style and skin. 

If you’re still on the hunt for the perfect advent calendar for yourself or your loved one, check out our full run-down of all the trending or overlooked holiday advent calendars this season. 

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